Oil and petroleum products - a statistical overview
Data extracted in August 2021.
Planned article update: March 2022.
Oil import dependency reached a record high in 2019 when the EU relied on net imports for almost 96.8 % of the crude oil and petroleum products consumed.
Production of crude oil in the EU reached a record low in 2019.
In 2019, transport sector in the EU still relied heavily on oil products.
Oil import dependency, 2019 (% of net imports in gross available energy, based on tonnes of oil equivalent)
This article provides an overview of oil statistics covering crude oil as well as petroleum products. Energy statistics are available for all 27 EU Member States and 13 non-EU countries. Final data are available for the period 1990 to 2019.
For decades, crude oil and petroleum products have had the largest share in gross inland energy consumption in the EU. Despite decreasing production and fluctuating consumption through the years, crude oil and its derived products still play a massive role.
Production of crude oil
The primary production of crude oil in 2019 in the European Union (EU) continued decreasing and reached its lowest point at 19.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). Crude oil production peaked in 2004 at 42.5 Mtoe. The top oil producers in the EU in 2019 were Denmark (5.2 Mtoe), Italy (4.3 Mtoe) and Romania (3.3 Mtoe).
In Norway, one of the key European non-EU crude oil producers, the production peaked in 2001 (159.2 Mtoe) but by 2013 it had decreased to less than half (75.9 Mtoe). Since then, Norwegian production started rebounding in the following few years only to start decreasing again in 2017. In 2019 it reached a new record low (71.4 Mtoe). The United Kingdom is also a key European non-EU crude oil producer. After a peak in 1999 (133.3 Mtoe), the production in the United Kingdom decreased irregularly, to reach 50.5 Mtoe in 2019. The EU candidate countries Albania, Serbia and Turkey have some production of crude oil, however on a rather small scale (in total nearly 5.0 Mtoe in 2019). Finally, the Energy Community contracting parties have some production, in particular Ukraine with 1.7 Mtoe of crude oil in 2019. These data are presented in Figure 1.
Imports of crude oil
In 2019, total imports of crude oil to the EU amounted to 507.2 million tonnes. The major imports came from Russia (135.8 million tonnes), Iraq (45.3 million tonnes), Nigeria (39.6 million tonnes), Saudi Arabia (38.9 million tonnes), and Kazakhstan (36.8 million tonnes). The origin of the crude oil imported in the EU has changed over the years. Imports from Russia are overall declining since their last peak in 2005 (184.7 million tonnes). Imports from Iraq are tentatively increasing since 2003. An increase is also seen for Nigeria which in 2019 took the 3rd place in the origin ranking from Saudi Arabia. Imports from Norway have more than halved over the period 2000-2019, from 82.7 million tonnes to 35.2 million tonnes and Norway moved down to 6h place overtaken by Kazakhstan which instead has been steadily gaining ground, in fact the EU imports from Kazakhstan were almost four times higher in 2019 compared to 2000 (9.7 million tonnes). Imports from the USA were historically almost irrelevant but have been sharply increasing in the last few years reaching 26.6 million tonnes in 2019 making the country the 8th provider to the EU. See Table 1 and Figure 2 for the historic evolution since 2000.
Trade in petroleum products
Imports of crude oil are by far the most important component of trade in oil statistics, yet there is also trade in already manufactured petroleum products some of which are mostly imported while others are mostly exported. In 2019 the EU had net imports from third countries of gas/diesel oil (24.8 Mtoe), naphtha (18.0 Mtoe), liquefied petroleum gas - LPG (14.8 Mtoe) and kerosene-type jet fuel (11.2 Mtoe). The EU had instead net exports of motor gasoline (52.6 Mtoe) and of fuel oil (4.7 Mtoe). Trade of other petroleum products (lubricants, bitumen, petroleum coke etc.) is of a smaller magnitude and in 2019 resulted in net exports of 6.5 Mtoe (see Table 2).
Oil imports dependency
Import dependency on oil is calculated as the ratio of net imports (imports minus exports) to gross inland energy consumption (and including international maritime bunkers) of crude oil and petroleum products. Positive values indicate an import dependency, while negative values indicate a net exporter country. If positive values are above 100 %, it means that imports surpass the needs of a country and that consequently stocks are being built up.
