These are the largest importers of oil

Pubali Neogy

Oil runs the world. And it is more abundant now than you can imagine, thanks to the emergence of more economical ways to extract it from the ground. So much for the peak oil theory propounded by renowned geologist M. King Hubbert – it stated that after conventional oil reserves begin to get used up, production may not be able to keep pace with the growing demand of an exploding population. By his time, of course, most of the conventional oil reserves had been discovered already.

Not so anymore. If anything, we are bothered today by overproduction.

But which are the countries that buy most of the oil? What makes them largest importers? Is it peak oil or simply forces of capitalism which makes it cheaper to buy than produce oil for them?

Here’s a glance at some such largest importers:

China

It guzzles oil like no other thanks to its fast developing large economy. So much so it outstripped the US in 2017 to become the world’s largest oil importer by buying 8.4 million barrels per day. The nation turned net importer (imports greater than exports) of total petroleum and other liquid fuels in 2013 and since then there has been no signs of letting up; ageing oil fields and high production costs – signs that it could have reached peak oil, coupled with reasonable international prices owing to the global glut has ensured imports remain high.
It guzzles oil like no other thanks to its fast developing large economy. So much so it outstripped the US in 2017 to become the world’s largest oil importer by buying 8.4 million barrels per day. The nation turned net importer (imports greater than exports) of total petroleum and other liquid fuels in 2013 and since then there has been no signs of letting up; ageing oil fields and high production costs – signs that it could have reached peak oil, coupled with reasonable international prices owing to the global glut has ensured imports remain high.

The US

It definitely has upended the peak oil theory of Hubbert which claimed that the nation’s oil production would decline after reaching its maximum circa 1969. Peak it did in 1970 to decline after that, but two decades back shale oil boom resulting from a new extraction technology called fracking (fracturing the layers of rock that contain the layers of oil) created a glut. However, this could not prevent the nation from becoming one of the largest oil importers. This is because it imports poor quality dirty oil, particularly from Venezuela and Canada, to refine those in its world class facilities and sell at a premium price both at home and outside.
It definitely has upended the peak oil theory of Hubbert which claimed that the nation’s oil production would decline after reaching its maximum circa 1969. Peak it did in 1970 to decline after that, but two decades back shale oil boom resulting from a new extraction technology called fracking (fracturing the layers of rock that contain the layers of oil) created a glut. However, this could not prevent the nation from becoming one of the largest oil importers. This is because it imports poor quality dirty oil, particularly from Venezuela and Canada, to refine those in its world class facilities and sell at a premium price both at home and outside.

India

To fuel growth, the fastest growing economy in the world, imports about 80 percent oil. This is mainly because of the under-tapped oil reserves (the nation has reserves of around 206 billion barrels of which just 67 billion barrels are online) and limited usage of alternative sources. Analysts, in fact, project that development in India and China would contribute to almost half the global energy demand growth through 2040.
To fuel growth, the fastest growing economy in the world, imports about 80 percent oil. This is mainly because of the under-tapped oil reserves (the nation has reserves of around 206 billion barrels of which just 67 billion barrels are online) and limited usage of alternative sources. Analysts, in fact, project that development in India and China would contribute to almost half the global energy demand growth through 2040.

Japan

With the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 on account of an earthquake and tsunami, all 54 of the nuclear power plants in the nation were idled. Loss of nuclear capacity brought about a major shift in the energy mix of Japan – oil and natural gas came to dominate it. But with limited oil resources, the East Asian nation is a major importer and most of the oil comes from the Middle East.
With the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 on account of an earthquake and tsunami, all 54 of the nuclear power plants in the nation were idled. Loss of nuclear capacity brought about a major shift in the energy mix of Japan – oil and natural gas came to dominate it. But with limited oil resources, the East Asian nation is a major importer and most of the oil comes from the Middle East.

South Korea

A small country with no domestic energy reserves whatsoever, it banks upon imports for most of its oil and natural gas and coal. It has no international oil or natural gas pipelines either and depends completely on tanker shipments of crude oil and LNG. Its imports are expected to go up even further in the near term with its trade ministry announcing suspension of five coal-fired power plants to reduce pollution.
A small country with no domestic energy reserves whatsoever, it banks upon imports for most of its oil and natural gas and coal. It has no international oil or natural gas pipelines either and depends completely on tanker shipments of crude oil and LNG. Its imports are expected to go up even further in the near term with its trade ministry announcing suspension of five coal-fired power plants to reduce pollution.