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Industry Facts

 

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How dependent are we on foreign oil?

The United States imported about 57% of the petroleum,1 which includes crude oil and refined petroleum products, that we consumed during 2008. Nearly half of these imports came from the Western Hemisphere. Our dependence on foreign petroleum is expected to decline in the next two decades.

Although we are the third largest crude oil producer, most of the petroleum we use is imported.

Western Hemisphere nations provide about half of our imported petroleum.

Net imports have generally increased since 1985 while U.S. production fell and consumption grew.

Did You Know?

In 2008, the United States produced 10% of the world’s petroleum and consumed 23%.

The United States consumed 19.5 million barrels per day (MMbd) of petroleum products during 2008 making us the world’s largest petroleum consumer. The United States was third in crude oil production at 4.9 MMbd. But crude oil alone does not constitute all U.S. petroleum supplies. Significant gains occur, because crude oil expands in the refining process, liquid fuel is captured in the processing of natural gas, and we have other sources of liquid fuel, including biofuels. These additional supplies totaled 3.6 MMbd in 2008.

In 2008 the United States imported 12.9 million barrels per day (MMbd) of crude oil and refined petroleum products. We also exported 1.8 MMbd of crude oil and petroleum products during 2008, so our net imports (imports minus exports) equaled 11.1 MMbd.

Petroleum products imported by the United States during 2008 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 7% of the petroleum consumed in the United States during 2008.

Nearly Half of U.S. Petroleum Imports Come from the Western Hemisphere

Some may be surprised to learn that almost 50% of U.S. crude oil and petroleum products imports came from the Western Hemisphere (North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean including U.S. territories) during 2008. About 20% of our imports of crude oil and petroleum products come from the Persian Gulf countries of Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Our largest sources of net crude oil and petroleum product imports are Canada and Saudi Arabia.

Sources of Net Oil Imports:

Canada (20.1%)
Saudi Arabia (13.8%)
Venezuela (10.5%)
Nigeria (8.8%)
Mexico (8.7%)

It is usually impossible to tell whether the petroleum products you use came from domestic or imported sources of oil once they are refined.

Lower U.S. Petroleum Imports Expected in the Future

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that net imports of U.S. crude oil and petroleum products will decline from 12.1 MMbd in 2007 to 8.3 MMbd in 2030.2 Growth in total U.S. petroleum consumption is expected to remain relatively flat out to 2030. Meanwhile, the increase in U.S. crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, combined with increasing biofuel and coal-to-liquids (CTL) production, is expected to reduce the need for imports over the longer term. U.S. petroleum import dependence is projected to fall from 58% in 2007 to 40% by 2030.

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  1. See the EIA Glossary for comprehensive definitions of “petroleum,” “oil,” “petroleum products,” and “crude oil.”
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2009, Updated Reference Case, Table 11, DOE/EIA-0383(2009) (Washington, DC, April 2009).

 

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