Oil and petroleum products - a statistical overview

Data extracted in July 2018.

Planned article update: July 2019.


In 2016 the top oil producers in the EU were the United Kingdom followed by Denmark, Romania and Italy.

Oil import dependency, 2016 (%)

This article provides an overview of oil statistics covering crude oil as well as petroleum products. Energy statistics are available for all 28 EU Member States) and 12 non-EU countries. Data are available for the period 1990 to 2016.

For decades, crude oil and petroleum products have had the largest share in gross inland energy consumption in the EU-28. Despite decreasing production and consumption in the EU in recent years, crude oil and its derived products remain the largest contributors to energy consumption.

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Production of crude oil

The primary production of crude oil in 2016 in the European Union (EU-28) was 68.0 Mtoe. This production peaked in 1999 at 165.8 Mtoe and reached a minimum of 64.5 Mtoe in 2014. The top oil producers in the EU-28 in 2016 were the United Kingdom (45.6 Mtoe) followed by Denmark (7.0 Mtoe), Romania and Italy (3.8 Mtoe each).

Figure 1: Primary production of crude oil, 1990-2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_110a)

In Norway, one of the key European non-EU crude oil producers, production peaked in 2000 (163.6 Mtoe) and by 2013 it had decreased to less than half (71.7 Mtoe). Since then, Norwegian production increased, reaching 80.5 Mtoe in 2016. EU candidate countries (Albania, Serbia and Turkey) have some production of crude oil, however on a rather small scale (in total near 4.6 Mtoe in 2016). The Energy Community contracting parties (Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia) produced in 2016 1.8 Mtoe crude oil. These data are presented in Figure 1.

Imports of crude oil

In 2016, total imports of crude oil to the EU-28 amounted to 545.9 Million tons (Mt). The major imports came from Russia (166.0 Mt in 2016), Norway (64.2 Mt), Iraq (43.0 Mt), Saudi Arabia (40.5 Mt) and Kazakhstan (35.3 Mt). In relative terms, these five countries provided 63 % of EU imports of crude oil. Russia alone stood for 30 % of the crude oil imports to the EU. This share has remained relatively stable over the past decade, with a peak share of EU crude oil imports at 33 % in 2011. The crude oil imports from Norway have been almost halved over the period 2000-2016, from 114.9 Mt to 64.2 Mt. On the other hand, Iraq saw a substantial increase from 31.3 Mt to 43.0 Mt over the same period; the EU imports from Kazakhstan were almost four times higher in 2016 (35.3 Mt) as compared to 2000 (9.7 Mt). See Table 1 and Figure 2 for the historic evolution since 2000.

Table 1: Crude oil imports by country of origin, EU-28, 2000-2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_123a)

Figure 2: Crude oil imports by country of origin, EU-28, 2000-2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_123a)

Trade in petroleum products

Imports of crude oil are by far the most important component of trade in oil statistics. The imports of crude oil are complemented by imports of already manufactured petroleum products such as gas/diesel oil (27.1 Mt in 2016), kerosene type jet fuel (17.8 Mt), naphtha (12.5 Mt) and liquefied petroleum gas (14.1 Mt). The EU-28 also exports manufactured petroleum products to third countries. In 2016 EU-28 exported 55.8 Mt of motor gasoline and 15.0 Mt of fuel oil. Trade of other petroleum products (lubricants, bitumen, other hydrocarbons, etc.) is of a smaller magnitude and in 2016 resulted in net exports of 6.3 Mt (see Table 2).

Table 2: Net imports of selected petroleum products, EU-28, in selected years, 1990-2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_110a)

Oil imports dependency

Import dependency on oil is calculated as the ratio of net imports (imports minus exports) to gross inland energy consumption (but including international maritime bunkers) of crude oil and petroleum products. Positive values over 100 % indicate a stock build, while negative dependency rates indicate a net exporter country.

