Counting barrels is always tough to do, as Ross McCracken discusses in this month’s excerpt from Platts Energy Economist. How much oil does the world consume? You’d think this would be a fairly straightforward question, given its economic importance to the world economy, and indeed answers are not hard to find. The problem is those answers differ significantly. Even with the development of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative –an evolving beast designed to bring improved transparency to oil markets–oil market data remains messy, inaccurate and opaque. For 2013, a year which by now should be transitioning from estimate to a matter of historical record, OPEC puts world demand at 90.00 million b/d, the International Energy Agency at 91.40 million b/d and the US Energy Information Administration at 90.49 million b/d. The difference is large in absolute terms–1.4 million b/d between the IEA and OPEC–but small if viewed in percentage […]