The US has “dramatically reduced” its dependence on oil imports, falling 40% over the last seven years.
According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), monthly imports peaked in September 2006 at 12.7 million barrels per day (mb/d) and had declined to 7.6mb/d by November 2012. It claims the reduction in need for foreign oil is a result of declining demand and strong growth in domestic production of liquid fuels. This has led to predictions the US could reach “oil self-sufficiency” in the next 15 to 20 years.
The research also claims oil usage has “declined sharply” and since 2006 it has reduced around 25% faster on average than during the previous 10 years. This is due to oil being displaced “to some extent” by cheaper natural gas in industrial uses and power generation and energy demand falling in the most oil-intensive sectors, especially transport.
In the industrial sector, total energy consumption has reduced by 10% since 2006 and the power generation sector has seen a decline in consumption by 350,000b/d to around 100,000b/d. Crude oil production in the US has grown by 1.5mb/d to 6.5mb/d, with “booming supply” of ‘tight oil’ or oil found in shale deposits.
Rising production of liquid fuels in the US is also believed to account for 60% of the fall in US oil imports since 2006 and nearly 100% since 2010.
However, IISS said the US is still by far the world’s largest importer of oil at nearly 8mb/d, ahead of China (6mb/d) and Japan (4.5mb/d) but could become oil independent in the coming years.