China displaces the US as world’s main oil importer

For the first time in almost 40 years, the US has lost its top net oil importer position to China, confirmed Tuesday the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) after preliminary figures published in March pointed in that direction.

According to EIA numbers, oil production is at its highest level in 20 years, with a 40% increase since 2008. At the same time, the nation’s oil demand is at a 17-year low and the agency projects the country could even leap frog Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's largest oil producer by 2020.

In September the gap between oil consumption and domestic production averaged 6.24m barrels per day in the US, and 6.3m b/d in China, added the body.

The developed world’s most respected energy forecaster also says it expects this trend to last and even increase as the shale boom continues, while a shift from diesel to natural gas as fuel will hurt demand.

The US is expected to produce 7.3 million barrels per day this year, up from 6.4 million in 2012, the government’s agency said, which has direct impact on the amount of crude the country has been buying.

Currently, Americans import close to 10 million barrels of crude per day and Canadian oil accounts for 30% of that total.

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