US Becomes A Net Fossil Fuel Exporter Under Trump As His Dem Opponents Vow To Bludgeon Big Oil

From The Daily Caller

Chris White Tech Reporter

December 03, 2019 12:16 PM ET

The United States notched the country’s first month of exporting more petroleum products than it imported, according to newly released federal data. The news comes as Democratic presidential candidates campaign on nixing fossil fuels.

The U.S. exported roughly 89,000 barrels of fossil fuels per day during September, according to data the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released Nov. 29. That’s the first full month the U.S. has exported more than it imported since the U.S. began tracking such data in 1949.

A decade-long increase in fracked gas production is fueling the numbers. Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, among others, spent years promising to make the U.S. energy independent. Presidential candidates from both parties made similar pitches throughout the years.

“This is a very big deal, not just rich in symbolism but marking a major and tangible benefit to the U.S. economy,” Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit, told reporters Tuesday. He authored a book “The Prize” in 2008 that fleshed out how big oil became a dominant form of energy.

He added: “It’s the end of an era that began with the oil crises of the 1970s.” Yergin was referring to the decade when Middle Eastern countries and giant oil cartels used their oil reserves as a weapon against Western nations.

President Donald Trump often touts his administration’s role in laying the groundwork for making the U.S. energy dominant, but the truth is more complicated. The recent uptick in exports came as fracking of shale deposits stretching from Texas to New Mexico exploded over the last decade.

“Shale completely turned it around,” Yergin said. “The world has never seen growth at this scale this fast. It’s almost as though, in number of barrels, that the United States added a second Saudi Arabia within its own borders.” Obama can also claim some responsibility for the export uptick as well.

The former president signed legislation in late 2015 ending the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. U.S. oil production doubled between 2009, when Obama took office, to 2016, while natural gas production shot up 50 percent in that time. The boom took place on state and private lands.

Imports from OPEC fell to 1.5 million barrels per day in March, which is the lowest level since March 1986, the EIA reported in June. EIA said at the time that OPEC imports fell “as domestic crude oil production has increased.”

The U.S. became the world’s largest producer of fracked natural gas in 2012, surpassing Russia. Natural gas also passed coal as the country’s leading source of electricity in July 2017. (RELATED: New Report Shows Fracking Has Been A Big Boon For Texas Manufacturers)

Meanwhile, many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning on bludgeoning the oil industry.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, introduced a bill in October that would, if passed, block construction on ports that export natural gas.

The Massachusetts Democrat pegged her 2020 presidential campaign on holding oil companies responsible for supposedly contributing to global warming. Warren has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on her campaign’s anti-oil positions.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is also campaigning against the oil industry.  “What we have to do is tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet,” he said during the fifth Democratic debate.

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December 5, 2019 6:23 pm

Decades of foreign and domestic policy corrupted by bad science that predicted the end of oil.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Rob_Dawg
December 5, 2019 8:07 pm

The Green Slime was actually baking on the Age of Oil and gas coming to an end when they started their investments in the wind and solar scams. It was an easy sell to the public and easy to buy the Pols to push it, and the tax credit schemes setup.

The slight problem of course was that the death of the Age of oil and gas didn’t happen as they were figuring 20 years ago as the scam was ramping up.

The original clown bus of Democrats running for their party’s nomination is clearly coming up short. Now we have two billionaires deeply invested in the scam running against Trump and funding efforts to remove Republicans that are the roadblocks to bringing a political solution to their oil and gas problem.

What the media is not talking about though is the civil war brewing within the Democrats the longer Bloomberg and Steyer stay in the race. They got in because they see the bumbling Uncle Joe Biden as unable to defeat Trump. The Sanders-Warren-AOC lunatic fringe will walk away. And if Sanders or Warren wins the nomination, Walll Street liberals will walk away. The Democratic Party is on the verge of tearing itself apart.

