Nigeria has become the first country to completely stop selling oil to the US due to the impact of the shale revolution – an astounding reversal as the African nation was only four years ago one of the top-5 oil suppliers to America.
According to the US Department of Energy, Nigeria did not export a single barrel of crude to US-based refiners in July for the first time since records start in 1973. Preliminary data suggest the trend continued in August and September.
Many oil producers have seen their exports to the US drop as domestic production rises thanks to the use of new technologies such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. But Nigeria is the first to fully stop exporting crude.
At its peak in February 2006, the US imported 1.3m b/d from Nigeria – equal to roughly one super-tanker the size of the Exxon Valdez every day. By 2012, Nigeria was already selling just 0.5m b/d, but was still one of the top-5 suppliers to the US, alongside Saudi Arabia, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela. Earlier this year sales dropped to a trickle of about 100,000 b/d. And in July, they completely stopped.