The United States has replaced OPEC as the marginal petroleum supplier to the world thanks to the shale revolution and improvements in automotive fuel efficiency.
John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own
LONDON, April 9 (Reuters) - The United States has replaced OPEC as the marginal petroleum supplier to the world thanks to the shale revolution and improvements in automotive fuel efficiency.
Net U.S. imports of crude and products have halved over the last five years, or by an amount equivalent to the entire daily crude exports of Saudi Arabia.
Net imports totalled 5.2 million barrels per day at the start of 2014, down from 11.2 million at the beginning of 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Not one barrel of U.S. shale oil has been sent overseas (except small quantities to Canada) because of the long-standing ban on crude petroleum exports.
But increased U.S. production is still playing a role on global markets via a reduction in its crude imports and increased exports of refined products such as gasoline and especially diesel.
U.S. refiners and traders are successfully arbitraging around the ban by replacing imports of foreign crude with cheaper domestic oil and turning domestic crude that cannot be exported into refined products that can.
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