Asia Pacific


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Oil supply

Oil-based fuels power millions of automobiles, aircraft and ships around the world and are integral to modern life. But burning oil is also one of the leading sources of CO2 emissions. Efforts are underway to decarbonise sectors like transport that rely heavily on oil, but this is challenging in areas such as aviation where alternatives (e.g. electric power) still cannot match the energy density of petroleum fuels.

The oil supply shown below combines crude and refined oil produces and includes oil production and oil imports minus oil that is exported or stored.

Domestic crude oil production

Crude oil is pumped from wells on land or on offshore platforms and transported by pipelines or tanker ships to refineries where it can be turned into useful oil products, mainly fuels and industrial chemicals. Technological developments like hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") have allowed many countries to increase their oil production in areas where it was previously uneconomical to extract.

Crude oil here includes natural gas liquids (NGLs), hydrocarbons that are produced alongside crude oil and have many of the same uses.

Oil refining

Almost all of the crude oil produced in the world is refined into other products before being used. These include fuels for automobiles, ships and aircraft, as well as those used for heating. Oil is also made into a variety of chemicals and products with a wide range of industrial and commercial uses – notably plastics.

Oil trade

Oil is the most widely-traded energy commodity, with millions of barrels of both crude oil and refined oil products flowing each day from producer to consumer countries through a global network of pipelines, tankers, storage facilities and oil refineries.

Disruptions to this network can have devestating consequences for importers who depend on oil-based fuels to run their economies – but also for exporting countries, where oil revenues often make up a substantial part of the state budget and the overall economy.

Energy-related CO2 emissions from oil

Oil accounts for the second largest share of CO2 emissions globally, primarily in the transport sector where, despite recent exponential growth in EV sales, the vast majority of cars, trucks, ships and aircraft are still powered by oil-based fuels burned in internal combustion engines. Other major sources of CO2 emissions from oil include heating homes and businesses and making plastics and chemicals.

Note that these numbers include only CO2 emissions from burning oil. Methane emissions from oil and gas operations are also a substantial contributor to climate change.

Oil in electricity generation

Oil can be burned to generate electricity, though in most countries this is rare due to the high cost and emissions impacts.

Final consumption of oil products

Most crude oil is refined into oil products such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene and heavy fuel oil. These are primarily used to fuel automobiles, airplanes, ships and machinery, and in some places to heat buildings. Many of the petroleum products made from oil have non-energy uses, notably asphalt, engine lubricants and raw materials for making plastics.