Tunisia’s Net Energy Imports Hit Record In 2018

Tunisia’s trade deficit soared 12% to a near-record $7.2bn for 2018, with a record 33% of this accounted for by oil and gas imports. With dwindling oil and gas output and higher oil prices, Tunisia is increasingly at the mercy of the global energy markets.

Tunisia’s struggling economy racked up a $7.2bn trade deficit in 2018 with net oil and gas imports accounting for a record $2.3bn – 33% of the total.

Gone are the days when Tunisia was a net oil exporter. Having peaked at 118,000 b/d in 1979, crude output has halved since 2010 to just 38,000 b/d for 2018 (see chart 1). Tunisia is now reliant on imports to meet 60% of oil demand.

Tunisia isn’t faring any better on the gas front. Gas output has been steadily declining since 2010’s 310mn cfd to an estimated 196mn cfd for 2018. As with oil, domestic demand has continued to edge higher in the meantime. Unlike oil, Tunisia is reliant on just one supplier for gas: neighboring Algeria. Algerian gas now meets a whopping 66% of Tunisia’s gas demand, up from 42% as recently as 2010 (see charts 2 and 3). (CONTINUED - 959 WORDS)


chart 1: Crude Output Has Halved Since 2010, Leaving Tunisia Reliant On Imports To Meet 60% Of Demand
chart 2: For Gas The Slide In Output Is Less Severe But The Reliance On Imports No Less So (Mn Cfd)
chart 3: Tunisia Is Now Reliant On Gas Imports To Meet 66% Of Demand Versus 60% For Oil
chart 4: Whilst Tunisia's Energy Import Bill ($Bn) Dipped For 2015-17 With The Slump In Oil Prices, It Rose By 28% In 2018 As Crude Prices Averaged $71/B
chart 5: Tunisia Oil Trade^ Balance ('000 B/D)
chart 6: Tunisia's Energy Trade Balance ($Bn): Despite Remaining A Modest Net Crude Exporter, Tunisia's Net Oil & Gas Import Bill Hit A Record $2.3bn For 2018
chart 7: Tunisia Overall Trade Balance ($Bn): Deficit Soars To $7.23bn For 2018, Just Shy Of 2014's Record $8.03bn