Geographically, oil quality is different in various regions, though medium and sour grade was predominant on a worldwide basis from 2000 to 2015 according to Eni's World Oil & Gas Review 2016 (published in Nov. 2016.) The runner-ups were light and sweet, and heavy and sour. The 2015 production rates of these popular grades in each region are shown in the following table.
On the demand side, each region of the world prefers certain types of crudes owing to individual region's processing capability, refinery complexity, and, of course, costs and availability in terms of reliable supply. The US, Europe and the Asia-Pacific area like to process light sweet crudes. Both Europe and Asia also are big fans of processing light sour crudes. The US has the biggest capacity to process heavy crudes due to the import of crude from Canada and Venezuela. The Middle East likes to process its own light sour crudes. Medium crudes are also refined in large quantities in the US, Europe, and Asia.
(Source: Just published multi-client report, Novel Strategies of Processing Price-Advantaged Crudes in a Volatile Oil Market. Details of this study can be found by clicking here.)
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