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Where Does the US Oil Supply Come from?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 21, 2024
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The United States (US) oil supply is a frequent topic of discussion within the US, because of increasing concerns about dependence on oil as a source of fuel. According to the US Department of Energy, 40% of America's energy needs are met through petroleum products. Many citizens are worried about the impacts of oil on the environment, and would like to see the country moving towards more sustainable sources of oil. In addition, there is a great deal of controversy over the sources for American oil, and the political maneuvering which is necessary in order to meet American demands for oil.

Approximately 40% of America's oil comes from domestic oil fields in states like Texas, Alaska, and California. Some of this oil is actually sold to other countries, such as Japan. The other 60% of the US oil supply is from foreign sources. Contrary to popular belief, however, the US has very diverse oil interests all over the world, and receives oil and petroleum products from almost every continent on Earth. This diversity within the oil supply allows allows for the manufacture of a wide range of petroleum products, using crude oil of various chemical makeups.

us oil supply

Canada, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Nigeria, Angola, and Iraq all contribute sizable amounts to the US oil supply. America also imports oil from Kuwait, Norway, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea, and Algeria. Numerous other countries ship refined oil products to the United States to supplement the output of American refineries. The diversity of the oil supply makes it difficult to cut off the country's supply of oil altogether, although wrinkles in the supply chain could be problematic.

Much of the US oil supply comes from member nations of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OPEC member nations are supposed to work together to ensure stable oil prices while safeguarding oil reserves and ensuring that countries around the world have access to oil when they need it. The US oil supply is not, however, restricted to OPEC sources, and the country regularly imports oil from countries which are not member nations, such as Canada, at varying prices.


us oil supply

While the sources for American oil are myriad, many of the countries which contribute the bulk of the US oil supply are economically and politically unstable. This has led to concerns about the security of the US oil supply, since a major political disturbance could be devastating. For this reason, the US also maintains an oil reserve for emergency situations, and is devoting funding to the development of energy alternatives.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a America Explained researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon1007216 — On Jun 18, 2022

Your facts are wrong , The U.S does indeed produce enough oil to meet its own needs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2020 America produced 18.4 million barrels of oil per day and consumed 18.12 million. And yet that same report reveals that the U.S. imported 7.86 million barrels of oil per day last year.

So please get your facts straight before publishing erronious information.

By anon249913 — On Feb 23, 2012

We are tired of the fat cats getting fatter!

By anon237495 — On Dec 29, 2011

The USA is in big trouble with regards to how they waste resources. The freshwater story in regards to the usage and consumption of oil and its effects on droughts, food and cattle etc. Quite interesting. All information is not in, but many for whatever reason, would like you to think they have the answer. If it is of any import at all, you could justify that that there are other countries worse off. Somehow, that does not compute.

By anon182224 — On Jun 01, 2011

Why do we get any oil from anywhere other then all of it coming from inside the usa?

We have trillions, with a "t" - barrels of liquid oil in six land-locked states, free from the hazards of hurricanes, in: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and one other! None of these include texas or oklahoma!

The reason? Oligarch luciferians control our government, and they alone have 'decreed' that americans will not be permitted to enjoy using their own oil. Period. Even shale oil is also easy and profitable to use, and comes from rocks, as well as from coal.

The environmentalists get major funding from the oil company owned foundations, like the Pew Foundation, etc. Environmentalists are doing the job of maintaining the false idea of oil scarcity, or we can call it, artificial scarcity.

Environmental groups are working for their pay masters, and would have us risk the ultimate environmental disaster of nuclear war coming from major oil disruptions in the middle east. We do not need so much as a single drop of middle east oil, whatsoever. Environmentalists are also racist in that whatever mess oil production may incur, it is okay "over there," just not "okay" here. And what kind of people live "over there?" There is no need of any of the oil in the gulf of mexico, or from any off shore drilling platforms. None.

Abiotic oil is more common then is the grains of sand on the beaches of the world, and ought to be cheap. Real cheap. as in "dirt cheap." It takes a whole lot of work to maintain the facade of oil being scarce.

There are no reservoirs of any oil coming from dinosaurs and or ancient plant life. We know this because we also know that in places where there has never been any kind of life, there are hydrocarbons being discovered, such as on venus, and moons orbiting other planets. There is and has never been any such thing as oil as "fossil fuel" oil. It is mythology, as well as a formerly grate sales and marketing term. Again, it is a false declaration.

You too have now been fully exposed to the truth. What will you now do with it? What will you do about it?

By anon165906 — On Apr 06, 2011

I can't believe a right wing hack would say something as stupid as the Obama administration and its minions in the Congress and the environmentalists and left wing hacks in the Department of the Interior, DOE and EPA have done such serious damage to our country that they should all be thrown out on their respective butts. It's time to take the cue and get a clue.

