Richard Melson

January 2006

International Energy Forum

Additional information on the Joint Oil Data Initiative

can be obtained by sending an Email to:

jodinfo@iefs.org.sa

If the JODI World Database is the visible part of the Joint Oil Data Initiative, JODI is much more than collecting and releasing monthly oil statistics. JODI has played an important role in raising political awareness of the difficulties encountered in improving data reliability and timeliness. Networks have been established and statistical systems have been improved in many countries. Attitudes towards confidentiality and reliability have evolved. Contacts between oil companies, countries and organisations have multiplied. JODI has also strengthened producer-consumer dialogue by demonstrating that dialogue is not only a concept, but can lead to concrete actions.

The release of the JODI World database was not the primary goal of the initiative; however, since transparency is central to the initiative, the seven international organizations behind JODI - APEC, Eurostat, IEA, IEFS, OLADE, OPEC and UNSD - have agreed to open the JODI World Dattabase on the occasion of the inauguration of the IEFS premises on 19 November 2005. This decision was taken with the full knowledge that users might be disappointed, as not all the data for all the flows, products and countries are always available, or of good quality.

The opening of the database is not the final goal of the initiative either. The database should improve continuously and several actions will soon be

launched to further strengthen reporting expertise in countries and raise the political awareness

However, transparency can only be achieved if all parties (organizations, countries, oil companies and analysts) involved in the oil market fully participate.

JODI World Database

The Starting Point: The 7th International Energy Forum Meeting

The end of the 1990s was characterized by unusually high volatility of oil prices. The lack of transparent and reliable oil statistics was identified as an aggravating factor for the volatility in addition to factors such as political tensions and economic shocks. The efforts to improve the availability and reliability of oil data began among producers and consumers, who recognized the need for more data transparency in the oil market. Ministers at the 7th International Energy Forum in Riyadh made clear their support for better data and urged a global response to the challenge.

From the 7th to the 9th International Energy Forum:

Exercise, Initiative and Database

Six international organizations – APEC, Eurostat, IEA, OLADE, OPEC and UNSD – took up the challenge, combined their efforts, involved their Member Countries and, in April 2001 launched the Joint Oil Data Exercise. The primary goal was not to build a database, but to raise the awareness of all oil market players of the need for more transparency in oil market data.

The first priority of the six organizations was to assess the oil data situation in their respective member countries in order to better qualify and quantify the lack of transparency. The assessment included the collection of monthly oil statistics from each organization’s member countries through a harmonized questionnaire on 42 key oil data points.

The progress was immediate: Within six months, 55 countries had already participated in the exercise. Six months later there were over 70 participating countries, representing 90 per cent of global oil supply and demand.

At the 8th International Energy Forum in Osaka in 2002, Ministers commended the work, reaffirmed their political support and urged the organizations to pursue their effort.

Having obtained the political mandate to reinforce their work, the six organizations obtained agreement from their Member Countries to make the Exercise a permanent reporting mechanism; the Exercise was then renamed the Joint Oil Data Initiative(JODI).

As process gathered momentum, more countries participated and their submissions were more timely and complete, while quality improved. It became, therefore, desirable to assemble all the information in a compatible form: The JODI World Database was born.

Participants in the 5th JODI Conference in October 2004 then strongly recommended that this joint global database should be made freely accessible to all – organizations, countries, industry, analysts and others.

From Concept to Launch

Transparency does not happen overnight and despite the significant progress achieved since its inception, the database is still far from perfection. The IEF Secretariat, which took over the co-ordination of JODI in January 2005, and the six organizations are fully aware of the limits and limitations of the database at this stage of its development. However, since transparency is central to the initiative, the organizations have undertaken to respond positively to the request expressed at the 5th JODI Conference that the database is made accessible to the public.

As quality of data is a major concern to the organizations, and in order to further improve transparency, it was felt helpful to provide a guide to data quality. This was not an easy matter, due to initial differences in methodology and a lack of comparable sources of information in some countries.

When assessing the data, priority was given to the Top 30 oil producer and consumer countries accounting for around 90 percent of world production and consumption, although data from all 92 participating countries are included.

In October 2005 the organizations agreed to open the JODI World Database on the occasion of the inauguration of the IEFS premises by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on 19 November 2005. This decision was taken with the full knowledge that users might be disappointed, as not all the data for all the flows, products and countries are always available.

The Way Forward

The Challenge

Many challenges remain. The database is still work in progress, but already for many countries, especially for the Top 30 producers and consumers, timeliness, coverage and reliability are of reasonable levels.

The challenge for the organizations now is to increase the coverage to other countries, to reduce the delay in data submissions and to further enhance the data quality. However, the database does not only belong to the organizations, it is up to all the countries, oil companies and analysts to participate and to improve the information.

The organizations are very committed to this objective but they cannot do it alone. They need full co-operation from countries and the oil industry. They also need comments from the users, be it praise or criticism and of course any suggestions are welcome.

The Achievements Beyond the Data

JODI has played an important role in raising political awareness of the difficulties encountered in improving data reliability and timeliness. The statistical systems have been improved in many countries. Attitude towards confidentiality and reliability have evolved. Contacts between oil companies, countries and organizations have multiplied. All these elements have led to a better understanding of others’ problems and to a world wide network of statisticians paving the way for the global harmonization of energy statistics. JODI has also strengthened producer-consumer dialogue by demonstrating that dialogue is not only a concept, but that it can also lead to concrete actions.

What is Next

The opening of the JODI database to the public is not the final goal of this initiative. The database will evolve continuously. The quality of the data will be assessed on a continuous basis too. Other flows already collected through the JODI questionnaire, including refinery intake, refinery output, imports and exports, will be included at a later stage.

The JODI partners are evaluating the implementation of training sessions on oil statistics for the participating countries as well as the preparation of a manual on the definitions and methodologies used. However, transparency can only be achieved if all parties involved in the oil market fully participate.

International Energy Forum

JODI

January 2, 2006