Changes in 2020 from 2019:
- U.S. total exports of energy-related products: Decreased by $49.3 billion (23.9 percent) to $156.5 billion
- U.S. domestic exports of energy-related products: Decreased by $49.1 billion (24.0 percent) to $155.0 billion
- U.S. re-exports of energy-related products: Decreased by $224 million (12.9 percent) to $1.5 billion
- U.S. general imports of energy-related products: Decreased by $78.7 billion (38.5 percent) to $125.9 billion
The value of U.S. domestic exports of energy-related products declined by $49.1 billion (24.0 percent) to $155.0 billion from 2019 to 2020, which is the second-largest absolute decline across all sectors. Most of the absolute decline in value occurred in petroleum products and crude petroleum while the largest percentage declines were in exports of coal, coke, and related chemical products (37.0 percent), and electrical energy (58.3 percent). Two exceptions to declines in this sector were natural gas and nuclear materials, where U.S. exports rose by $1.5 billion and $164 million, respectively. Mexico ($23.8 billion) and Canada ($16.9 billion) remained the top two markets for U.S. energy-related product exports, but exports to these markets also experienced the greatest year-over-year declines of $11.2 billion (32.0 percent) and $8.5 billion (33.4 percent), respectively. Exports to China and Germany had the largest year-over-year increases in value—$6.4 billion and $0.9 billion, respectively (table EP.1).
The value of U.S. general imports of energy-related products dropped by $78.7 billion (38.5 percent) to $125.9 billion from 2019 to 2020. The largest declines in value among the U.S. import sources were with Canada (down $27.0 billion or 31.2 percent), Saudi Arabia (down $4.5 billion or 37.0 percent), Russia (down $4.3 billion or 31.2 percent), Colombia (down $4.0 billion or 46.7 percent), Iraq (down $3.9 billion or 55.9 percent), and Mexico (down $3.2 billion or 24.5 percent). Most of the decline in import value occurred in crude petroleum and petroleum products, which fell by $50.2 billion (39.6 percent) and $25.7 billion (41.1 percent), respectively (Table EP. 4).
The fall in the value of U.S. exports and imports of energy-related products from 2019 to 2020 was primarily a result of decreases in both demand and prices, particularly for crude petroleum and petroleum products. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy consumption fell by 4 percent in 2020, the largest decline since World War II and the largest ever absolute decline. This drop in energy consumption was led by the decline in petroleum sector demand due to travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to depressed global and domestic demand by volume, exports of energy-related products were also affected by significant declines in global prices. The World Bank’s “The Pink Sheet” shows the real price annual index for energy products falling 31.2 percent globally from 76.3 in 2019 to 52.4 in 2020. In addition to falling demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a price dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as shortages of crude storage facilities during spring 2020, caused a surge in the global supply of crude petroleum which further contributed to falling prices for crude and petroleum products. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other non-member countries (OPEC+), instituted production cuts totaling 9.7 million barrels per day in May 2020 and subsequently eased back to 7.7 million barrels per day in August 2020, in an effort to stabilize oil markets, and prices rebounded somewhat. Nevertheless, during 2019 to 2020, the average annual spot price for Cushing, Oklahoma, West Texas Intermediate Crude fell from $56.99 per barrel to $39.16 per barrel (31.3 percent) and North Sea Brent Crude fell from $64.30 per barrel to $41.96 per barrel (34.7 percent). The substantial decline in 2020 crude prices heavily impacted the value of U.S. imports and exports of crude and petroleum products throughout the year.
U.S. Domestic Exports
The fall in global energy prices in 2020 significantly affected the export value of U.S. energy-related products. Although the volume of U.S. energy-related exports almost equaled the record-high level set in 2019, the substantially reduced pricing resulted in significant export value declines. While year-over-year exports of energy-related products decreased in value across all product groups except for nuclear materials and natural gas and components, crude petroleum and its derivatives (petroleum products) accounted for most of the decline in value.
