The United States became a net oil exporter for the first time in 75 years, or so they say. While the U.S. may indeed be exporting more petroleum than it imports from time to time, there’s a dirty little secret behind the data. And one of those secrets overlooked by some energy analysts and the press is that the U.S. still imports 7 million barrels per day of oil.
So, why would the United States continue to import 7 million barrels per day (mbd) of oil if it is indeed… a Net Oil Exporter?? Good question. And, the answer to that question is hidden in the details, or as they say, “The devil is in the details.”
According to the EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the U.S. first became a net oil exporter during the week of Nov 30th, 2018 by exporting 211,000 barrels per day more than it imported. Please understand the figures below also include petroleum products:
The graph shows the data as negative because it is presented as “net oil imports.” Thus, a negative number means the U.S. is exporting more than it imports. I have changed my figures in the chart to represent “net oil exports.” As we can see, the U.S. had an even higher amount of net oil exports this past week at 675,000 barrels per day. Regardless, the U.S. has been a net exporter for three weeks out of the past seven months. However, if we look into the details of this data, we will find out that the United States isn’t exporting this oil and petroleum because it “WANTS” to, but because it’s “FORCED” to. There’s a big difference.
NOTE: The charts in this article come directly from the U.S. Energy Information Agency website, with my added annotations.
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