You write as if drilling for more oil will automatically lower prices. You're wrong. Oil is the republican wet dream of free market enterprise. That is why the oil companies boast huge profits and republicans are all agog over oil futures.

Obama has no control over the cost of oil; if he did it would mean it is a nationalized enterprise. Its purchase, distribution and sale as well as domestic production here isn't privatized. We do buy from several nationalized sources but ours isn't among them.

A week before the BP Gulf spill. Lisa Murkowski cast the deciding vote to hold big oil culpable for only $750,000,000 in damages. Obama nixed that and went after them for 136 times that in damages -- and he got it.

In january our top suppliers of imported oil were Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia. Nigeria and Venezuela. All but Canada, our largest supplier. Only Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are members of OPEC. OPEC doesn't wield the clout it once had in setting prices.

Gasoline is worth only what people are willing to pay for it. Nothing more and nothing less. Maybe the part of the world where a third of the world's population is now making larger demands on the world supply and the US no longer has the leverage.

Who would have thought the enclave with the largest population of communists would be yanking the strings of the capitalist free enterprise market?

By anon162807 — On Mar 25, 2011

I'm reading these comments and it is astonishing how ignorant most are regarding this subject. It is truly unbelievable. Actually, it is frightening. The comments about Bush/Cheney are laughable, but they are actually very sad.

Just for beginners: we do not import any gas from anyone. We import crude oil to refine it here. And, had this country gone forward with the drilling and exploration that Bush cleared the way for, prior to his term ending, we would have been well on our way to markedly increasing our domestic production by leaps and bounds.

The Obama administration and its minions in the Congress and the environmentalists and left wing hacks in the Dept. of the Interior, DOE and EPA have done such serious damage to our country that they should all be thrown out on their respective butts. It's time to take the cue and get a clue.

By decoy — On Mar 22, 2011

The problem is with Exxon and Shell Oil. They cannot refine heavy crude, which is what Canadian Oil Sands crude is. All old refineries have to upgrade to be able to refine heavy crude into gasoline. They will not do it. Therefore, they rely on light crude which is Mideast oil.

So it is at least Exxon that forces us to import Mideast oil. Since high gas prices dampen our economy, why can't our government force them to upgrade? If not, why not put a 25 percent import tariff on Mideast oil?

By anon156179 — On Feb 25, 2011

Social Security is totally funded by the participants. Not one penny of your income taxes go to fund social security. The only reason there is any question about the health of Social Security is because when a wage earner's annual earnings reaches $106,000 they don't have to keep paying into the fund.

Given that the top 5 percent of the wage earners earn 50 percent of the income, that leaves a whole bunch of earnings untouched. The rich get a tax break and then complain that Social Security is underfunded. Hmmm.

By Joe4more — On Feb 21, 2011

What happens to domestic crude oil that is refined in the US? I never noticed a choice at the pump between domestic gas and imported gas? I lack awareness about the oil business.

By anon148161 — On Jan 31, 2011

Many interesting comments so far. It seems clear that few of us really understand the oil business. The operative word is “Business.” The entire issue is companies generating wealth for their owners and stockholders. Of course, there are side issues like national security, but that is just a secondary issue. The federal policymakers in the government respond to “donations” for their reelection (self-enrichment). These businesses (indirectly) and policymakers (directly) restrict where we American workers can explore for oil.

The oil rig utilization rate is around 33 percent for the Gulf of Mexico. That, my friends, translates into hundreds of thousands of Americans unemployed. Of course, higher domestic oil prices, too. Gee, do we have a problem with unemployment? Or, oil prices? One thing we Americans are not very good at is understanding the difference between what we are told versus reality. I believe that is called being gullible.

We import some oil from Mexico, which also exports illegal immigrants and drugs to us. Or, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Arab countries who use our money to fund our executions via terrorist groups. Oh yea, Canada. That's just a money deal.

Did I mention I'm an unemployed offshore oilfield worker with 20 years experience?

By anon142923 — On Jan 14, 2011

@anon133195: If you want to get enemies, then that's your choice, but as to being despised, I think that every country is despised for one thing or another.

I admit, a lot of us are arrogant, but every person in the world is ignorant, especially if they think that they know everything. Our problem is most definitely not being American, because America holds people from every different nation of the world. -Rrhian B.

P.S. @wiseGEEK: thanks for the information!

By anon133195 — On Dec 09, 2010

Wow and Americans wonder why they are the most despised country in the whole world. Because of people like you with your arrogant and ignorant statements is the reason why the world hates america. America will not survive when it is all over and I thank god because they have got to be the dumbest nation in this entire world.

By anon132238 — On Dec 06, 2010

@anon66387: Let me put things this way, if China ever tried to "enslave" America, you thought we got fired up at 9/11, any one of you foreign countries try and land troops on our shores, we will never allow it, you'll have to kill all of us! And believe me when i say your pretty little uniforms just make you easier to spot through my sniper scope. You'll be fighting a war door to door and for every one American you kill you will lose 100 of your own.

