EU Crude Oil Imports Robust After First Quarter of 2020
According to Banchero Costa, “in the first 3 months of 2020, the European Union countries (still including the UK for annual comparison sake) imported 121.8 mln tonnes of crude oil by sea, according to vessel tracking data from Refinitiv. This represents a net decline of -3.3% y-o-y, compared to the 126.0 mln tonnes imported in the same three-month period of 2019, and down -4.5% from the 127.6 mln tonnes imported in 1Q 2018. On a single-month basis, January showed a +1.4% year-on-year increase to 44.2 mln tonnes, whilst February showed a -5.7% decline year-on-year to 37.8 mln tonnes, and March recorded a -6.0% yearon-year decline to 39.9 mln tonnes”.
The shipboker added that “looking at individual countries, this quarter has been a mixed bag. Italy, the first country in Europe to be hit with the full force of the crisis, is surprisingly amongst those showing the most positive figures. Italy’s seaborne crude oil imports were actually up by +1.0% y-o-y in the first quarter of 2020, to 22.6 mln tonnes. Italy accounts for 18.6% of the EU’s crude imports. On the other hand, Spain’s imports declined sharply by -10.8% y-o-y to 14.3 mln tonnes in Q1 2020. Spain has a share of 11.7%. Imports to Rotterdam have been down by -8.1% y-o-y to 23.7 mln tonnes”.
Banchero Costa added that “the port of Rotterdam on its own accounts for 19.5% of the EU’s seaborne crude imports. Arrivals to the UK were up by +6.4% y-o-y, to Germany by +11% y-o-y, to Portugal by +35%, and to Denmark by +116.0% y-o-y. Imports to France were down by -43% y-o-y, largely due to industrial action at ports and refineries at the start of the year. In terms of sources of the shipments, Russia remains king with a 28% share of EU’s imports. Arrivals from Russia declined slightly by -1.4% y-o-y to 34.3 mln tonnes in the first quarter of 2020. We have seen a continuation of the trend favouring the Baltic Sea over the Black Sea. Shipments from the Russian port of Primorsk to Europe increased by +22.5% y-o-y to 11.1 mln tonnes, whilst shipments from the port of Novorossiysk declined by -7.1% yo-y to 13.5 mln tonnes”.
The shipbroker added that “shipments from the North Sea (Norway and UK) were up +5.5% yo-y to 23.2 mln tonnes, with a share of 19% of Europe’s seaborne crude imports. Shipments from West Africa to Europe increased by +26.5% y-o-y to 17.1 mln tonnes. Imports from the USA surged by +27.5% y-o-y to 12.6 mln tonnes. Volumes are almost three times the 4.5 mln tonnes of 1Q 2018. Direct shipments from the Arabian Gulf were down sharply by -37.5% y-o-y to just 6.8 mln tonnes, and down by half compared to 2018. Mediterranean export sources have also dried up in 1Q 2020. Imports from Libya to Europe crashed by -62.6% y-o-y to just 2.3 mln tonnes, according to vessel tracking data. Imports from Egypt (largely Sidi Kerir) were down by -4.5% y-o-y to 6.8 mln tonnes. Shipments from Turkey (Ceyhan) were also down by -8.6% y-o-y to 7.9 mln tonnes”.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide