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The U.S. Will Be A Net Oil Importer In 2022

Higher net crude oil imports are set to make the United States a net petroleum importer this year again, as in 2021, after a historic shift of being a net petroleum exporter in 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Friday.

A net petroleum importer is a country that imports more crude oil and refined products than the crude and products it exports.

While the U.S. has been a net petroleum products exporter for more than a decade, it has always been a net crude oil importer, that is, it imports more crude than it exports.  

The total crude and petroleum products trade marked a historic shift in 2020 when the U.S. became a net petroleum exporter. On a monthly basis, it was in September 2019 when the United States exported more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported—the first month in which America was a net petroleum exporter since monthly records began in 1973, the EIA said at the end of 2019.

In 2020, the plunge in global oil demand and the low oil prices that removed incentives for petroleum-exporting countries to raise production allowed the United States to export more petroleum in 2020 than it had in the past, the EIA said today.

Also in 2020, the difference between U.S. crude oil imports and exports fell to its lowest point since at least 1985, the administration added. With rising consumption in 2021, net crude oil imports increased by 19 percent to an average of 3.2 million barrels per day (bpd).

The U.S. will continue to import more crude than it exports this year, with net imports expected at an annual average of 3.9 million bpd. If EIA forecasts of a record-high annual U.S. crude oil production of 12.6 million bpd in 2023 pan out, the U.S. net crude imports would drop to 3.4 million bpd next year, the administration said.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com


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  • Mamdouh Salameh on February 19 2022 said:
    The US has never ever been a net oil exporter in the first place since the early 1970s. It has never achieved that status despite rising US shale oil production since 2008.

    In 2021 the United States consumed on average an estimated 20 million barrels a day (mbd) and produced on average 11.0 mbd thus needing to import 9.0 mbd.

    Even its exports of an estimated 3.0 mbd of the extra light crude were an exchange for medium and heavy crudes which American refineries are tooled to process and therefore aren’t net exports.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • George Doolittle on February 18 2022 said:
    "from Canada" absolutely.

    Does the USA even need more than 5 million barrels of oil *PER DAY*? I would argue no but certainly the US Ohio refining Industry is glad to have access to that much oil as I imagine so too said be true of Detroit and and the entire State of Michigan.

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