Friday, December 30, 2011

The New Age of America's Energy Abundance: The No. 1 U.S. Export This Year Will Be Petroleum

Top 15 U.S. Exports, January-November 2011

Rank
 
Export Category Jan.-Nov. 2011 (millions)  
1Petroleum products$87,543
2Pharmaceutical preparations$37,547
3Industrial machines, other$37,456
4Semiconductors$36,898
5Chemicals-organic$32,514
6Plastic materials$30,219
7Telecommunications equipment$29,885
8Electric apparatus$29,147
9Nonmonetary gold$27,821
10Civilian aircraft$27,179
11Medicinal equipment$26,591
12Computer accessories$26,520
13Chemicals-other$24,150
14Industrial engines$23,246
15Engines-civilian aircraft$21,648
Source: BEA
NEW YORK (AP) -- "For the first time, the top export of the United States, the world's biggest gas guzzler, is — wait for it — fuel.

Measured in dollars, the nation is on pace this year to ship more gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel than any other single export, according to U.S. Census data going back to 1990 (see table above of the top 15 categories for U.S. exports through November of this year). It will also be the first year in more than 60 that America has been a net exporter of these fuels. The last time the U.S. was a net exporter of fuels was 1949, when Harry Truman was president. 

Just how big of a shift is this? A decade ago, fuel wasn't even among the top 25 exports. And for the last five years, America's top export was aircraft. 

The trend is significant because for decades the U.S. has relied on huge imports of fuel from Europe in order to meet demand. It only reinforced the image of America as an energy hog. And up until a few years ago, whenever gasoline prices climbed, there were complaints in Congress that U.S. refiners were not growing quickly enough to satisfy domestic demand; that controversy would appear to be over. 

Fuel exports, worth an estimated $88 billion in 2011, have surged for two reasons:

1. Crude oil, the raw material from which gasoline and other refined products are made, is a lot more expensive. Oil prices averaged $95 a barrel in 2011, while gasoline averaged $3.52 a gallon — a record. A decade ago oil averaged $26 a barrel, while gasoline averaged $1.44 a gallon.

2. The volume of fuel exports is rising. The U.S. is using less fuel because of a weak economy and more efficient cars and trucks. That allows refiners to sell more fuel to rapidly growing economies in Latin America, for example. In 2011, U.S. refiners exported 117 million gallons per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum products, up from 40 million gallons per day a decade earlier."

HT: Bill Greenway

Update: The chart below shows that net oil imports this year of 45.4% of U.S. consumption will be the lowest since 1995.  So while the U.S. becomes a net exporter of fuel for the first time since 1949, net oil imports are falling to a 16-year low. 


21 Comments:

At 12/30/2011 7:17 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

This is Stupid. Now, put up the Import numbers, both for "Products," and then for Oil.

 
At 12/30/2011 7:28 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

EIA Data

Just oil alone (products are probably pretty close to net "break-even) gives you approx 9 million Barrels/Day @ $111.00/bbl X 365 or $364.6 Billion.

 
At 12/30/2011 7:46 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Product Imports would probably be between $40 and $50 Billion, so, even if you took the bottom of the range you'd be looking at

$464.6 Billion In

and

$ 87.5 Billion out?

And, thus, we enter into "America's Golden Age of Energy Independence?" tm

Sheesh.

 
At 12/30/2011 7:48 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Should be

$404.6 Billion In

and

$ 87.5 Billion out

 
At 12/30/2011 9:02 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Rufus is correct. This is deliberately misleading.

 
At 12/30/2011 10:18 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

It is also worth pointing out that the #5 and #6 exports on the list are also petroleum products.

 
At 12/30/2011 10:24 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

Rufus, rather than guessing the dollar value of the oil imported, read the article. It says $288 billion was imported. Adding fuel exports, plastics exports and organic chemicals exports comes out to $147 billion. That is $288 in, $147 out. While still a deficit, this is a significant improvement from 2008 and the trend is still heading in the right direction.

 
At 12/30/2011 11:20 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Rufus, VangelV and Hydra,

Do you guys read? This is about U.S. exports. Yes, the #1 U.S. export is petroleum products. "Energy Abundance" not independance(yet).

 
At 12/31/2011 8:58 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Well, That $288 B is Wrong. We Import at the "World" price (that is, basically, the Brent Price,) not at the "little dab of land-locked oil at Cushing" WTI price.

