Oil Imports by Region

By Editors

RBC Capital Markets’ oil team has put together a fascinating map showing where different regions of the country got their oil during the period from August to October last year.  There are big distinctions.

The government divides the country into five Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADD). They are pictured above. The two landlocked regions of the Upper Midwest get their oil entirely through pipelines from Canada. The coastal areas import largely by tanker, although there is also some pipeline traffic from Mexico. The pie charts show each's region's proportion from each foreign country. They are not sized to compare the absolute amount of imports for each reason. The total import figure is next to the PADD designation, with the amounts broken down in the chart.  All are expressed in million barrels per day (bbl/d). Thus the amount of imports from Nigeria to the PADD I on the east coast is 100,000 barrels per day.

All the oil in the Upper Midwest – 2 million barrels at present – comes from Canada. Another 300,000 barrels of Canadian oil enter in PADDS I & V.  PADD III, which includes Texas, gets 100,000 bbl/d from Mexico, both by pipeline and tanker.  Everything else comes from overseas.

Texas and Louisiana import the most oil of any region but that does not mean it is being consumed in the Southwest. Much of this is refined and exported again. The U.S. specializes in refining and petroleum product exports exceeded imports in 2011 for the first time in 1949. However we still import 8.3 million barrels of crude oil a day.

Nearly all imports from the Persian Gulf and all of it from South America goes to the Gulf and West Coasts. On the East Coast, more than half of imported oil now comes from Africa.

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