Andy in Epsom
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
December 6, 2019 12:32 am

The latest reports i have seen by financial institutions show that still very much see the fossil fuel industry as a viable area for investing in. THe presictions I see show a strong increase in percentage terms of renewable use but even thought the percentage use for fossil fuels drops the population increase will mean fossil fuel use is forecasted to rise over the next 20 years by 5%
That is what I have read from the money men who hopefully are less driven by ideals as they are paid by results and not biven tons of free money.

Gerry, England
Reply to  Andy in Epsom
December 6, 2019 6:09 am

I just bought more BP shares – that’s British Petroleum for you Obummer fans. Dividend payouts are excellent and a good choice for income in retirement.

Andy in Epsom
Reply to  Gerry, England
December 6, 2019 10:36 am

I bought some 2 months ago myself And if Centamin are taken over I will use that money to buy more.

Vangel Vesovski
December 5, 2019 6:26 pm

What is lost by most cheerleaders is the fact that the shale sector has destroyed more than $250 billion so that it can produce more and more oil and gas at a loss. This cannot be sustained so the entire story of energy exporter is a bunch of crap.

We make fun of the AGW proponents when they don’t look at the data and can’t think through the arguments logically. Isn’t it time we looked in the mirror and demanded that we are better than that? I hope that I am wrong but I see the SEC and Fed behind the big players the shale miracle scam. The SEC changed the rules to do away with proving assumptions of continuity and permitting the accountants to use a boe equivalency based on BTUs rather than price. This meant that resources could be moved into the reserve category, which meant being able to gin up the share prices. It also allowed the accountants to use EURs that were very far away from reality and choose depreciation schedules that allowed the reporting of accounting profits even though free cash flows remained negative and the true economic picture was bleak. This whole thing reminds me of the Bre-X scandal and I expect to see a similar ending.

Reply to  Vangel Vesovski
December 5, 2019 6:39 pm

Good fracking grief. Almost all of them have positive operating cash flows, or they wouldn’t be in business; many of them have had positive free cash flow since 2016-2018.

EOG Resources had positive operating cash flow every year since 2014 and positive free cash flow in 2014, 2017 and 2018.
Continental Resources had positive operating cash flow every year since 2014 and positive free cash flow from 2016-2018.
Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. had positive operating cash flow every year since 2014 and positive free cash flow from 2016-2018.
Chevron had positive operating cash flow every year since 2014 and positive free cash flow from 2017-2018.
Occidental Petroleum Corp. had positive operating cash flow every year since 2014 and positive free cash flow from 2016-2018.

The entire peer group has even achieved positive free cash flow in 2019…

Reply to  David Middleton
December 6, 2019 1:15 am

Amazing how people will twist themselves into a pretzel to weave a tale of why what is obvious is wrong when they don’t like the obvious conclusion.
Just like in Politics today. Trump ran on drill baby drill, and has followed up with policies that allow exactly that.
Without the revenue from fossil fuels Russia would decline to third world status. About 1/3rd of the GDP making up nearly 1/2 of the revenue that goes into the Putin government coffers comes from fossil fuel sales.
But we’re told day in and day out that Trump is a Putin puppet.

Reply to  rah
December 7, 2019 1:48 pm

But we’re told day in and day out that Trump is a Putin puppet.

Who but a puppet says such things as:

“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe — I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ I think he’s very insulted by it, if you want to know the truth. Don’t forget, all he said is he never did that, he didn’t do that. I think he’s very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”


Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying? With that being said, all I can do is ask the question. My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it’s Russia.

I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have confidence in both parties.


Reply to  Mark Bahner
December 7, 2019 4:15 pm

So your saying Trump is a Putin Puppet. LOL! I think you need to find Hillary’s “reset button” and push it for yourself.

Reply to  Mark Bahner
December 9, 2019 9:33 am

So your saying Trump is a Putin Puppet. LOL!

Who but a puppet would give equal credence (“…I have confidence in both parties”) to Dan Coats and others versus Vladimir Putin on whether the Russians hacked Democratic party computers?

And who else but a Putin puppet would give a damn about whether Putin is offended by people telling him he is a lying commie dictator (I thought Republicans used to be against commie dictators???!) who ordered his minions to covertly interfere in our elections?

