US energy imports plummet
ENERGY imports to the United States have fallen to their lowest levels since 1982, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Imports fell 7.3 quadrillion British thermal units (qbtu) in 2017; a 35 per cent decrease from 2016. Gross energy imports have been generally decreasing from a high of 34.7 qbtu in 2007; however, the larger factor leading to the reduction in the net energy trade balance has been increasing energy exports. Gross energy exports rose to 18 qbtu in 2017; a 27 per cent increase from 2016 and the highest annual US energy exports on record, driven largely by increases in exports of petroleum and natural gas. In recent years, exports of crude oil have also contributed to the overall rise in energy exports after crude oil export restrictions were lifted at the end of 2015. Following the removal of restrictions on exporting US crude oil in December 2015, total volumes of crude oil exports and the number of destinations for those exports both increased. The US exported crude oil to 27 countries in the first half of 2017 compared with 19 countries in the first half of 2016. In energy content terms, the US now exports nearly as much energy in the form of crude oil (2.3q Btu) as coal (2.5 qbtu).