U.S. Crude Imports Rise Most Since 2008 on Gulf Shipments

U.S. crude-oil imports increased last week by the most since 2008, rebounding from a 17-year low, as shipments to the Gulf Coast gained.

Imports climbed 21 percent to 7.81 million barrels a day in the week ended May 23, the Energy Information Administration reported. That’s the largest percentage gain since September 2008. They increased 1.34 million barrels a day, the biggest amount since December 2011.

U.S. imports dropped to the lowest level since 1997 in the previous week as rising domestic production reduced dependence on foreign oil. U.S. crude output stayed at a 28-year high as a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, unlocked supplies trapped in shale formations in North America.

“The state of imports is probably answered by scheduling issues with very large refineries,” said Tom Finlon, Jupiter, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics Group LLC.

Imports to the U.S. Gulf Coast, known as PADD 3, increased 1.08 million barrels a day last week, or 38 percent, said the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical unit.

Shipments to the area, home to more than 50 percent of U.S. refining capacity, had been decreasing as more crude flowed to the region from Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for New York futures.

U.S. crude production climbed 38,000 barrels a day last week to 8.47 million, the most since October 1986, the EIA reported.

“With production at almost 8.5 million barrels and expected to remain elevated, imports will keep declining,” said Kyle Cooper, director of commodities research at IAF Advisors in Houston.

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