What if unrest in North Africa, ME impacts on oil exports?

It is only a matter of time until the unrest in North Africa and the Middle East impacts on oil supplies as it did in the last years of the Shah regime in the late 70s. At least we have to consider it and prepare for it. What are the numbers involved?

We have to watch 5 oil exporting countries in North Africa and the Middle East: Algeria, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iran

Crude oil production of this group peaked in 2005 at 8.4 mb/d. Yes, 2005, the start year of the global peak.

The decline was very modest, just 3.3 % over 4 years. But crude oil exports – which also peaked in 2005 – declined much steeper, by 900 Kb/d or 3.7 % pa.

This is in line with what Jeff Brown


always reminds us of: that export decline rates are higher than production decline rates.

Exports of finished petroleum products have also peaked, already in 2001

and declined by 300 kb/d since then, or 6.2% pa

The explanation for these declines is an increase in consumption, at around 3-4% pa

It all started in Tunesia

not a player on global oil markets. But we see the local problems there, too: declining production, rising consumption and increasing imports, though recently peaking.

Pipeline map of North Africa:

green: oil     red: gas     blue: products     dashed: planned/under construction


Summary: this group of 5 countries lost 1.2 mb/d in crude oil and petroleum exports from natural decline (900 kb/d) and rising domestic consumption (300 kb/d) in the last years. If the natural decline of exports were to double as a result of strikes, lack of maintenance at oil installations, power cuts, financing problems, loss of revenue and other disruptions we could see roughly 1 mb/d disappear from world oil markets. According to Sadad-Al-Husseini (Wiki leaks cable from Riyadh) this could equate to a rise in oil prices of US$ 12 per barrel.

————related posts————-

31/1/2011    Egypt – the convergence of oil decline, political and socio-economic crisis

30/12/2010    Another warning on Iran’s oil production and exports

13/8/2010    Saudi Arabia lost production share to Russia

31/7/2010    Saudi Aramco’s crude oil exports peaked in 2005

12/7/2010    Saudi King ordered oil exploration to cease. But will it matter?