The official numbers are in and confirm what the industry has known all year: 2011 was a huge year for ethanol exports. The annual total for 2011 was 1.19 billion gallons, more than triple the 2010 export total of 396 million gallons. Brazil was the leading importer of U.S. ethanol in 2011, receiving 33% of total shipments. Exports accounted for approximately 8.6% of U.S. ethanol production in 2011, up from 3% in 2010 and 1% in 2009.

December 2011 Exports

December exports of denatured ethanol totaled 136.5 mg, a new monthly record. Top destinations included Brazil (53.4 million gallons), Canada (36.7 million gallons), the United Kingdom (21.8 million gallons), United Arab Emirates (11.8 million gallons) and Oman (6.6 million gallons). Undenatured ethanol exports tallied 36.2 mg in December. Brazil (20.3 million gallons), the United Kingdom (4.8 million gallons), Netherlands (3.7 million gallons), Nigeria (3.2 million gallons) and Mexico (2.7 million gallons) were top importing destinations.

2011 Annual Exports

For the year, the U.S. exported 909.6 million gallons of denatured ethanol and 283.5 million gallons of undenatured (non-beverage) ethanol. Brazil was the leading importer of U.S. ethanol at 395.6 million gallons. Canada was the second-leading importer of U.S. ethanol in 2011, taking in 297.3 million gallons, almost all of which was denatured. The Netherlands (124.1 million gallons) and United Kingdom (119.4 million gallons) ranked third and fourth, respectively for the year. The United Arab Emirates, an OPEC member country, ranked fifth with 64.8 million gallons of imports from the U.S.

Distillers' grains exports for 2011 totaled 7.65 million metric tons (mmt), down 15% from 2010. Mexico was the top importer, receiving 1.78 mmt (23%), followed by China with 1.39 mmt (18%). Canada (737,689 mt), Vietnam (499,523 mt) and Japan (301,234 mt) rounded out the top five.

Read a more detailed report from Renewable Fuel Association's Geoff Cooper, VP research and analysis, on The E-Xchange Blog.