WASHINGTON, April 4 (UPI) -- An industry brief Friday from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds U.S. oil imports are down, though imports from top foreign suppliers increased.
EIA finds U.S. net crude oil imports declined last year to 7.6 million barrels per day. That's 10.2 percent fewer imports than the previous year and the lowest level since 1996.
EIA said in a briefing Friday crude oil imports from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia -- the three top foreign oil suppliers to the U.S. market -- were at their highest in since at least 1973.
"These three countries provided almost three out of every five barrels of oil imported into the U.S. market last year," EIA said.
EIA said Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia produce a medium to heavy grade of crude oil that's suitable for the U.S. refinery sector, in contrast to the lighter grade from in U.S. tight oil formations.
"Also, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, these countries are near the United States, with Mexico having a short shipping distance for its oil to the large number of refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast," EIA said.
Canadian crude oil imports last year set a record at 2.5 million bpd, a 3.9 percent increase from 2012.