(EnergyAsia, March 26 2014, Wednesday) — The US trade deficit has been shrinking since 2009 as rising domestic oil and gas production has helped slash energy imports, said the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The drop in net imports of crude and oil products combined was the biggest contributor to the US net trade deficit falling in November 2013 to its lowest level since 2009.

As the main component of the US energy trade, oil’s reduced share since 2005 has contributed to the nation’s growing energy independence.

While the volume of net oil imports peaked in 2005, US spendings on monthly net oil imports generally rose through July 2008, when it exceeded $40 billion on account of the sharp run-up in prices.

Net import values fell sharply in the second half of 2008, as volumes fell modestly while prices plunged from a record of more than US$147 per barrel to around US$30 over a five-month period.

From early 2009 through early 2011, rising prices drove the value of net oil imports higher even as import volumes remained flat.
Since early 2011, a falling volume of crude oil imports as domestic production has risen sharply and the emergence of net product exports have driven the volume and value of net oil imports lower. These reductions occurred even though the annual average oil prices in 2012 and 2013 were at their highest historical levels.

The combination of stagnating domestic demand, a competitive refinery infrastructure and strong global demand turned the US into a significant net exporter of products from 2011, said the EIA.