Paul Chernoch
Reply to  Vangel Vesovski
December 5, 2019 8:05 pm

What you are saying would be true if not for the Herculean efforts being taken by the Oil industry to cut costs. Shell Oil (my employer) is now more profitable at 50$/barrel than it once was at $100/barrel. One project I have been working on for the last two years has already slashed so much off our costs, that I can’t tell you how much that is.

Stan Robertson
Reply to  Paul Chernoch
December 5, 2019 9:21 pm

It may take a slightly higher oil price to sustain it, but there is a huge tight formation oil resource that will produce in the U.S. and elsewhere for many years. And that is good for us. But, we are still importing a lot of oil. Last count I had was that we were producing something like 12 million barrels per day, but using about 20 million. The word “net” does not have its customary meaning here.

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  Stan Robertson
December 6, 2019 2:42 am

You need to check you numbers. The US has net imports of crude oil and net exports of refined petroleum products: gasoline, diesel, etc.

When you say the US is using 20 million barrels per day of oil, you are counting oil we refine for our exports of gasoline, diesel, etc.

The US achieving net zero petroleum and petroleum product imports takes into account the petroleum product exports.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Stan Robertson
December 6, 2019 4:04 am

“But, we are still importing a lot of oil.”

Most of that is heavy crude from Venezuela that only our cracking refineries in the Gulf can process. Some of it it then exported.

Reply to  Roger Knights
December 6, 2019 5:25 am

No longer. US crude imports are now mostly from Canada, all others are minor, import from Venezuela is zero:

Looking at both crude and products the US still imports some from OPEC countries but exports slightly more to non-OPEC countries:

Reply to  Roger Knights
December 7, 2019 10:06 pm

And thus the people of Venezuela are starving because of socialist government mismanagement.
Now they have a lower carbon footprint.

Reply to  Vangel Vesovski
December 5, 2019 8:30 pm

It sounds like you’re working for Putin. Russia is fracking like crazy. They, along with Ukraine (Burisma, anyone?) seem to be awash in money from fracking for natural gas.

Russian Efforts To Disrupt U.S. Energy Markets Exposed

Reply to  Vangel Vesovski
December 6, 2019 7:10 am

In your opinion, Big Oil is deliberately losing money hand over fist?
And you claim that other people aren’t willing to look at the data?

Reply to  Vangel Vesovski
December 6, 2019 8:54 am

What is lost by most cheerleaders is the fact that the shale sector has destroyed more than $250 billion so that it can produce more and more oil and gas at a loss.

What the frack?

Les Segal
December 5, 2019 6:29 pm

Warren, Sanders, Gore and all these other anti oil windbags (Fonda) should be embargoed forthwith. No natural gas and no gasoline. Any bets as to how long they will last?

Reply to  Les Segal
December 5, 2019 8:57 pm

Leo, no 24/7 electricity, either. Make them install windmills and solar and have them make do with that. Imagine their horror when their caviar goes bad.

December 5, 2019 6:31 pm

The Democrats do not acknowledge the many benefits produced by fossil fuels. They also do not acknowledge the harms that would result if we didn’t have fossil fuels. That’s a disconnect with reality that should get them locked up in the loony bin.

Bill P.
December 5, 2019 6:33 pm

“Under Trump?”

At what point do we who claim to be “conservative” stop this slide toward statism and return to the principles of Ronald Reagan, who said his job wasn’t to “run the economy” but to get the government OUT of it?

Or do you now accept the Democrat contention that central planning by government is essential – but just let’s make sure it’s a FORMER Democrat in charge instead of a current one?

Reply to  Bill P.
December 5, 2019 7:46 pm

The government provides oversight and feedback. Rational regulations and reduced regulatory capture is also tantamount to statism?

Reply to  n.n
December 6, 2019 7:14 am

The market provides all the feedback that is needed.
The only role government has is to set ground rules and punish those that break them.
PS: Any feedback the government gives is so distorted by politics that it is worse than useless.

