Reduced Asian oil imports in 2001, marginally up in 2002 – PIW/IEA

Oil imports to S Korea, China and India declined in 2001 compared to 2000 and are projected to remain relatively flat in 2002. The largest decline was to China, 0.191 mbd, imports to South Korea declined by 0.094 mbd and India imported 0.054 mbd less in 2001 than in 2000, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. These three countries imported less from all the major regions: the Middle East, Africa and Asia, except that South Korea took more oil from Asian countries in 2001 than in 2000. South Korea’s oil imports from Africa were reduced by 0.078 mbd, and 0.069 mbd less was taken from the Middle East compared to 2000.

Looking at the IEA oil demand projection for these three countries for 2002, South Korea’s demand is projected to decline by 0.01 mbd, China’s demand to increase by 0.14 mbd and India’s by 0.05 mbd. Other Asia demand is projected to increase by 0.05 mbd and Japanese demand to decline by 0.05 mbd.  Asian demand including Japan is projected to increase by a meagre 0.8% to 21.9 mbd.

China produces some 3.3 mbd of its own oil, which is projected to increase by 0.06 mbd in 2002. Oil production in other Asian countries is projected to increase by 0.01 mbd to 2.39 mbd in 2002.

Oil imports to South Korea were one of the major driving forces in the tanker market in the 1990s.  Increased imports to the world’s most populated nations, China and India, are expected to contribute to increasing tanker demand.  No doubt, there is a great potential for increased oil consumption in these nations.  World oil consumption per capita in India is some 29 gallons, it is 52 in China, we jump to 442 in the UK, and leap to an oil consumption of 1,095 gallons per capita in the US.