U.S. crude imports from Nigeria, others slide by 92.7 per cent

crude-oil-CopyImports of United States (U.S) light crude from Africa have declined by 92.7 per cent, particularly from Nigeria and Algeria, according to the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA said that nearly all U.S. crude imports from Africa are light and sweet (defined as having sulphur level 0.5 per cent or lower), particularly from the countries of Nigeria and Algeria.

Industry reports suggest that volumes from Africa that were formerly shipped to U.S. refiners are now being diverted mostly to Asia and Europe.

The agency added that imports from Saudi Arabia have varied as that country continues to fulfil its role as swing producer and has adjusted its supplies of light crude to the U.S. according to changes in other producing areas such as Libya.

EIA said that OPEC members’ share of total U.S. light crude imports from OPEC countries dropped 30 percentage points, from 63 per cent in 2008 to 33 per cent in the year-to-date 2014 through August.

It noted that Light crude imports from Saudi Arabia have varied from a high of 261,000 bblpd in 2008 to a low of 101,000 bblpd in 2009 and to 153,000 bblpd in 2013.

This variation, it noted, may reflect Saudi Arabia’s traditional role as swing producer whose production has responded to disruptions affecting other producers, such as Libya, during this period.

It disclosed that the largest decline occurred on the Gulf Coast was down by 94 per cent from 2010 to the year-to-date 2014 through August, and dropped to nearly zero by July 2014. “Light crude oil imports by East Coast refiners were down 69 per cent from 2010 to the year-to-date 2014 through August, reflecting both their increased use of domestic crudes and modestly lower refinery runs.“As production of domestic shale and tight crude oil continues to rise, U.S. crude oil imports decrease accordingly. With light sweet crude oil production from the Eagle Ford region and the Permian basin rising to almost 3.2 million bblpd in August 2014 and oil pipeline networks enhanced substantially, light sweet crude oil imports to the Gulf Coast have dropped to nearly zero”.

It added that U.S. crude oil imports have declined since 2010, with nearly all of the decline occurring in light sweet grades.

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