Following the beginning of offshore oil extraction in the North Sea in 1975 and with rapidly increasing extraction figures, it is not surprising that proved oil reserves in the UK have been declining. Between the end of 1995 and the end of 2019, they had dropped by 1.8 billion barrels. Similarly, the capacities of UK oil refineries have been shrinking, amounting to a daily level of 1.2 million barrels in 2019.
Unlike rising production figures, daily UK oil consumption has been declining, falling from 1.6 million barrels in 2017 to 1.5 million barrels in 2019. Nevertheless, oil is still the main source of primary energy consumption, edging ahead of natural gas with 3.11 exajoules.
In terms of crude oil trading, in all quarters between the first quarter of 2016 and 2020 the trade balance was negative. The second quarter of 2020 was the only quarter in which the UK had recorded a trade surplus of some 365 million British pounds. The Netherlands are the main destination for UK exported crude oil disposals.
As of March 2020, there were 40 oil & gas extraction enterprises with an annual turnover exceeding 5 million British pounds. A breakdown by employment size showed that 15 enterprises in this industry had employed more than 250 people that year.
The average UK household spend on motor fuels stood at 23.2 British pounds in 2019. The largest spending age group were 50 to 64 year-olds.