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Identification of global oil trade patterns: An empirical research based on complex network theory

Ji, Qiang, Zhang, Hai-Ying, Fan, Ying
Energy conversion and management 2014 v.85 pp. 856-865
economic development, empirical research, energy, exports, network theory, oils
The Global oil trade pattern becomes increasingly complex, which has become one of the most important factors affecting every country’s energy strategy and economic development. In this paper, a global oil trade core network is constructed to analyze the overall features, regional characteristics and stability of the oil trade using complex network theory. The results indicate that the global oil export core network displays a scale-free behaviour, in which the trade position of nodes presents obvious heterogeneity and the ‘hub nodes’ play a ‘bridge’ role in the formation process of the trade network. The current global oil trade network can be divided into three trading blocs, including the ‘South America-West Africa-North America’ trading bloc, the ‘Middle East–Asian–Pacific region’ trading bloc, and ‘the former Soviet Union–North Africa–Europe’ trading bloc. Geopolitics and diplomatic relations are the two main reasons for this regional oil trade structure. Moreover, the global oil trade network presents a ‘robust but yet fragile’ characteristic, and the impacts of trade interruption always tend to spread throughout the whole network even if the occurrence of export disruptions is localised.