The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Canadian Oil Sands, American Benefits

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 31, 2014

Here’s what we know about U.S. energy security, with much credit due to our partnership with Canada, America’s  No. 1 source of imported oil:

In 2013, U.S. crude oil imports were 541 million barrels lower than in 2010, a 16 percent decrease, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In a chart:


Also in 2013, U.S. imports of crude oil from Canada were 222 million barrels higher than in 2010, an increase of nearly 31 percent:


Put the two together and what you see is a more energy-secure America: increased domestic energy – largely from shale development – more oil from our neighbor and ally and reduced imports overall.  

The fact is oil sands production continues to ramp up, growing from 1.263 million barrels per day in 2006 to 2.087 million barrels per day in 2013, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). Stephen Rodrigues, CAPP’s manager of technical/market research, says actual oil sands production 2009-2013 is in line with the organization’s production forecasts for that period.

Growing oil sands development is good for the United States, because full development is part of a scenario where the U.S. sees 100 percent of its liquid fuel needs met domestically and from Canada in about 10 years.

Even better, oil sands development is more than just the oil. That development is boosting trade and jobs.

First trade. According to Census Bureau data, in 2013 U.S. goods imports from Canada  – including oil – totaled more than $332.5 billion, $54.9 billion higher than in 2010. Goods exports to Canada in 2013 totaled $301.6 billion, $52.3 billion higher than in 2010. For every dollar spent on increased goods imports from Canada, the United State received 95 cents in return via goods exports to Canada.

As for jobs, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, $1 billion of goods exports supported 5,408 jobs in 2013. Multiply by $301.6 billion and you get 1.63 million jobs. In 2010, $1 billion of goods exports supported 6,100 jobs which, multiplied by $249.2 billion works out to 1.52 million jobs. The bottom line is that increased goods exports to Canada supported an additional 110,000 U.S. jobs in 2013 over 2010.

America’s energy partnership with Canada is mutually beneficial. It is generating trade and creating jobs on both sides of the border while increasing U.S. energy security through a stronger trading relationship with our No. 1 oil supplier. Oil sands development is a big part of that partnership.


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.