US Petroleum Product and Crude Oil Imports in 2021: Visualized
Energy independence is top of mind for many nations as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted sanctions and bans against Russian coal and crude oil imports.
Despite being the world’s largest oil producer, in 2021 the US still imported more than 3 billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products, equal to 43% of the country’s consumption.
This visualization uses data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) to compare US crude oil and refined product imports with domestic crude oil production, and breaks down which countries the US imported its oil from in 2021.
US Crude Oil Imports, by Country
The US imports more than 8 million barrels of petroleum products a day from other nations, making it the world’s second-largest importer of crude oil behind China.
America’s northern neighbor, Canada, is the largest source of petroleum imports at 1.58 billion barrels in 2021. These made up more than 51% of US petroleum imports, and when counting only crude oil imports, Canada’s share rises to 62%.
|Rank||Country||US Oil Imports (2021, in barrels)||Share|
|# 1||🇨🇦 Canada||1,584 million||51.3%|
|#2||🇲🇽 Mexico||259 million||8.4%|
|# 3||🇷🇺 Russia||254 million||7.9%|
|# 4||🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||156 million||5.1%|
|# 5||🇨🇴 Colombia||74 million||2.4%|
|# 6||🇪🇨 Ecuador||61 million||2.0%|
|# 7||🇮🇶 Iraq||57 million||1.9%|
|# 8||🇧🇷 Brazil||52 million||1.7%|
|# 9||🇰🇷 South Korea||48 million||1.6%|
|# 10||🇳🇱 Netherlands||46 million||1.5%|
|# 11||🇳🇬 Nigeria||45 million||1.5%|
|Other countries||459 million||14.7%|
The second-largest contributor to US petroleum imports was another neighbor, Mexico, with 259 million barrels imported in 2021 — making up a bit more than 8% of US petroleum imports.
Russia was the third-largest exporter of crude oil and petroleum products to the US in 2021, with their 254 million barrels accounting for almost 8% of total imports.
US Crude Oil and Petroleum Imports from OPEC and OPEC +
Only about 11% of US crude oil and petroleum product imports come from OPEC nations, with another 16.3% coming from OPEC + members.
While imports from OPEC and OPEC + members make up more than a quarter of America’s total petroleum imports, this share is fairly small when considering OPEC members currently control nearly 80% of the world’s oil reserves.
Which Countries are Part of OPEC and OPEC-Plus?
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a group of 13 petroleum producing nations that formed in 1960 to provide steady prices and supply distribution of crude oil and petroleum products.
In 2016, OPEC-plus was formed with additional oil-exporting nations in order to better control global oil supply and markets in response to a deluge of US shale supply hitting the markets at that time.
- 🇮🇷 Iran *
- 🇮🇶 Iraq *
- 🇰🇼 Kuwait *
- 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia *
- 🇻🇪 Venezuela *
- 🇩🇿 Algeria
- 🇦🇴 Angola
- 🇬🇶 Equatorial Guinea
- 🇬🇦 Gabon
- 🇱🇾 Libya
- 🇳🇬 Nigeria
- 🇨🇩 Republic of the Congo
- 🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates
* Founding members
OPEC + members:
- 🇷🇺 Russia
- 🇲🇽 Mexico
- 🇰🇿 Kazakhstan
- 🇲🇾 Malaysia
- 🇦🇿 Azerbaijan
- 🇧🇭 Bahrain
- 🇧🇳 Brunei
- 🇴🇲 Oman
- 🇸🇩 Sudan
- 🇸🇸 South Sudan
Although OPEC and OPEC + members supply a significant part of US crude oil and petroleum imports, America has avoided overdependence on the group by instead building strong ties with neighboring exporters Canada and Mexico.
Crude Oil Imports Capitalize on US Refineries
While the US has been a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products the past two years, exporting 3.15 billion barrels while importing 3.09 billion barrels in 2021, crude oil-only trade tells a different story.
In terms of just crude oil trade, the US was a significant net importer, with 2.23 billion barrels of crude oil imports and only 1.08 billion barrels of crude oil exports. But with the US being the world’s largest crude oil producer, why is this?
As noted earlier, neighboring Canada makes up larger shares of US crude oil imports compared to crude oil and petroleum product imports. Similarly, Mexico reaches 10% of America’s crude oil imports when excluding petroleum products.
Maximizing imports from neighboring countries makes sense on multiple fronts for all parties due to lower transportation costs and risks, and it’s no surprise Canada and Mexico are providing large shares of just crude oil as well. With such a large collection of oil refineries across the border, it’s ultimately more cost-efficient for Canada and Mexico to tap into US oil refining rather than refining domestically.
In turn, Mexico is the largest importer of US produced gasoline and diesel fuel, and Canada is the third-largest importer of American-produced refined petroleum products.
Replacing Russian Crude Oil Imports
While Russia only makes up 8% of American petroleum product imports, their 254 million barrels will need to be replaced as both countries ceased trading soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In an effort to curb rising oil and gasoline prices, in March President Joe Biden announced the release of up to 180 million barrels from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserves. Other IEA nations are also releasing emergency oil reserves in an attempt to curb rising prices at the pump and volatility in the oil market.
While the US and the rest of the world are still managing the short-term solutions to this oil supply gap, the long-term solution is complex and has various moving parts. From ramping up domestic oil production to replacing oil demand with other cleaner energy solutions, oil trade and imports will remain a vital part of America’s energy supply.