Crude oil – consumption and own production in Germany

After the EU has already imposed an embargo on Russian coal, an embargo on crude oil is imminent. The EU states are not yet in agreement, but there are only a few states left that are not in favour. How much crude oil does Germany need and how much of it comes from production in its own country? Is it possible to increase domestic production? These are the questions we want to address in this article.


How much oil does Germany need per year?

According to the Federal Office for Foreign Trade, Germany consumed just over 83 million tonnes of crude oil in 2021. This is about 2 per cent less than in 2020, which is due to the Corona Lockdowns.

Of this, almost 35 million tonnes were consumed as diesel fuel, 16 million tonnes as petrol and 11 million tonnes as heating oil. The rest is distributed among other products, such as paraffin, heavy fuel oil, lubricants and other products.

Crude oil consumption and own production in Germany. Annual consumption four times higher than own reserves.
Crude oil consumption and own production in Germany. Annual consumption four times higher than own reserves.
Image: Deutsche Bohrplattform Mittelplate Ralf Roletschek, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

Where does the oil come from?

A good third of the crude oil in 2021 came from Russia, just over 12 percent from the USA, and just under 10 percent each from Kazakhstan, Norway and the UK. Germany also produces oil from its own reserves, but this share is only just over 2 per cent of demand.


Where are the oil fields in Germany?

Almost 60 per cent of the company’s own production comes from the federal states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. The only German drilling platform, Mittelplate, is located in Schleswig-Holstein, west of Friedrichskoog, and has been in operation since 1987. The drilling platform is by far the largest German production field. It is located in the Wadden Sea and is connected to the mainland by a 14-kilometre pipeline. A good 30 per cent of German production comes from Lower Saxony from several production sites along the border with Holland. Rhineland-Palatinate produces slightly more than 7 per cent and Bavaria just under 2 per cent of its own production.

Is it possible to increase the production volume in Germany?

Germany has secured reserves of a good 23 million tonnes of crude oil, which according to the industry association will last for at least another 14 years. These reserves have been confirmed by drilling and production is possible with the known technology. In addition, there are still oil deposits that have been confirmed but have not yet been developed for production. Therefore, it is not yet possible to make a statement about the quantity that can be stored and extracted there.


Several companies have applied for corresponding licences to extract this oil. However, the licensing procedures are very lengthy and are still pending, especially since several environmental associations are opposing them. Even if a permit were to be granted immediately, oil could not be produced there until 2025 at the earliest due to the complex technology involved.

Summary

Germany needs four times as much oil per year as is available in total as a secured reserve in its own country. Even if permits were granted to extract the reserves that have not yet been tapped, against the resistance of nature conservation associations, the expected yields would be marginal. Russian crude oil could therefore in no case be replaced by increasing production from the country’s own resources.

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Zuletzt aktualisiert am um . Wir weisen darauf hin, dass sich hier angezeigte Preise inzwischen geändert haben können. Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr.
Zuletzt aktualisiert am um . Wir weisen darauf hin, dass sich hier angezeigte Preise inzwischen geändert haben können. Alle Angaben ohne Gewähr.
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