The United States slashed its imports of Nigerian crude oil by 48.87 million barrels or 43 per cent in 2018, according to recent data published by the Energy Information Administration.
The US imports of Nigerian crude dropped to 64.06 million barrels last year from a five-year high of 112.92 million barrels in 2017.
The EIA data revealed that the country imported 75.81 million barrels of Nigerian oil in 2016, up against 19.85 million barrels in 2015.
US imports of Nigerian crude fell from 148.48 million barrels in 2012 to 87.40 million barrels in 2013 on the back of the shale oil boom.
Light sweet Nigerian crude is very close to the light oil produced in US shale. As US shale output has grown, the yearning for Nigerian crude in the US has dropped significantly.
In 2014, when global oil prices started to fall from a point of $115 per barrel, Nigeria observed an additional decline in US imports of its crude to 21.24 million barrels.
For the very first time in decades, the US did not buy any barrel of Nigerian crude in July and August 2014 and June 2015, according to the EIA data.
In 2010, the US bought as high as 358.92 million barrels from Nigeria but lowered its imports to 280.08 million barrels in 2011.
With the sudden boost in its production, the US oil exports equated 1.9 million bpd in 2018, about double the amount that was exported in 2017, according to the EIA.
The Crude oil exports out of the United States to the United Kingdom surpassed offers from other countries including Nigeria for the first time since such deliveries began in 2015.
In January, the US dispensed the equivalent of almost one in every four barrels of crude refined by UK oil refineries, or 264,000 barrels per day, highlighting the outsized role American oil now has in Britain’s energy mix, The Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
That level was greater than Norway, Russia, Nigeria or Algeria, according to data from the cargo-tracking company, Kpler, which have all been huge suppliers to the UK in recent years.
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South Korea overtook China as the number-two location for US crude behind Canada in 2018, as shipments to South Korea rose to a record high of 558,000 bpd in December, according to the EIA.
The US sent an average 236,000 bpd of crude to South Korea and 228,000 bpd to China in 2018.
Canada kept on being the top customer on an annual basis for 2018, but South Korea took the first spot for December. The US sent an average of 378,000 bpd of crude to Canada in 2018, with December exports at 431,000 bpd.
The rise in US crude supplies arrives just as the country’s production has grown close to 12 million bpd, up from just five million bpd a decade ago, thanks mostly to oil supplies from shale formations that have been exploited through advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
That has enabled Washington to pursue a policy that the Trump administration has tagged “American energy dominance”, with the country surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer, and also becoming a major gas supplier.
Shipments overseas have ascended since the US lifted restraints on exports that had been in place since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1970s, with Washington eager to gain the economic benefits and brandish its energy influence as a tool of foreign policy.