Definitions, Sources and Explanatory Notes

 Category:   Petroleum Imports/Exports & Movements
 Topic:   Percentages of Total Imported Crude by API Gravity


Key Terms Definition
API Gravity An arbitrary scale expressing the gravity or density of liquid petroleum products. The measuring scale is calibrated in terms of degrees API; it is calculated as follows:
                Degrees API = (141.5 / (sp. gr. 60ºF / 60ºF)) - 131.5

The higher the API gravity, the lighter the compound. Light crudes generally exceed 38 degrees API and heavy crudes are commonly labeled as all crudes with an API gravity of 22 degrees or below. Intermediate crudes fall in the range of 22 degrees to 38 degrees API gravity.
Crude Oil A mixture of hydrocarbons that exists in liquid phase in natural underground reservoirs and remains liquid at atmospheric pressure after passing through surface separating facilities. Depending upon the characteristics of the crude stream, it may also include:
  • Small amounts of hydrocarbons that exist in gaseous phase in natural underground reservoirs but are liquid at atmospheric pressure after being recovered from oil well (casinghead) gas in lease separators and are subsequently commingled with the crude stream without being separately measured. Lease condensate recovered as a liquid from natural gas wells in lease or field separation facilities and later mixed into the crude stream is also included;
  • Small amounts of nonhydrocarbons produced with the oil, such as sulfur and various metals;
  • Drip gases, and liquid hydrocarbons produced from tar sands, oil sands, gilsonite, and oil shale.

  • Liquids produced at natural gas processing plants are excluded. Crude oil is refined to produce a wide array of petroleum products, including heating oils; gasoline, diesel and jet fuels; lubricants; asphalt; ethane, propane, and butane; and many other products used for their energy or chemical content.
    Imported Crude oil produced outside the U.S. and brought into the U.S.

    For definitions of related energy terms, refer to the EIA Energy Glossary.


  • 1973-1978: Federal Energy Administration, Form FEA-F701-M-0, "Transfer Pricing Report."

  • 1979-September 1982: Energy Information Administration, Form ERA-51, "Transfer Pricing Report."

  • October 1982-June 1984: EIA, Form EP-51, "Monthly Foreign Crude Oil Transaction Report."

  • July 1984-present: EIA, Form EIA-856, "Monthly Foreign Crude Oil Acquisition Report." ( Form/Instructions, Background,Survey Methodology and Statistical Details )

  •   Explanatory Notes

  • Values shown for the current two months are preliminary. Values shown for the previous two months may be revised to account for late submissions and corrections. Final revisions to monthly and annual values are available upon publication of the June Petroleum Marketing Monthly. Annual averages that precede the release of the June Petroleum Marketing Monthly are calculated from monthly data. Data through 2021 are final.
  • Values through 1980 reflect the month of reporting; values since then reflect the month of acquisition, which can be the month of loading, the month of landing, or something between those events. Prices for crude oil can be determined at a time other than the acquisition date (additional details).
  • For purposes of this survey, the United States includes the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and all American territories and possessions.
  • Data for Ecuador is included in Total OPEC for 1973-1992 and 2008-April 2020 (OPEC member 1973-1992 and November 2007-2019). Final 2020 monthly and annual Total OPEC data that account for this organizational change will be published in June 2021. Data for Gabon is included in Total OPEC for 1974-1995 (OPEC member 1975-1994).