Canada crude imports slip to one-year low as imports from U.S. grows

NEW YORK, July 3 Thu Jul 3, 2014 11:18am EDT

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NEW YORK, July 3 (Reuters) - Imports of crude oil into Canada fell to a one-year low in May despite a continued climb in imports from the United States, Statistics Canada data showed on Thursday.

Canada imported 16.6 million barrels in May, or around 535,000 barrels per day (bpd), from around the world, with the United States as the top supplier, followed by Norway.

This compares with April imports of 17.5 million barrels, or some 583,000 bpd, and May 2013 imports of 14.3 million barrels, or around 461,000 barrels per day.

While imports from a number of countries increased, including the United States, Norway and Egypt, imports from the United Kingdom, Algeria, Nigeria and Mexico mostly dropped off.

Canada has the world's third-largest crude reserves after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela and produces around 4.3 million barrels per day, but still imports crude because of limited pipeline access from the main oil-producing regions in Western Canada to some eastern refineries.

From the United States, Canada imported some 8.4 million barrels in May, or 271,000 bpd. That's a 3.2 percent increase from the 8.1 million barrels in April and more than double the 4 million barrels imported in May 2013.

Crude exports are restricted in the United States under a decades-old legislation, but companies are allowed to apply for licenses to sell oil to Canada.

Statistics Canada data showed that imports from Texas continued to remain as the biggest exported by state of U.S. crude to Canada for the sixth month in a row, although the number of barrels fell to 4.3 million in May, down from the 4.4 million imported the month prior.

Imports from North Dakota also slipped to 2.9 million barrels from 3.1 million barrels the month prior. (Reporting By Catherine Ngai; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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