The United States slashed its imports of Nigerian crude oil by 64.12 per cent in 2020 to the lowest in five years.
The North American country bought 24.42 million barrels of Nigerian crude oil last year, down from 68.06 million barrels in 2019, according to data obtained from the US Energy Information Agency.
The US imports fell from 1.93 million barrels in January to 1.93 million barrels in February, 1.68 million barrels in March, and 1.71 million barrels in April.
The country imported 2.12 million barrels of Nigerian crude in May; 3.09 million barrels in June; 760,000 barrels in July, and 3.25 million barrels in August.
The EIA data showed that the US purchased 2.09 million barrels of Nigerian crude in September; 618,000 barrels in October; 3.78 million barrels in November, and 1.96 million barrels in December.
In 2018, the US imports of Nigerian crude tumbled to 64.06 million barrels from a five-year high of 112.92 million barrels in 2017.
The EIA data showed that the country imported 75.81 million barrels of Nigerian crude in 2016, up from 19.85 million barrels in 2015.
In 2014, when global oil prices started to fall from a peak of $115 per barrel, Nigeria saw a drop in US imports to 21.24 million barrels.
US imports of Nigerian crude fell from 148.48 million barrels in 2012 to 87.40 million barrels in 2013 on the back of the shale oil boom.
Light sweet Nigerian crude is very similar to the light oil produced in US shale. As US shale production grew, the appetite for Nigerian crude in the US dropped dramatically.
US crude oil production averaged 11.3 million barrels per day in 2020, down 935,000 bpd (eight per cent) from the record annual average high of 12.2 million bpd in 2019, the EIA said in March.
The 2020 decrease in production was the largest annual decline in the EIA’s records.
The agency said the production decline resulted from reduced drilling activity related to low oil prices in 2020.
In January 2020, US crude oil production reached a peak of 12.8 million bpd.