According to recent data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI), the global demand for crude oil hit a new record high in December last year.
Average consumption over the month increased by some 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) on average, putting demand at 102% of that seen in December 2019, the most recent equivalent month that preceded the pandemic. Overall growth was reportedly driven by strong demand in Korea, Japan and Indonesia. In contrast, the production of crude oil was at 96% of December 2019 levels, having declined by 274,000 bpd, mostly due to a 288,000 bpd loss in production from US producers like Chevron and ExxonMobil, the makers of Texaco and Mobil lubricant products.
Despite a tightening market and seasonal factors, refined products and global crude oil inventories increased by 5.46 million barrels, although they are still below the average of the last five years by 354 million barrels. With a five-year seasonal low for EU and UK consumption of natural gas, inventories of natural gas in these areas only declined by 9.5 billion cubic metres (bcm), considerably less than the average seasonal reduction of 11.5 bcm. Combined with efforts to fill storage facilities ahead of winter and a 66% year-on-year increase in imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), this meant inventories were still 85% full at the end of December.
Some 53 countries contributed data for December to JODI oil and gas databases, with these accounting for over 57% of the world’s production of, and demand for, oil.