WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Though the United States imported more petroleum in June, overall levels reveal a trend suggesting the country is relying less on oil imports, data indicate.
A recent column in The New York Times suggested that U.S. dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia was increasing. The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reported in its latest monthly report that net imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products increased 3 percent in June to 8.1 million barrels per day compared to May levels.
Net imports of crude oil and refined products for June were more than 10 percent lower than figures reported for the previous year, however.
Energy policy in the United States has taken a prime position in the presidential campaign. Critics of U.S. President Barack Obama's policies say he's blocking access to vast deposits of oil and natural gas. The administration notes that domestic production is at historic highs, however.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that, as president, he'd open new offshore areas for drilling to achieve North American energy independence by 2020.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates there are 32 billion barrels of oil, 291 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 10 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in mean potential undiscovered reserves in the country.
Those estimates don't include federal offshore areas.
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