The latest monthly IEA report spells out the effect of Saudi Arabia increasingly diverting its crude away from Europe and towards Asia. In late December, Saudi Aramco told European customers they would no longer receive Arab Heavy or Arab Medium in 2010, in preference for domestic power generation and Asian customers.
European imports of the two grades totalled (barrels per day):
2009: 45,000 – first nine months only
And 2010 apparently will be zero.
(The chart on the right shows the heavy grade only).
Just as well European demand is forecast to remain unchanged in 2010 – the IEA now estimates it was 15.3m barrels per day for both 2009 (partly based on preliminary data) and forecasts the same level for 2010.