Value of US-Canada energy trade dips

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The pandemic-driven lower petroleum consumption and lower commodity prices resulted in a decline of over 30% in the value of energy trade between the United States and Canada in 2020.

Canada is the single largest source of US crude oil imports, accounting for over 60% of all US crude imports last year, per US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates.

According to data from the US Census Bureau, the value of US energy imports from Canada totaled $58 billion, down by 31% on the year. The value of energy imports accounted for more than one-fifth of the value of all US imports from Canada, the EIA said.

The value of American energy exports to Canada, for its part, dropped by 34% year over year in 2020. 

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Crude oil and petroleum products combined accounted for 89% of the value of all US energy imports from Canada last year.

Imports from Canada in 2020 stood at the lowest level since 2016, as overall US energy imports declined, the EIA said.

US crude oil imports from Canada averaged 3.6 million barrels per day (bpd) last year. This compares to crude oil imports of 3.8 million bpd in 2019.

Despite the drop in volumes, Canada’s share of total US crude imports rose to 61% in 2020, primarily due to lower US imports from OPEC producers as Canada replaced imports from Venezuela. 

In 2020, US crude oil imports from OPEC hit the lowest on record in annual EIA data going back to 1973, but American purchases of Canada’s heavy crude have grown and continue to remain high. Between 2005 and 2020, US crude oil imports from Canada more than doubled to an average of 3.6 million bpd. As a result, Canada’s share of total US crude oil imports increased and reached a record-high share of 61% last year, the EIA said in April.

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