And you still think that you don't need the XL pipeline from Canada?
Either you have a really bad logistics problem with how your pipelines
run inside the US (and your mid-east oil imports are increasing as a way
to deal with that) or you are stockpiling oil in preparation for some
geo-political crisis (as your current inventory levels and spread
between WTI and Brent would suggest).
Especially since your domestic consumption is declining year after year
since you went into a depression in 2008 and half of you are either
unemployed or on SS disability.
If you've got a better explanation for this, lets here it.
US oil imports from Middle East increase
February 25, 2013 8:04 pm
By Ajay Makan in London
The US was more reliant on the Middle East for its oil imports last
year, underscoring the critical importance of the politically unstable
region for the country despite the growing energy independence its shale
gas revolution is bringing.
That domestic production boom has triggered intense debate over whether
the US would still guard the worlds critical sea lanes, such as the
Strait of Hormuz in two decades' time or whether China, whose
dependence on Middle Eastern crude imports is rapidly rising, would
However, recent oil import trends from the Gulf region suggest why the
US might continue to play a critical security role in the region. While
domestic production increased the most in 150 years last year,
Washington will confirm later this week that oil imports from the Gulf
region continued to rise.
By the end of November the US had already imported more than 450m
barrels of crude from Saudi Arabia, more than it imported from Riyadh in
the whole of 2009, 2010 or 2011, according to figures from the US energy
department. For the first time since 2003, Saudi imports accounted for
more than 15 per cent of total US oil imports. The Gulf as a whole
accounted for more than 25 per cent, a nine-year high.
Other Gulf exporters are also seeing unusually strong US demand. By the
end of November, Kuwait had shipped more oil to the US than in any year
since 1998. Analysts are expecting annual figures to be released later
this week to confirm the trend seen up to November.
New extraction techniques most notably hydraulic fracturing, or
fracking, and horizontal drilling have unlocked huge hydrocarbon
resources in the US previously thought unrecoverable, raising
expectations that over time US dependence on Middle East oil will drop.
These developments triggered debate about the long-term commitment of
Washington to security in the Gulf, where the US Fifth Fleet has
operated since 1995.
At an oil industry conference in London last week, Christof Rühl, chief
economist at BP, raised the prospect of a US president, 15 years from
now seeing a problem in the Middle East and saying: "Thats no skin off
my nose. I need very little oil and... I get it from Canada and Mexico."
But at another conference earlier this year, Carlos Pascual,
co-ordinator for international energy affairs at the US state
department, highlighted that oil was a global fungible commodity, saying
Washington would remain involved in Middle Eastern oil security. When
there is instability or insecurity in any part of the world, it drives
up the global prices of those commodities.
Oil produced in shale fields like the Bakken in North Dakota and the
Eagle Ford in Texas is of a light high-quality variety. But Gulf oil is
still vital for the US because many US refineries are set up to process
heavier crude oils. So while imports of light crudes from countries such
as Nigeria have fallen dramatically, demand for Gulf crudes has not.
An expansion of the Motiva refinery in Texas has provided a fillip to US
demand for Saudi oil. Motiva, which is now the largest refinery in the
US by capacity, is jointly owned by Royal Dutch Shell and the Saudi
national oil company, Saudi Aramco.
Part of Motivas expanded plant was temporarily shut down for repairs in
the second half of 2012, but is expected to restart imminently.
Although oil imports from the Middle East have been rising, overall US
demand for crude oil has declined slightly since 2004 because of a
combination of efficiency measures, increasing use of natural gas and
the financial crisis.
Imports of Saudi oil were equal to 9.3 per cent of all crude processed
by US refineries in the year to November, while imports from the Gulf
were equal to more than 14 per cent of the total. Both percentages were
the highest since 2008.