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Today in Energy

March 19, 2012

U.S. crude oil imports drop to lowest level since 1999 as domestic oil production rises

graph of Annual U.S. crude oil imports, 1997-2011, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly.
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U.S. crude oil imports during 2011 fell to their lowest level in twelve years and were down 12% from their peak in 2005, as higher domestic oil production and decreased consumption of petroleum products reduced American refiners' purchases of foreign crude.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.9 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011, down 3.2% (0.3 million bbl/d) from the year before. Imports of crude oil fell below 9 million bbl/d for the first time since 1999, according to full-year trade data in EIA's February Petroleum Supply Monthly. Since reaching a peak of 10.1 million bbl/d in 2005, oil imports are down 12%, or 1.2 million bbl/d.

Purchases of imported crude oil have declined because U.S. refiners had more supplies from domestic crude production to use, particularly higher oil output from Texas and North Dakota's Bakken formation. Texas oil production last year reached its highest level since 1997, and North Dakota appears to have pushed past California in December as the third biggest oil producing state.