The Price of Brent Crude averaged $111.00 this year.

When I see "organic chemicals" I'm thinking ethanol. We Import a lot of Brazilian ethanol into Ca., and export midwestern ethanol to Brazil (don't ask, it's too painful to try to explain.)

 
At 12/31/2011 10:05 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Buddy, it takes better mental gymnastics than most of us are capable of to get from 9 Million Barrels/Day of Imported Oil to "Energy Abundance."

 
At 12/31/2011 12:05 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Do you guys read? This is about U.S. exports. Yes, the #1 U.S. export is petroleum products. "Energy Abundance" not independance(yet).

I read. The US is still totally dependent on energy imports. Shale producers are destroying capital and can't survive in the current low price environment. Exporting more because your real economy is contracting and demand wanes is not good news.

 
At 12/31/2011 1:17 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Rufus, see Energy Charts of the Year - Updated. The U.S. is the world's largest producer of natural gas, with abundant supplies.

VangelV,

"I read. The US is still totally dependent on energy imports."

"totally"? Really? See Energy Charts referenced above.

 
At 12/31/2011 2:56 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Nobody's arguing the nat gas aspect, Buddy (although the U.S. IS still a nat gas "net" importer.)

But we're a Huge (the world's largest, by far) Oil Importer.

And, our cars and trucks run primarily on Oil products, not nat gas or coal.

It's the Liquid fuels that we have to have to get to work in the mornings, and to take the kids to the hospital, and to take the wife to the grocery store.

 
At 12/31/2011 3:50 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Rufus, yes the U.S. is a net importer of natural gas but that will change. Liquified natural gas (LNG) will be exported from previous import facilities in the U.S. It takes a while for contracts to expire and infractructure of LNG exports to be put in place.

Regardless, no one can deny that the U.S. abundant natural gas.

 
At 12/31/2011 9:41 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

Rufus,

Your $111/bbl is not the oil import price in the U.S. In the first 3 quarters, it averaged around $101.50:

http://www.iea.org/stats/surveys/mps.pdf

Canadian oil (our #1 import supplier) does not sell at the Brent price. It averaged around $98/bbl in 3Q11.

At 9 million barrels per day, that comes out to about $333 billion. Here is the catch: the data Dr. Perry presented on exports was not full year data, but Jan-Nov. Based on the oil import price for 11 months, it comes out to $303 billion - not that far from $288B.

 
At 12/31/2011 10:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

"totally"? Really? See Energy Charts referenced above.

Without imports the US economy would collapse because it only produces about two thirds of the oil it needs. End the imports and the whole mountain of debt collapses and takes the USD with it. My words may have seemed rash and exaggerated but they weren't. People don't really understand how close to the edge we are and underestimate the effects of even a small shortage on the price of oil and what the effects of disruptions would be.

 
At 12/31/2011 11:57 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

Vangel, your point reminds me of the debate about drilling for oil in ANWR. The liberals claimed it would only provide enough oil for 6 months of consumption in the U.S. Can you imagine how much permanent economic damage would occur if the U.S. did not have oil for 6 months?

 
At 1/01/2012 10:34 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I read. The US is still totally dependent on energy imports.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We import raw products and export finished products. The dollar value of the finished roducts is higher than the cost of the raw materials, but the business is almost entirely dependent on imports.



Calling the surplus dollar value of exports over imports some kind of energy independence is misleading.

 
At 1/01/2012 10:36 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Can you imagine how much permanent economic damage would occur if the U.S. did not have oil for 6 months?

=================================

But that is only a question of time, isn't it?

When we don't have oil for six months, economic damage will be the least of our worries.

 
At 1/01/2012 10:38 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

and underestimate the effects of even a small shortage on the price of oil


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

How could they forget the gas lines that formed over a minor temporary shortage?

 
At 1/01/2012 12:46 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Vangel, your point reminds me of the debate about drilling for oil in ANWR. The liberals claimed it would only provide enough oil for 6 months of consumption in the U.S. Can you imagine how much permanent economic damage would occur if the U.S. did not have oil for 6 months?

I agree. ANWR should be drilled. You certainly need the oil. In fact, the government should step aside and let the companies go after any oil that they can produce economically.

 

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