Howmuch.net came out with some infographics to show that from 2000 to 2015. Interestingly there is a notable shift from the US depending heavily on Middle East countries and Mexico, to depending more on America’s neighbor to the north, Canada.
In 2010, a notable decline in Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait occurs, while Canada becomes a much more significant source of oil.
And here is 2015, in which the US imports a whopping 1.37 billion barrels of oil from Canada, while Mexico provides 277 million (a 44.9% decrease from 2000 levels), and Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait combine for just 544.9 million barrels, a 39.6% decrease from levels in 2000.
In seeing this, it’s little wonder that OPEC has a keen interest in not cutting supply, as they know full well that lower oil prices will eventually (if not already) take out competition in the US and Canada. Now we can see visually how one of the world’s largest importers of oil is shifting its preference, and should help everyone understand OPEC’s “totally unpredictable” inability to come to an agreement on oil production cuts.
The U.S. is importing more foreign crude than it has in years, becoming one of the last ports of call for many oil-producing nations despite a glut of crude from domestic companies.
Oil imports this year have surged 20% to about eight million barrels a day since early May 2015, when they approached a 20-year low, according to federal data. Crude from the Republic of Congo, Russia and Brazil is arriving at U.S. ports, while Canada is sending a record amount of oil to the U.S., the data show.
A series of market disruptions in recent months is one reason for the sharp rise in imports, even though U.S. production is close to a three-decade high at nearly nine million barrels a day. These changes include Iran’s return to exporting crude after sanctions were lifted in January, a move that indirectly led to more U.S. imports even though Iran itself can’t sell to the U.S.
Another big driver: The rest of the world is running out of places to store oil. Facilities from Rotterdam to Cape Town already are near capacity, but the U.S. still has room to spare, said Brian Busch, director of oil markets for Genscape, a data firm that tracks energy shipments.
Another factor influencing imports: The cost of shipping oil on U.S. trains is more expensive than importing foreign crude, a reflection of low oil prices and shifting transportation costs.
Refineries in Washington state, which often process Alaskan crude, are importing more oil from Argentina and Brazil, according to federal records. New Jersey and Pennsylvania plants are importing from Azerbaijan, Chad and Gabon, crude that competes directly with the Bakken Shale
“It currently makes more sense to import a tanker of crude from Nigeria than to buy an oil train from North Dakota,” said Stephen Wolfe, senior oil strategist in Houston at Trafigura Beheer BV, a commodities trading firm.