OPEC Records Huge Oil Export Drop In 2020 As It Unveils Statistics Data 

Yemisi Izuora

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, saw a sharp decline in its global crude export in 2020, following disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to available data, OPEC Member Countries exported an average of 19.70 million barrels a day, mb/d of crude oil in 2020, a sharp decrease of about 2.78 mb/d, or 12.4 per cent compared to 2019.

That drop also marked the fourth consecutive annual decline recorded by the group.

Following the pattern in previous years, the bulk of crude oil from OPEC Member Countries 14.43 mb/d or 73.2 per cent was exported to Asia, particularly China and India.

Considerable volumes of crude oil about 3.13 mb/d were also exported to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD Europe in 2020, which, however, represents a decline compared with 3.74 mb/d recorded in 2019.

The OECD Americas imported 0.84 mb/d of crude oil from OPEC Member Countries, which was about 0.38 mb/d, or 31.1 percent, less than the 2019 volumes.

Exports of petroleum products from OPEC Member Countries averaged 3.48 mb/d during 2020, down by around 0.40 mb/d, or 10.4 per cent, compared to 2019, while import of petroleum products by OPEC Member Countries averaged at 1.52 mb/d in 2020, roughly 0.17 mb/d, or 9.8 percent, lower than in 2019.

However, world proven crude oil reserves stood at 1,549 billion barrels at the end of 2020, increasing by 0.2 per cent from the level of 1,546 billion barrels recorded at the end of 2019, according to the 2021 edition of its Annual Statistical Bulletin (ASB).

Proven crude oil reserves in OPEC Member Countries increased by 0.3 per cent to 1,237 billion barrels at the end of 2020, following a firm increase during 2019.

At the end of 2020, world proven natural gas reserves fell by 0.4 per cent to approximately 206.7 trillion standard cubic metres (cubic meters). Proven natural gas reserves in OPEC Member Countries stood at 73.74 trillion standard cubic meters at the end of 2020, down 1.4 per cent from the level at the end of 2019.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Thursday launched the 2021 ASB via videoconference.

The launch was attended by Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General; Professor Thomas Lindner of the Executive Academy at the Vienna University of Economics and Business; as well as Members of Management at the Secretariat.

It was livestreamed via the Organisation’s website and official YouTube account.

In its 56th edition, the ASB continues to provide a wide range of data on the global oil and gas industry, in addition to key economic indicators, serving as a leading industry reference for reliable and timely information for various industry stakeholders, including policymakers, academics and industry analysts.

The publication contains time-series data detailing key aspects of the petroleum industry, such as production, demand, imports, exports, exploration, transportation and refining as well as featured key statistics on the oil and gas activities in OPEC’s 13 Member Countries: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, IR Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

In line with the Secretariat’s efforts to enhance access to the publication, this year’s ASB is available as an interactive version and a PDF on the OPEC website, as well as through a smart app compatible with iOS and Android platforms.

In his remarks, the Secretary General emphasised the crucial importance of data accuracy and transparency to supporting stability in the global oil market.

“We at OPEC are dedicated to enhancing data transparency through broad dissemination of accurate and timely oil and gas data, not only for the ASB, but for all of our publications,” he stated.

“Indeed, maintaining transparency in all that we do underpins our core goal of establishing sustainable oil market stability.”

There was also a panel discussion led by Boshra AlSeiari, Head of OPEC’s Data Services Department, focusing on the publication’s key highlights, including: Total world crude oil production declined in 2020 by 6.15 million barrels per day (mb/d), or 8.2 per cent as compared to 2019, to average 69.09 mb/d, marking a historical year-on-year drop notably after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OPEC crude oil production declined sharply year-on-year by 3.72 mb/d, or 12.7 per cent while crude production by non-OPEC countries fell by 2.43 mb/d, or 5.3 per cent.

With an average of 90.73 mb/d in 2020, world oil demand was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and fell by a historic 9.30 mb/d y-o-y. OECD oil demand fell sharply in 2020, while in the non-OECD it declined for the first year in history. Oil demand in OPEC Member Countries was sluggish in 2020, losing 8.2 per cent y-o-y.

Distillates and gasoline accounted for around 55.1 per cent of 2020 world oil demand with a steep downward trend, amid COVID-19 containment measures. Residual fuel oil requirements were about 7.1 per cent of total oil demand in 2020.

World refinery capacity shrank by 0.3 m barrels/calendar day (b/cd) to stand at 101.1 m b/cd during 2020. The non-OECD region, particularly China, other Asia and the Middle East, recorded refining capacity additions. Refinery capacity in the OECD declined sharply in 2020, as compared to 2019. Globally, refinery throughput fell by a historic 9.1 percent to reach 78.0 mb/d in 2020, amid bearish oil demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The OPEC Reference Basket averaged $41.47/b in nominal terms during 2020, down from $64.04/b in 2019, a strong decrease of $22.57/b, or 35.2 per cent. The volatility level was $12.55/b, or 30.3 per cent, relative to the yearly average.

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