NAFTA in Transition

By Stephen J. Randall; Herman W. Konrad | Go to book overview

Robert N. McRae Department of Economics University of Calgary


6
The Emergence of North American
Energy Trade Without Barriers

INTRODUCTION

This chapter concentrates on the forces which underlie energy trade within North America. Although the scope is North American, more emphasis is placed on Canada-United States trade. Only oil and natural gas trade are considered, despite the fact that coal and electricity are also traded.

The United States produces both oil and natural gas; however, there has been excess demand for both commodities since the 1950s. Hence, Canada exports oil and natural gas to the United States, and Mexico exports oil. Data for both the volume and value of Canada's oil and natural gas exports and imports are displayed in Tables 1 and 2; the volume of U.S. imports of oil from Canada, Mexico and the world is shown in Table 3.1

Canada, Mexico and the United States have all, at one time, used government intervention to restrict exports (or imports). Since the mid- 1980s, Canada-United States trade has been relatively free of government intervention; however, the Mexican government still controls the flow of oil to the United States. In the 1970s and 1980s many governments restricted the development of and trade in energy products. Generally,

____________________
1
More recent data and a forecast are contained in United States and Canadian reports, Department of Energy ( 1995) and Natural Resources Canada ( 1995), respectively. Net oil imports into the U.S. are expected to rise to over 48 percent of demand in 1996, due to an increase in petroleum demand of between 1.4 and 2.5 percent per annum, and a decline in oil production of between 2 and 3 percent per year. Natural gas imports into the U.S. (from Canada) are expected to increase to about 13 percent of U.S. demand by 1996 because of relatively strong domestic demand growth of about 2.5 percent per annum and a decline in domestic production of about 1 percent.

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