In recent years, the United States has become a leading global exporter of crude petroleum. This was especially driven by the December 2015 removal of national restrictions banning exports and the shale oil revolution (technological developments enabling production from previously inaccessible or uneconomic geologic formations in the late 2000s). The value of U.S. crude petroleum exports, which had increased annually during 2015–19, declined in 2020 due to pandemic-induced falling global demand and prices. The IEA estimated that global oil consumption fell by 8.8 percent or 8.8 million barrels per day (MMB/D) in 2020 along with the aforementioned roughly one-third price declines. Although U.S. exports of crude petroleum increased in volume from an annual weekly average of 3.0 MMB/D in 2019 to 3.1 MMB/D in 2020, the large price drop resulted in U.S. crude exports falling in value by $14.7 billion (23.1 percent). The largest decreases in U.S. exports, by value, were to South Korea ($4.7 billion) and Canada ($3.8 billion), while the largest increases were to China ($3.9 billion) and Germany ($1.0 billion).
U.S. exports of crude petroleum to South Korea declined by 37.2 percent in volume, from 152.9 million barrels in 2019 to 96.2 million barrels in 2020. The decline in the volume of U.S. exports of crude petroleum to South Korea reportedly can be attributed to a decline in Korean downstream demand for refined oil products (lowered demand for gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel) and the less competitive prices of U.S. suppliers in that market. Korean refiners offset U.S. sources by importing more crude petroleum from Saudi Arabia. U.S. exports of crude petroleum to Canada declined 16.6 percent to 146 million barrels in 2020, and when combined with the falling prices, resulted in the value of U.S. exports falling 36.8 percent ($3.8 billion). The drop in U.S. exports to Canada was due to a decline in demand from Canadian refineries, which increasingly turned to domestic sources to meet their crude petroleum needs.
The increase in the value of U.S. exports of crude petroleum to China was mainly due to the U.S.-China Phase One Trade Agreement—which was signed on January 15, 2020—and the subsequent reduction in the Chinese tariff on U.S. petroleum. Under the Phase One Trade Agreement, China committed to purchasing $25.3 billion of U.S. energy products in 2020. Also, on February 14, 2020, China cut its tariff on imports of U.S. crude petroleum from 5.0 percent to 2.5 percent ad valorem. These developments helped China return to the third leading market for U.S. energy-related products exports by value, which was its 2017 ranking. U.S. crude petroleum exports to Germany almost tripled by value in 2020, which helped to offset the decline in Germany’s crude petroleum imports in that year from its top supplier, Russia. The Saudi Arabia-Russia price dispute lowered Russian crude production to a nine-year low, leaving smaller quantities available for export.
U.S. exports of petroleum products dropped by 33.2 percent ($31.6 billion) to $63.5 billion in 2020. Falling exports to Mexico (down $10.9 billion) and Canada (down $3.4 billion) were responsible for most of the decline. For the past five years, the leading U.S. petroleum product exports have been transportation fuels such as distillate fuel oils (primarily ultra-low-sulfur diesel) and motor gasoline. In 2020, U.S. exports of distillate fuel oils declined by 37.7 million barrels (7.9 percent) to 439.0 million barrels and in value by $33.4 billion (down 35.1 percent) to $21.7 billion. The larger decline in value compared to volume is consistent with the significant drop in prices in 2020. Globally, distillate demand was weak due to the COVID-19 mobility restrictions, and U.S. production followed suit.
Exports of coal, coke, and related chemical products declined in 2020 by $4.1 billion (37.0 percent) to $7.1 billion. Domestic coal production fell 24 percent, by 166 million short tons (MMst) in 2020 to 539 MMst, which is in line with the 26 percent drop in U.S. coal exports. U.S. coal production was impacted by the COVID-19 mobility restrictions, which caused mines to be idled for extended periods. The decline in coal exports was also partially due to a continuing shift in many export markets to less carbon-intensive fuels as well as renewable energy. Although U.S. exports of coal to most major markets fell in 2020, one exception was a spike in exports to China. The United States exported roughly 1 million tons of coal to China in 2020, principally in the fourth quarter. China’s top supplier of coal was Australia, but a trade dispute between the two countries resulted in a ban by China on imports of Australian coal (mainly thermal coal used for electricity generation) and a shift by China to other suppliers, including the United States.
