These were Simon Rogers‘ words at the launch of Guardian Data Store five years ago. He moved on to Twitter then Google Data, but those are still the lynchpin of data journalism. The banner picture is a great example from Harvard Center for International Development Globe of Economic Complexity – go to it and click on UK and see the numbers streaming from space – but beyond the eye-candy is a powerful illustration of the relationship of the UK with the rest of the world and its key economic partners: the point cloud in the image above shows that Europe looms pretty large if there was ever any doubt, as well as the US and China and their over-the-horizon loops.

I found that looking up UN Data for trade data, which lead me to their Exploring Trade Data catalog. My interest in UK’s economic relationship to Europe was spurred by the EU Referendum in less than three weeks. I was specifically looking for petroleum trading data, in order to assess UK’s trading partners in natural resources, which is my first field of interest as a Certified Petroleum Geologist. My second profession is mapping and GIS, so that among the many geographical and statistical resources I was immediately drawn to the map website International Trade in Goods based on UN Comtrade data developed by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (UK).Earlier this week I blogged a variety of ways, from a globe through web maps to mathematical search engines, to elucidate spatial relationships. UN Comtrade website offers full-fledged search&discovery, putting a plethora of datasets at your fingertips in their geographical context. On your first access, a tutorial navigates you through its various parts, in a de-facto workflow they are to be commended for. Select Reporter (UK), Partner (World) and Commodity (27 – Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, etc). The metadata lacks somewhat as the UN Comtrade metadata site only repeats the same without further details, but I will take that to represent oil&gas trade geo statistics I was looking for.



It offers detailed statistics on-screen or via dropdowns throughout. I simply took screenshots through the years, copy&pasted the Top 10 Export (their Surplus in green) and Import (their Deficit in blue) barcharts, added the sums for the Top 10 EU partners in the same colours and the Surplus (their Balance) in black, and plotted a line graph of Import, Export and Surplus like theirs. Snapshots are posted here and the spreadsheethere, and the same GNU Public License applies as theirs.

This animation shows the progress of oil&gas trade between UK & EU from 1993 to 2015.

It shows how much UK petroleum product exports go tho the EU, notably the Netherlands. Other partners of note are the US for export, and for imports Norway and Russian Federation after 2000.


Tabling non-EU Top10 shows a balance of petroleum trade in the reverse.


Sum totals highlight the inflexion point in 2006, when UK became net importer.


In closing 2009 and 2015 show dips throughout as a result of global recessions.



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