Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Top 7 suppliers of oil to the US

Really big oil: Where does the US get its crude? Here's what you need to know.

BOSTON — The United States consumes more oil than any other country in the world: 18.7 million barrels of oil per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) short-term energy outlook.

To satisfy that demand, the United States imports 9 to 12 million barrels of oil per day.

The top seven countries on the following list account for more than $140 billion worth of oil every year:

1. Canada

Suncor oil sands extraction facility near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada reigns as the United States' leading oil supplier, exporting some 707,316,000 barrels of oil per year (1,938,000 barrels per day) — a whopping 99 percent of its annual oil exports, according to the EIA.

Canada's exports to the United States are worth more than $37 billion and account for 16 percent of the total trade between the two countries, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Foreign Trade Statistics. Canada holds the second largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia. And 95 percent of this oil is in sand deposits in Alberta, which makes the oil extraction process difficult.

2. Mexico

Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. (Eunice Adorno/AFP/Getty Images)

Mexico sends more than 400 million barrels of oil per year (or 1,096,000 barrels per day) to the U.S., according to the EIA. In 2009, that flow was worth over $22 billion.

Since Mexico's oil wells were nationalized in 1938, the country's oil industry operates under the control of PEMEX, the second largest oil company in the world.

3. Saudi Arabia

The Shaybah mega-project, above, is the first oilfield development in Saudi Arabia's vast al-Rub al-Khali desert, some 500 miles southeast of the oil center of Dhahran. (Bilal Qabalan/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia sends 360,934,000 barrels of oil per year (989,000 barrels per day), 20 percent of its total oil exports, to the United States, according to the EIA. Holding about one-third of the world's daily oil supply, Saudia Arabia’s economy is fueled by oil. Oil accounts for 90 percent of Saudi Arabia's export revenues and 45 percent of its GDP, according to the CIA World Factbook.

4. Venezuela

VEnezuela oil

A Venezuelan flag is displayed on a oil refinery in the Venezuelan city of Moron on April 30, 2009. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuela sends the United States 352,278,000 barrels of oil per year (965,000 barrels per day), according to the EIA. The Venezuelan economy is heavily reliant on oil as it accounts for 90 percent of the country's export revenue and 30 percent of the country's GDP, according to the World Factbook. In May 2009, following its socialist policies, Venezuela's state oil company Petroleoes de Venezuela took over private companies operating in the east of the country, increasing the total number of nationalized oil companies to 74.

Earlier this month, President Hugo Chavez stated that his government would stop all oil exports to the United States if Washington's ally, Colombia, attacks Venezuela.

5. Nigeria

MEND Nigeria Oil

Fighters with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) raise their riffles to celebrate news of a successful operation against the Nigerian army in the Niger Delta on Sept. 17, 2008. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)

Nigeria sells 40 percent of its huge oil supply to the United States. Nigeria exports 281,291,000 barrels per year (771,000 barrels per day) to the United States, according to the EIA. But Nigeria is feeling the full brunt of the "oil curse." The vast earnings from oil have not translated into substantial improvements for ordinary Nigerians. People living in the oil-producing Niger Delta area, in particular, are very poor and the environment has been degraded by oil drilling.

Beginning in 2006, this reality led rebel groups groups to violently protest against the oil pipelines. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta attacked and kidnapped foreign oil workers. The rebel insurrection are blamed for causing Nigeria's oil production to drop by as much as 20 percent. Furthermore, Nigeria has experienced 2,400 oil spills since 2006, decreasing the industry’s efficiency, according to Reuters.

6. Angola

Angola Oil

Oil platform situated off Angola's coast. (Marcel Mochet/AFP/Getty Images)

Angola exports 163,790,000 of barrels of oil per year (449,000 barrels per day) to the United States, worth around $9 billion in 2009, according to the EIA. In recognition of its huge oil production, Angola is now the chair of OPEC.

In May 2008, due to unrest in Nigeria, Angola surpassed Nigeria as the largest oil producer in Africa. The majority of Angola's wells are located offshore in the Atlantic Ocean due to limited onshore exploration from 1975 to 2002 when the country faced civil unrest. Angola is the world's seventh largest oil producer but the United States's sixth largest oil source as it exports 31 percent of its oil to the United States.

7. Iraq

Iraq Oil

Iraqi workers weld an oil tank at the Daura oil refinery on Nov. 5, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq. (Muhannad Fala'ah/Getty Images)

Iraq exports 163,684,000 barrels of oil per year to the United States (448,000 barrels per day), worth over $9 billion in 2009, according to the EIA. This makes the United States Iraq’s number one oil export partner.

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