Saturday, March 10, 2012

Inter-Regional Trade Movements of Petroleum: Part 2 Global Trends in Exports and Imports

With the house-keeping chores of Part 1 out of the way, let’s look at the global trends.  In subsequent parts of this series, I will described the petroleum export and import trends for each of the nine regions, which I have already analyzed and summed up in order to arrive at the world-wide trends described here. 

These data suggest that gross and inter-regional global imports and exports of petroleum and crude oil peaked five years ago in about 2007, or earlier in some cases.

Global Trends in Total Petroleum and Crude Oil Production and Petroleum Consumption
I will start with the world-wide total petroleum and crude production statistics, as reported by the BP review (2011) and the EIA (Figure 1).

BP and the EIA report production in units of thousands of barrels per day, but I find it more easier, or maybe I am just used to, expressing production in units of billions of barrels per year (bby) which is how I report all of the production, consumption, import and export data here and future parts of this series.

The EIA’s International Energy Statistics division reports production as “total oil supply,” from 1980 to 2010.  The EIA defines the total oil supply as including, “the production of crude oil, natural gas plant liquids, and other liquids, and refinery processing gain” (See Table Notes).  Crude Oil data for Canada include oil processed from Alberta oil sands.

The BP review provides production statistics from 1965 to 2010, but I only present the data from 1980 to 2010 here. BP defines production as: “crude oil, shale oil, oil sands and NGLs (the liquid content of natural gas where this is recovered separately)” and it “Excludes liquid fuels from other sources such as biomass and coal derivatives.”  (BP review 2011 footnote, p.8).  However p.39 of that same review says “Consumption of fuel ethanol and biodiesel is included in oil consumption.”  Therefore, to be consistent with BP’s consumption numbers, I added “biofuels” production (newly added in the 2011 review but backdated to 2000) to BP's oil production statistics, to produce a "total production" statistic, a sum that is probably closer to the “total oil supply” reported by the EIA. 

Turning to Figure 1, EIA’s total supply, consumption and BP’s consumption are all in good agreement with each other.  The BP total production is slightly lower (about 1 bby or 3% in 2010) as compared to the other three statistics, and, this is despite adding in the biofuels.  The discrepancy bugs me (as it has in the past), but I can’t see a calculation error on my part. 

Regardless of which production statistics we are looking at, however, the fall-off in the rate of production increase (i.e., deceleration) since about 2005 is notable.  For instance, using the EIA production data, for the 5-year spans from 1986 to 1990, 1991 to 1995, 1996 to 2000, and, 2001 to 2005, production increased by a total in a range of 1.5 to 2.5 bby per each of these 5 year spans.  The corresponding BP production data indicates similar 5-year increases in the range of 1 to 2.5 bby.  For the last 5-years, however, from 2006 to 2010, the increase is only 0.8 (EIA data) or 0.5 bby (BP data). 

For crude production, the deceleration is even more prominent: the 5-year changes from 1986 to 2005 range from 1 to 2 bby, but in the last 5-year period, the increase was only 0.2 bby per 5-year period (EIA data only available); essentially then, global crude oil production has been in a plateau since 2005.

The greater slow down in crude oil production as compared to total petroleum production means that those other liquid fuels, “natural gas plant liquids, and other liquids, and refinery processing gain” and biofuels, are likely making up a larger proportion of production, and crude oil, a smaller proportion, than in the past.  For instance, using the EIA statistics, crude oil accounted for 91% of total petroleum production in 1985.  By 2010, crude oil accounted for 85% of total petroleum production.  Not a big change but the trend is there.

Global Trends in Total Petroleum and Crude Oil Exports and Imports
While the BP review only reports total production statistics, and not crude oil production, as I discussed in Part 1, it does report total and crude exports and imports.  And, as also discussed in Part 1, these numbers can be corrected to provide an estimate of inter-regional export and import trade movements for each of the nine regions of interest to me.   Here I only report the world-wide numbers, which is the sum of these nine regions.  The individual regions, I will report on later.

The EIA also "used to" report statistics on both total petroleum and crude oil exports and imports, but as discussed in Part 1, these are “gross” exports and imports, which means that they do not exclude intra-regional trade movements. 

Figures 2 and 3 present the import and export data, respectively.  For reference, I retained the solid lines corresponding to the petroleum and crude oil production statistics, previously shown in Figure 1. 

I will not spend any time comparing Figure 2 to Figure 3, other than to note that the BP inter-regional total, crude, and product exports, are all identical to their import counter-parts.  The EIA gross total petroleum and crude oil import and export data are very similar, but not quite identical. 

For the rest of this post, I will just focus on the export data represented in Figure 3.

The most noteworthy thing about the trends in Figure 3 is that the gross total petroleum exports and inter-regional total petroleum exports peaked out in 2006 and 2007, respectively.  Gross crude oil exports peaked in 2005, and inter-regional crude oil exports peaked in 2007. 

Gross product exports, calculated as the difference between the EIA’s total petroleum exports and crude oil exports, peaked in 2006, while the inter-regional exports have not peaked, although there are signs of a plateau since 2007 (e.g., 2010 product exports of 4.03 bby is only 0.01 bby greater than the 2007 product exports).

