Key Oil Trends 2018


19 April 2019

Refinery gross output of total products within the OECD remained relatively stable last year (Photograph: Shutterstock)

Oil production

Total OECD annual production of crude oil, natural gas liquids (NGL), and refinery feedstocks increased by 10.3% in 2018 compared to 2017, reaching a record total monthly production of over 100 million tons at the beginning of the year and remaining above this for almost all of 2018. This trend was observed across all OECD regions with the OECD Americas seeing the largest growth (+12.2%), followed by OECD Europe (+0.6%) and OECD Asia Oceania (+2.5%) in absolute terms.

	Absolute change	Percent change
United States	105.006	17.1
Canada	19.165	8.1
United Kingdom	4.827	10.1
Other OECD	1.846	7.4
Italy	0.731	12.6
Australia	0.612	4.4
Germany	0.124	1.7
Denmark	-1.072	-15.2
Norway	-5.502	-6.2
Mexico	-6.856	-6.3
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Production from the United States rose to a record high in the third quarter of 2018, and increased by 17.1% or 105 Mt in 2018 compared to 2017. Canadian production also increased on an annual basis (+8.1%), due to robust production of crude oil, while Mexico’s production continued to fall (-6.3%).

The United Kingdom experienced the largest growth in production in OECD Europe (+10.1%) due to multiple new projects on the United Kingdom Continental Shelf coming online in late 2017. Italy also experienced significant growth (+12.6%), reflecting the re-opening of facilities in the Val d'Agri region which was closed in mid-2017 due to leaks from on-site storage tanks. Within OECD Europe, the growth in Italy was partially offset by declines in Norway (-6.2%), where several fields were under maintenance in 2018. Production decreases in Norway are also due to natural production declines from mature fields that are not being compensated by new fields coming online. 

Growth in production in OECD Asia Oceania was driven by growth in Australia (+4.4%), where the production of condensates increased due to new LNG projects coming online.

The OECD Americas was responsible for 85% of total OECD production of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks in 2018, with 56% of this being produced in the United States.

 

Refinery gross output

Refinery gross output of total products within the OECD remained relatively stable (-0.3%) in 2018 compared to 2017. On a regional level, moderate growth in the OECD Americas (+0.6%) was offset by decreases in output in both OECD Europe (-1.5%) and OECD Asia Oceania (-0.4%).

	Total gasoline	Middle distillates 	All other products
OECD Americas	1	7	-2
OECD Asia Oceania	-1	-2	2
OECD Europe 	-1	-3	-7
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The United States was responsible for the growth in the OECD Americas (+2.2%) and experienced the largest growth in refining activity in the OECD as a whole. This was due to a large increase in the production of middle distillates (+1.9%).  In contrast, Mexico experienced the largest decrease in the OECD in absolute terms (-19.7%), due to prolonged maintenance at the Madero refinery in the last half of 2018.

Within OECD Europe, the largest decline in refinery output was observed in Germany (-4.4%). This was mainly due to an explosion in the Bayern oil refinery in September 2018, which led to a decrease in production levels for this last quarter of the year. This was also compounded by maintenance activity in several other refineries throughout 2018.  A large decline was also observed in France (-5.9%) due to increased maintenance activity in the second quarter of 2018. Decreases in the output of all products were observed in OECD Europe.

OECD Asia Oceania’s decrease was driven by Japan (-4.9%) due to a combination of scheduled maintenance programs and the unscheduled shut-down of the Hokkaido refinery following a large earthquake in September. Growth in both Korea (+2.5%) and Australia (+12.6%) was able to offset the drop in Japan, and there was an increase of output of all other products (+2.6%) in the region as a whole.

	Absolute change	Percent change
United States	19	2.2
Korea	4	2.5
Australia	3	12.6
Italy	-3	-3.8
Turkey	-3	-9.6
France	-4	-5.9
Germany	-4	-4.4
Canada	-5	-5.4
Japan	-8	-4.9
Mexico	-8	-19.7
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Oil trade

Total imports of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks to individual OECD countries were 2.7% lower in 2018 compared to 2017, with all OECD regions contributing to this decline. OECD Europe experienced the largest decline in imports (-3.0%), followed by the OECD Americas (-2.7%) and OECD Asia Oceania (-2.0%).

