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Joint Oil Data Initiave (JODI):
Project on Monthly Oil Statistics

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The seven international organizations


The seven international organizations involved in oil statistics, namely, the Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre (APERC), the Statistical Office of the European Commission (Eurostat), the International Energy Agency (IEA-OECD), the International Energy Forum (IEFS), the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Energy and Industry Statistics Section of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) held a meeting in Paris in November 2000 to examine the quality of oil statistics data. The meeting initiated a Joint Oil Data Exercise in April 2001 with the aim of developing a reporting system for monthly oil statistics, seeking the cooperation of countries in providing more timely and transparent oil data, and working on improving the response rate.

The group maintains a website at http://www.oil-data-transparency.org/

Monthly oil data are available at http://unstats.un.org/unsd/jodi/ for the following countries:

Angola, Egypt, Gabon, India, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Oman, South Africa, Syrian Arab Rebublic and Yemen

The pilot exercise requested national administrations to fill out a standard table with the most recent monthly oil data, preferably for the preceding month (M-1). The table format and definitions were designed to be as simple as possible to encourage country participation without unnecessarily increasing the reporting burden. In order to get more transparent data from the original source, the organizations approached their official contacts in each country and directly involved them in the pilot testing of the questionnaire.

The Exercise results were reviewed in meetings held in Riyadh on 10-12 November 2001, in Mexico City on 23-25 May 2002, in Cairo on 7-8 October 2003 and in Bali on 5-7 October 2004. Various aspects of implementation were discussed, ranging from methodology issues, units of measurement, data availability and confidentiality, to communication-related problems. Data submitted were mostly consistent with yearly information. The statistics supplied from more than 70 countries represented more than 90% of the world's total oil production and alos more than 90% of the world's total oil consumption.

In October 2003, Egypt hosted the the fourth international meeting on the initiative. The data quality and reliablity was discussed at the meeting from the point of view of data producers, date users and international organizations. Representatives of international organizations decided to evaluate and consolidate the JODI database - focusing on production, demand, and stocks data. Special attention was paid to the consolidation of data from the 30 biggest producer/consumer countries of the world to make M-1 data available.

In October 2004, Malaysia hosted the fifth international conference where the six organizations and the participating countries agreed on the public release of the JODI World Database within six months. However one of the conditions before the release to the public was that the JODI data had to be of good quality and as accurate as possible. This was why it was decided to set up a Review Committee, composed of oil analysts and statisticians from each organization, with as main purpose the assessment of the quality of the data. In a statement released during the last session of the conference, the six organizations also reiterated their support to the IEFS to act as an effective coordinator of the Initiative as well as their willingness to provide assistance to the Secretariat in establishing a proper structure to take over the coordination. It was decided that the IEFS was to draw an action plan in terms of resource requirements.

For a number of countries, the Exercise has been useful in identifying gaps and inconsistencies in their data sets. For the organizations the Exercise was a way of enhancing communications and data flow in their member countries. Given the consensus for the joint data project, the organizations continue their collaboration efforts in the area of definitions and methodologies.

The United Nations had the following press release on 25 April 2002 about the joint data exercise:


NEW YORK, 25 April 2002 (DESA) The late 1990s saw extremely volatile oil markets, which some observers ascribed partly to inadequate and opaque statistics. The criticism, whether justified or not, has inspired a new look at the availability and reliability of oil data.

Responding to the call from the Seventh International Energy Forum, six major international organizations agreed in June 2001 to launch a six-month data reporting exercise. The Joint Oil-Data Exercise under the auspices of APEC, Eurostat, International Energy Agency (IEA)/Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Latin-American Energy Organization (OLADE), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the United Nations aimed to assess the quantity, quality and timeliness of basic monthly oil data.

A very simple questionnaire was circulated to a large number of countries, asking for month-old and two-month-old information (M-1 and M-2).

Results were reviewed at a meeting in Riyadh in November 2001. Sponsors of the exercise discussed issues including methodologies and reporting units used, the availability of M-1 data, confidentiality and stocks. Some 55 countries completed the questionnaire, although data quality varied widely by country. Respondents represented about 70 per cent of world oil production and 83 per cent of world demand.

Participants decided at Riyadh to extend the exercise until September 2002 and to report results at the Eighth International Energy Forum, to be held at Osaka the same month. If serious oil data problems remain, the high-level participants at Osaka could appeal for further efforts to resolve them.

In May 2002, Mexico is scheduled to host a third international meeting on the initiative. Representatives of international organizations, countries and industry will consider progress to date on the initiative. They will also consider key questions concerning the dissemination of data to oil market players: how much information? from what sources? and how should it be communicated?

The six sponsoring organizations call on all their member countries and the oil industry to participate actively in the exercise. Full transparency will come only when all countries are involved and when all their data are timely, complete and reliable.

The group is currently discussing issues of quality assurance, data sharing, data publication, a joint web site and further cooperation with participating countries. Experiences and results of the joint data exercise was reported to the 8th International Energy Forum (Osaka, September 2002).

For further information on this project, please contact:

United Nations Statistics Division
Energy Statistics Section
DC2-1414, 2 United Nations Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10017, USA

e-mail: energy_stat@un.org
Fax: (212) 963-0623

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