Following last week’s release of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020, I began to review and analyze the data. Today I take a deeper dive into the numbers on petroleum.
Oil accounts for a third of the world’s energy consumption. That is the greatest share for any category of energy. In 2019, the world consumed a record 98.3 million barrels per day (BPD) of oil. This was nearly 1 million BPD higher than consumption in 2018, and marked the 10th consecutive record for global oil consumption.
Over the past 35 years, global oil consumption has risen by 39 million BPD, an average increase of 1.1 million BPD each year. Last year’s rise fell just short of that average.
In recent years, BP has begun to provide more granularity in the Review. In previous years, the oil consumption category included biofuels. Now, they have split biofuels into a separate category, so the consumption numbers above are for just oil and derivatives of natural gas and coal (e.g., synthetic oil).
The U.S. continues to lead all countries in consumption of oil, but China has had the fastest consumption growth for several years. Below are the Top 10 global consumers of oil for 2019.
Oil consumption fell in most developed countries, and rose in most developing countries. A notable exception was Germany. Although consumption in OECD countries fell by 0.6% and consumption across Europe was down 0.3%, Germany bucked the trend and saw its consumption grow by 0.9%.
The biggest percentage increase in oil consumption was in Iran, which was the world’s 11th largest consumer. Demand there jumped by 10.0%. Iran was the only country in the world with a double-digit percentage increase in demand.
In contrast, double-digit decreases in oil demand were seen in Iceland (-12.7%), Venezuela (-11.6%), and Pakistan (-10.5%).
BP also expanded the level of detail around oil production statistics. Previously, natural gas liquids, or NGLs, were lumped into oil production. Although some NGLs do end up in the fuel supply, others are feedstock to the petrochemical industry. This year BP reported a new category for oil production that is simply “crude oil and condensate”, which is consistent with the way the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports U.S. oil production.
Based on the change, U.S. oil production numbers for previous years were revised downward by several million barrels a day. Oil production in 2018, for example, had been reported as 15.3 million BPD. But under the new category, 2018 oil production was reported as 11.0 million BPD.
However, because of the revisions to previous years, U.S. production — which had led Russia and Saudi Arabia for years — dropped below the production of one or both countries for years prior to 2019. Under the new category, in 2019 U.S. oil production was the highest in the world for the first time this century.
Below are the Top 10 global oil producers in 2019.
U.S. oil production grew by 1.2 million BPD in 2019, taking over the top spot from Russia. Cumulatively the Big Three — U.S., Russia, and Saudi Arabia — produced 40.5% of the world’s oil. OPEC countries produced 38.2% of the world’s oil.
However, OPEC possesses 70% of the world’s proved crude oil reserves. Venezuela still claims the title for the highest level of reserves — 304 billion barrels — followed by Saudi Arabia with 298 billion barrels.
Realistically most of Venezuela’s oil would be unlikely to be economical to produce at prevailing market prices. In other words, Venezuela may still claim the title of the world’s largest reserves, but proved reserves need to be economical to produce at prevailing prices. And it is notable that Venezuela’s oil production has fallen for five straight years and in 11 of the past 13 years.
Last year was more of the same, as Venezuela’s oil production — with the help of U.S. sanctions — fell another 39.5% to 839,000 BPD. This marked the first time Venezuela’s oil production was under 1 million BPD since BP began tracking oil production in 1965. It appears to be Venezuela’s lowest oil production level since the 1940s.