Back in the late 1990s, Energy Ministers identified the lack of transparent and reliable oil statistics as a key contributor to oil price volatility. Producers and consumers alike stepped up efforts to improve the availability and reliability of oil data, and Ministers at the 7th International Energy Forum in Riyadh urged a global response to the challenge of greater transparency.
Six international organisations - APEC, Eurostat, IEA, OLADE, OPEC and the UNSD 1 - 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 awareness among oil market players about the need for more transparency in oil market data. The first priority of the six organisations was to assess the oil data situation in their respective member countries. The assessment included the collection of monthly oil statistics from each organisation's member countries through a harmonised questionnaire on 42 key oil data points.
Progress was immediate: within six months, 55 countries were participating in the exercise. Six months later, there were over 70 participating countries, representing 90% of global oil supply and demand.
At the 8th International Energy Forum in Osaka in 2002, Ministers reaffirmed their political support, and with that mandate the six organisations obtained agreement from their Member Countries to make the Exercise a permanent reporting mechanism. The Joint Oil Data Initiative was born.
As the process gained momentum, the quality, timeliness and completeness of submissions improved. As the scale of the Initiative and global interest in it continued to grow, it was clear that the information had to be made available in a compatible form: The JODI-Oil World Database was created. Participants in the 5th JODI Conference in October 2004 then strongly recommended that this joint global database should be made freely accessible to all - organisations, countries, industry, analysts and journalists.
The IEF Secretariat, which took over the co-ordination of JODI in January 2005, and its partner organisations are fully aware of the limitations of the database, but already for many countries - especially for the top 30 producers and consumers - timeliness, coverage and reliability are at reasonable levels.
The challenge for the organisations now is to increase the coverage to other countries, to reduce the delay in data submissions and to further enhance the data quality.
1 The full names of the JODI-Oil partner organisations are: Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat), International Energy Agency (IEA), Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).