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Fuels Europe: statistical report

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Global energy

86.8% of global energy needs are currently met by oil, natural gas and coal and renewables only meet 8.5% of these needs. However, the EU has high shares of nuclear and renewables in the energy mix standing at 11.9% and 10% respectively. Oil and natural gas do account for 60.3% of the energy consumed in the EU, however, whilst global energy consumption grew by 1.8% in 2012, for the EU countries, it only grew by 1%.

Oil products

In 2011, the global demand for refined oil products stood at 86.9 million bpd, and increased to 89.77 million bpd in 2012. However, the European market is declining and is being caught up by China in particular, which causes an impact to figures. In 2013, total EU country oil levels dropped 3.4% from 2012 levels. This was due to the fact that while bigger member sates such as Germany and France experienced a decrease close to the European average. Member states that were heavily hit y the Eurozone crisis, experienced significant decreases for example Greece at 6.7%, Italy at 7.1% and Portugal at 9.6%. Oil product demand has also taken a hit in EU countries. Since 2008 there has been a clear downward trend to the tune of a 13% decrease in demand. Gasoline demand has dropped by 20% over the last five years, according to Fuels Europe figures and middle distillates, gasoil and kerosene have dropped by 7%.

The road fuel demand structure has been heavily influenced by the tax incentivised dieselisation trend. The shift from gasoline to diesel reportedly began 25 years ago and has led to the major demand decline in gasoline across Europe, but it has also lead to a shortage of diesel in the EU, so much so that in 2013, the demand ratio was 2.4. The EU is currently in a position where it has a significant excess of gasoline production capacity and is unable to meet regional demand for diesel and jet fuel. Gasoline surplus grew by 7.2% in 2012 compared to 2008.

Exporting gasoline has always been the EU’s method of getting rid of the excess production and North America used to be the traditional market. However, the shale revolution has meant that US refiners are now able to increase their own supplies of gasoline and are starting to become serious competition for EU gasoline products in the global market. To satisfy its demand for diesel, the EU is looking to Russia, the Middle East and USA for imports.


The share of EU refining in the global mix has decreased from 17% in 2011 to 16% in 2012 and the EU is still the third biggest refining region in the world. There are 84 refineries across Europe with a primary processing capacity of 720.9 million t however, utilisation rates are at approximately 80% and the continued drop in demand for refined products is forcing the industry to adapt further to market demands. Fuels Europe comments in the report that a utilisation rate above 85% is usually required for economic operations at a refinery. A positive for European refineries is that a large number are integrated with or located near to steam crackers, so have close ties to the petrochemical sector.

Efficiency and the environment

Fuels Europe reports that industry accounts for approximately 44% of GHGs in the EU and 20% of that comes from transportation. Emissions per sector have generally been declining in the EU since 2007 and reduced very sharply between 2007 and 2011, to approximately 34% lower than 1990 levels. Globally, the EU accounted for 11% of CO2 emissions in 2011 and is expected to account for only 7% by 2035.

Energy efficiency in Europe is however a different story. Over the past 20 years, energy costs have increased to hit approximately 50% of cash operating costs. Due to this, European refineries are suffering a distinct competitive disadvantage in the global market despite leading the field within the EU in energy efficiency. Over the past 18 years, EU refineries have reportedly improved energy efficiency levels by 10%. Cogeneration has played a big part in this and now, more than 90% of the electricity used in EU refineries is produced by this method.

When it comes to regulations, the number of EU health, safety and environmental policies has almost doubled between 2004 and 2012. In 2013, the European Commission introduced ‘REFIT – Fit for growth’ which will hopefully quash some of these regulations as it seeks to simplify and/or withdraw EU laws, in the hope of aiding businesses and helping them implement those still in place.

The full report from Fuels Europe can be found here.

Adapted for web by Claira Lloyd

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