Gulf Crude Shipments Fall In Q2, But From Record Levels

Latest import data for key Asian countries and the US are beginning to show the impact of recent output cuts by Opec’s Gulf core. But whilst volumes are down from the record levels hit in the first quarter, they are still high by historical comparison. At least this is the case in volume terms – in terms of market share Gulf Opec is losing out in the fast-growing China market.

Saudi Arabia’s three biggest customers, Japan, China and the US all took substantially lower volumes in Q2 (April-May for Asia; to 23 June for the US) than in Q1 this year. But the 480,000 b/d collective fall needs to be seen in the context of Q1, when both China and Japan took record quarterly volumes, and even those imported by the US hit a three-year high despite rising domestic output (see chart 1). Number four customer South Korea actually saw volumes jump in Q2, hitting a 13-month high of 996,000 b/d in May. (CONTINUED - 1310 WORDS)


chart 1: Saudi Arabia’s Top 4 Crude Customers’ Import Volumes (‘000 B/D): Down In Q2*, But From Record Levels
chart 2: Us Imports From Saudi Arabia Fall To 856,000 B/D In June*, Lowest Since Jan 2015 (Mn B/D)
chart 3: Chinese Crude Imports By Region Of Origin: Almost Everywhere Is Up In Volume Terms (Mn B/D) …
chart 4: …But Opec & The Mideast Have Been Losing Market Share To Russia And The Americas (% Of Total Imports)
chart 5: China’s Top 3 Crude Suppliers (‘000 B/D, 3-Month Moving Average): Both Russia And Angola Have Decisively Overtaken Saudi In Recent Months
chart 6: After Peaking At 41% In Q4 2016, Opec’s Share Of World Oil Output Is Set To Fall To 39.5% For 2017 And, If Output Restrictions Remain In Place, Below 39% In 2h 2018