Energy Information Administration

United States
Energy Information Administration

June 2000
Persian Gulf Oil Export Fact Sheet

In 1999, the Persian Gulf countries (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) produced over 27 percent of the world's oil, while holding 65 percent of the world's oil reserves. Persian Gulf net oil exports to OECD countries declined to 9.8 million barrels per day in 1999 from 10.5 million barrels per day in 1998.

U.S. net oil imports from the Persian Gulf in 1999 rose to 2.42 million barrels per day from 2.13 million barrels per day in 1998. The vast majority of Persian Gulf exports to the United States came from Saudi Arabia (60 percent), with significant amounts also coming from Iraq (29 percent) and Kuwait (10 percent), with only very small amounts of oil coming from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The increase in exports to the United States was largely due to an sharp increase in exports of Iraqi crude to the United States in 1999, and Saudi efforts to expand market share in the United States in an environment of OPEC production cuts. Since rising from a 25-year low of 0.31 million barrels per day in 1985 to 1.97 million barrels per day in 1990, U.S. oil imports from the Persian Gulf as a percentage of oil demand declined gradually through 1996, until increasing from 1997 through 1999 (see graph). In 1999, more oil was imported to the United States from the Persian Gulf than in any year since 1977, when imports had peaked at 2.45 million barrels per day.

Western Europe (defined as European countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, but excluding new European OECD members Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic) imported 3.3 million barrels per day from the Persian Gulf in 1999. This was a decrease of about 0.7 million barrels per day from 1998. The largest share of Persian Gulf oil exports to Western Europe came from Saudi Arabia (40 percent), with significant amounts also coming from Iran (over 28 percent), Iraq (over 24 percent), and Kuwait (7 percent). After declining steadily between 1993 and 1996, Western Europe's oil imports from the Persian Gulf as a percentage of oil demand had increased significantly in 1997 and 1998, before falling in 1999.

Japan imported nearly 4.1 million barrels per day from the Persian Gulf in 1999. Due to a significant decline in Japanese oil demand (0.2 million barrels per day) as a result of the Asian economic crisis, Japan's oil imports from the Persian Gulf as a percentage of demand has stayed relatively flat, from a peak in 1997-1998 of 75 percent to the 1999 figure of 73 percent. Japan's dependence on the Persian Gulf for its oil supplies had increased steadily from 1988 to 1997. In 1988, Persian Gulf oil imports had represented only 57 percent of Japanese oil demand. In 1999, almost a third of Persian Gulf exports to Japan came from the United Arab Emirates (31 percent), and nearly one-third coming from Saudi Arabia (30 percent).

In 1999, Persian Gulf countries exported 16.3 million barrels per day of oil (see pie chart). This represented a decrease of about 0.8 million barrels per day from 1998. Production cuts announced by OPEC in March 1999 accounted for much of this decline. Iraqi exports, however, rose substantially, from 1.7 million barrels per day in 1998 to 2.1 million barrels per day in 1999. Iraq's exports under the "oil for food" exemption to United Nations sanctions were not covered by the OPEC cutbacks. The OPEC production cuts were reversed in March 2000, with quotas returned to their previous levels.

Imports from the Persian Gulf Region
As Percent of Demand As Percent of Net Oil Imports
US W. Europe Japan US W. Europe Japan
1983 2.9 27 60 10.3 41 60
1984 3.2 25 61 10.7 39 61
1985 2.0 22 58 7.3 35 59
1986 5.6 29 58 16.8 45 58
1987 6.5 27 59 18.2 43 60
1988 8.9 28 57 23.4 44 58
1989 10.7 30 64 25.8 47 63
1990 11.6 31 66 27.5 48 65
1991 11.0 27 64 27.8 43 64
1992 10.4 27 66 25.6 43 66
1993 10.3 30 69 23.4 50 68
1994 9.8 26 70 21.5 48 68
1995 8.9 24 70 19.9 47 70
1996 8.8 22 69 18.9 43 70
1997 9.4 24 75 19.2 47 74
1998 11.3 27 75 21.9 50 76
1999 12.5 23 73 25.1 50 74

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File last modified: June 1, 1999

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