The top five exporters of crude oil to the United States are Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Nigeria. In August 2010 they constituted 63 percent of all imports to the United States. Four of these five countries have problems that could affect U.S. oil imports. Canada is the only country with long-term social and economic stability and large proven reserves (an estimated 179 billion barrels in 2007). This post summarizes Venezuelan and Nigerian oil export dependability issues. Subsequent posts discuss the other top oil exporting countries and business development issues.
Proven oil reserves in Venezuela may be the worlds largest at 297 billion barrels and presumably surpass that of Saudi Arabia with 265 billion barrels. Oil field development has been hampered by political unrest, especially during 2002 when 18,000 state oil field workers went on strike and subsequently were fired. Crude oil from this country is heavy and must be processed by specialized refineries. The United States imports 1.4 million barrels per day from Venezuela. If Saudi Arabia cannot maintain its current export level to the United States, perhaps that shortfall could be countered by Venezuela, if President Hugo Chavez were so inclined…if.
Nigeria is the 10th most petroleum-rich country based on its reserves. “The oil industry has been marred by political and economic strife largely due to a long history of corrupt military regimes and complicity of multinational organizations.” Long-term reliable access to Nigerian oil is questionable.Tags: Declining Production, Hugo Chavez, Nigeria, Oil Exports, Venezuela