The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Imports Fall as America’s Energy Revolution Grows

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 2, 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that total net U.S. energy imports declined last year to their lowest level in more than 20 years – reflecting two energy positives for America: growth in domestic oil and natural gas production and increased exports of finished petroleum products. EIA:

Total U.S. net imports of energy, measured in terms of energy content, declined in 2013 to their lowest level in more than two decades. Growth in the production of oil and natural gas displaced imports and supported increased petroleum product exports, driving most of the decline. A large drop in energy imports together with a smaller increase in energy exports led to a 19% decrease in net energy imports from 2012 to 2013. Total energy imports declined faster—down 9% from 2012 to 2013—than in the previous year, while export growth slowed. Crude oil production grew 15%, about the same pace as in 2012, which led imports of crude oil to decrease by 12%, accounting for much of the overall decline in imports.

The agency’s chart:


Here’s another EIA chart, plotting levels of crude oil and petroleum product imports over more than 60 years. The oil imports line (red) is historic indeed:


This is what energy self-sufficiency looks like. Increased domestic production is reducing America’s dependency on imported oil – something that would have been almost unimaginable less than a decade ago. We’re on the path below, charted in EIA’s early release of its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook – where domestic production has cut imports from 60 percent of what we use (2005) to less than 40 percent today.


The good news behind this good news: Thanks to vast shale and other tight rock formations and the use of advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. energy renaissance reflected in these charts can accelerate. With access to reserves, onshore and offshore, America’s oil and natural gas companies can develop this energy, adding jobs and strengthening our economy and energy security in the world along the way. Access is key because, as energy/economics blogger Mark J. Perry tweets, while oil and natural gas production on state and private lands increased 27 percent (2003-2012), production on federal lands decreased more than 15 percent.

It’s America’s energy, America’s choice. With the right policies in place – including common-sense permitting processes and regulatory regimes – we can safely and responsibly develop our energy to meet domestic demand while supplying friendly buyers around the world to help allies and strengthen global energy markets against future disruptions.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.