Thursday, February 20, 2014

It seems that something happened to World Net Oil Exports

Oil imports into the U.S. in 2013 fell rather briskly with the percentage rate of change increasing as the year went on. For Q4 and January 2014 Oil imports are sporting a 5 handle (5.6, 5.33, 5.5 million bpd for Q4 and 5.6 million bpd for January).

Oil prices have risen to over $110 in the world markets and $103 for WTI.


It then follows that if the exporters had been exporting as usual that some of the other big importers would have experienced a significant rise in imports. Only it did not happen.

The first place to look would be China, then Japan (actually, Japan is a bigger net importer), India, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, France, Singapore, and Italy - in that order.

Hmmm... China's yoy increase for 2013 was 4%. The (alleged) missing Oil does not seem to show up in Japan. Maybe India? I can't tell as data is only updated to May, 2013. From the article:

The change in net fuel imports was driven almost entirely by higher exports, with outbound product shipments rising to about 570,000 bpd from 2012's 484,000 bpd, while product imports were largely steady. 
Taken together, net crude and fuel imports last year were 5.83 million bpd, up about 160,000 bpd, or 2.8 percent, from 2012's 5.67 million bpd.

Germany imports are down, as are France and Italy (they are in Europe and Europe is having a h**l of a time). Netherlands, Singapore, and South Korea imports were flat using date that might be a bit old... but they just are not big enough to move the needle in any event.

So... did the exporters just export less Oil? If so, why? Prices are firm, well over $100 for Brent for 2013 and January 2014 so it isn't like "demand" (read: "desire". Demand can never exceed supply) was not there... or am I missing something? Look, if the U.S. cut its imports, either the exporters cut their exports or the other importers increased their imports. Its a zero sum game, and we are talking 500 million+ barrels here over the course of 2013. That's a lot of oil. $50 Billion smackers worth if Oil is $100.

The data for all of the other countries are not up to date, but the U.S. data is, and the U.S. imports fell nearly 2 million bpd from January to December. If the the exporters remained constant someone (some importer or importers) should have a bunch of oil/refined products in their storage facilities or some seriously increased total vehicle miles traveled internally.

What gives? Anybody?


confederate miner said...

So I guess we're thinking that production declined? With oil at $100 plus.

confederate miner said...

I would think that with Chinas rising currency they would be taking our share of consumption.

confederate miner said...

West texas or coal guy will probably dig through the data for us.

Anonymous said...

It's been a while and now I'm out of practice in looking up oil numbers so I haven't been able to put my finger on any monthly oil production and export data from the major exporting nations. (I did find some stories on Saudi Arabia's various production products, but little hard, month-to-month data.)

Given this, I am reluctant to comment, but, well, I'll give it a shot anyhow.

I think what's gone on is that production has declined in several key exporting nations, if not Saudi Arabia. Either those nations are producing less, or consuming more, or both. Maybe we should be looking at the lesser producers such as Iran, Venezula, Yemen too, not just the big hitters. The cumulative effect of many smaller, less-developed nations also using more oil might also weigh in here too.

In addition, I suspect that, although oil prices sound high, that perhaps circa $100+ is no longer as effectively as a high a price as we might think, especially to oil producers facing ever increasing costs of accessing ever harder to access reserves.

To me, this sounds a lot like the beginning of what Gail Teverberg ( has been saying lately about oil being produced and consumed in declining quantities, all while oil prices themselves decline (or, the latter, failing to reach new, impressive, highs.)

Stephen B.

Anonymous said...

I should say that I'm not even sure who would comprise the "lesser exporters" these days, but I think my point still stands.

Stephen B.

Anonymous said...

Tverberg that should be.

Stephen B.

confederate miner said...

I believe the dollars role as a financial unit of measurement especially regarding the value of oil is over.