EU deliveries of oil products have reached record lows due to restrictive measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19, according to the latest preliminary data released by the bloc's statistical authority.
Eurostat stressed that since mid-March 2020, EU member states' measures against COVID-19 impacted the use of transport fuel, with restrictions on international air traffic and by requiring people to stay at home.
The office's data showed that in March, EU deliveries of gasoline and jet fuel fell by 15% and 27% respectively compared with February 2020, and by 24% and 22% compared to the average March value over the last decade (2010 to 2019).
Noting that COVID-19 containment measures differed between EU member states as to their timing and severity, the office said the first EU country to impose severe nationwide measures was Italy, the effects of which are particularly apparent in the data.
In March, the highest decrease in gasoline deliveries was observed in Italy with 40%, Spain with 33% and France with 20%.
The deliveries of gas/diesel oil decreased in some EU member states and increased in others. "The highest decreases were observed in Italy (-26%) and Spain (-11%). Similarly, deliveries of LPG dropped by 27% in Italy, where is it widely used as transport fuel," the EU explained.
On the other hand, the deliveries of gas/diesel oil increased highest in Bulgaria with 33.3%. Belgium and Finland followed with 24.3% and 18.6% respectively.
- Refinery crude oil intake drops by 5%
The Eurostat noted that national and international air-traffic limitations introduced in March had a major impact on kerosene demand.
As a result, kerosene deliveries plummeted to record lows. The largest decreases in deliveries compared to February 2020 were observed in Sweden with 57% and Italy with 52%, followed by Spain with 35%. France recorded a 28% drop and Germany saw a 20% fall.
EU refinery intake of crude oil in March also dropped by 5% compared to February with the largest declines observed in France (-31%) and Italy (-24%).
"Compared to the average March value of the last decade, the refinery intake of crude oil dropped in these two countries by 58% and by 33% respectively," it concluded.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu