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Slide 10 of 27

Net Imports

Imports are not expected to be much different during the first half of the winter than historically. However, they may pick up somewhat as cold weather increases in the second half of the season. With Asian import demand expected to be lower than usual due to its economic downturn, more economic imports should be available to the United States this year than in recent years.

Exports for the last several years have been lower than prior years as a result of our own increased distillate needs as well as expansion of production capacity abroad (mainly Asia). The one exception was in fall 1996. Europe was changing to low sulfur distillate and had some initial supply problems. Prices rose enough to attract cargoes from the U.S. Gulf Coast.

As a result, net imports may be slightly higher this winter than in recent years.