IEA (2020), Oil Information: Overview, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/oil-information-overview
In this report
World oil production stood at 98.1 Mb/d in 2018, slightly up from the 2018 daily production level of 97.7 Mb/d.
Production increased in the OECD and elsewhere, counteracting declines in OPEC production.
This increase in world oil production was driven by the United States, where production increased by 10.9% compared to 2018. As such, the United States remained the world’s top producer, followed by the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Iraq. The People’s Republic of China overtook Iran as the world’s sixth largest producer, as production in Iran fell by 29% in 2019. (In volume units, Saudi Arabia was the world’s second top producer in 2019.)
Looking at the OECD, production notably declined in Mexico and Norway but was more than compensated by increased production in the United States and Canada. As a result, OECD production of oil accounted for almost a third of world production in 2019, up from above a quarter in the previous year.
Production in OPEC declined following the Organization’s decision in January 2019 to enact supply cuts, alongside some non-OPEC members.
Saudi Arabia delivered substantial cuts and production was further disrupted after attacks on its oil facilities in September 2019. Steeper losses were observed in Iran, due to sanctions, and in Venezuela, due to political and economic turmoil. These losses were more than sufficient to overcome the solid gains in production in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria and Libya.
World oil demand increased by 1.1% in 2018, driven by non-OECD countries. Provisional 2019 data shows further growth.
In the OECD, oil demand grew slightly in 2018 as growth in OECD Americas was counteracted by the strong decline in demand in the OECD Asia Oceania, largely due to the decrease in Japan’s oil demand in the power and heat sector as well as fuel economy improvements offsetting increases in transportation demand. Demand in OECD Europe declined marginally in 2018. Demand grew in the United States, which remained the world’s largest consumer.
Non-OECD countries have represented the largest share of world oil demand since 2012 reaching 53% in 2018, with China and India being the most important sources of demand. Non-OECD Europe and Eurasia and Africa both saw growth in oil demand while demand fell in the non-OECD Americas by 1.6%, driven by a sharp decline in Venezuela.
World demand of gas/diesel oil continued to increase in 2018, driven by the increases in the United States, the People’s Republic of China and India. Demand for motor gasoline also grew in 2018, driven mainly by the United States and the People’s Republic of China.
There was also significant growth in demand for aviation fuels in 2018, with both the OECD and non-OECD regions exhibiting comparable growth.
Refinery output increased by 2.7% in Asia in 2018 compared to 2017, driven by growth in Chinese output. Overall the region accounted for about 45% of global refinery output in 2018, up from 26% in 1990.
The only regions where refinery output decreased in 2018 were the OECD Europe and non-OECD Americas . Most of the decline in the OECD Europe was brought about by reductions in Germany and Italy while the decline in the non-OECD Americas was attributable to Venezuela, where 2018 refinery output fell by 111 kb/d. Note that refinery gas data for Russia are not available in 2018. This affects the refinery output trend seen in the database for the country as well as in non-OECD Europe and other regional aggregates in which it is part of.
Despite the strong growth in Chinese refinery output in 2018, the United States continued to be the world’s largest refiner, with year on year growth of 2.2%. China was thus the world’s second largest refiner, followed by Russia, India and Korea.
Trade of oil products and of crude oil and NGL both increased in 2018. Crude and NGL imports increased by 0.8% year on year, while exports increased by 2.6%.
This marked the fourth consecutive year of increases in imports of primary oil. However, growth in imports of oil products outpaced that of primary oil while exports of oil products grew moderately in 2018 compared to 2017.
In 2018, China surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest importer of crude and NGL, while the latter’s imports of primary oil markedly decreased for the first time since 2014 amidst sustained growth in domestic production. Preliminary data for the United States show this trend continuing on to 2019, with further increases in domestic production coinciding with a stronger decrease in imports of primary oil products.
India maintained its third position among the world’s top importers of crude and NGL combined, reaching a new historical high of 226 Mt in 2018, as refinery activity continued to increase in the country. Meanwhile, Korean primary oil imports stayed practically flat in 2018, which was nevertheless sufficient for the country to take fourth place, overtaking Japan whose primary oil imports continued to decline in 2018.
Saudi Arabia remained the world’s largest exporter of crude and NGL, followed by Russia, Canada and Iraq. Of the world’s top 5 exporters, Canadian export volumes exhibited the strongest year on year increase, with preliminary 2019 data showing a further increase of 2.5%. Iran was displaced two spots by the United Arab Emirates and the United States, whose exports of primary oil products soared by 60% in 2018.
In 2018, imports of oil products surged in the Middle East, driven by higher year on year imports into Saudi Arabia. Imports of oil products into the OECD Americas further increased in 2018, supporting higher refinery activity to meet increased domestic demand. The OECD Asia Oceania and China’s imports of oil products also continued to increase while other regions saw declines. The OECD Europe was the only region whose oil product imports remained stable in 2018 compared to 2017 levels.
Deliveries of oil products for international marine bunkers have been steadily increasing globally, and have recovered since the 2010 downturn. Although at a slower rate compared to the 3.5% increase seen between 2016 and 2017, global deliveries for international marine bunkers increased by 0.9% in 2018 compared to 2017.
Growth was robust in the Middle East and Africa, recording y-o-y increases of 7% and 20%, respectively, in 2018. In contrast, deliveries in the non-OECD Americas fell by 4% whilst the non-OECD Europe and Eurasia exhibited negligible change. As China deliveries continued to grow by 2%, deliveries in the rest of Asia fell by 1%.
In the OECD, disaggregated fuel data show a general switch from the use of residual fuel oil to marine gas/diesel oil in international marine bunkers, a trend that will become more pronounced as more stringent regulations from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) roll out, mandating the marine sector to switch to lower sulphur fuels beginning on 1 January 2020 to slash emissions in international waters.