By anon127901 — On Nov 17, 2010

does the US harvest oil in Iraq or do they get oil from buying it?

By anon123292 — On Nov 01, 2010

Yes, china, among other foreign nations, happens to have the one thing that america needs right now: money. america is how many trillions of dollars in debt? and most of our taxes that we pay goes to funding social security.

The amount that goes to foreign nations is at most just meeting the interest that we owe. the only way to get out of this debt is to either sell off our offshore oil, which is already beginning to happen, sell some of our land, which never going to happen, or to bomb the people that hold our debt until they cry for mercy. Needless to say that the latter is not going to happen.

so, when our debt gets called on to be paid back, and we don't have the money, the same thing happens to us that happens if you can't pay your car bill. it gets repossessed. -M

By anon105970 — On Aug 23, 2010

china owns america? lol. good luck in finding enough nuclear fuel for those billions of starving chinese scholars.

clear across the plastic soup of the pacific, we'll be listening to mass orchestras of robotic chinese musicians cranking out wailing, existentially meaningless symphonies of dead european music as asia burns in heat waves and drowns in floods.

They're going to take more than every drop of oil left on the planet, and a flailing asian giant made out of your glued together cliches to save you.

if the hordes of chinese geniuses looming on the horizon are anything like you, america has nothing to worry about.

By anon100123 — On Jul 28, 2010

>>where does oil come from?

From biomass, heated and compressed over great lengths of time. Part of the reason they are called "fossil" fuels is that fossils are commonly found in the oil strata.

By anon97457 — On Jul 19, 2010

LOL. You can't court martial congressmen or lobbyists for partaking in lobbying. That's been happening long before your granddaddy was in diapers. The bureaucracy owns all of us: the policemen, the military, judges, jurors, you, me. You can't arrest someone who owns you. They'll just laugh as they throw you in a large fedex box and ship you off to the Niger Delta.

By anon86802 — On May 26, 2010

all congress wants is to put a couple of million in the bank. the oil companies pay the congressmen money to be on their side. this should be called bribery and they should face a court hearing and be jailed on the matter.

By anon83212 — On May 10, 2010

most of the US oil comes from offshore, alaska, canada, and venezuela. doesn't everyone know this? no we can't tap US land oil reserves unless we want to get skunked by foreign invaders one day.

it is strategic oil reserve. this oil you are talking about that Obama has said is needed in time of crisis *knocks on your head* hello do you even know what a crisis is? a crisis isn't "boohoo i can't drive my h1 hummer down to the supermarket and get food" A crisis is war.

By anon81166 — On Apr 30, 2010

Cuba gets oil from Venezuela in a trade deal for doctors and agricultural produce amongst other things.

The US has been as aware of the looming oil shortage as China and everyone else.

The US chose to secure oil using the military in Iraq and Afghanistan (Turkmenistan pipeline) and private companies. Bad move - China has traded and been successful, by providing development funds and accepting a very low $2/barrel for new flows; so have many other nations.

The US has behaved like a violent predator and won little but trouble. Peace.

By anon72871 — On Mar 24, 2010

Oil supplied by Saudi Arabia to the United States is 12 percent.

We do get most of our oil from Canada and Mexico.

But there is a lot of oil in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, so why don't we just use that oil? I mean Obama says that it is only needed in time if a crisis so what does he call this?

By anon66387 — On Feb 19, 2010

China is bidding the price of oil upwards while it builds more and better nuclear reactors than the U.S. to resolve its energy problems and it's also building nuclear electricity powered bullet train networks throughout the country, well ahead of the U.S., and unfettered by corporations and capitalists of indigent Senates.

China "owns" America and will have her way with them despite popular romantic propaganda from Hollywood and the current corporate-backed regime!

U.S. Marines with dull pencils did not develop the "Pebble Bed " reactors, nor did MIT - Chinese nuclear scholars at Tsinghua University did! They have one up and working! Play football Yankee Doodle, and build your muscles up strong - you're going to need them as a slave to the Asian super-intellectuals that are taking over the world as we speak!

China has more post-graduates with IQs over 130, than the U.S.A. has high school students, drop-outs included, this year! In decades to come, U.S.A. will pay dearly for dumbing down its student body, and will have no light bodied veggie and rice burning multi-discipline graduates, only sports stars and military gun-toters, in a computer and intelligence dominated world.

More people in China speak English than in the U.S.A. and 440 million Chinese dominate the Internet today. A new Asian empire is replacing the American one as we speak.

They will be solar wave, wind, geothermal, hydro, nuclear powered, and bid from that powerful position for oil against a diminishing U.S. dollar for a larger share of this finite resource in the next few decades, rendering Yankee Doodle to battery cars and bicycles!

