Nigeria’s daily crude oil supply to the United States (US) was close to half of the country’s global import in 2016. Nigeria’s export rose from 54,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 210,000 bpd that year.
Gross US crude oil imports in 2016 rose to an average of 7.9 million b/d, 514,000 b/d more than the 2015 average.
Net crude oil imports increased by a smaller amount, 460,000 b/d, as U.S. crude oil exports rose despite a decline in U.S. crude oil production.
Imported crude oil from Nigeria and Iraq were the largest contributors to the increase in U.S. crude oil imports in 2016.
While imports from Iraq increased from 229,000 b/d in 2015 to 418,000 b/d in 2016 imports from Nigeria however rose from 54,000 b/d to 210,000 b/d.
Nigerian crude was also preferred by US refiners as her oil is of similar quality to that produced in the Bakken region in parts of North Dakota and Montana.
As production in the Bakken region and the United States as a whole declined, refiners increased imports from Nigeria to replace these barrels.
From a longer term perspective, gross crude oil imports in 2016 were still 22 per cent lower than their 2005 high of 10.1 million b/d.
Crude oil imports have also been affected by other major changes since 2005 when the United States was the world’s largest net importer of refined products and crude oil.
In 2016, the United States was the world’s largest net exporter of refined products, with a significant portion of crude oil input to U.S. refiners supporting those exports.
Canada continued to be the largest source of U.S. crude oil imports in 2016, providing a record 3.3 million b/d, or 41 per cent of total U.S.
imports-more than all Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) combined.
Among non-OPEC suppliers, 2016 marked the seventh consecutive year of increasing crude oil imports from Canada and the sixth consecutive year of decreasing crude oil imports from Mexico.