OilX Satellite Data Features in RACE Initiative by ESA and the European Commission

The coronavirus pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge with global societal and socio-economic consequences.

Insights derived from satellite observations can shed new light on these changes. Open platforms such as the ‘Rapid Action Coronavirus Earth Observation’ (RACE) dashboard developed by ESA in partnership with the European Commission are providing free access to such insights, demonstrating the unique contribution of Earth Observations in particular from the Copernicus Sentinel programme to monitoring and understanding the impact of the pandemic on society, in particular on economy and the environment. 

Outcomes from a wide range of investigations from scientific and industrial teams are readily available in the RACE dashboard, an interactive visualization and analysis environment with an ever-growing display of EO-derived indicators that describe the status of different components in economic sectors. One such component is “oil storage” that measures the health of the global oil market. 

OilX is proud to contribute the European Crude Oil Storage Index in RACE

OilX contributes the novel European Crude Oil Storage Index to the RACE dashboard. The Oil Storage Index is developed by OilX in cooperation with ARESYS and is a composite indicator that combines Earth Observation data from Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 with AIS and other data sources. Describing the status of crude oil storage utilisation for 4 geographical clusters (UK/Ireland, ARA+Germany, CEE, Southern Europe) this indicator “is a great complement to the rest of economic indicators that are featured on the RACE Dashboard, demonstrating the power of Open Data and the added value arising from its combination with specific additional data sources, enabled by digital platforms and interoperable systems that facilitate rapid provision of constantly updated information” said Anca Anghelea, Open Science Platform Engineer at the European Space Agency. 

OilX is collaborating with ESA on the Oil Trading Analytics Monitor (OTAM) project in cooperation with ARESYS. OTAM aims to create more transparency in an otherwise opaque oil storage and shipping market. It utilises information processed from Satellite Earth Observations (Sat-EO) to estimate the crude oil stock variation based on floating-roof tanks. The Sat-EO includes both Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Optical data. A higher contextualisation of crude oil storage information is achieved by merging maritime data such as automatic identification system (AIS) cargo tracking data with land remote sensing techniques based on Sat-EO. The SAR data is optimally fused with maritime data into a product tailored to the targeted user group of oil analysts and oil researchers.

Optical (Sentinel-2) and radar (Sentinel-1) imagery of the port of Rotterdam.

Each cluster contains a variable number of sites, located in different countries.

The four European clusters:

The UK/Ireland cluster includes UK and Ireland and plays an important logistical role as many of the oil fields in the UK Continental Shelf pump their oil production onshore to terminals alongside the UK coastline.

The North-West Europe Cluster includes Belgium, Netherlands, and North West Germany. It is the largest refining hub in Europe. Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and the starting point of pipelines into surrounding countries. Besides that, the ARA (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) triangle is the key oil trading hub for all of Europe and the starting point for all oil barge traffic along the Rhine river.

The Central Eastern Europe (CEE) Cluster includes Croatia, Austria, and North East Italy. CEE is a largely landlocked inland territory in oil markets that used to receive most of is crude oil supplies from Russia and increasingly has seen receiving crude also from Croatia and North East Italy.

The Southern Europe Cluster includes Greece, and Italy. Southern European countries like Greece, Italy and Spain are home to large refining systems and are strategically located close to oil producing countries (e.g. Algeria and Libya) and pipeline endpoints (e.g. from Azerbaijan, Northern Iraq, Suez Canal).

How to read the graphs:

Graphs are provided for each Site in every Cluster. Qualitative levels of the oil levels in the floating-roof tanks are presented as coloured points LOW / REGULAR / HIGH on top of the aggregated data at Cluster level. The lines represent the Cluster Storage Utilisation (grey line) and its Monthly Average (black line).

The light/dark red chart background indicates whether there were restrictions or lockdown measure in place in the country where the city is located. This information is based on Oxford University’s coronavirus government response tracker.

A dedicated presentation of this indicator will take place during the ESA Phi-week conference, on the 15th October, 2021. Register to the event: