Although the United States is beginning to use its own oil reserves, a way to control its price, it continues to import most from other countries. Approximately 40% of the oil consumed in the United States in 2012 was imported. Where it comes from depends on the region that imports it: the United States is divided into what could be called energy regions .
African countries, the big losers
The crude that is now being extracted from the shale formations in North Dakota and Texas is different, has a low sulfur content and is processed differently. The countries harmed will be the Africans. Since July 2010, the United States has cut its imports from Nigeria by half, from more than 1 million barrels a day, to 543,000 in October 2012. In Angola, they have dropped from 513,000 in 2008 to 200,000 barrels a day.
Oil reaches refineries on the east coast, for example, mainly from Africa, mainly from Nigeria and Angola. In contrast, refineries in the Midwest receive almost all of their oil imports through pipelines that connect with Canada.
The United States continues to import oil from the Middle East , although it is no longer the majority. Some 1.1 million barrels pass each day through the ports to refineries located in the south of the country. This is where most of the gasoline and diesel is generated, which is then sold at all gas stations in the center of the country.
But the United States is drilling new holes in North Dakota and Texas, as well as reaching agreements with Canada to extract fossil fuels using the polluting and dangerous technique of hydraulic fracturing, and, if not prevented, in Alaska and other fragile ecosystems. The goal is to reduce their imports (and save their money) from 8.3 million barrels per day today to 6 million in early 2014.
The United States is one of the countries most dependent on oil (although all countries are to a greater or lesser extent) and must maintain a balance between international alliances and its own oil production. Many refineries in the United States have spent billions of dollars to upgrade their facilities to process crude from Canada’s tar sands, as well as imported oil from Venezuela and Mexico. These refineries want to recoup their investment and will continue to import from those three countries.
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