By Eric Zuesse
At the present time, the latest month for which the U.S. Department of Energy publishes the number of barrels per day (bpd) of oil that’s exported to the U.S. is November 2018. Here are the rankings:
- 1. Canada 142,206 bpd
- 2. Saudi Arabia 30,028
- 3. Mexico 18,020
- 4. Venezuela 16,889
- 5. Iraq 11,767
- 6. Colombia 7,769
- 7. Russia 7,611
- 8. Ecuador 5,866
- 9. Nigeria 5,392
- 10. Algeria 4,848
- 11. UK 4,653
- 12. Norway 4,073
- 13. Kuwait 3,027
- 14. Brazil 2,777
- 15. Belgium 2,075
- 16. S. Korea 1,927
- 17. Netherlands 1,462
- 18. Egypt 1,405
- 19. UAE 1,771
- 20. China 1.268
- 21. France 1,239
- 22. Singapore 1,232
- 23. Indonesia 1,204
- 24. Argentina 1,101
- 25. Peru 1,061
- 26. Denmark 1,000
- 27. Brunei 961
- 28. Spain 846
- 29. Angola 833
Here were the top 10 for the entire year of 2015 as reported by Bloomberg Finance at Forbes. For comparison to today, the country’s sales and rank in November 2018 is also indicated [between brackets]”
- 1. Canada 3.2 million bpd [1. Canada 142,206]
- 2. Saudi Arabia 1,1 [2. Saudi Arabia 30,028]
- 3. Venezuela 780,000 bpd [4. Venezuela 16,889]
- 4. Mexico 690,000 [3. Mexico 18,020]
- 5. Colombia 370,000 [6. Colombia 7,769]
- 6. Iraq 230,000 [5. Iraq 11,767]
- 7. Ecuador 225,000 [8. Ecuador 5,866]
- 8. Kuwait 210,000 [13. Kuwait 3,027]
- 9. Brazil 190,000 [14. Brazil 2,777]
- 10. Angola 190,000 [29. Angola, 833]
Clearly, the figures change over time. Whereas Angola was #10 in 2015, it’s #29 now; and whereas Russia, Nigeria, and Algeria, weren’t in the top 10 in 2015, they now are.
U.S. President Donald Trump is bringing down the latest Venezuelan monthly number from 16,889 to close to zero. On 25 August 2017, Reuters headlined two stories, “Trump slaps sanctions on Venezuela; Maduro sees effort to force default” and “Venezuela says U.S. sanctions designed to push Venezuela to default”. The first of those reported that, “U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that prohibits dealings in new debt from the Venezuelan government or its state oil company on Friday in an effort to halt financing that the White House said fuels President Nicolas Maduro’s ‘dictatorship’.” The second reported that Venezuela’s Government daid that Trump’s action “essentially forces the closure of its U.S. refining unit Citgo,” which means bringing an end to Venezuela’s oil exports to the U.S.
Venezuela’s socialized oil company, PDVSA, of which Citgo is the U.S. distributor, had never prepared for the measures that Trump is now imposing, and Reuters’s report said, “As a result, it will be it tricky for PDVSA to refinance its heavy debt burden.”
The Reuters report continued: “Maduro may no longer take advantage of the American financial system to facilitate the wholesale looting of the Venezuelan economy at the expense of the Venezuelan people,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday. PDVSA, the financial engine of Maduro’s government, is already struggling due to low global oil prices, mismanagement, allegations of corruption and a brain drain.
However, the likely failure of Venzuela’s oil company is due not only to the lowered price of oil, but to the fact that Venezuela’s oil is among the two costliest in the world to produce, because it’s from the dirtiest source, tar sands, much like Canada’s oil is. The difference between Canada and Venezuela is twofold: first, that whereas Canada is a vassal-state of the U.S. empire and so its aristocracy is allied with America’s aristocracy (which controls America’s Government), Venezuela isn’t. And, second, that whereas Venezuela has a monoeconomy that’s based on oil (which accounts for around 95% of Venezuela’s exports), Canada does not.
Saudi Arabia used to be the top foreign source of oil imported into the U.S., but now it’s only a very weak second-place to Canada in this, exporting only 21% as much oil to the U.S. as does Canada. This is a huge decline for the Sauds.
Whereas Saudi oil is the world’s most “light” or cleanest and least-costly to produce and therefore has the lowest “carbon footprint” of any oil, Canada and Venezuela have the most “heavy” or dirtiest and most-costly to produce and therefore have the highest “carbon footprint” of all the world’s oils.
(NOTE: There are many different ranking-systems for the ‘average’ cost per barrel of oil produced, such as this and this and these, but all tend to vastly underestimate in order to continue the case for fossil fuels. The BBC once noted that its calculation-system “only covers the cost of production, not the cost of exploration and development.” And it also ignored the cost of transit. It also ignored environmental costs. It also ignored the costs to taxpayers for the many subsidies they pay in order for the fossil-fuels investors to continue investing in those companies.
The environmental site “The Energy Mix” headlined in April 2018, “Ditched Bitumen Desperately Seeks True Commitment” and reported that fewer and fewer investors were continuing to trust the industry’s reported numbers regarding the costs of tar-sands oils. Also, on 11 February 2019, they headlined “Trans Mountain’s Fee Plan for Fossil Customers Represents $2-Billion Taxpayer Subsidy”. But, mostly, the heavy taxpayer subsidizations to the fossil-fuels industries are ignored, both by consumers and by investors. Realistically, the tar-sands oils in both Canada and Venezuela are costing far more than any per-barrel oil price that’s below $100. They are money-losers, but bring lots of money to the ‘right’ people.)
So: the U.S. is replacing the world’s cleanest oil with the world’s filthiest oil, and that’s not only from Canada but also from Venezuela. However, because the U.S. aristocracy want to take over Venezuela, the U.S. Government now is set to zero-out oil imports from Venezuela, so as to increase the pressure on Venezuela’s Government to place in charge there a leader who will do America’s bidding.
Canada has been working right alongside the U.S. to achieve that objective, and will probably be supplying to the U.S. much (if not all) of the 16,889 bpd oil that currently has been supplied by the other producer of very dirty oil: Venezuela. The U.S. produces fracked oil, which is dirty but not as dirty as that from Canada and Venezuela.
The U.S., Canada, and Venezuela, have been committed to ignoring the global warming problem. To the extent that the problem becomes globally recognized, the oil-production in all three of those countries will decline in its marketable price even more than will the oil-production in other countries (especially than Saudi Arabia’s oil-production, since that’s the cleanest); and, so, the profits from those dirty oils will quickly (especially for Canada and Venezuela, where it has already happened) turn into losses. All three governments — Venezuela, Canada, and U.S. — are trying to postpone that, till as late a time as possible.
*Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,