Figure 3 presented the export data as absolute values in units of bby.  Figures 4, 5 and 6, respectively, present the gross and inter-regional exports of total petroleum, crude oil and products as percentages of total production.  The EIA-derived gross exports were calculated as a percentage of the EIA-reported total oil supply as shown in Figure 1, and the BP-derived inter-regional exports were calculated as a percentage of total production determined from the BP data, as shown in Figure 1. 

The peaks in relative gross and inter-regional total export petroleum in 2006 and 2007 are quite prominent in Figure 4, as are the analogous peaks in crude oil exports, in 2004 and 2007, respectively in Figure 5. 

I find it interesting that gross exports, that is, intra-region plus inter-region exports, peaked out at such a high percentage of total production; about 77% in 2007!  Not only is petroleum vital to supporting global trade, petroleum itself is a highly traded commodity, it seems.  Peaking in 2004, the gross crude oil exports corresponded to 52% total production, an incredible high proportion of a raw material to be exported from one country to another country or region. Similarly, the inter-regional trade movement of petroleum, that is, trade between more distant countries, peaks at 57% of total petroleum production and 44% of crude oil relative to total petroleum production. 

The long-term upward trend in petroleum product exports, both gross and inter-regional, is evident in Figure 6.  Although the gross product exports peaked in 2006-07 at 26% of total petroleum production, the inter-regional exports continues to increase, and most recently equaled 13% of total production in 2010. 

As I mentioned at the end of Part I, the differences between the EIA’s gross exports, and BP’s inter-regional exports should equal intra-regional exports.  These two data set overlap for several years from 2000 to 2008/9 and so we can derive some insights into intra-regional exports for these years, at least. 

The differences between the gross and inter-regional total petroleum exports (Figure 4), crude oil exports (Figure 5) and petroleum product exports (Figure 6) are all summarized in Figure 7.

Total intra-regional exports (red circles and line) peaked in 2004, as did crude oil intra-regional exports.  Petroleum product intra-regional exports peaked in 2006. 

Summary and Discussion
The results of this analysis suggest that peaks in the exports of total petroleum and crude oil occurred in about 2007 or earlier (Figure 3).  Gross petroleum and intra-regional product exports peaked in 2006 (Figure 7), although inter-regional product exports has not yet peaked (Figure 3).

Expressed as a percentage of production for each year (Figures 4-5), the sharpness of the peaks in total petroleum production and crude oil production are generally more prominent than the trend in absolute values (Figure 3).  This likely reflects the observation that, while rates of production have leveled off over the past 5 years, rate of exports have actually declined over this period, at least for total petroleum and crude oil production.  The "other" petroleum product production and exports is lagging this trend, and so as a percentage of production, the peak is not as evident.

I find it interesting that the trend is for intra-regional exports to have peaked earlier (Figure 7), and to have peaked more sharply, than for the peaks in inter-regional exports (Figure 3, squares).  Gross exports (circles in Figure 3), as the sum of the intra- and inter-, of course, is somewhere in between.

I find this interesting because it run counter to one of the assumptions I made in my earlier series, Estimating the End of Global Petroleum Exports, done nearly a year ago.  In that series, my "Regionalism" assumption was that all intra-regional petroleum consumption is met by intra-regional petroleum consumption and then the excess is exported or the deficiencies are imported.  I knew at the time that this was an approximation of the reality of exports and imports, but a reasonable one.  Reasonable because of the added cost of exporting oil or products outside of one’s geographical region, and, the benefit promoting political and social stability with one’s closer intraregional neighbors.  If that was what hade been happening recently, however, then intra-regional exports would have been maintained in favor of inter-regional exports.  That is does not appear to be happening, perhaps suggests a way to improve my previous estimate of the end of global petroleum exports and its implications.

Perhaps the earlier peaking of intra-regional exports reflects the ability of the exporting countries, or regions, to command a higher price, and hence profit, through inter-regional exports, as compared to intra-regional exports.  I certainly can imagine how this could be the case for exporters located in South America (SA) and Africa (AF), and maybe even the Middle East (ME) and Former Soviet Union (FS).  For instance, net exporters like Brazil and Venezuela in SA, and, Nigeria and Angola in AF, can probably fetch a higher price for their oil by selling to North America (NA), Europe (EU), Japan, China, and the rest of Asia (APr) than selling to other net importing countries in SA and AF, respectively.  Likewise, net exporters like Saudi Arabia can maybe sell their oil at higher price out outside of their geographical region than to net intra-region importers in the ME like Israel, Jordan or Lebanon.

My hope is that each of these regions will have a discernable trends in intra- and inter-regional exports, and that I could use these trends to more accurately predict how petroleum exports will change, and therefore how total petroleum consumption will change, going forward.

Another assumption that I had made in my earlier series from a year ago (Part 5 Predicting regional petroleum consumption in a post-export world) was that going forward, the proportions of petroleum imports to AP, EU and NA would all stay the same as they have been over the part 5 years.  This simplifying assumption has some basis, in that NA’s and EU’s import trends were fairly flat.  AP’s import trend was increasing but, my assumption was that this would have to flatten out too, if the exports from bet exporter regions, like the ME, AF, FS and SA, were to all flatten out, or go down, as I expected. 

My hope is to explore each region for trends in changes in the inter-regional trade movements of petroleum and project these trends forward to enable a better prediction of how each region’s imports and exports will change in the future. 

next up, Inter-Regional Trade Movements of Petroleum in North American

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