Marine crude oil transport – global voyage losses

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Courtesy of Energy Institute (EI)

Paul Harrison, Consultant to the HMC-4A Marine Oil Transportation Database Committee, presents latest findings from analysis of the 2013 data on marine crude oil transport.

The Energy Institute (EI) HMC- 4A Marine Oil Transportation Database Committee has been collecting and analysing worldwide oil shipping data for over 20 years and meets twice a year. The 2013 autumn meeting was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last November, hosted by Petrobras, and the spring 2014 meeting was held in Windsor, UK, hosted by BP. The next meeting will be held in Singapore, this November. Committee members submit their voyage measurement data annually. They receive a global analysis and confidential individual company reports. The following member companies submitted data for 2013 – Bazan, BP Oil International, CEPSA, Chevron, Chinese Petroleum Corporation, Eni, ExxonMobil, Koch, Marathon Petroleum, Petrobras, Petrogal (GALP Energia), PetroIneos, Phillips 66, PMI Pemex, Repsol, Saras, Shell, Statoil and Total. The main findings from the global analysis follow.

Database development
Over 1,200 inland US barge movements were reported for 2013. These are being reviewed separately and have not been included in the analysis presented below. The total number of ship voyages reported for 2013 fell to just over 8,100. The number of ship voyages reported with both bill of lading (BOL) and outturn data increased to over 6,000. The reported BOL volume totalled 4.95bn barrels. The volume of crude with complete data fell slightly to 3.8bn barrels, as shown
in Figure 1.

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy gives global crude seaborne trade for 2013 as 13.8bn barrels, down about 2.2% compared with 2012. The fall was due mainly to reduced US imports resulting from the growth in shale oil production. The database, therefore, includes approximately 36% of the global volume at BOL and contains complete load and discharge data for just under 28% of estimated global shipped volume.

Global losses
Losses have been falling consistently since 2001 and fell to a record low net standard volume (NSV) loss of –0.161% in 2010 (by convention losses are given as negative). The 2011 figures showed an increased loss of –0.172%. This figure was repeated in 2012 and the 2013 NSV loss of –0.171% is not signficantly different. It should be noted that losses include apparent as well as physical losses. Apparent losses result from the combination of fixed and random errors in the measurement systems used at load and discharge.

Gross or total calculated volume (TCV) loss stayed fairly constant between 2000 and 2007, while water losses continued to fall, reducing NSV loss. Changes in TCV loss have driven NSV losses since 2006. Following reduced losses in 2008, 2009 and 2010, there was a rise from –0.134% in 2010 to –0.149% in 2011 which led to the increased NSV loss for that year; which has been repeated in 2012 and 2013. A slight increase in TCV loss in 2013 was compensated for (in terms of NSV loss) by a small reduction in water loss. See

Figure 2.
TCV loss comprises any real losses due to evaporation plus any apparent losses due to systematic measurement differences. Water loss represents any additional water reported at discharge compared with that reported at load; ie an accounting loss in terms of oil quantity but not a real loss of either oil or water.

Loss comparison
Table 1 gives mean NSV loss and standard deviation for shipments of the most popular crudes in the database (20 or more voyages with full data). The mean of the reported API gravity is also given, together with the overall percentage loss based on reported total barrels shipped. For comparison, figures for NSV loss calculated by voyage are given for 2013 and 2012.

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