Reply to  Bill P.
December 5, 2019 9:42 pm

President Trump has unleashed the economic engine of America by removing all the restrictive regulations designed and applied to bring this country to it’s knees!

You’ve obviously been wayching the news that supports the Coup Against Trump Party way too much! Consider their acronym: CAT-P for short; no wonder the dominant side in Congress stinks!

December 5, 2019 6:54 pm

The headline of this post does not agree at all with the content, dishonestly attempting to credit Trump with an industry trend that is a decade and a half long, when US energy net imports reached a peak and has been on a steady downward trend since 2005.

This trend has zilch to do with presidential politics and everything to do with technology and investment in the oil and gas industry. Presidents don’t do squat. The Federal government has very little effect, and what effect there is is carried out by Congress, not POTUS.

Reply to  Duane
December 5, 2019 8:06 pm

While the close association between “Dem Opponents” and “Bludgeon” is incontrovertible, the headline does not endeavor to attribute cause and effect to policy, but rather to cite a correlation between time and outcome with administration.

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  Duane
December 6, 2019 2:56 am

The Feds control most US pipeline construction. And the Administration in particular.

US pipelines ran at full capacity during Obama’s administration. His administration was very slow to approve new pipelines. Often it took years to get a pipeline approved.

That slowed US oil & gas development during his 2 terms.

Trump’s administration has been much more pro-pipeline which is why natural gas production in particular has skyrocketed in the last 2 years.

Take a minute to study this chart:
comment image

During 2015/2016 minimal growth in US natural gas production. But since early 2017, wow!

Reply to  Greg Freemyer
December 6, 2019 12:18 pm

Virtually ALL of the increase in natural gas production in the last 15 years occurred before Trump entered office. All do to matters that have absolutely nothing to do with Presidents – technology and investments, as well as macro conditions like world oil prices relative to production costs are 99% of the drivers of current and historical oil and gas production.

Stop slobbering over your Maximum Leader Trump and his lies about his “vast” accomplishments. His main accomplishment has been to fool people like you into thinking he was a great business man, despite his serial six bankruptcies, proven admission of numerous fraudulent enterprises (Trump University, Trump Foundation, Trump Steaks, Trump Taj Mahal, etc. etc.), vast numbers of contractors, employees, and business partners totally screwed over and repeatedly ripped off.

Trump is a lying fraud who is too busy destroying our economy to have any brain cells left over to promote US oil and gas production, of which he has exactly zero sense or experience or learning of any kind.

Reply to  Duane
December 6, 2019 1:47 pm

Trump Derangement is strong with this one.

Reply to  Duane
December 6, 2019 7:16 am

The trend existed, but Trump’s policies accelerated it.
On the other hand, your Democrats have been proclaiming their goal of reversing the trend for decades.

Reply to  MarkW
December 6, 2019 12:13 pm

Nothing has accelerated at all. Virtually all of the new production came between 2005 and 2016. Again, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Presidents.

Presidents don’t enact laws. Presidents don’t write regulations. Presidents don’t control technology. Presidents don’t control where investors invest.

You are obviously blinded by your unwarranted hero worship of Trump, who did exactly nothing to earn any credit for oil and gas production in the United States.

Reply to  Duane
December 6, 2019 1:47 pm

Trump Derangement causes believers to see only what they are told to see.

December 5, 2019 7:09 pm

Bludgeon the organic black blob. Spread the artificial Green blight. Nice.

December 5, 2019 7:23 pm

The attack on fossil fuels today is more aggressive than it was 40 years ago. The only difference is the media today is more accessible and the propaganda more. Until we can provide the same reliability as fossil fuels the only alternative is nuclear and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that fact. The myth of grid storage capable batteries available today is pervasive and needs to be silenced. Despite Trump’s character flaws he has provided a business atmosphere that promotes growth for America and that’s why we elected him. AGW skepticism is slowly gaining ground only because of the failed alarmist predictions and we need to change that. We need to replace fake science with facts that the people believe.

