Energy Insight: Trade: UK crude oil imports (DSS09)

UK crude oil import

The UK has been a net importer of crude oil since 2005. The total net crude oil imports (imports minus exports) in 2018 was 3.3 million tonnes.

Sources of UK imports

The principal source of the UK's imports has consistently been Norway, historically accounting for around 65% of all imports. In 2018, the proportion of crude oil sourced from Norway constituted 48% of the total import. Imports from OPEC countries,  especially from Algeria and Nigeria, stand at 22% of the UK's crude import.  From importing nothing before 2017, the USA now accounts for 15% of the UK's crude oil imports.

Significantly, crude oil imports from the US increased to 4 million tonnes and constituted 8% of the total import. Russia was the fifth largest importer after Norway, Algeria, Nigeria and the USA.

Value of UK imports

Value of the imported crude oil decreased from 2013, to reach the lowest level since 2005 in 2016. However, it rebounded in 2017 and continued to rise in 2018.

Imports are likely to increasingly exceed exports in the future.

Sources: Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) Annex G.4 Imports and exports of crude oil by country

DUKES table 3.1.1 Crude oil and petroleum products: production, imports and exports

UK Dependence on Imported Hydrocarbons: How Important is Russia?, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, March 2018 

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