Natural gas and components was the only digest that saw significant U.S. export growth, rising by $1.5 billion (4.5 percent) to $34.6 billion in 2020. Rising export values for liquified natural gas (LNG) more than offset declining values for liquified propane, ethane, and butane (saturated, having a purity of 95 percent or more by volume), and natural gas, in gaseous state (pipeline gas).
There are several different methods for transporting LNG and pipeline gas. U.S. LNG is shipped in specialized tankers to markets around the world that have appropriate receiving terminals, while pipeline gas typically is transported only to the closest U.S. neighbors, Canada and Mexico, via extensive pipeline systems. LNG sells at a premium and was approximately four times the cost of pipeline gas in 2020. U.S. exports of LNG grew by 30.6 percent in volume to average 6.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2020, and by $3.5 billion (37.0 percent) to $13.1 billion in value. The increased volume of exports has been facilitated by recent expansions to the number and capacity of LNG terminals, particularly on the U.S. Gulf Coast. LNG exports were strong from January through May but declined during the summer months, due to shipping cancelations, hurricanes causing temporary plant closures, and COVID-19 mobility disruptions. Although the weather dampened U.S. LNG exports in October 2020, record high levels were set in November and December 2020.
Asia (mainly China, India, and Japan) replaced Europe as the main export destination for U.S. LNG in 2020 with a 67 percent increase in volume. The export of U.S. natural gas and components to China posted the largest gains (up $2.1 billion to $2.6 billion) in value because of the Phase One Trade Agreement and China’s subsequent reduction in tariffs from 25 percent to 10 percent on imports of LNG originating in the United States.
Most U.S. exports of pipeline natural gas are destined for Canada, and exports to Canada decreased from 971.3 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2019 to 902.4 Bcf in 2020. Because U.S. crude oil production dropped in 2020, the associated gas production also decreased. In addition, increased Canadian drilling contributed to less Canadian demand for U.S. pipeline gas. This was in contrast to previous years, where growth in Appalachian Basin gas production, coupled with competitive prices, had spurred U.S. exporters of pipeline gas to capture markets in eastern Canada away from Canadian producers.
U.S. General Imports
The value of U.S. general imports of energy-related products dropped by $78.7 billion (38.5 percent) in 2020, with most ($75.9 billion) of the decline accounted for by crude petroleum and petroleum products. The top sources for U.S. imports of energy-related products were Canada ($59.4 billion), Mexico ($10.0 billion), Russia ($9.5 billion), and Saudi Arabia ($7.6 billion). In 2020, imports from these sources fell by 31.2 percent, 24.5 percent, 31.2 percent, and 37.0 percent, respectively. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed substantially to lower U.S. demand, prices, and imports for energy-related products.
U.S. imports of crude petroleum fell by 39.6 percent ($50.2 billion) in value in 2020, and by 13.4 percent (331.5 million barrels) in volume. Imports of crude petroleum were at their lowest level since 1991. Since 2016, the share of U.S. crude imports accounted for by OPEC members has declined, while Canada’s share has risen—a trend that continued in 2020. In addition, imports from Latin American suppliers fell, as many were faced with production (production capacity and reserves) and operational challenges (efficiency and competitiveness in pricing). Canada remained the top source for U.S. crude imports, accounting for approximately 1.3 billion barrels, or 71.1 percent of all non-OPEC imports of crude petroleum in 2020. The relative price and refinery operational advantages for importing oil from Canada makes it an attractive source for the United States.
The United States traditionally has imported heavy crude oil from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. After imposing sanctions on crude petroleum from Venezuela, however, the United States has not imported any crude petroleum from Venezuela since March 2019. U.S. crude oil imported from Mexico increased from 218.8 million barrels in 2019 to 240.1 million barrels in 2020. Imports from Canada declined from 1.4 billion barrels in 2019 to 1.3 billion barrels in 2020.