John Smith
December 5, 2019 7:44 pm

Given that wind and solar are only today able to provide about 3% of US energy (after decades of heavy investment), where exactly is the energy to replace fossil fuels going to come from?

Reply to  John Smith
December 5, 2019 10:18 pm

It isn’t!

The earth’s population is supposed to down-size to the available renewable energy! 3% of 7.5 billion people is about 225 million people–just enough to keep the elites fed and happy!

Too bad the Dem’s supporters are such blind suckers!!

Reply to  RockyRoad
December 6, 2019 12:14 pm

Unfortunately, if things were to go that direction, world population will probably be less than 1% of what it is today. Anything, whether manmade or natural, that could reduce world population by even 90% will, likely, reduce it to nearly zero. We’re an adaptable lot but, to get rid of 97% of us, would require a global event (Comet/asteroid impact) or a virulent bug we have no resistance to and that’d be it for the human race. Adaptation takes time and we would have almost no time, in either instance.

Phasing out fossil fuels wouldn’t wipe out humanity but we’d certainly see a drop in population to less than half of what it is now and most of that population loss would be in the western world. About half the world is already in living conditions that are not all that far removed from a pre-industrial standard and loss of fossil fuels would, I think, have less impact on the overall survival rate while, in the west, we’ll basically just starve to death in short order with the survivors sizing each other up for a BBQ spit. The environment would, most certainly, suffer and the Elites, who are supposed to rule over us, will probably be the first ones to be eaten.

/Sarc tag included because, at least some of this is sarcasm though there is a grim reality in the above.



December 5, 2019 7:49 pm

The rationality of free market supply and demand will always win out over government-mandated, fiat-priced products & services.
Grid-scale wind and solar power are unsustainable as long-term propositions.

Reply to  Mr.
December 5, 2019 8:13 pm

While the blight factor and ecological disruption of Big Green is incontrovertible, it could be effective as Little Green with a reduced individual foot and headprint, and in mission critical niche applications (e.g. desalination).

Reply to  n.n
December 5, 2019 9:23 pm

Yes stand-alone wind and solar with battery banks storage have been used as useful power sources in remote mining and livestock locations for decades (underpinned by diesel generators when required).

The rationale for these installations is not Greenery though, just economic practicality.

However, such usefulness of wind & solar to remote situations will never translate to grid-scale suburban or industrial viability.

Reply to  n.n
December 6, 2019 7:18 am

In those areas where it makes economic sense, little green will be adopted by the market without any government help.
In those areas where it makes no economic sense it won’t, and shouldn’t, happen unless government mandates it.

December 5, 2019 8:20 pm

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, introduced a bill in October that would, if passed, block construction on ports that export natural gas.

Yes, Lizzie thinks this is better for the planet and they dare call President Trump a Russian Stooge. Democrats are killing the Planer and hurting American gas producers and the New England ratepayers.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Successful Model? via

(In the U.S., in fact, there has been a 12% decline in overall CO2 emissions since 2005 despite the fact that the U.S population has risen by 30 million during those 10 years. As mentioned above, much of the decline in emissions is directly connected to the rapid displacement of coal with natural gas power generation. While the rise in U.S. solar power has also been substantial in the last decade, “for every ton of carbon dioxide cut by solar power, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas cut 13 tons.”)
But in New England
Lacking Pipelines, New England Awaits Its First-Ever Shipment Of Russian Gas
Imagine how much they could have reduced emission and done so without the costs of Reggi if they had just built pipelines and/or fracked for their own reserves of Nat. Gas which would have added wealth to the NE states coffers when sold and jobs with income taxes paid.
I suspect they are not adding in the emissions from Russian tankers traveling thousands of miles to NE to deliver Nat Gas they could have had from the US or from their own sources if they would allow fracking and pipelines.
Who benefits?
Russian Efforts To Disrupt U.S. Energy Markets Exposed

Walter Sobchak
December 5, 2019 8:46 pm

Liberal applications of Arab and Russian money have fueled anti-hydrocarbon politics. I just don’t think this is really a set of ideas that would appeal to any politicians if it were not for that money.