By anon52326 — On Nov 12, 2009

anon maybe you should pick up a book that is not written by an evangelist and try to be a little open minded. First, people following islam are called muslims not Islams. And to say that oil prices are expensive only in nations that support israel and is because they support israel is just stupid. For example, Syria and Jordan have higher gas prices than the U.S. You know why? it's because they don't have oil reserves in their country.

By anon21246 — On Nov 12, 2008

where does oil come from? does anyone know? is it a fossil fuel, or am i wrong? please help!!!

By anon19849 — On Oct 20, 2008

Well, if you think Muslims hate USA solely because of Bush - you would be wrong. They hated USA long before they knew W or his father. They see USA as morally corrupt (actually true) due to the filth coming out of Hollywood(Women treated as sex objects, intense profanity, etc.). Many in the world think that Hollywood movies (and stars) represents the USA - and unfortunately,in many ways they does. The "fight for oil" is a shallow attack on Bush. Despite his faults, he did take the fight to them - on their ground - and protected USA from attacks since 9-11. For this, we thank President Bush.

By anon19832 — On Oct 20, 2008

where would cuba get oil from????

By anon19737 — On Oct 18, 2008

whats going to happen to the Economy if John and Joe win??

By anon19736 — On Oct 18, 2008

well, i believe that this could never really be answered because only god could know what and how oil is made. also i have read the Declaration Of Independence

By anon16885 — On Aug 17, 2008

Obama, so now he is looked on as the problem solver for our country? Oil prices? Economy? Return our military personnel from over seas with the job unfinished and there by abandoning our friends in those countries to their deaths, not to mention that all of our people died in vain and the word of our government commitments mean nothing. Our rebukes of other countries will mean nothing because they will know all they have to do is hold us off long enough and we will give up and go home. Is there any honor in this? What plan does obama have other than spouting off hope, and change, change and hope. How about saying something real with some substance.

Oil, natural gas, electricity. Drastic energy increases are directly destroying our economy i believe from the bottom up. How about government regulation to stop the price gouging.

Alternative energy? How? Where? What? When? It is not practical at this time because it is not readily available. We hear about alternative energy from politicians, however what they are really doing is saying they either don't want to or are unable to do anything about this situation.

I contacted ron wyden, gordon smith, and one or two others here in oregon. Wyden replied saying the issue is complicated, he is concerned, spoke of alternative energy, but in the end did not say what could be done, or was being done. Nothing. Gordan smith did not reply at all. Maybe if others contacted the politicians it would help, but you won't, so here we are, taking what we can get. Yet obama is our savior, ha.

By Randy — On Jun 16, 2008

Talking about oil and the gas we use, would it be safe to say that WE (USA) purchase most of our gas used ??

By anon13991 — On Jun 08, 2008

OMG Doesn't anyone realize that Bush and Cheney are not the only ones to run the government? The Islams have always and will always hate us. If you will notice the only countries paying astronomical prices for gas are the ones that help and support Israel. If we were to turn our backs on Israel our gas prices would drop drastically. And if Obama takes office you can bet your pretty penny that this is what will happen. We can either stand by our convictions and pay higher gas prices, tuck tail and run and pay lower gas prices, or stop buying from OPEC and ration gas. Are you willing to give up your pride and freedom for cheaper OPEC gas? I am not.

By anon13289 — On May 23, 2008

My understanding is that we got most of our oil

from canada and mexico so why are talking so much

saudi arabia?

By jonesboy1 — On May 23, 2008

Washington's new plan is to sue OPEC to lower oil prices. Unless I'm mistaken, Bush invaded Iraq under the premise that Saddam had WMD's, when in reality it was to protect Israel and secure the oil fields so Halli-Burton could build a pipeline from Iraq to Kuwait. Now all of Islam hates us. This is how it is, OPEC controls the oil. Opec countries are predominately Muslim countries. Muslims hate Israel and George Bush. What's the best way to hurt the U.S. economy? Raise the price of oil! So we get screwed while rich oil men like George Bush and Dick Cheney laugh all the way to the bank!

By curious1 — On May 17, 2008

Other countries, Norway for example, are entering the Gulf of Mexico for deep water oil drilling. Is the Gulf of Mexico 'free range' for other countries? Do they own oil that they recover?

A Statement of Concern: According to a recent Internet article, the US obtains 40% of its oil domestically and sells some of it to other countries. This seems counterproductive to relieving our dependence on foreign oil e.g. from Saudi Arabia (OPEC), who only supplies the US with what they want to. For the oil we sell to other countries, to what extent (time and annual quantities) are we bound (via the Federal Government, treaties, balance of trade agreements) by these relations?

Comments welcomed.

By anon4785 — On Nov 01, 2007

How much oil is supplied by Saudi Arabia to the United States?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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