Overall OECD imports of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks from Iran and Russia decreased significantly by 41.6% and 9.8% respectively, while imports from the United States grew by 55.1%. Imports from Saudi Arabia also decreased (-2.8%), however it was the largest exporter to the OECD in 2018, taking the lead from Russia which was the largest supplier to the OECD in 2017.

	Saudi Arabia	Canada	Russian Federation	Iraq	United States	Norway	Iran	Kuwait
2017	195	172	197	99	42	71	68	50
2018	190	188	178	93	65	61	40	43
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Total imports of total products to individual OECD countries increased by 3.1% in 2018 compared to 2017. Growth was observed in both the OECD Americas (+11.0%) and OECD Asia Oceania (+6.1%), while OECD Europe experienced a slight decline (-0.5%). Most notably, imports of other kerosene increased across all OECD regions, by 18.1% in total.

Overall, the OECD continues to be a net exporter of refined products, but exports remained relatively stable in 2018 compared to 2017 (+0.3%). Exports of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks increased by 13.3% in 2018, with the largest volumes destined for the United States and the Far East.

 

Oil net deliveries

Total OECD net deliveries of refined products grew by 1.0% in 2018 compared to 2017, reflecting growth in the OECD Americas (+2.4%) and OECD Europe (+0.15%), while deliveries decreased in OECD Asia Oceania (-1.6%).

Growth in the OECD Americas can be attributed to higher deliveries of gas/diesel oil (+4.8%), where the most notable growth was in the United States (+5.1%) and Canada (+3.8%) due to a particularly cold winter. The OECD Americas also saw a large decrease in the demand of naphtha (-13.6%). 

OECD Asia Oceania experienced similar trends to the OECD Americas, with the largest increase in deliveries being for gas/diesel oil (+1.5%) and the largest decrease being for naphtha (-5.5%). The trend for gas/diesel oil was driven by Australia (+6.9%), while Korea (-5.4%) and Japan (-5.5%) were responsible for the decreases in demand of naphtha in the region.

The upward trend in OECD Europe was partially driven by higher demand for total kerosene (+4.3%), particularly in the United Kingdom (+3.8%) and France (+3.7%).  Increased demand for total kerosene was seen across the OECD, with a growth of 2.6% in the OECD as a whole.  

	OECD Americas	OECD Asia Oceania	OECD Europe
	245	90	307
	256	91	306
	473	61	75
	473	60	81
	90	42	68
	92	42	71
	104	19	51
	111	19	49
	15	79	48
	13	75	41
	40	23	34
	45	22	34
	14	13	13
	14	12	13
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Oil Stocks

Total OECD stocks of total oil on national territory remained broadly unchanged in 2018 compared to 2017 and closed at 531 million metric tons. A stock build was observed in the OECD Americas (+1.0%), and was balanced by stock draws in both OECD Europe (-1.2%) and OECD Asia Oceania (-1.0%).

In the OECD Americas, stocks of total oil on national territory grew by 2.3 million metric tons due to increases in both primary products (+1.7 Mt) and secondary products (+0.6 Mt). This was despite large drawdowns of United States crude stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage hub in the first quarter of 2018.

Stocks of total oil in OECD Europe decreased by 2.2 million metric tons, due to large stock draws of refined petroleum products (-2.6 Mt). The largest decrease was observed in Germany (-0.5 Mt).

Stocks of total oil also decreased in OECD Asia Oceania (-1.1 Mt), due to large stock draws of crude oil, NGL and refinery feedstocks in Korea (-3.1 Mt).

	OECD Americas	OECD Asia Oceania	OECD Europe
Crude oil, NGL, refinery feedstocks	1.7	-3.6	0.4
Total products	0.6	2.5	-2.6
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Notes

  • Oil includes crude oil, NGL, refinery feedstocks, additives and other hydrocarbons.
  • Trade amounts include intra-regional trade
  • Oil net deliveries is gross inland deliveries observed minus backflows