U.S. Energy Exports Hit Record in 2017; Petroleum and Natural Gas Both Hit All-Time Highs

By Terence P. Jeffrey | March 27, 2018 | 3:24pm EDT
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(CNSNews.com) - U.S. total energy exports hit a record high in 2017 when measured in British Thermal Units (Btu), according to the Monthly Energy Review released today by the Energy Information Administration, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Energy.

U.S. petroleum and natural gas exports (measured in Btu) also both hit all-time highs in 2017, according to Table 1.4b in the report, while the U.S. energy trade deficit (measured in dollars) hit a 20-year low, according to Table 1.5.

During 2017, total U.S. energy exports equaled 17.998711 Quadrillion Btu, according to the report. That was up approximately 27.4 percent from the 14.129837 Quadrillion Btu in total U.S. energy exports in 2016.

At the same time, the U.S. imported 25.342199 Quadrillion Btu in total energy, meaning the U.S. was a net importer of 7.343488 in energy in 2017.

That is the lowest net energy imports the United States has seen since 1982 (measured in Btu), when the country was a net importer of 7.253481 Quadrillion Btu of energy.

The U.S. total energy exports included a record 12.044051 Quadrillion Btu in total petroleum exports (including both crude oil and refined products such as gasoline, kerosene and lubricants). That was up approximately 20.6 percent from the 9.989907 Quadrillion Btu that the U.S. exported in 2016.

U.S. total energy exports in 2017 also included a record 3.196449 Quadrillion Btu in natural gas. That was up approximately 35.6 percent from the 1.237954 Quadrillion Btu in natural gas that the U.S. exported in 2016.

U.S. total energy exports in 2017 also included 2.487339 Quadrillion Btu in coal exports. That was up approximately 60.9 percent from the 1.546253 Quadrillion Btu in coal exports the U.S. made in 2016.

According to the Monthly Energy Review, U.S. energy exports in 2017 had a merchandise trade value of $136,358,000,000. At the same time, U.S. energy imports had a merchandise trade value of $194,945,000,000. That gave the U.S. an energy trade balance for the year of -$58,587,000,000.

That is the smallest energy trade deficit the United States has had (measured in dollars), according to the Monthly Energy Review, since 1998, when it was -$47,072,000,000.

The Congressional Research Service has attributed the U.S. surge in the international energy market to the development of new technologies including “hydraulic fracturing.”

“The United States has seen a resurgence in petroleum production, mainly driven by technology improvements—especially hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling—developed for natural gas production from shale formations,” said a CRS report published in 2015.

“Application of these technologies enabled natural gas to be economically produced from shale and other unconventional formations and contributed to the United States becoming the world’s largest nature gas producer in 2009,” said CRS.


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