Sheela Tobben

The U.S. last week imported 8.92 million barrels a day of crude, the largest amount in almost four years, according to preliminary data from the Energy Information Administration. Buyers are purchasing heavy, sour crude grades -- primarily for use in Gulf Coast and California refineries -- to replace an increasing amount of exports, said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “Also, they are filling the shortfall left by declining U.S. production as refiners maintain high through-puts,” he said.

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