- How Dependent Is the U.S. on Foreign Oil? - EIA Reports Current Trends
Thursday, July 14, 2011
by Barbara Saunders
The U.S. imported about 49 percent of the crude oil and refined petroleum products that were consumed during 2010, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted in a recent brief on the issue.
About half of these imports came from the Western Hemisphere, EIA said, adding that U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum has declined since peaking in 2005.
Canada is the United States' leading crude oil supplier, EIA reported.
Consumption, Production and Import Patterns
The U.S. consumed 19.1 million barrels per day (MMbd) of petroleum products during 2010, making it the world's largest petroleum consumer, EIA said.
The U.S. was third in crude oil production at 5.5 MMbd. But since crude oil alone does not constitute all U.S. petroleum supplies. " . . . [B]ecause crude oil expands in the refining process, liquid fuel is captured in the processing of natural gas, and there are other sources of liquid fuel, including biofuels," EIA observed, reporting that these additional supplies totaled 4.2 MMbd in 2010.
In 2010, the U.S. imported 11.8 million barrels per day (MMbd) of crude oil and refined petroleum products. The U.S., however, also exported 2.3 MMbd of crude oil and petroleum products during 2010, so net imports (imports minus exports) equaled 9.4 MMbd, EIA noted.
Petroleum products imported by the United States during 2010 included gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, jet fuel, chemical feedstocks, asphalt, and other products. Still, most petroleum products consumed in the United States were refined here. Net imports of petroleum other than crude oil were 2 percent of the petroleum consumed in the United States during 2010, according to EIA.
About Half of U.S. Petroleum Imports from Western Hemisphere
Of the total crude oil and petroleum product imports, 49 percent came from the Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America, and the Caribbean including U.S. territories) during 2010. About 18 percent of U.S. crude and imports of crude oil and petroleum products come from the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. The U.S.' largest sources of net crude oil and petroleum product imports were Canada and Saudi Arabia, EIA said.
Reliance on Petroleum Imports has Declined
U.S. dependence on imported oil has dramatically declined since peaking in 2005, EIA emphasized.
"This trend is the result of a variety of factors including a decline in consumption and shifts in supply patterns," EIA said, continuing: "The economic downturn after the financial crisis of 2008, improvements in efficiency, changes in consumer behavior and patterns of economic growth, all contributed to the decline in petroleum consumption. At the same time, increased use of domestic biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel), and strong gains in domestic production of crude oil and natural gas plant liquids expanded domestic supplies and reduced the need for imports."
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