800K Barrels of Oil Disappeared Daily in 2015

And the answer to the mystery could have a big impact on oil prices
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2016 6:30 PM CDT
800K Barrels of Oil Disappeared Daily in 2015
Approximately 800,000 barrels of oil went unaccounted for every day in 2015.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Approximately 800,000 barrels of oil went missing every day in 2015, and that could be bad news for anyone hoping to see a rise in global oil prices any time soon, the Wall Street Journal reports. It's the highest level of missing oil in 17 years, and it comes at a time when oil prices have been at their lowest in more than a decade, according to Fortune. There are a number of explanations for the oil that's gone unaccounted for by the International Energy Agency. Some experts believe those 800,000 barrels a day are being stockpiled in China; others say they're a figment of bad accounting, never existing in the first place.

It's possible the IEA is overestimating production or underestimating demand, Reuters reports. If that's the case and the 800,000 barrels a day never existed, it means the oversupply problem that's hampered the oil market for two years might not be as bad as believed and prices could recover more quickly. The worst-case scenario is that those unaccounted-for barrels are being stockpiled within Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. That would mean the oversupply is even worse than it seems and prices will stay low. (More oil stories.)

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