Dennis G Sandberg
December 5, 2019 8:55 pm

Shale producers have free cash flow issues. Russia and Saudi Arabia and the bit players likewise are suffering with <$75 bbl oil. Ho hum, oil and gas has always been and always will be a boom bust business. The longer prices stay between $50 and $75 the longer they'll stay between $75 and $100. The price of oil has to be good for the consumer, the producer and the investor. Right now the consumer is doing a little better than the other two but it all has to balance out and it will.

Joe B
December 5, 2019 9:05 pm

That reference to Obama signing the export approval in late 2015 as then earning cred for the hydrocarbon boom is a half – truth bullshitism that is becoming accepted lore.

The ONLY reason that the crude export ban was lifted was as a quid pro quo for the Republicans to agree to a 5 year extension of the ridiculous tax credits for the wind/solar industries which were about to expire.

The refusal to permit the 1 mile completion under the Missouri for DAPL AFTER the SECOND decision by Judge Boasberg was UPHELD for the SECOND time by the Appellate Court will forevermore rank amongst the most vile abuses of regulatory authority in this country’s history.

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Joe B
December 5, 2019 9:30 pm

Obama really had no choice but to sign that with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnell running both chambers of Congress. It was basically a resignation that there was nothing Obama could do to stop oil and gas fracking on private and state lands. Some of their attempts against natural gas were centered on methane rules. Rules which Trump is now dumping.

Plus it made no sense for Texas Permian Basin oil to remain locked up in the US domestic market where it couldn’t compete on the international market to bring the WTI-Brent benchmarks closer together. Exporting oil to increase quantity demand is the best way to keep prices higher in the US domestic market with an abundant domestic supply. Furthermore, Cheap oil has basically killed the any market-based incentives for biofuel/algal diesel market prospects.

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  Joe B
December 5, 2019 11:38 pm

Thanks Joe….saved me having to post the false obama credit for exports. His horribly irresponsible intervention in DAPL showed his true colors. Everything about his presidency is bad, some things worse than others. As a native ND guy, with a tiny Bakken royalty holding, I followed DAPL closely and understand all the issues. Shameful behaviour by the former president but it helped rid ND of a democrat senator in the last election.

Reply to  Joe B
December 6, 2019 10:02 am

Joe B — right. Obama would never have done anything other than continue to strangle US energy production unless there was some political expediency involved. Overall, the energy companies acted so quickly on the latest fracking technologies that they simply out-paced/out-manuevered his strangling efforts.

Joel Snider
Reply to  beng135
December 6, 2019 1:44 pm

Basically you’re talking BO’s standard MO of Rat-f***!

December 5, 2019 9:46 pm

Dems are obviously ticked that a US president has the temerity to thwart their plans of a Globalist New World Order to be headquartered in China.

How DARE he!!!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  RockyRoad
December 6, 2019 7:34 am

Yeah, whenever you hear Nancy Pelosi say Trump is destroying the U.S. or Trump is an existential threat to the U.S., just substitute “socialism” for the “U.S.” and for the “existential threat” and then you will understand her true meaning. Trump IS a threat to the Left. He may end up destroying their momentum, and that scares them to death.

The Democrats aren’t horrified that Trump is destroying America. They are horrified that he is destoying American socialism. They are so horrified they are willing to abuse their political power in the House of Representative in an effort to oust their oppressor. This will result in them losing control of Congress and the presidency will remain in Trump’s hands.

Last night someone asked Pelosi what she was going to do if Trump got reelected despite being impeached, and Nancy shivered and said, “I don’t want to think about that!”

Well, you’re going to have to think about it, Nancy, because Trump will be reelected. But you won’t be Speaker of the House anymore so you can sit back and watch Trump destroy even more of your socialist delusions, while the majority of the American people cheer him on

See you at the polls!.

Greg Freemyer
December 6, 2019 3:02 am

The US has been a net coal exporter forever. A net natural gas liquids exporter for several years (butane, propane, utane). A net natural gas exporter for a couple years.

