Obama sees Canada a partner in energy security quest

Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:05pm EDT
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By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Depending on how one runs the numbers, President Barack Obama is well on his way to chopping U.S. oil imports by a third.

The question is which imports his administration will cut, given that oil supply trends in the world's largest energy consumer have already shifted. They are unlikely to be Canadian.

In a speech on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Obama reminded Americans of the danger of dependence on foreign oil, and mentioned Canada among partners in the quest for U.S. energy security. With good reason. Canada is the largest supplier of oil to the United States and one of its closest allies.

If Canadian supplies were excluded from U.S. oil and petroleum imports, the numbers would show that U.S. dependence on foreign oil is already dwindling, even though there is no policy to make that happen.

Since 2008, net imports have fallen 15 percent from the more than 11 million barrels that year. It is a 20 percent decline when Canadian supplies are excluded.

The trend precedes Obama's election.

Since the high mark in 2005 of a total of 12.5 million barrels a day imported by the United States from its suppliers, net imports have fallen nearly 25 percent and, subtracting the Canadian supply, they have fallen by a third.

Obama said on Wednesday that he wants the United States to cut oil imports by a third over 10 years.   Continued...