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West Africa Crude Oil Exports Dropped Again in 2022

West Africa crude oil exports kept falling during 2022, continuing the downward trend of the past few years. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “2022 turned out to be a very positive year for crude oil trade, despite the surging oil prices and risks of economic recession. In the full 12 months of 2022, global crude oil loadings went up +8.7% yo-y to 2,050.1 mln tonnes, excluding all cabotage trade, according to vessels tracking data from Refinitiv. This was well above the 1,886.3 mln tonnes in Jan-Dec 2021, but slightly below the 2,110.5 mln tonnes in the same period of 2019”.

According to the shipbroker’s analysis, “exports from the Arabian Gulf were up +12.8% y-o-y to 880.1 mln t in 2022, and accounted for 42.9% of global seaborne crude oil trade. Exports from Russia have also increased by +10.4% y-o-y to 218.7 mln tonnes, or 10.7% of global trade. From the USA, exports surged by +22.9% y-o-y to 165.1 mln t. From West Africa, however, exports declined -2.2% y-o-y to 170.7 mln t. From the North Sea, exports were also down by -1.9% y-o-y to 107.4 mln tonnes in Jan-Dec 2022. In terms of demand, seaborne imports into the European Union (27) increased by +12.2% y-o-y to 451.6 mln t in Jan-Dec 2022, with the EU accounting for 22.3% of global seaborne crude oil imports. Imports to India also surged +11.6% y-o-y to 224.0 mln t in 2022. Imports to China, however, declined by -2.6% y-o-y to 438.4 mln t, the lowest level since 2018”.

“West Africa as a region is the third largest exporter of crude oil in the world, after the Arabian Gulf and Russia. It accounts for 8.3% of global seaborne crude oil exports. Total crude oil loadings from West Africa in the 12 months of 2022 declined by -2.2% y-o-y to 170.7 million tonnes, according to revised vessels tracking data from Refinitiv. This extends a negative trend now seen for a number of years. In 2021, exports from West Africa declined by a sharp -14.0% y-o-y to 174.6 mln tonnes. In 2020, volumes had also declined by -9.2% y-o-y to 202.9 mln tonnes, from the recent peak of 223.4 mln tonnes in 2019. In terms of individual countries, the biggest exporters in the region are Nigeria and Angola. Nigeria exported 65.5 mln t in 2022, down -9.2% y-o-y. Volumes from Nigeria have been dramatically declining in recent years from the 72.2 mln t in 2021, the 86.7 mln t in 2020 and the 97.9 mln t in 2019. Angola exported 58.4 mln t in 2022, up +5.6% y-o-y from 55.3 mln tin 2021. Volumes however were still well below the 61.6 mln t in 2020 and the 67.1 mln t in 2019”, Banchero Costa said.

“Other major crude oil exporters in the region are Congo-Brazzaville with 12.2 mln t in 2022 (-7.4% y-o-y), Cameroon with 9.4 mln t (+1.1% y-oy), Gabon 9.3 mln t (+2.8% y-o-y), Ghana 7.7 mln t (+2.3% y-o-y), Equatorial Guinea 4.0 mln t (14.5% yo-y), Togo 1.9 mln t (+150.2% y-o-y). The majority (52% in 2022) of West African crude oil exports are loaded on VLCCs, with 45% on Suezmaxes and 3% on Aframaxes. Trade patterns for West African crude oil exports tend to be quite long haul, with the majority of volumes going to Asia. The number one destination is actually the European Union, accounting for 31% of volumes shipped from West Africa in 2022. Exports from West Africa to the EU increased by +33.3% y-o-y in 2022 to 52.1 mln tonnes, just shy of the 55.3 mln tonnes of 2019. The second major destination is China, which accounted for 26.3% of West African exports in 2022. Shipments to China declined in 2022, by -21.1% y-o-y to 45.0 mln tonnes. Volumes on this route have declined for three years in a row, and are now almost half the 73.4 mln t of 2019. Another 11.2% of shipments in 2022 were sent to the ASEAN region. These increased by +11.4% y-o-y in 2022 to 19.2 mln tonnes 10.1% of exports from West Africa in 2022 were to India. Shipments to India declined by -26.2% y-o-y in 2022 to 17.3 mln t”, the shipbroker concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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