Press Release: EIA expects the United States will return to being a net importer of crude oil and petroleum products

April 7, 2020

In the April Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA forecasts that the United States will again become a net importer of crude oil and petroleum products in the third quarter of 2020 and remain a net importer in most months through the end of 2021. Fewer barrels are available for export as U.S. crude oil production continues to decline. In addition, net exports of petroleum products will be lowest in the third quarter of 2020, when U.S. refinery runs decline in response to lower demand for refined products.


In September 2019, the United States exported 89,000 barrels per day (b/d) more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported and became a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products for the first time since monthly records began in 1973. The United States continued to be a net exporter through February when net exports reached 1.79 million b/d, and the April STEO forecasts that net exports will continue through May 2020.

However, as a result of recent significant changes in global oil market dynamics, EIA is revising its March STEO forecast that U.S. net exports would average 0.6 million b/d in 2020 and 0.3 million b/d in 2021. EIA now forecasts in the April STEO that U.S. imports and exports will be nearly equal in 2020 and that U.S. net imports will average 1.4 million b/d in 2021.

It is important to note that the April STEO is subject to heightened levels of uncertainty because the global response to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19) is dynamic, and the impacts on energy markets continue to evolve. The response has already caused changes in energy fuel supply and demand patterns that are highlighted in the April STEO assumptions.

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