It’s 2023, and the oil markets have clawed their way through the covid muck and are holding their own through the energy transition–aided, of course, by the war in Ukraine and Europe’s energy crisis which breathed new life into the need for energy security. But the oil markets are battling against new forces–inaccurate or missing data–and there seems to be no resolution in sight. The EIA’s data is the newest culprit gaining attention.
Missing data has been present in the oil markets for quite some time. China–the world’s largest oil importer–has concealed production, import, and export data for years. While tanker tracking companies have popped up and demystified some of the seaborne shipments to and from China, no official China figures exist for any of it–least of all, overall demand. This has opened the door for traders to speculate–some with great success, as analysts try to see which way global oil demand is headed, with China in the lead.
Iran has also done a fair amount of obscuring itself, as has Venezuela.
Now, one of the most transparent oil markets in the world–the United States–is having a difficult time supplying the markets with accurate data.
Officially, the government releases data–weekly, monthly, and annually–for oil and gas through the EIA. But it seems to have a data integrity problem, evidenced by the growing adjustment factor presented in…