US more dependent on major foreign oil suppliers

The United States imported 61 percent of its foreign oil from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia in 2013, the most in more than four decades, as overall crude oil imports fell, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Friday.

Those three countries accounted for 4.6 million barrels per day of oil imports, down 1.5 percent from 2012, the EIA said. Total oil imports were 7.6 million barrels per day, down 10.2 percent and the lowest level since 1996.

The share of oil imports from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia was the highest since the EIA began keeping records in 1973.

“These countries generally produce medium to heavy, sour crude oil that is desirable to U.S. refineries, while increasing U.S. crude oil production from tight oil formations is typically of the light sweet quality,” the EIA said. “Also, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, these countries are near the United States, with Mexico having a short shipping distance for its oil to the large number of refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.”

The three countries have consistently been the U.S.’s top oil suppliers, though their rankings shift. Canada was last year’s largest, supplying 2.5 million barrels per day, followed by Saudi Arabia and Mexico.