How Geospatial Analytics Provides Insight into Global Oil Storage

Over the past month, multiple news articles have sourced data reported by well-respected governmental and non-governmental organizations describing the reasons behind rising oil prices—now approaching $75/barrel.

This chart above from OPEC shows oil inventories in OECD countries at their lowest levels since 2015 and there has been speculation that this signaled a concerted effort by Saudi Arabia, OPEC, and Russia to cut output to increase prices.

Specifically, over the time period from Feb. 1, 2018, to April 13, 2018, Orbital Insight tracked crude oil reserves in OECD increasing by approximately 44M barrels to a total of 1,078M barrels. In non-OECD countries, the increase was approximately 22M barrels to 1,503M barrels. These findings represent a 2.6% increase in global supply, suggesting that producers are extracting more oil now that prices are continuing to rise.

The chart from the EIA, below, shows U.S. crude-inventory well below five-year averages. The Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI) typically reports on a lag, usually on a scale of months.

However, Orbital Insight data shows that crude oil storage actually rose from February to April 2018.  The chart below demonstrates a disparity—public statements indicate that production levels will remain constant, but we show supplies are actually increasing, not decreasing.   

Orbital Insight combines multiple satellite sensors and proprietary geospatial analytics to persistently monitor over 25,000 floating roof oil tanks globally. Leveraging advances in artificial intelligence, Orbital Insight provides a more scalable, objective, and timely alternative to conventional reporting by OPEC, the EIA, and IEA. Find out how you can learn the observational truth about global oil storage with Orbital Insight.