Do we have enough oil to meet our future needs?

  • Worldwide proved oil reserves are roughly 1.6 trillion barrels at production averages of about 90 million barrels per day. That’s roughly 50 years at current rates. However, as technology improves, producers are usually able to extract more at lower costs.

How dependent is the United States on foreign oil?

  • The U.S. is the world’s largest petroleum consumer at 18.6 million barrels per day (MMbd). However, U.S. petroleum imports have been declining steadily since the peak in 2005 thanks to improvements in efficiency, changing consumer behavior, and increased domestic production. Today, the U.S. imports 40% of its total crude oil supply, with over half of these coming from the Western Hemisphere. The top sources of U.S. crude oil imports are as follows:
      • Canada (28%)
      • Saudi Arabia (13%)
      • Mexico (10%)
      • Venezuela (9%)
      • Russia (5%)

 Where does the U.S. rank in the global oil market?

  • The United States is now the world’s top oil producer, contributing 12.34 million barrels per day to the global market.

Who are the most influential companies in the oil and gas sector worldwide?

  • In 2012, national oil companies controlled 78% of proven oil reserves and 58% of production. International oil companies are stockholder-owned corporations that make up the rest of the market share.

What are the major uses of petroleum?

  • Gasoline: 46%
  • Diesel Fuel: 20%
  • Jet Fuel: 8%
  • Propane: 7%
  • Other products: 19% (includes petrochemical feedstocks, asphalt and road oil, lubricants, waxes, etc.)

What are the differences between various crude oil types?

  • Grades of crude vary based on their viscosities and sulfuric content. For the first characteristic, oil is either referred to as "light" or "heavy." Light crude has a lower density and flows through the ground more easily, while heavy crude has a higher density and flows more slowly, making it more difficult to extract.

What are the implications of the U.S. exporting natural gas?

  • U.S. exports of natural gas will likely increase domestic natural gas prices, however the magnitude of the impact is impossible to predict.  If exports of LNG are approved, the natural gas will be destined for places where natural gas is currently most expensive - Asia and Europe. 

What are the factors that contribute to oil and gas price fluctuations?

  • As in any market, oil prices are affected by supply and demand. However, expectations of what the market will do in the future also play a role in shaping prices. A conflict in an oil-producing region may cause future expectations to change based on the fear of supply interruption as a result of violence, sending prices upward. 

Can the U.S. become a major oil exporter?

  • The U.S. government has placed a restriction on exporting crude oil, but the United States already exports refined products, 60% of which are destined for the Americas, with Canada and Mexico being the largest trading partners.