WOW: US Goes from Net Exporter to Net Importer of Energy in Less Than a Year Under Biden

The U.S. became a net exporter of total energy in 2019, factoring in oil, coal and natural gas trade, for the first in nearly eight decades. But in 2021 the U.S. returned to importing more of total energy products under Biden.

Also, after becoming a net exporter of crude oil in 2020, the nation is projected to return to net importer status under the Biden administration in 2022. Also in 2020, the difference between U.S. crude oil imports and exports fell to its lowest since at least 1985. Net crude oil imports subsequently rose by 19% to an average of 3.2 million barrels per day.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), February 2022 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO, net crude oil imports will increase, making the United States a net importer of petroleum in 2022.

A country is a net importer if it imports more of a commodity than it exports. Conversely, a country is a net exporter if it exporters more of a commodity than it imports. 

According to former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, former President Donald Trump played an active role in kickstarting U.S. oil and gas development during his tenure.

In an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation DCNF, Zinke, the first Interior Secretary to serve the Trump administration, said, “The former president followed U.S. energy production numbers closely and repeatedly asked senior officials if the U.S. was on track of achieving energy independence and whether American drilling would surpass that of Russia.”

Zinke recalled, “When I mentioned to the president, we don’t have to be beholden to anybody, we can not only be energy dependent, but I think we can dominate the market in energy dominance,” he said, “I love it.”

The former Interior Secretary said that he and Trump both agreed that the U.S. could produce more oil and gas than Russia, which was the world’s top energy producer at the time, in the first two years of his administration. 

In 2016, the U.S. drilled 8.9 million barrels of oil per day, while Russia produced 10.6 million barrels per day, according to EIA data. By 2019, the U.S. produced 12.2 million barrels of oil per day compared to Russia’s 10.8 million per day.

Among its energy policy initiatives, the Trump administration approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, allowed the drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge, nixed the Obama administration’s moratorium on coal leasing, reformed the natural gas terminal permitting process and opposed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which it argued was a form of Russian energy coercion. 

“I felt I had the authority from the president to bring America out of energy dependence to energy independence and all the way to energy dominance, “Zinke told the DCNF. “And I thank President Trump. He gave me a lot of latitude to do it.”

The Biden administration has reversed much of Trump’s policies, nixing the Keystone XL oil pipeline, ditching oil drilling in Alaska, not appealing a court ruling that prohibited a massive offshore drilling lease in the Gulf of Mexico, attempting to ban new drilling leases on federal lands and making it harder for utilities to gain approval for natural gas projects.

Thus, the transformation from energy independence to energy dependent, credited to Joe Biden.

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