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U.S. crude oil imports from Canada growing in importance

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Already larger than U.S. crude oil imports from any other country, Canada's share of U.S. imports is growing even as total imports fall, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Nov. 28.

U.S. crude oil imports fell from 10.1 million barrels per day in 2006 to 8.9 mbpd in 2011, according to EIA data, and are on track to fall again in 2012.

Imports from Canada have risen over the same period: from 1.8 mbpd in 2006 to 2.2 mbpd in 2011, or from 18 percent to 25 percent.

Through August, crude imports from Canada in 2012 topped 28 percent of all U.S. imports.

Canada is not a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. In crude oil exports to the U.S., it is followed by OPEC member Saudi Arabia, non-OPEC Mexico and OPEC member Venezuela.

The EIA reported earlier this week that the United States and Canada form the largest integrated energy market in the world.

Energy trade between the two countries exceeded $100 billion dollars (U.S.) in 2011, including not only petroleum product but also natural gas, electricity, hydropower, coal and other energy commodities.

As the national dialog on energy security has advanced, it has centered increasingly on North American, rather than U.S., energy security.