U.S. imports of petroleum products declined by $25.6 billion (41.1 percent) to $36.7 billion in 2020, a function of declining demand and lower prices. Most of the decline was due to decreased imports in terms of value from its top two sources, Canada and Russia. COVID-19 travel restrictions caused a decline in the volume of domestic demand and prices for motor gasoline and jet fuel. By contrast, imports of distillate fuel oil increased 6.9 percent from their 2019 level to 216,000 b/d in 2020, due to COVID-19 related mobility restrictions.
More than one-half of U.S. distillate imports in 2020 came from Canada to accommodate the rising demand for diesel fuel (primarily in the trucking, railway, and agricultural sectors). Increased at-home deliveries, along with necessities such as food, medical equipment, and personal protective equipment, kept prices for diesel fuel stable. U.S. imports of motor fuel (finished gasoline and gasoline blending components)—which comes especially from Canada, India, and the Netherlands—decreased 26.5 percent to 584,000 b/d. Jet fuel declined 9 percent from its 2019 levels to 150,000 b/d. U.S. imports of petroleum products from Russia (principally within the unfinished oils category) rose from 109.9 million barrels in 2019 to 140.5 million barrels in 2020.
U.S. imports of natural gas and components declined by $2.3 billion (down 24.7 percent) to $6.9 billion in 2020. By volume, gross imports of natural gas (mainly used for heating and cooling) fell to 7.0 Bcf/d, the lowest level since 1993 due in part to lower domestic demand resulting from milder weather in 2020. Although Canada is by far the top source for U.S. imports of natural gas and components (accounting for 87.8 percent of the total value in 2020), imports fell 24.2 percent from $8.1 billion in 2019 to $6.0 billion. The decline was mainly because of a seasonal increase in Canada’s demand at the end of the U.S. winter season coupled with low storage inventories which caused higher natural gas spot prices for Canada compared to the Henry Hub spot prices in the United States. Since natural gas was cheaper in the United States compared to Canada, the United States imported less natural gas from Canada.
 The Energy-Related products sector consists of 6 product digests. Each USITC sector digest encompasses various 8-digit subheadings in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). For a complete list of HTS subheadings classified in a particular sector or digest, see this data table.
 Unless otherwise noted, the export data used in this investigation are for domestic exports. For more information on trade terminology, please refer to USITC, “Special Topic: Trade Metrics,” Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade, 2014, June 2015.
 In 2019, the top five destinations were Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, and the Netherlands respectively. Mexico ($10.1 billion) and Canada ($8.4 billion) experienced the greatest year over year decline.
 Compiled from official statistics of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Table EP.1 shows the top 10 countries by total U.S. trade (both imports and exports) of energy-related products in 2020. As a result, some countries that were large export markets for U.S. energy-related products but relatively small sources of U.S. energy-related imports are not shown in the table. Germany is included in “All other countries.”
 Since 2017, the general import volume of coal, coke, and related chemical, crude petroleum, and natural gas and components have been trending downwards.
 IEA, “Global Energy Review 2021 - Analysis,” April 2021, 6.
 The World Bank’s “The Pink Sheet” monitors commodity price movements from a global perspective for various economic sectors. World Bank, “Commodity Markets,” accessed June 10, 2021.
 OPEC members in 2019–20 included Algeria, Angola, the Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Qatar terminated its membership in January 2019 and Ecuador withdrew its membership in January 2020. OPEC, “Member Countries” accessed June 1, 2021. The OPEC+ countries include the 13 current OPEC members along with non-members Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan, and Sudan. Wingfield et al., “New Decade, New OPEC Oil Curbs,” February 25, 2020. Meredith, “OPEC and Allies Agree to Gradually Increase Production,” December 3, 2020.
 EIA, “Spot Prices for Crude Oil and Petroleum Products,” accessed May 17, 2021.
