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2008 > June > 17 > How much energy does the United States import?

How much energy does the United States import?

About 1/3 of the United States total energy consumption of approximately 100 quadrillion BTUs (“quads”) is imported, up from less than 1/5 in 1973.  Most of our net imports were petroleum.  We import roughly 2/3 of our petroleum consumption.

Data Excerpted from the EIA’s Annual Energy Review, Table 1.1 (see the original table for the footnotes)

Energy Overview, 1950-2006
                     (Quadrillion Btu)
Year Production 1 Trade   Consumption 2
Stock
Change
  Nuclear   Total  Imports Exports Net Imports 3 and   Nuclear   Total 11
Fossil Electric Renewable Other 9 Fossil Electric Renewable
 Fuels 4 Power Energy 5 Petroleum 6 Total 7 Coal  Total 8 Total   Fuels 10 Power Energy 5
1950 32.56 0.00 2.98 35.54 1.89 1.91 0.79 1.47 0.45 -1.37 31.63 0.00 2.98 34.62
1960 39.87 0.01 2.93 42.80 4.00 4.19 1.02 1.48 2.71 -0.43 42.14 0.01 2.93 45.09
1970 59.19 0.24 4.08 63.50 7.47 8.34 1.94 2.63 5.71 -1.37 63.52 0.24 4.08 67.84
1980 59.01 2.74 5.49 67.23 14.66 15.80 2.42 3.69 12.10 -1.21 69.83 2.74 5.49 78.12
1990 58.56 6.10 6.21 70.87 17.12 18.82 2.77 4.75 14.06 -0.28 72.33 6.10 6.21 84.65
2000 57.37 7.86 6.26 71.49 24.53 28.97 1.53 4.01 24.97 2.52 84.73 7.86 6.26 98.98
2006P 56.03 8.21 6.79 71.03 29.03 34.49 1.26 4.93 29.56 -0.72 84.76 8.21 6.84 99.87

 In 2006, the Energy Information Administration estimates that total energy consumed in the United States was 100 quads, while domestic production was 71 quads, imports were 34 quads and exports were 5 quads.  All together, fossil fuels accounted for 85% of consumption.  Note that in some charts, imports and exports are both given as gross figures, whereas in others, the concept of net imports is used.

 Our major net imports in 2006 were 22.0 quads of crude oil, 4.3 quads of petroleum products, and 3.6 quads of natural gas.

 Production of crude oil in the United States was 1.9 billion barrels in 2005, down from a peak of 3.5 billion in the early 70s.  There are approximately 5.8 million BTU’s of energy in a barrel of oil, so the 2005 production represents 11.0 quads of energy. Our imports of petroleum products in 2005 were 5.0 billion barrels (74% crude oil), over twice our production; we exported 0.4 billion barrels of petroleum products.  Net imports have roughly doubled since 1973.  855 million barrels, 17%, of our petroleum imports came from the Persian Gulf.  We imported over 500 million barrels from each of the following countries: Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Canada and Mexico, with Canada being the largest.  The Middle East accounts for a larger share of world production, approximately 30%, than it does of our imports, and an even larger share still of estimated reserves – roughly 2/3.

 United States produced 18,591 billiion cubic feet of natural gas in 2004 and had net imports of 3,405 billion cubic feet — in other words, we produced 84.5% of the natural gas that we consumed.  Our production was 19% of the world total production and we were the second largest producer, only behind Russia, who was 23% of the world total.  Most of United States natural gas imports, which have tripled since the early 90s, come from Canada.  Note that 1000 feet of gas equates to 1.031 million BTU, so that total production of 18,591 billion cubic feet of gas in 2004 equates to 19.2 quads.  United States estimated natural gas reserves are approximately 300 trillion cubic feet.

 We are the second largest producer of coal in the world at 1.131 billion short tons of coal in 2005 — 18.7% of the world total production, behind China, which accounted for 37.4% of world production.  We exported only a small portion of our production — approximately than 1/2 quad net, energy equivalent.  One short ton of coal equates (approximately and this varies by coal) to 20.7 million BTU, so 2004 production equates to approximately 23.5 quads.

 The total production in quads calculated in the text is 53.7 quads (mixing years 2004 and 2005); this appears a little low as compared to the table, but this difference is likely accounted for by differences in the physical to energy conversion factors which vary substantially for different substances.

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District of Massachusetts. Please view About Will for more

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