Oil imports to Europe

The lack of focus on oil imports to Europe may be due to consumption being rather steady, and/or because European oil supply is rather fragmented and the figures arrive late.

The latest information on crude oil imports to Europe by source dates from January 2006. When comparing the latest figures with previous years, there are a number of interesting trends.Crude oil imports peaked in 2004 at 13.25 mbd, up from 12.85 mbd in 2003. Imports in 2005 were 13.18 mbd and the figure for January 2006 is 13.13 mbd.

  • Crude oil imports from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) have been increasing continuously - from 1.29 mbd in 1995 to 4.61 mbd in January 2006.
  • Crude oil imports from the Middle East have, on the other hand, declined - from a maximum over the period of 4.2 mbd in 1998 to 2.49 mbd in January 2006.
  • Trade within Europe has also declined - from a maximum over the period of 3.67 mbd in 1998 to 2.91 mbd in January 2006.
  • Crude oil imports from Africa have been rather steady over the period, but are now slowly increasing.

In a nutshell, FSU crude oil imports into Europe have been replacing long-haul crude from the Middle East as well as short-haul crude from Europe itself.

Whereas crude oil imports have remained rather steady, product imports have increased from 4.5 mbd in 1999 to 6.3 mbd in January 2006. Europe takes products from a number of areas - mainly from other European countries. Some 17% (1.1 mbd) of the product imports in January were taken from the Former Soviet Union, about 9% from OPEC countries, and some 5% from the United States. 

With declining North Sea production and slower growth in the FSU, Europe may in future take more oil from West Africa and the Middle East. With the lack of diesel production capacity and an increasing share of diesel cars, increased diesel imports could also be expected.

Please click here to view the European import development. 

Contact: Erik Ranheim