The Sept event isn’t about “fossil fuels” as the article title states. It’s about petroleum and petroleum products joining the party.

Steve Z.
December 6, 2019 3:51 am

This headline – like so many other “petroleum” import and export headlines – is misleading.

In the most recent week, USA crude oil production was 12.9 million barrels per day (mbd). In the same week, our net crude oil IMPORTS were 2.9 mpd.

Bottom Line – we need to import close to 3.0 mbd of crude oil – most of it to meet our domestic gasoline demand.

Our “petroleum” exports are primarily natural gas liquids (mostly from fracking), renewable fuels (ethanol), and refinery gain (heavy feed stock produces more barrels of lighter fuels).

Being a “net exporter” is good. But, our transportation system would be crippled without that 3.0 mbd of crude oil imports.

Data Source:

Steve Z
December 6, 2019 8:49 am

The fracking boom in both natural gas and oil occurred despite Obama’s policies, not because of them. Obama blocked fracking on public lands throughout his two terms, but he couldn’t prevent fracking on private lands if the landowners were willing to sell fracking royalties to the oil and gas companies, which made a lot of formerly-poor Pennsylvania farmers wealthy.

Also, Obama blocked construction of oil pipelines through the Dakotas for years, which Trump authorized from practically his first day in office, but the pipelines still had to wait to win challenges in court from “environmental” groups worried about potential spillage. Obama liked to pretend that he was blocking pipelines to prevent contamination of aquifers from oil spills, but in reality the oil companies were bypassing the pipelines by transporting oil in railcars, which on a per-barrel-mile basis are MUCH more accident-prone than pipelines. Meanwhile, Warren Buffett, who owns freight railroads and supported Obama, was getting rich transporting oil by rail, when the pipelines would have been cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Some people might wonder why the USA is both exporting and importing crude oil, instead of relying on domestic crude production if it is sufficient. Part of the problem is that refineries along the US Gulf Coast (mostly in Texas and Louisiana) had been adapted since the 1970’s to process heavy, high-sulfur crude oil from the Middle East, and needed to develop many catalytic cracking, coking, and hydrotreating units to convert such heavy, sour crude to gasoline, jet fuel, and Diesel fuel.

Fracked oil from West Texas is much lighter (contains more naphtha and Diesel and less heavy products) and contains much less sulfur than Middle East crude. West Texas crude gives much higher yields of gasoline and Diesel and is easier to refine, but running it through refineries designed for heavy, sour crude would have some process units (for heavy oil) under-utilized and their light-product process units overloaded. It takes years to shift a refinery from processing heavy to light crude, so in the meantime, some refineries are running a mixture of imported heavy crude and fracked light crude, and exporting some of the products.

Senator Warren’s proposal to ban export of LNG is clearly counterproductive, not only for the USA but also for the security and stability of Europe. When Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, the USA was ready to impose sanctions against Russia, but the Europeans balked because they depend on Russian natural gas exports. If the USA could export LNG to Western Europe, we could provide the natural gas Europe needs in case Russia closed their spigot, which would make economic sanctions against Russia more effective.

Of course, while Senator Warren wants to block US exports of natural gas to Europe (which would create jobs in the US), former Vice President Biden’s son was getting rich on natural gas in Ukraine, which gets most of its gas from pipelines from Russia. Follow the money…

Reply to  Steve Z
December 6, 2019 10:29 am

The US is a big country, as a result of this there are times when your closest customers and suppliers aren’t in the US.

Joel Snider
December 6, 2019 9:25 am

Amazing that we have an entire political party – in league with nearly the entirety of the media, as well as academia – dedicated to destroying our way of life.

I can actually understand that – it’s simply enemy action – what I don’t get is all the rank-and-file followers – who WILL be on the receiving end of all this damage – who think it’s such a great idea.

December 7, 2019 1:51 pm

Are these numbers net of imports from Canada? Last I checked there was still a lot of oil coming down from Canada even without Keystone XL.

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