While the Middle East has long been recognized for expansive reserves from which nations like the United Arab Emirates have exported much of the world’s crude oil, recent trends show investments in U.S. shale oil extraction have been steadily altering that balance.
As Bloomberg News reported, the UAE actually purchased oil from America late last year despite the fact that the Arabian Peninsula nation has become one of the wealthiest in the region due in large part to its own supply.
Reports indicate an oil tanker set sail from Houston in December to transport oil bound for the Persian Gulf. According to one source speaking to reporters anonymously, the light crude oil purchased from the U.S. is better suited for the processing plants and other applications for which it is used by purchasers in the UAE.
U.S. Census Bureau records indicate the shipment to the Middle East nation totaled about 700,000 barrels. The December delivery is believed to be the first such receipt of American oil by the UAE, though it reportedly purchased condensate, another petroleum product, in July for a shipment scheduled for two months later.
The earlier shipment was reportedly in response to increased tensions between the UAE and Qatar, the nation from which it previously purchased its condensate. As diplomatic tensions rose between the two countries, the UAE opted in June to prohibit future Qatari petroleum shipments.
Though December’s oil shipment was notable, industry experts predict it was an isolated incident. As the president of Lipow Oil Associates explained, the Middle Eastern country has more than enough oil to meet its own energy needs.
“As a member of OPEC and a large crude producer, I would imagine they would be very self-sufficient in their own crude supply,” Andy Lipow said.
Nevertheless, the UAE shipment does serve as evidence of the shifting global oil market, specifically through two recent developments that have made America more competitive.
In 2015, laws prohibiting the export of U.S. oil were rolled back, which coincided with an increased focus on drilling for shale deposits. In the years since, the increased flow of petroleum from America to nations around the world has been obvious.
As an example, November’s daily shipments of oil from domestic ports was roughly 15 times greater than the average of 100,000 barrels exported each day during 2013. During that recent month of higher exportation, U.S. oil was shipped to various foreign ports including the United Kingdom and China.
While exports have increased, America’s reliance on foreign oil has likewise decreased, allowing the nation to become considerably more energy independent. In just over a decade, oil imports have been slashed by more than 75 percent, according to reports.
In 2006, America received more than 12 million barrels daily in oil from other countries. As of the most recent records available, that number is now below 3 million. By 2029, experts believe the U.S. is poised to become a net exporter of petroleum.
President Donald Trump touted the shift as part of his first State of the Union address.
“We have ended the war on American energy and we have ended the war on beautiful clean coal,” he said. “We are now, very proudly, an exporter of energy to the world.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.