Thursday, September 2, 2010

Today's Trends: Crude Imports Decline, But Critical to U.S.

U.S crude oil imports grew rapidly from mid-20th century until the late 1970s, but fell sharply from 1979 to 1985, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Review 2009. The trend resumed upward from 1985 through 2004, then remained flat through 2007 before dropping in 2008 and 2009.


In 2009, crude oil imports were 9.1 million b/d; petroleum product imports were 2.7 million b/d; and exports were 2.0 million b/d mainly the form of distillate and residual fuel oils.

U.S. petroleum imports rose sharply in the 1970s, and reliance on petroleum from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) grew. In 2009, 41 percent of U.S. petroleum imports came from OPEC countries, down from 70 percent in 1977. After 1992, more petroleum came into the U.S. from non-OPEC countries than from OPEC countries.

Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Nigeria were the three key suppliers among OPEC countries of petroleum to the U.S. market. The amount of petroleum each country has sold to the U.S. has widely fluctuated over the decades. In 2009, Iraq supplied .4 million b/d of petroleum to the U.S., EIA reported.

Canada and Mexico were the largest non-OPEC suppliers of petroleum to the U.S. In 2009, U.S. imports from Canada reached a new high of 2.5 million b/d. Imports from Mexico were insignificant until the mid-1970s, when they began to play a key role in U.S. supplies. Canadian and Mexican petroleum together accounted for 32 percent of all U.S. imports in 2009.

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