Table 3: Oil import dependency, in selected years, 1990-2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_100a)

The European Union relied on net imports (imports minus exports) for 87 % of the oil products consumed in 2016. The dependency on foreign petroleum in the last few years is at its peak, the highest rate being recorded in 2015 (88.8 %). In 2016, the dependency decreased to 86.7 %. The lowest import dependency for oil was observed in 1995, namely a rate of 74.1 %. Detailed national data are available in Table 3.

Sectoral oil dependency

Sectoral oil dependency refers to the ratio of oil consumption in a specific sector to the total fuel consumption of that sector. The dependence on oil for transport and for fishing is the highest of all sectors, although both slightly decreased in 2016 compared with 1990 (see Table 4). However, the industry sector, households and services have decreasing dependency rates towards 10 % dependency on oil.

Table 4: Sectoral oil dependency, EU-28, in selected years, 1990-2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_100a)

Use of petroleum products

The production of electricity from fossil fuels, especially from oil products, is slowly diminishing. Many of the existing oil-fired plants are kept only as a part of the power reserve margin, using mainly fuel oil and gas/diesel oil. In 2016 the input of oil into the transformation sector for electricity generation represented less than a quarter of the quantities used in 1990.

In the last five years the final energy consumption of petroleum products has globally dropped below the 1990's level. The final energy consumption of individual petroleum products is shown in Figure 3. Gas/diesel oil, gasoline and kerosene type jet fuel (listed in order of significance) are by far the three most important products throughout the whole 26-year-period, although demonstrating different evolution patterns.

Figure 3: Final energy consumption of petroleum products, EU-28, 1990-2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_110a)

The consumption of petroleum products by sector is shown in Figure 4. In 2016, the transport sector was by far the main consumer of petroleum products. Within the transport sector, road transport is the key consumer with 47.8 %. Petroleum products are also used for non-energy purposes, which is the second highest sector with 13.9 % of consumption after transport. Non-energy consumption includes, for example, bitumen for road surfaces, the use of lubricants for reducing friction as well as the use of oil products in the chemical industry for chemical properties rather than energy content (combustion).

Figure 4: Consumption of oil, EU-28, 2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_110a)

Figure 5 and Figure 6 present additional information about oil consumption in the transport sector. This sector has slightly reduced its dependency on oil due to the use of liquid biofuels. Nevertheless, the dependency on oil in 2016 is still very high (94 %) as compared to 1990 (98 %), while in absolute terms the quantities of petroleum products used in the transport sector were roughly 20 % higher in 2016 (344.7 Mtoe) compared to 1990 (278.4 Mtoe). All other fuels (e.g. gas, electricity, etc.), despite a small increase over the years, play a minor role in transport.

Figure 5: Use of fuels in transport, EU-28, 1990 and 2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_110a)

Figure 6: Use of fuels in transport, EU-28, 1990-2016
Source: Eurostat (nrg_110a)

When looking at the detailed consumption of fuels in transport, we can see a significant change over the last 26 years. Gas/diesel oil overtook motor gasoline as the most used fuel in 1998. In 2016, more than twice as much diesel was consumed for transport compared to gasoline. The imbalance in the EU production (refinery output) and EU demand (inland consumption) was addressed via international trade (import/export statistics presented earlier, which shows exports of gasoline and imports of diesel) (figure 6).

Source data for tables and graphs

Data sources

Data on energy are submitted on the basis of an internationally agreed methodology in joint annual energy questionnaires (Eurostat - OECD/IEA - UNECE). Data are available for all EU-28 countries and the methodology is harmonised for all reporting countries. Consequently, data comparability across countries is very high.


Crude oil and petroleum products have the highest share of energy consumption in the EU. The EU is the world's second largest producer of petroleum products (after the United States). Several policy initiatives are tackling the security of energy supplies as well as environmental and climate aspects of oil production and consumption. Consequently, there are several challenges due in part to the decreasing demand in the EU (among others due to structural changes in the economy, more efficient use of oil products and in transport substitution by biofuels or electricity) and imbalance in supply/demand (for example increasing EU gasoil/diesel/jet fuel demand and shrinking gasoline demand).

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