The U.S. relies on imports of crude oil such as Keystone XL will deliver to meet its needs with or without exports of any petroleum products.
In addition to displacing offshore imports of crude oil into the U.S. with North American oil from its closest trading partner, Keystone XL also will help reduce U.S. imports overall by delivering increased domestic crude oil production from the Dakotas and Montana to U.S. refineries. By moving domestic production from the area in the U.S. that is seeing the greatest growth, Keystone XL is responsive to the need for additional pipeline capacity from the northern plains.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. exports of petroleum products (diesel fuel, gasoline, etc.) in 2011 were greater than imports for the first time in more than 60 years. However, the EIA also clarifies that the U.S. relied on net imports (imports minus exports) for about 45% of the total petroleum needs (both crude oil and petroleum products) that were consumed domestically in 2011.
EIA data also clarifies that, with the exception of very small volumes often swapped with Canada, crude oil generally is not exported from the U.S.
For more information: See www.eia.gov. In addition, the federal government’s “Keystone XL Final Environmental Impact Statement” addresses the related issue of the rumored export of oil from Keystone XL in Appendix in the U.S. Department of State New Keystone XL Pipeline Application.