Dependency reached a record high in 2019 when the EU relied on net imports for 96.77 % of the petroleum and oil products consumed, this was a small further increase from the previous year’s record of 96.76 %. The dependency on foreign oil has been growing from the lower rates observed in previous decades and from a minimum observed in 1999 (91.7 %). Detailed national data are available in Table 3.
Use of petroleum products
The final energy consumption of petroleum products (excluding international shipping and aviation) has decreased from the peaks of the early 2000’s and, after 2009, has fallen below the 1990's level. Yet, in the last 3 years, it has increased again for selected products. The trend of the final energy consumption of individual petroleum products is shown in Figure 3. Gas/diesel oil and gasoline are by far the two most important products throughout the whole 30-year period, although they have demonstrated different evolution patterns. Consumption of gas/diesel oil increased from the lowest value (in this time series) recorded in 1990 (193.0 Mtoe) to its highest peak in 2006 (254.4 Mtoe). It then dropped to 228.0 Mtoe in 2013 before starting to regain some ground. In 2019, it amounted to almost 238.7 Mtoe, a slight increase from 2018 (238.3 Mtoe). Gasoline consumption has decreased from the 1998 high (115.5 Mtoe) to its lowest value in 2017 (66.0 Mtoe), it then slightly increased in 2019 (67.7 Mtoe).
The use of kerosene-type jet fuel has been increasing since 1990 (22.6 Mtoe). In 2019, it reached a record high: 49.0 Mtoe of which 41.7 Mtoe for international flights and 7.3 Mtoe for national flights. These values mark a 116% increase in 30 years. Fuel oil is another oil product with a noticeable trend. Its final inland consumption decreased from the high in 1990 (36.5 Mtoe) to its record low in 2019 (4.1 Mtoe). The use in international maritime voyages increased from the low of 1992 (25.3 Mtoe) to the peak in 2007 (46.6 Mtoe). After a decline to reach a low level of 2015 (29.9 Mtoe) it has settled in 2019 at 33.6 Mtoe which is a slight increase from the previous year (34.4 Mtoe). A total of 37.8 Mtoe of fuel oil was used in 2019, down -3 9% from the maximum total value recorded in 1990.
Consumption in sectors
The consumption of petroleum products by sector is shown in Figure 5. The transport sector is by far the main consumer of petroleum products with over 66.1 % of the total. Road transport is the key consumer with 47.5 %, while air and water transport use about 9 % each. Petroleum products are also used for non-energy purposes, which is the second highest sector with 13.9 % of consumption. 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 petrochemical industry for their chemical properties rather than for their energy content. In these cases they are transformed in other products (such as plastics, detergents and tires for example) rather than combusted for energy. Households (5.5 %), the energy sector (4.7 %) and industries (4.5 %) had similar shares of oil products consumption in 2019. Services, both commercial and public, used about 1.9 % while other sectors, including agriculture, forestry and fishing, used about 3.4 %.
Fuels in road transport
Road transport is dominated by gas/diesel oil (66.7 %) and motor gasoline (24.6 %). Gas/diesel oil overtook motor gasoline as the most used fuel in 1998. LPG covers a small portion of the consumption in this sector with 2.16 % of the share and its usage varies greatly among countries. Other fuels are starting to cover some of the needs in the road transport sector. In 2019, the EU reached a share of 5.83 % of renewable and biofuel. Lastly, despite a small increase over the years, electricity still plays a minor role in road transport (0.08 %).
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 transport sector is still highly dependent on oil, which, in 2019, satisfied 91.5 % of the total inland transport needs. Air and sea transport are almost 100 % dependent on oil while road transport has a 93.4 % dependency rate, that however has been constantly decreasing since 1990 when it was 99.9 %. As seen above, this sector has slightly reduced its dependency on oil due to the increasing use of liquid biofuels and other renewable fuels. Other sectors with high dependency on oil products are fishing (90.9 %) and agriculture-forestry (55.3 %). There is also a high dependency for non-energy uses (81.3 %) due to the products' physical characteristics that are highly requested by several industries compared to other fuels (see Table 4).
Source data for tables and graphs
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 Member States 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. 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 long-term trend of the 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).
Note: The methodologies and data used for the calculations presented in this article do not make it yet possible to identify the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic as data refers up to 2019. Final official data received in the near future will allow us to ascertain whether the annual trends observed are maintained in 2020.
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