 The EIA Monthly Energy Review aggregates total energy data by converting them to one common unit which is measured in British thermal units (BTUs). Based on this conversion, energy production fell more than 5 percent by volume from 101.3 quadrillion BTUs (quads) in 2019 to 95.8 quads in 2020. In 2020 volume of energy-related exports for the U.S. 23.4 quads. Marohl, “Energy Production in the United States Fell,” May 6, 2021; McFarland, “U.S. Energy Imports Declined in 2020,” April 27, 2021.
 Nuclear materials make up a relatively small portion of energy-related products.
 Wingfield, “U.S. Crude Oil Export Ban,” December 18, 2015; GAO, “Effects of the Repeal,” October 21, 2020, 7.
 IEA, “Global Energy Review 2021,” April 29, 2021, 14.
 EIA, “Weekly U.S. Exports of Crude Oil (Thousand Barrels per Day),” August 11, 2021.
 EIA, “Exports by Destination, Crude Oil,” July 30, 2021.
 In March 2020, Saudi Arabia reacted to a failed OPEC agreement with Russia to reduce crude oil supplies by cutting its crude oil prices nearly 10 percent. The price dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia eventually made U.S. crude oil prices less competitive despite duty-free access under the United States-Korea Free trade Agreement (KORUS) for U.S. crude oil (HS 2709.00) exports to the Korean market and the rebates for freight costs associated with importing crude oil that South Korea offers refiners. Lee, “South Korea Data,” January 18, 2021,” March 8, 2020; EIA, “Country Analysis Executive Summary: South Korea,” October 2020, 4; USTR, "Chapter 2. National Treatment and Market Access for Goods, Annex 2-B: Tariff Elimination," KORUS, accessed August 20, 2021; USTR, "Korea Tariff Schedule," KORUS, accessed August 20, 2021.
 Government of Canada, “The Daily — Energy Statistics, November 2020,” February 5, 2021.
 On January 15, 2020, the United States and China entered into the Phase One Trade Agreement that required China to purchase certain U.S. goods and services, and to make structural changes to its economic and trade regime. USTR, Economic and Trade Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People’s Republic of China (Phase One Trade Agreement), January 15, 2020.
 Tariffs that are expressed as a percentage of a good’s value are called ad valorem tariffs. An ad valorem equivalent converts a tariff rate that was originally expressed in “specific” terms (e.g., a dollar per ton) into a percentage of the appraised custom value of imported good.
 China responded to the U.S. section 301 tariffs on imports of certain products originating in China (announced in August 2019) by imposing, effective September 1, 2019, a 5 percent tariff on imports of certain products (including crude petroleum) originating in the United States. Barrett, “China’s U.S. Energy Imports,” August 5, 2020; Zhou et al., “China to Cut Tariff,” February 6, 2020.
 EIA, “Analysis - Germany,” December 2020.
 Ng, “5 Charts That Explain the Saudi Arabia-Russia Oil Price War,” April 1, 2020; Sabarwal, “Russia’s 2020 Crude Oil Output,” January 2, 2021.
 Product supplied is a proxy for the volume of petroleum products. EIA, “Exports by Destination,” accessed May 27, 2021; EIA, “Product Supplied,” accessed June 1, 2021; Distillate fuel oils value of exports compiled from official statistics of the U.S. Department of Commerce; USITC DataWeb/Census, HTS subheadings 2710.19.11 and 2710.20.10, accessed June 17, 2021.
 Eiermann and Troderman, “The United States Exported More Propane,” March 8, 2021.
 West, “Annual U.S. Coal Exports Drop,” March 11, 2021.
 Carrington, “Renewable Energy Defies Covid-19,” November 10, 2020.
 Depleting Chinese domestic reserves and the quality of Chinese coking coal, makes it necessary to supplement with imports for steel-making production. Vergara, “China’s US Coal Imports Jump,” February 23, 2021 and Chang, “China’s Informal Ban on Australian Thermal Coal,” March 29, 2021, sec. Australian Economy.
