The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released a report highlighting the fact that monthly U.S. crude oil imports are at a thirty year low. The report evaluated U.S. imports from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and found that U.S. imports for March of 2019 equaled 1.5 million barrels per day. Though that may seem like a lot of oil, it’s actually the lowest level of import we’ve seen since March of 1986, according to data from the EIA’s Petroleum Supply Monthly.
This is consistent with the trends we’ve been seeing over the last decade; US oil imports from OPEC have been falling for years. At the same time, domestic crude oil production has been on the rise.
As the chart shows, there’s been a clear decline in oil imports since 2008, and if trends continue, they’ll only keep going down. Additionally, oil prices are low and demand is high, meaning that domestic oil production can only be expected to increase as imports continue to decline.
While domestic oil production is increasing, the construction of additional pipeline projects is needed to transport those resources to end markets. Domestic oil production cannot hope to flourish without substantial additions to this country’s infrastructure in the form of pipelines that actually see the light of the day without being halted and postponed for years.
More domestic oil production means more jobs for Americans, and more stimulation for the American economy. If pipeline projects continue to be cancelled and delayed, we could see trends reverse and oil imports start to rise again. It’s important to put the American economy first – that means developing our infrastructure and focusing on domestic production of resources. Supporting domestic pipeline projects can accomplish both of those goals.