Thursday, July 8, 2010

Costs for US Crude Oil Imports Rise So Far in 2010

Higher oil prices have led to a surge in the value of U.S. crude oil imports this year. What are the top 10 countries benefiting from higher oil prices?

According to the latest statistics from the United States International Trade Commission, U.S. imports of crude oil amounted to US$60.4 billion for the first 4 months of 2010.

That figure represents a 65.4% increase over the $36.5 billion that America spent on crude petroleum imports from January to April 2009.

If that pace continues, total crude oil imports will cost an estimated $181 billion for 2010 – America’s second-highest expenditure on imported crude over the past 10 years. The total oil bill for 2010 will have been exceeded only by the $259.3-billion bill spent on imported crude oil during 2008.

Top Oil Producing Countries that Supply the U.S.

The top 10 suppliers accounted for 91.2% of America’s imported crude oil so far in 2010.

America’s leading crude oil provider, Canada exported $15.8 billion worth of crude oil to its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partner. That amount is an 84.7% gain over the first 4 months of 2010, and is 26.1% of total U.S.-imported crude oil.

In second place, imports of Nigerian crude oil spiked 131.8% to $8.6 billion. This achievement won Nigeria a 14.2% share of the U.S. market.

America’s other NAFTA partner, Mexico furnished $8.3 billion worth of imported crude oil (up 31.6%, 13.8% of total).

Saudi Arabian Exports & Imports
Saudi Arabia will not be able to replace its valuable petroleum exports if the U.S. embraces alternative energy sources like solar, wind or grain-based ethanol.

Other top oil producing countries that supply the U.S. with crude oil include: Venezuela at $6.6 billion (up 45.3%, 10.9% of total); Angola at $4.2 billion (up 46.6%, 6.9% of total); Saudi Arabia at $3.7 billion (up 26.7%, 6.1% of total); Colombia at $2.5 billion (up 144.5%, 4.2% of total); Algeria at $2 billion (up 82%, 3.3% of total), Brazil at $1.7 billion (up 38.9%, 2.8% of total); and Iraq at $1.7 billion (up 32.9%, 2.8% of total).

Fastest-Growing Crude Oil Imports by Country

While the value of crude oil imported into the U.S. rose for all supplying countries, African nations dominated the top 5 fastest-growing providers.

Crude oil exports from the Republic of Congo were up 145% to $1.4 billion, followed closely by South America’s Colombia at 144.5%.

Other African nations in the top 5 list include Nigeria (up 131.8%), Chad (up 93.1%) and Algeria (up 82%).

Why Costs of Imported Crude Oil is Increasing

It would be great to say that the booming U.S. economy is behind the run-up in total costs for its imported crude oil. But that would be fiction, as America continues to struggle with high unemployment rates.

The price of oil is the major factor influencing the total costs for America’s crude petroleum imports.

Back in July 2008, oil prices skyrocketed to US$147 per barrel and pushed U.S. spending on imported crude oil to a new high for the year.

Oil prices were around $85 in mid-April of this year, which is about 20% higher than the prior year.

Crude oil prices have since moderated to about $72 today. Still, they are more costly than last year and therefore are hitting American importers and ultimately consumers in the pocketbook.

What’s even more troubling is the fact that the U.S. dollar has weakened considerably against the currencies of top crude oil providers like Canada.

In April 2009, the American greenback was worth up to $1.26 in Canadian dollars. This past April, the currency exchange shriveled to near parity at $1.0084 per Bank of Canada statistics.

Right now, the only thing saving American importers and end-users is the fact that crude oil is universally priced in U.S. dollars, and not in local currencies.

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