Since peaking in 2005, petroleum imports from foreign countries has declined to the point where our net imports totaled about 40 percent of the country’s total annual consumption in 2012. Imports of crude oil and petroleum by-products in 2012 totaled 11 million barrels per day (MMbd) while exporting 3.2 MMbd – a net import of 7.8 MMbd.
Net imports is calculated by subtracting the total amount of petroleum exported from the total amount of petroleum imported. Petroleum is not only crude oil, but also products derived from petroleum, such as diesel fuel, and heating oil.
It may surprise some people that one half of these imports came from the Western Hemisphere – the Americas, the Caribbean, and U.S. territories – not the Middle East. The two countries the United States imports the most oil from are Canada and Saudi Arabia. Other Middle Eastern countries that export oil to us are Bahrain, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar.
Specific percentages of imported oil by country in 2012:
Canada – 28%
Saudi Arabia – 13%
Mexico – 10%
Venezuela – 9%
Russia – 5%
The United States is the largest consumer of petroleum products in the world, using just over 18 MMbd. We are also the third largest producer of crude oil in the world, with an annual output of 6.5 MMbd in 2012. The difference between petroleum products and crude oil is that during processing crude oil expands, resulting in a number of by-products. Other sources of liquid fuel are a result of the processing of natural gas, and biofuels such as ethanol. The total production of these secondary sources of liquid fuel in 2012 was 4.8 MMbd.
The conclusion from this data is that the United States is far less dependent on foreign oil than it has been since 2005. Reasons for this decline are broad and numerous:
- A decline in oil consumption
- The modification of supply patterns
- The financial crisis of 2008
- Improvements in the efficiency of oil consuming machines
- Alteration of economic growth patterns
In addition, petroleum product supplies were expanded as there was an uptick of the amount of domestic oil production, an increase in the domestic production and consumption of biofuels, and fuel recovery from the processing and refinement of natural gas.
In the latest Thursday forum convened by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee, several delegates in attendance called for the United States to increase exports of liquid Petroleum gas.
Among the delegates that support an increase in exportation of gas included India, Hungary, Japan, Thailand, Czech Republic, and Haiti. The delegates argued that there were several benefits to be gained if the U.S increased its LPG exports. Some of the benefits cited were:
• Assistance in diversification of domestic energy markets
• Affordable energy prices due to increased completion
• Improvement of US diplomatic relations
South Korea’s ambassador to the U.S added that the move would open the possibility of the strengthening of relationship between US and Korea. Hungary and Czech Republic delegates said that Russia would receive more competition as they are the major supplier of oil and gas in Eastern Europe. This would translate into a reduction of gas prices which many consumers would welcome.
Ed Whitfield, chairman of the Energy and Power subcommittee agreed that a move to export more gas would be in the country’s best interest but added that some interest groups were in opposition of it.
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-A new group, Eagle LNG Partners, has formed to supply liquid natural gas. This group, comprised of several large fuel companies including Clean Energy Fuel Corps, Ferus Natural Gas Fuels, GE Ventures and GE Energy Financial Services, plans on creating small natural gas facilities as fuel distributors for large need areas suck as trucking and railways. LNG is becoming a more popular form of fuel, and as such, Eagle LNG Partners has decided to base its operations in Houston to begin distribution promptly. To read more on this, see http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2013/09/18/energy-companies-join-together-to.html
-10 countries sent delegates to a meeting called by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power to discuss the need for the U.S. to increase exports of liquid natural gas. These countries suggested that an increase in exports would cause gas prices to lower by adding competition with other countries exporting LNG, namely Russia. This move would also strengthen foreign relations for the U.S. as well as allow smaller countries to have more options to trade with. For more information, see http://www.nationaljournal.com/daily/u-s-gas-exports-would-be-a-global-boon-foreign-energy-leaders-say-20131010.
-In September, 2013, China passed the United States as the world’s largest oil importer. China achieved this as the result of a boom in economic growth as well as a greater need for fuel due to the recently heightened popularity of automobiles. China is expected to be the largest oil importer until at least September of 2014. For more, see http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/data-show-china-passing-us-biggest-oil-importer-20526265
-The United States is expected to be the largest producer of both petroleum and natural gas for the 2013 year, edging out both Russia and Saudi Arabia for the top spots. The U.S. has increased its production amounts each year since 2008 in both petroleum and natural gas. Russia and the United States have been close to even in production of fuel sources over the past two years, and 2013 is the first in a few years that a significant margin of lead has been seen. For a chart of production levels and more information, see http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=13251
Clean Energy Fuels Corp., GE Ventures, GE Financial Services and Ferus Natural Gas Fuels have formed an alliance in a bid to supply and deliver LNG. The group has named themselves Eagle LNG partners and has a vision to develop and own small-scale LNG liquefaction facilities. Upon conversion of natural gas to LNG, they will able to store and transport LNG for domestic customers. Anticipated customers of the commodity include rail lines, marine companies, long-haul trucking companies as well as companies that use Liquid Natural Gas to power their operations.
Liquefied Natural Gas
No announcement has yet been made by the Eagle LNG Partner about the facilities or storage locations they plan to invest in; however, they have demonstrated an interest in projects located in Ohio, North Dakota, Colorado as well as the Texas Eagle Ford Shale area.
Ferus’ CEO Dick Brown stated that the group is responding to the plight of LNG customers who want safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to their operations at a price that is predictable.
New data released by the American government has revealed that China has overtaken the U.S as the leader in net oil imports as of September 2014. The increase in demand is due to the country’s high auto sales and fast economic growth. China’s consumption of oil surpassed production by a whopping 6.3 million barrels per day. As a result the country has to rely on imports to suffice the deficit.
China Overtakes U.S. in Oil Imports
Americans used 18.6 million barrels of oil daily in September compared to China’s daily consumption of 10.9 million barrels. In addition, oil production in the U.S stood at 12.6 million barrels per day, while China’s daily production was 4.6 million.
Although Beijing is encouraging the development of solar power and wind energy as alternate sources, it is still expected that gasoline will be the primary source of energy for at least the next ten years. New oil sources are also being sought by State-owned companies but they are yet to discover a sizable source.
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