 LNG is the only viable form for overseas shipping as it is denser (and thus more efficient to transport) than pipeline gas. However, it is more expensive to produce and transport because it is energy-intensive (it needs to be cooled and pumped using higher pressures). EIA, “Liquefied Natural Gas,” July 15, 2020.
 According to World Bank’s “The Pink Sheet,” the real import price for LNG in Japan declined from $10.62 MMBtu in 2019 to $8.40/MMBtu in 2020 while the Henry Hub, Louisiana, real spot price for natural gas declined from $2.58 MMBtu in 2019 to $2.03 MMBtu in 2020. World Bank, “World Bank Commodity Markets (The Pink Sheet),” August 3, 2021.
 Krohn and Teller, “New Pipeline Projects,” January 18, 2016.
 Zaretskaya, “Asia Became the Main Export Destination,” March 15, 2021.
 Natural gas and LNG production was interrupted by Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Zaretskaya, “Asia Became the Main Export Destination,” March 15, 2021.
 Zaretskaya, “Asia Became the Main Export Destination,” March 15, 2021.
 EIA, “U.S. Natural Gas Exports by Country,” accessed August 2, 2021.
 Krohn and Teller, “Pipeline Projects Increase Natural Gas,” January 18, 2016; Williams and DiSavino, “Resurgent Canadian Natgas Producers,” February 16, 2021.
 EIA, “U.S. Imports by Country of Origin,” accessed June 2, 2021.
 EIA, “Oil and Petroleum Products Explained,” April 13, 2021.
 In 2016, the United States imported a total of 10.06 million barrels per day (MMb/d): OPEC 3.45 MMb/d, Persian Gulf 1.77 MMb/d and Canada 3.78 MMb/d. In 2020, the United States imported a total of 7.86 MMb/d: OPEC 0.89 MMb/d, Persian Gulf 0.77 MMb/d and Canada 4.12 MMb/d. The United States continues to improve its infrastructure to transport crude petroleum, hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs), and petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refinery products). In 2020, nineteen pipeline projects were completed, which were either new, expansions, or conversions, with a few dedicated to crude petroleum exports to Canada. EIA, “Oil Imports and Exports,” April 13, 2021.
 Sharma, “U.S. Will Import Less Latin American Oil,” April 19, 2019.
 Ecuador withdrew its membership as an OPEC country in January 2020. Therefore, it was counted as a non-OPEC country in 2020 but not in 2019. EIA, “U.S. Imports by Country of Origin, Crude Oil,” accessed July 30, 2021.
 Duff, “As Total U.S. Crude Oil Imports Have Fallen,” March 19, 2021.
 Most large U.S. refineries are configured to process heavier crude petroleum. In contrast, domestic production of crude petroleum mostly consists of light crude petroleum. EIA, “Changing Crude Quality Mix,” August 23, 2017.
 EIA, “Country Analysis Executive Summary: - Venezuela,” November 30, 2020. In January 2019, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s state oil company (Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., or PdVSA), in April 2019 on the Venezuelan central bank, and in August 2019 on the Venezuelan government. Seelke, “Venezuela: Overview of U.S. Sanctions,” January 21, 2021, 23.
 EIA, “U.S. Imports by Country of Origin, Crude Oil,” accessed June 2, 2021.
 EIA, “U.S. Imports by Country of Origin, Distillate Fuel Oil,” accessed July 30, 2021; Hack, “Both U.S. Imports and Exports,” April 7, 2021.
 EIA, “U.S. Imports by Country of Origin, Distillate Fuel Oil,” accessed July 30, 2021; Barnett, “COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts,” April 23, 2020; Wittels, Bair, and Low, “A Glut of Diesel,” June 8, 2020.
 Hack, “Both U.S. Imports and Exports,” April 7, 2021.
 EIA, “U.S. Imports by Country of Origin,” accessed June 2, 2021.
 McFarland, “U.S. Energy Imports Declined in 2020,” April 27, 2021.
 USITC DataWeb/Census, digest EP006, accessed July 1, 2021.
 Zaretskaya, “U.S. Natural Gas Exports Have Been Declining Since April,” September 15, 2020.
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