In the past three years, the U.S. has exported more energy products to Mexico than it imports. That’s a reversal from just a few years ago.

Historically, energy trading between Mexico and the U.S. was characterized by Mexican sales of crude oil to the U.S. and American sales of refined petroleum products to Mexico.

Trade Shift: United States Exports More Energy Products to Mexico

US-Mexico Imports-Exports

Through 2014, the EIA said, Mexico’s crude oil exports were the most valuable component of energy trade. Crude oil sales to the U.S. exceeded the value of U.S. net sales of products such as gasoline and diesel fuel.

Trade Shift: United States Exports More Energy Products to Mexico

US-Mexico Imports-Exports Value

In 2015, the value of U.S. energy exports to Mexico, including growing volumes of petroleum products and natural gas, passed the value of imports from Mexico, as Mexican crude oil sold in the U.S. continued to decline.

According to the EIA, the value of U.S. energy exports to Mexico increased to a high of $25.8 billion in 2017, including $23.2 billion of petroleum products. Overall, this export value was more than twice as much as the $11.1 billion value of 2017 U.S. energy imports from Mexico.

Based-on the latest annual data from the U.S. Census Bureau, energy accounted for more than 10% of the value for all U.S. exports to Mexico and 4% of all U.S. imports from Mexico in 2017.

Trade Shift: United States Exports More Energy Products to Mexico

Traded Energy Commodities

Crude oil

Crude oil makes up most of the U.S. energy imports from Mexico, averaging 608,000 BPD in 2017. In 2017, Mexico was the source of 8% of U.S. imported crude oil – the fourth-largest share, behind Canada, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

From 2007 to 2015, these crude oil imports were valued at an annual average of about $30 billion dollars, but more recently, because both U.S. crude oil imports and world oil prices have been relatively low, these imports from Mexico were valued at $7.6 billion in 2016 and $9.8 billion in 2017.

Back in December 2015, the EIA reported that as Mexico’s crude oil exports to the United States fell, when Mexico re-routed its oil exports to countries in Europe and Asia.

Petroleum exports

Petroleum products such as finished motor gasoline, distillate fuel oil and propane account for most of the value of energy exports from the United States to Mexico, the EIA said. In 2017, Mexico was the destination for more than 1 million BPD of petroleum products, up from 880,000 BPD in 2016. This level was 24% of all petroleum products exported from the United States. These exports were valued at more than $23 billion dollars in 2017.

In 2017, petroleum product exports to Mexico rose in both amount and value. Changes in Mexico’s utilization of petroleum refineries have created a widening gap between its domestic supply and demand, and U.S. gasoline exports now make up more than half of Mexico’s gasoline consumption.

Compared with petroleum product exports, petroleum product imports from Mexico to the United States are relatively small, making up about 74,000 BPD with a value of $1.2 billion in 2017.


Natural gas exports to Mexico from the United States—either shipments by pipeline or LNG cargoes—were 4.6 Bcf/d in 2017. This natural gas trade is dominated by pipeline shipments to Mexico, which made up about half of total U.S. natural gas exports in 2017. Increasing shipments of natural gas by pipeline to Mexico are contributing to the United States’ emerging status as a net natural gas exporter.

Natural gas pipelines currently under construction or in planning stages are expected to nearly double the pipeline natural gas exporting capacity from the United States to Mexico by 2018. Much of this natural gas will likely be used to generate electricity, as Mexico’s energy ministry expects to add significant natural gas-fired electricity generating capacity through 2029.

From February 2016 through December 2017, U.S. LNG exports to Mexico totaled 168 Bcf, or 19% of U.S. LNG exports, making Mexico the largest destination for U.S. LNG exports.

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