After climbing steadily for more than a decade, U.S. imports of base oils flattened out in 2013, the first year in 10 that did not see a gain. From January through December, 11.3 million barrels poured into the United States, versus 11.4 million barrels in 2012.
The U.S. ships out more than twice the volume of base oil than it takes in though, and exports in 2013 were 26.6 million barrels, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Exports also hit a plateau last year, after setting an all-time record of 27.3 million barrels in 2012. So 2013 earns the consolation prize as the second-best year ever for U.S. exports.