Over the past decade, the production of environmentally damaging fuel oil in the EU dropped significantly. In 2020, 48 500 kilotons (kt) of fuel oil were produced, representing a 62% drop compared with 1990 (127 000 kt).
Fuel oil, also referred to as heavy fuel oil due to its weight, is a specific petroleum product produced in refineries and used by most ships. There are concerns over the environmental impact of its use since most of the sulphur that it contains ends up in the atmosphere when combusted in a ship’s engine. In light of these concerns, efforts to limit pollution from ship transport came into force in January 2020, whereby ships can now only use fuel oil with a low sulphur content.
Between 1990 and 2020, all 21 Member States that were still producing fuel oil in 2020 reported a decline in production. The most significant decreases in output were observed in Italy (from 23 700 kt in 1990 to 5 400 kt in 2020) and Spain (from 15 000 kt in 1990 to 2 400 kt in 2020).
Source dataset: nrg_cb_oil
Five EU countries produced around 60% of total fuel oil in 2020
In 2020, 13 out of 21 Member States produced more than 1 000 kt fuel oil. Of these countries, five accounted for about 60% of the EU’s total fuel oil production: the Netherlands (19% with 9 000 kt), Germany (13% with 6 200 kt), Italy (11% with 5 400 kt), France (9% with 4 300 kt) and Sweden (8% with 3 900 kt).
At the other end of the scale, six Member States did not produce any fuel oil that year: Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, and Estonia have never had any refineries, while Cyprus and Slovenia stopped producing fuel oil in 2004 and 2000, respectively.
For more information:
- Statistics Explained article on Heavy fuel oil – production, trade and use
- Eurostat energy database
- Eurostat dedicated section on energy
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