Crude oil imports to Thailand at lowest level since 2015

Crude oil imports to Thailand were down in 2020 to the lowest level since 2015, according to data from Thailand’s energy department. Total imports fell 19,000 barrels per day from 2019 figures, down to 837,000 barrels. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic production also dropped along with the reduction in oil importing. Thai refineries decreased their production to 1 million barrels a day instead of their maximum capacity of 1.24 million barrels, as demand for refined oil products fell.

Thailand diversified its supply sources and reduced oil reliance from the Middle East, which has provided the majority of Thailand’s crude importing. One reason for the reduction could be the production cuts in OPEC and Mideast Gulf, which left Thailand looking for other suppliers. In 2016 crude oil imports for the Mideast accounted for 66% of all Thai importing, but by 2020 it fell to just 54%. Asian-Pacific oil imports fell from 19% in 2016 and 15% in 2019 down to 14%.

While Saudi Arabia is the top supplier to Thailand, 2016 figures were around 237,000-255,000 barrels a day and by 2020 had dropped to around 193,000 barrels. Similar decreases were seen in UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar. UAE dropped from 210,000 in 2019 to 185,000 in 2020, Kuwait fell from 11,000 to 8000 barrels per day from 2019 to 2020, and Qatari exports nearly halved from 64,000 barrels in 2019 to 34,000 to 2020.

On the other hand, imports from other regions such as the US and Africa have been increasing. The US went from delivering 3,000-5,000 barrels a day in 2016 to 61,000 barrels in 2020. In Africa, imports are up from Angola, Nigeria and Ghana, none of whom sent any crude to Thailand as recently as 2016. Angola exported 61,000 barrels per day in 2020, while Nigeria sent 41,000 barrels and Ghana contributed 8,000 barrels.\

And here’s the latest in the current ship blocking the Suez Canal.


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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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