EIA debuts oil import analysis tool

By The Bakken Magazine Staff | January 16, 2015

The U.S. Energy Information Administration released a U.S. crude oil import tracking tool that allows industry leaders, analysts and the public to track trends in crude imports. The tool allows users to sort imports by month or year, by crude type, country source, port of entry, processing company or processing refinery.

“This tool sheds light on the adjustments to imports being made in response to growing production of crude oil within the United States. It is one part of EIA’s ongoing effort to assess the effects of a possible relaxation of current limitations on U.S. crude oil exports, which is another avenue to accommodate domestic production growth,” EIA said.

The tracking tool was launched on the EIA’s beta site to solicit user feedback and has various capabilities to access information from the EIA’s monthly company level import database. Subjects include volume and quality of U.S. crude oil imports, source of U.S. crude oil imports, light crude oil imports by region, refinery-level trends in light crude imports and refinery-level trends in imports other than light sweet crude.

The interactive tool shows that U.S. crude oil imports have declined since 2010, with nearly all of the decline occurring in light sweet grades. In particular, U.S. light crude imports fell 71 percent between 2010 and the period of January through August 2014. It can also track light crude imports, and found that imports by the 10 largest refineries using imported light crude in 2013 accounted for 55 percent of total U.S. light crude imports, with the remaining 45 percent scattered among more than 100 refineries. There is evidence that some refineries have recently reduced imports of medium heavy grades of crude oil in order to accommodate increasing light domestic production, the EIA said.