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EU Crude Oil Imports Took a Dive in 2020, As the Pandemic Raged

As the pandemic raged during 2020, EU’s crude oil imports took a dive. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “in 2020, Europe emerged as one of the pre-eminent epicentres of the COVID19 crisis. The lockdowns taking place in most of the continent are having a devastating impact on the economy, and obviously on the demand for refined oil products, and hence crude oil imports. In the 12 months of 2020, the 27 countries of the European Union imported 388.1 mln tonnes of crude oil by sea, according to Refinitiv vessel tracking data. This represents a net decline of -13.0% y-o-y, compared to the 446.2 mln tonnes imported in 2019. Note that now we exclude the UK from both 2020 data and also previous years’ data”.

Source: banchero costa &c s.p.a

According to the shipbroker, “the European Union is still the second largest seaborne importer of crude oil in the world after China, accounting for 18% of global seaborne oil trade. In fact, it used to be the top importer in the world until 2019, when it was narrowly overtaken by China. Since 2020, China now leads by a wide margin, having recorded an actual increase in seaborne crude imports of +8.8% last year. In general, the contraction in demand seen in Europe is well beyond the global average.

Global seaborne crude oil trade in 2020 contracted by -5.0% y-o-y to 2,119 mln tonnes. The main crude oil import terminals in the European Union currently are: Rotterdam in the Netherlands (86.6 mln tonnes discharged in 2020), Trieste Italy (34.5), Wilhelmshaven Germany (17.6), Fos France (16.9), Cartagena Spain (12.0), Le Havre France (10.8), Sarroch Italy (10.0), Gdansk Poland (9.5), Algeciras Spain (9.4), Pachi Greece (9.1), Goteborg Sweden (8.8), Porvoo Finland (8.8), Augusta Italy (8.5), Huelva Spain (7.8), Lysekil Sweden (7.8), Ag. Theodoroi Greece (7.8), Sines Portugal (7.8), Butinge Lithuania (7.4), Milazzo Italy (7.0), Genoa Italy (6.2)”.

Source: banchero costa &c s.p.a

Banchero Costa added that “crude shipments into the EU steadily declined throughout the year. In the first 3 months of 2020, the EU imported 107.8 mln tonnes of seaborne crude oil, down -4.2% y-o-y. The second quarter of 2020 saw shipments of 94.9 mln tonnes into the EU, down -14.6% y-o-y. In the third quarter, imports went further down to 94.7 mln tonnes, which was down -16.6% y-o-y from the same quarter in 2019. The fourth quarter of 2020 saw a further decline to 90.7 mln tonnes, which was down -16.9% y-o-y. In terms of sources of the shipments, things reshuffled quite a bit. Arrivals from Russia declined by -15.5% y-o-y to 108.5 mln tonnes in 2020. Russia remains the top supplier of seaborne oil to the EU, accounting for 28% of volumes in 2020”.

The shipbroker also noted that “over the whole year, Black Sea exports held up much better than those from Baltic ports. Shipments from the Russian port of Primorsk to the EU declined by -26% yo-y to 30.15 mln tonnes, from Ust Luga declined by -19% to 19.4 mln tonnes, whilst shipments from the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk declined by just -5% y-o-y to 50.5 mln tonnes. Shipments from the North Sea (Norway and UK) were up +5.8% y-o-y to 62.0 mln tonnes, with a share of 16% of Europe’s seaborne crude imports. Imports from North Africa (including from Sidi Kerir) were down -35.0% y-oy to 48.6 mln tonnes. In particular, shipments from Libya crashed by -69.8% y-o-y to just 9.0 mln tonnes, from 29.8 mln tonnes in 2019 and 28.2 mln tonnes in 2018. Shipments from West Africa to Europe declined by -10.2% y-o-y to 47.5 mln tonnes. Imports from the USA surged by +30.3% y-o-y to 36.4 mln tonnes. Volumes were almost double the 15.8 mln tonnes of 2018. Direct shipments from the Arabian Gulf were down sharply by -37.3% y-oy to just 24.9 mln tonnes, and down by half compared to 2018. Shipments from Turkey (Ceyhan) were also down by -12.2% y-o-y to 30.3 mln tonnes”, Banchero Costa concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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