Friday, December 30, 2011

US net oil imports lowest since 1996

As a follow-up to the recent post on energy, a number of readers have asked to see the longer term trends in US oil imports. Here are the charts starting with 1973 showing just the net crude oil imports as well as crude and petroleum products combined.

U.S. Net Imports of Crude Oil (Thousand Barrels per Day)  - source: EIA

U.S. Net Imports of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products (Thousand Barrels per Day)  - source: EIA

The trend in net import declines is clear.

  • US oil and petroleum products net imports (as well as just crude) had peaked in the fall of 2005. 
  • This October's net imports of crude and products were the lowest since February 1996, when they hit 7.34 million barrels per day. 

A large component of this net decline is due to strong US petroleum products exports:
PLATTS: The role of the US as a net product exporter remained solid, and for the first time ever, net product exports topped 1 million b/d, 1.088 million b/d to be precise. Three years ago, total net imports of products were 1.501 million b/d. So the US' net product import/export position has swung more than 2.5 million b/d in just 36 months.
But not all of the reduction in net imports comes from petroleum products.  Crude production and exploration in the US has been on the rise as well.  The charts below show the number of rigs in the US.

US Oil Exploration Rigs (source: Barclays Capital)

US Oil Production Rigs  (source: Barclays Capital)
Number of rigs statistics by state (source: Barclays Capital)

Some of course are quick to call this "propaganda", but these are the facts.  And like it or not, the Obama administration will use these facts to their advantage in the 2012 elections.

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