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Canada Rises and Saudi Slides: Top 15 Sources for U.S. Crude Oil Imports in 2011

Canada Rises and Saudi Slides: Top 15 Sources for U.S. Crude Oil Imports in 2011 thumbnail

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently published an article on 2011 U.S. crude oil imports. I thought it might be interesting to take a look at where the U.S. currently obtains its oil, and how that has changed over the past decade. The EIA story is: Nearly 69% of U.S. crude oil imports originated from five countries in 2011. I downloaded their data sources for 2011 import data, and then also went into the archives and pulled up 2001 import data to create the following table:

Canada is Our Most Important Supplier

Over the past decade, Canada became our top supplier of oil, largely due to increases in oil sands production. The EIA report noted that U.S. imports from Canada topped 2 million barrels per day for the first time ever in 2011, “because more oil is now being transported by rail.” This is one of the reasons that the Keystone XL pipeline protests may have the opposite effect of what the protestors intend. Lack of pipeline access isn’t going to slow the growth of the oil sands much (Canadian crude oil imports were up 12% in 2011), it just forces more oil onto more carbon intensive transport options (and perhaps to more distant destinations). Note that there is also greater risk from transporting oil via rail versus pipeline.

Saudi Arabia declined in importance as a supplier of oil to the U.S. over the decade, falling from the top supplier in 2001 to the third spot last year. Imports from Mexico were down 13% over the decade, but Mexico moved into the Number 2 position due to Saudi Arabia’s sharp drop. Countries that were in the Top 15 in 2001 that failed to make the Top 15 in 2011 were Norway (#8 in 2001), the U.K. (#10), Gabon (#12), Argentina (#14), and Trinidad and Tobago (#15). Replacing them in the Top 15 were Algeria, Brazil, Russia, and Cameroon.

Imports from OPEC nations decreased by 13% over the decade to 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd), and overall U.S. crude oil imports declined 4% to 8.9 million bpd. However, total imports had climbed to above 10 million bpd from 2004 through 2007, and have fallen by 12% from their high point in 2005.

Predictions for the Next Decade

What can we expect over the next decade? My crystal ball says that Canada will continue to be our most important supplier, and that Canadian imports are likely to rise from current levels. Mexico will probably continue to decline as a supplier of oil to the U.S., but imports from Iraq will likely rebound. Nigeria and Venezuela will probably remain in the Top 5, but politics in both countries will play a major factor. Brazil’s importance as a supplier to the U.S. will continue to increase, and Russia is poised to become a larger supplier to the U.S. as well (although they are already one of the top global suppliers of crude oil).

Link to Original Article: Top 15 Sources for U.S. Crude Oil Imports in 2011

By Robert Rapier

4 Comments on "Canada Rises and Saudi Slides: Top 15 Sources for U.S. Crude Oil Imports in 2011"

  1. SOS on Mon, 9th Apr 2012 2:09 pm 

    This is precisly why the president stopped the keystone pipeline. The illusion of peak oil is tough to maintain when supplies are growing by leaps and bounds.

  2. BillT on Mon, 9th Apr 2012 3:03 pm 

    SOS, you can twist just like your favorite government spin-miesters…lol.

    Supplies ARE not growing by leaps and bounds. They are shrinking. We are buying from different countries, that’s all. Mexico is going to stop exporting soon. Canada has about maxed out. The few African countries are unreliable and don’t amount to 5% total of the worlds production. Look at the list. We are buying a million barrels per day from our enemies. Russia & Venezuela. Does that say that oil supplies are growing? The big picture of all oil production is one of smaller and smaller numbers of real oil covered up by numbers for ‘liquids’ that could be corn whisks or vodka.

  3. MrEnergyCzar on Mon, 9th Apr 2012 5:03 pm 

    I’d be surprised if Mexico is exporting anything in a few years. Canterell has been on nitrogen life support for years and is dying….


  4. Kenz300 on Mon, 9th Apr 2012 6:36 pm 

    All these exporting countries will find it harder to export in the future as their own internal need for the oil continues to grow. We need to begin a transition away from oil now.

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