Key oil trends 2019

Annual trends from OECD countries

In 20191, total OECD annual production of crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGL), and refinery feedstocks increased by 6.7% when compared with 2018, with production consistently over 100 million tons throughout the year, and reaching a record level of 120 million tons in December 20192.

This increase in production was seen in the OECD Americas (+8.0%) and OECD Asia Oceania (+18.7%). In OECD Europe production decreased by 2.8%.

Crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks production growth in selected OECD countries, 2018 compared to 2019


The production increase in the OECD Americas was driven by the United States, as production continued its upward trend from previous years. The United States experienced a 10.8% increase in production and reached record levels. There was also an increase in production in Canada (+6.2%), while Mexico continued to decrease production in 2019 (-7.0%).

The increase in OECD Asia Oceania was due to continued increase in production in Australia (+22.8%), where the production of condensates increased as a result of the ramping up of multiple offshore gas projects.

In OECD Europe, the declining production was the result of declines in Norway (-5.8%), and to a lesser extent, Italy (-13.8%), Denmark (-11.2%), and the Netherlands (-21.0%). This decrease was partially offset by increases in production in the United Kingdom (+2.4%), due to increased production at the new Clair Ridge Project, and in Turkey (+15.9%), as east Mediterranean operations were expanded during the year. Although the production in Norway was lower in 2019 when compared to last year, the last three months of 2019 saw rapid growth of production and a production record level for December as new fields, including Johan Sverdrup, became operational.

The OECD Americas was responsible for 86% of total OECD production of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks in 2019, with 59% of this being produced in the United States.

Contribution to total OECD crude oil and NGL production by region and country, 2019


Total OECD refinery gross output of total products decreased slightly (-0.7%) in 2019 compared to 2018, a trend that was seen across all regions, and mainly due to changes in production of residual fuel oil. 

Refinery gross output growth per OECD region, 2018-2019


Countries started preparing for the new IMO regulations regarding sulphur content in fuel oil used on ships, with a noticeable decrease of output of high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO), which was 18.1% lower in 2019 than in 2018. Production of low sulphur fuel oil (LSFO), although it showed an increase in the second half of 2019, was still 3.1% lower in 2019. Production of middle distillates, which include marine diesel, increased by 0.9% in 2019, a trend that was seen across all OECD regions.

Leading this decrease was OECD Europe (-1.0%), despite gains in throughput in Turkey (+31.5%) due to the addition of refining capacity in the country. The main contributor to the decreases in OECD Europe was France (-9.0%), where late year strikes bolstered the already decreasing output due to maintenance in some refineries. Other countries, such as Sweden (-18.9%), Greece (-8.1%), Spain (-2.9%) and Norway (-7.2%), also showed decreases due to extended refinery shutdowns.

In the OECD Americas, refinery gross output also decreased in 2019 (-0.6%), driven by lower outputs in the United States following a series of shutdowns due to accidents and extended maintenance periods for several refineries, especially in the first half of the year.

The refinery output in OECD Asia Oceania showed a minimal decrease (-0.3%), as increases in output in Korea (+0.2%) were balanced by decreases in Japan (-0.5%) and Australia (-2.3%).

Refinery gross output growth in selected OECD countries, 2018 compared to 2019


Total imports3 of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks to individual OECD countries were 3.9% lower in 2019 than in 2018. The OECD Americas led this decline (-9.9%), followed by OECD Asia Oceania (-2.8%). In OECD Europe imports remained mostly stable (+0.1%).

Imports of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks from Russia to the OECD rose by 4.7% in 2019, despite the issues with contaminated oil on the Druzhba pipeline in late April and May. Imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 14.5%, as a result of production limits agreed within OPEC, which were followed by the Abqaiq–Khurais attack in September further limiting the supply of Saudi oil. The largest increase of imports into the OECD was seen in imports from the United States, which rose by 45.5%. 

Crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks imports from major suppliers to total OECD, 2018 compared to 2019


Total imports of total products to individual OECD countries decreased by 1.9% in 2019, compared to 2018. This decrease was seen in both OECD Europe (-2.9%) and OECD Asia Oceania (-2.8%). In the OECD Americas, imports of total products rose by 1.4%. A fall in the imports of residual fuel oil (-14.1%) in all regions drove the general trend. Imports of motor gasoline increased (+5.1%) in all regions, especially in the OECD Americas (+5.9%).

While the OECD continues to be a net exporter of refined products, exports fell by 2.5% in 2019, driven by a decrease in OECD Europe (-4.9%). Exports of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks increased by 8.6% in 2019, especially in the OECD Americas (+11.7%) due to increased exports of crude oil. 

Imports and exports of total oil between OECD regions, 2019


Total OECD net deliveries4 of refined products fell by 1.2% in 2019 compared to the previous year, a trend seen across all OECD regions.

In the OECD Americas (-1.2%), the largest changes in net deliveries were due to decreases of demand in total gasoline (-1.0%), gas/diesel oil (-3.0%), and naphtha (-16.3%). Total kerosene demand in the region grew by 1.9% in 2019.

In OECD Asia Oceania (-2.0%), Japan drove the decrease in net deliveries (-3.7%), with a noticeable drop in demand of residual fuel oil (-22.5%). This trend was visible across all OECD regions, with residual fuel oil being 10.2% lower in 2019 than in 2018.

In OECD Europe, the decrease of net deliveries was less pronounced (-0.8%), and was balanced with decreases of demand of other products (-6.4%), naphtha (-4.7%) and LPG (-4.8%), and increases of demand of total kerosene (+1.7%) and total gasoline (+1.0%). Italy experienced the largest decrease in demand (-8.6%), driven by drops in the demand of naphtha (-31.8%) and total gasoline (-15.4%).

Net deliveries of refined products in OECD regions, 2018 compared to 2019


Total OECD stocks of total oil on national territory showed little variation at the end of 2019 compared to 2018, closing at 530 million metric tons, despite some variation throughout the year. A stock build was seen in OECD Europe (+3.5%), while in the OECD Americas there was a stock draw (-2.5%). Stocks in OECD Asia Oceania were relatively stable (-0.1%).

In OECD Europe, the stock build was seen for both primary and secondary oil products, with 2.4 million metric tons and 4.0 million metric tons added, respectively. The main contributors to these increases were the Netherlands with an increase of refined products (+1.4 Mt), and Spain and Sweden, where stocks of primary oil increased (+0.9 Mt and +0.7 Mt, respectively).

In the OECD Americas, stocks of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks decreased by 5.1 million metric tons, while total products fell by 0.5 million metric tons. The United States was the main contributor to the fall of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks stocks, with a drop of 4.0 million metric tons in 2019.

In OECD Asia Oceania, primary oil stocks rose by 1.2 million metric tons, while the stocks of total products decreased by 1.3 million metric tons. These changes were driven by stock movements in Korea, with a stock build of 1.6 million metric tons of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks, and a stock draw of 0.8 million metric tons of total products. 

OECD stock changes on national territory, 2018-2019

  1. Includes crude oil, NGL, refinery feedstocks, additives and other hydrocarbons

  2. All annual comparisons are based on monthly data in 2019 compared to monthly data in 2018

  3. Trade amounts include intra-regional trade

  4. Gross inland deliveries observed minus backflows