Thursday, March 7, 2013

Never Fails to Surprise: US Oil Imports Surge 12 Percent; Keystone????


March 8, 2013: The original post: oil imports surged 12.3 percent in January, 2013. The most current data at EIA's website is through December, 2012, so we have to wait a few days until we see the new EIA numbers.  A 12.3 percent increase in January, 2013 (over December, 2012), would bring us to 334,564,000 bbls/month (10.792 million bbls/day) which would bring us back to levels seen last July/August, 2012. The delta between December and January should be about 36,000 bbls.

Saudi Arabia: 45,000 bbls in July, 2012; 32,000 bbls in December, 2012 (huge drop, by the way); the delta is 13,000 bbls -- about a third of the 36K delta for US imports. So, unless imports jumped to "absurd" levels from Saudi Arabia, the 24,000 additional bbls had to have come from somewhere else. Where? Imports from Canada are already hitting new highs, almost 100,000 bbls.

Bottom line: I just can't get there (334 million bbls/month imported) vs the 298 million bbls imported back in December. It will be interesting to see the January, 2013, import data provided by the EIA.

Original Post

The data never fails to surprise me. The themes for the past few weeks have been: a) increasing domestic oil production (state, not federal); and, b) a bad US economy. And, then today we learn that:
The U.S. trade deficit widened in January, reflecting a big jump in oil imports and a drop in exports.
Imports rose 1.8 percent to $228.9 billion as oil imports surged 12.3 percent. 
With a bad US economy, a recession in the EU, and increasing oil production would anyone have thought US oil imports would have increased? Indeed, they didn't just increase. They surged. That's the AP word, not mine: surged.

Had the Keystone been approved some years ago, it would now be bringing Canadian oil into the US; instead our imports of oil continue to surge; I assume this includes Canadian oil, but the pipelines should be at capacity meaning the surge, all things being equal, is coming from our allies: Venezuela and other OPEC countries.

I see the price of oil is trending up.

So, how are the markets doing?
  • CVX: flat, down slightly; profit taking after hitting all-time high yesterday
  • COP: flat, up slightly
  • XOM: flat, down slightly; production issues this next year
  • CLR: up a bit
  • OAS: up over one percent
  • TPLM: up about a one percent
  • PSX: down about a percent
  • ENB: flat
  • EOG: flat, up slightly
  • T: flat
So, that gives me an idea of how things are going in early trading.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site; do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here. 


  1. I would think this so called surge has to do with Canadian crude making it to US markets. Could rail be playing a roll?

    As far as Venezuela and Mexico both are currently in a state of declining production so I find it hard to believe they are part of this surge. Another contributing factor could be that BP Saudi refinery at Port Arthur, Texas that is importing Saudi crude. They came fully on line recently.

    1. Yes, I believe it was "all" Saudi and the Motiva refinery.

      Rail and pipeline oil from Canada probably couldn't have changed that much month-over-month, but I could be wrong.

      The Gulf coast refiners need heavy oil; they aren't getting it from Canada, so they are getting it from Saudi, I assume.