The evolution of the US energy trade balance is still dominated by crude oil imports – Today in Energy

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October 16, 2018

Over the past decade, the US trade gap for energy products has narrowed. From 2003 to 2007, the value of energy imports was about 10 times the value of exports. In 2017, imports were only about 1.5 times greater than exports, according to data from the US Census Bureau.

The main energy import from the United States is crude oil, which typically accounts for about two-thirds of the total value of energy imports. Petroleum products, including liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), gasoline and diesel fuels, are the second largest import category, accounting for about 20% of the total value of energy imports.

Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner for energy products. In 2017, energy imports from Canada were valued at $ 73 billion. Saudi Arabia provided the second highest volume of imports, followed by Venezuela, Mexico, Iraq, Colombia and Russia. Together, these seven countries accounted for 72% of the value of U.S. energy imports in 2017.

certain energy imports from the United States


Crude oil accounts for most of America’s imports from each of the largest energy suppliers to the United States, with the exception of Russia, which primarily supplies petroleum products. Almost all electricity imports come from neighboring Canada; imports of electricity from Mexico are relatively low. Canada also supplies most of the United States’ natural gas imports.

composition of selected energy imports from the United States


Petroleum products constitute the main export of the United States. In 2017, petroleum products accounted for 70% of the total value of US energy exports, although this share has declined as crude oil exports increased following the removal of export restrictions from the United States. crude in December 2015. Crude oil accounted for 16% of exports in 2017, while coal and natural gas accounted for 7% and 6% respectively.

some energy exports from the United States


With the exception of Canada and Mexico, the United States’ top export destinations are different from the top import sources. Brazil was the third largest recipient of US energy exports in 2017, followed by China, which has become a major destination for US energy exports in recent years. Energy export trade is more prevalent than import trade: the top seven destination countries for US energy exports accounted for only 57% of the total value of US energy exports , against the top seven countries of origin of US energy imports which accounted for 72% of the total value of US energy imports.

composition of selected US energy exports


Petroleum products accounted for most of the exports from four of the top seven countries exporting to the United States in 2017. Energy exports to China, Canada, the Netherlands and South Korea accounted for substantial shares of crude oil. In 2017, Mexico was the United States’ largest importer of natural gas, followed closely by Canada.

Main contributors: Maggie Woodward, George Pantazopoulos, Natalie Kempkey


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