Currents of trade: Visualizing the flow of fuel oil

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Visualizing the flow of fuel oil around the world demonstrates how complicated this market is; the average barrel of this product is consumed far from the refinery that produced it. This map shows 2017 interregional net trade flow balances produced by S&P Global Platts Analytics to give a clearer view of how the bottom of the barrel is traded globally. In the notes we set out how those flows might change.

The main impulse behind the global fuel oil trade is to take the surplus produced by older, simpler refineries in Europe and the former Soviet Union and deliver it to growing markets in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. This general dynamic should continue in the years after 2020 even after the majority of marine fuel oil demand disappears, but individual arbitrage routes may shift.

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