"World Oil Review" is the statistical report on petroleum reserves, production, consumption, import and export, quality and prices, and the refining industry. The publication consists of two volumes: The first is about the world of petroleum and the refining industry, the second is about natural gas and renewable sources. The report provides information for a deeper understanding of the main trends and is addressed to both specialists in energy and the wider public.
The energy situation worldwide: more and more petroleum “made in the USA”
In 2018 petroleum reserves grew slightly (by 0.4%). Growth is concentrated in the USA, while certain OPEC countries saw a reduction. There was also growth in Brazil and Norway. OPEC as a whole saw a decline, in particular due to downsizing in Iraq, although the bloc held its primacy, with 73% of the world total. In first place is still Venezuela, followed by Saudi Arabia and Canada.
Oil production around the world rose overall by 2.5 million barrels per day, 88% of which was in the USA, which set a new record and stayed top among world producers. The fall in production in Venezuela and Mexico and slow-down in Iran due to American sanctions had a knock-on effect on medium-heavy crude oils, while a surge in tight oil increased the proportion of sweet light crude oils, further lightening what was on offer in barrels.
The regional variety in crude oil levels left the Americas at sum-zero for the first time, as the large reduction in the North American deficit was balanced out by South America's surplus. The Middle East remained the region with the highest surplus and Asia-Pacific that with the highest deficit. The rise in global demand for petroleum was slightly lower than in 2017 (1.4% vs. 1.6%), against a backdrop of rising prices.
Global refining capacity went up by 1 million barrels per day since 2017, driven by Asia, which accounted for 77% of growth. The alliance between OPEC and non-OPEC countries, and the growth prompted by consumption saw prices for Brent ICE (72 $/b) go up by 30% since 2017 ($72 billion vs. $55 billion).
The USA also carved out space in international trade, doubling the volumes of crude oil it exported and thereby getting into the top ten. Canada made an impressive recovery, overtaking the threshold of 5 million barrels per day, and Russia beat its own record, accelerating in the latter half of the year. OPEC, however, despite increases in the Gulf countries (especially Saudi Arabia), saw zero growth overall due to sanctions against Iran (0.2 million fewer barrels per day) and the collapse in Venezuela (0.6 million fewer barrels per day).
The tight oil phenomenon kept increasing the share of sweet light crude oil, which went 20% above the world level. WTI, the benchmark American light, accounted for 60% of world growth alone. The fall-off in Venezuela and Mexico and slow-down in Iran counterbalanced the increases in Saudi Arabia and Iraq, reducing the weight of medium sour crude oils below 40% for the first time, with an impact on differentials and refining.
No petroleum deficit in the Americas for the first year ever
The regional variety in crude oil levels left the Americas at sum-zero for the first time. Back in 2010 they were producing 5 million barrels overall per day. A surge in production in the USA, coupled with growth in Canada, have far exceeded internal demand, making North America overall less dependent for its oil. The Middle East's surplus has risen slightly, thanks to increases at the end of the year by the big producers Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the UAE. Asia-Pacific oil dependence continues to grow, and it leads the world in terms of deficit. The rise in global demand for petroleum in 2018 was slightly lower than in 2017 (+1.4% vs. +1.6%), against a backdrop of rising prices. The figure is just below the average for the last five years (1.7% less). For the fourth year in a row, OECD countries made a positive contribution to global growth, although demand was fuelled by non-OECD countries, which accounted for 69% of the overall increase. Early in the year, OPEC+'s stronger discipline and the sanctions on Iran contributed to a rising curve in prices. The year closed with Saudi Arabia and Russia's increases shrinking, though still great given their geopolitical losses and rising fears of a slow-down in economic growth. Global refining capacity went up in 2018 by 1 million barrels per day since 2017, driven by Asia, which accounted for 75% of growth. Africa's refining capacity shrunk the most, by 0.3 million barrels per day.