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EIA: nearly 69% of US crude oil imports in 2011 originated from 5 countries; Canada alone accounted for 25%

The amount of crude oil the United States imported from its top five foreign suppliers—Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Nigeria—increased slightly during 2011, even though total US crude oil imports fell to their lowest level in 12 years, according to the US Energy Information Administration. As a result, the crude oil from these 5 accounted for a larger share of overall US crude oil imports—nearly 69%—or just over 6.1 million barrels per day (bbl/d), compared to 66% in 2010.

Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Nigeria have consistently been America’s five largest crude oil suppliers, although their rankings varied from year to year. However, US purchases of crude oil in 2011 increased from Canada and Saudi Arabia and declined from Mexico, Venezuela, and Nigeria, according to final trade data from EIA’s February 2012 Company Level Imports report.

In 2010, Canada accounted for 21% of imported oil to the US; in 2011, that climbed to 25%. Together, Canada and Saudi Arabia provided 33% of oil imported to the US in 2010, climbing to 38% in 2011.

Combined crude oil imports from the five countries increased by less than 1% during 2011 to 6.1 million bbl/d. At the same time, total US imports fell about 3%, or 0.3 million bbl/d, to 8.9 million bbl/d. That marked the lowest annual level of crude oil imports for the United States since 1999.

Highlights from the US top crude oil importing countries in 2011 included:

  • Canada. Crude oil imports averaged a record 2.2 million bbl/d, up 12% from the year before, and topped 2 million bbl/d for the first time because more oil is now being transported by rail.

  • Saudi Arabia. Crude oil imports averaged 1.2 million bbl/d, up 10% from the year before, and were the highest level since 2008.

  • Mexico. Crude oil imports of 1.1 million bbl/d were down 4.5% from the year before and the second lowest since 1995, reflecting the steady decline in Mexico’s crude oil production and rising domestic fuel demand.

  • Venezuela. Crude oil imports of 0.9 million bbl/d were down 5% from the year before and the lowest since 1992.

  • Nigeria. Crude oil imports of 0.8 million bbl/d were down 22% from the year before and the lowest since 2002, due in part to civilian unrest that disrupted the country's crude oil production.



With two new (improved) North-South pipelines, imports from Canada will go up by another 30+% in the next 3 to 5 years. That is a smart way to keep US gas price low because crude from Canada is 15% to 20% cheaper and will remain so until the Trans-Mountain pipeline is is operation (in 2017 or so) or until China has bought more Tar sands operation controlling interest.

Dave R

Don't count on it, Harvey.

Retail gas/diesel prices are based on Brent market prices, not WTI market prices.

All a Canadian pipeline will do is reduce the spread and if we're lucky keep up with declining exports from currently exporting countries.

In other words, USA will simply trade KSA oil for Canadian oil and KSA will sell the oil to someone else - probably China or India.


But if we reduce our use of overseas oil, the Brent benchmark is more likely to decline.

And if the Saudis sell more to someone else that “more” will also bring some downward pressure.

Will the Saudis just pump less ?
Maybe, but using less Canadian oil is certainly not the answer to higher oil prices.

And it beats NOT keeping up with the decline from some OPEC members.


I read some comments elsewhere that it was a hedge for Venezuela selling more oil to China. The refineries on the Gulf of Mexico need oil, so if they have to sell the fuel on the open market, so be it.


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