WASHINGTON, May 1 (UPI) -- U.S. crude oil imports are on a general rate of decline, though the level is barely less than the same time last year, the U.S. Energy Department said.
The Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said in its weekly petroleum update crude oil imports averaged 7.5 million barrels per day last week, down 313,000 bpd from the previous week.
"Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.7 million barrels per day, 0.1 percent below the same four-week period last year," EIA's Wednesday report said.
The U.S. economy is relying less on imported crude oil because of the increase in domestic production from shale reserves.
EIA said the amount for crude oil in the U.S. inventory, not counting those volumes in the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, increased by 1.7 million barrels from the previous week's report. That puts total crude oil inventories at 339.4 million barrels, which is above the average range for this time of year.
Domestic production for the week ending April 28 was 8.35 million bpd, a marginal decrease from the previous week.
Canada and Saudi Arabia were the top oil exporters to the United States for the week, with a combined 4.1 million bpd sent to the U.S. market. Both of those levels were down from the previous week's report.