The problem is that everybody uses this table, on the U.S. Energy Information Administration website. And they ignore this part: “Note: The data in the tables above exclude oil imports into the U.S. territories.”
Much of the Venezuelan oil shipped to the U.S. goes to the Virgin Islands. Back when this statistical series began, in the 1940s, the decision was made to consider territories as foreign countries, and count only the oil shipped to the U.S. states. When Hess and PDVSA opened the Hovensa refinery in St. Croix, the EIA kept with its old rules, so as to keep a consistent data series. (This all according to someone I talked to years ago at EIA. Honestly I don’t remember who.) However, it doesn’t work to just add up the Venezuela and Virgin Islands figures from that table, because Hovensa gets about a third of its oil from elsewhere.
So now, if you want to see the total Venezuela shipments to the U.S., including the Virgin Islands, here’s what you do.
-Go to this page.
-Download the big honkin spreadsheets for the period(s) you’re interested in
-Sort by country name (column K)
-Do a “Subtotal” where at each change in “country” you “sum” the “volume” column. Oh I’m sorry, did I mention you need to know how to use Excel? If this is too difficult, please move along and continue to report inaccurate figures.
-Scroll down and look at how much oil you see by the bold-face word “Venezuela” (or whatever other country you like.
-Multiply it by 1,000 to get the number of barrels in the period in question. Divide by the number of days in that period to get barrels a day.
-Thank Setty. Chocolate always accepted.
Upshot: Through May, Venezuela is not the fourth-biggest supplier of petroleum to the U.S., but third-biggest, just barely behind Mexico. In that period, the U.S. got 1.235 million barrels a day from Venezuela and 1.237 million from Mexico. Canada is always in first place.
In 2009, Venezuela was in second place, with 474,411,000 barrels, or 1.3 million barrels a day.
Updated to spell Barclays right. No apostrophe. Thanks to eagle-eyed reader BM for noting my typo and rightly taking the piss out of me for spelling a major company’s name wrong while claiming to be a stickler for accuracy. BM: priggish, perhaps, but correct.