Germany's crude oil imports amounted to 91 million tonnes in 2016. The most important supplier country is Russia, accounting for just under 40% of the country’s crude-oil imports last year. In 2016, some 22.4 million tonnes of crude oil were imported from Norway and the EU Member States – a figure that corresponds to less than a quarter of Germany’s crude oil imports

.Although as direct suppliers the OPEC countries are not nearly as important to the German supply of crude oil as was the case at the beginning of the 1970s, their influence on the world oil market remains strong: Last year, they contributed around 40 per cent to global crude oil production and accounted for more than 70% of global conventional and non-conventional crude oil reserves, i. e. proven quantities of crude oil that can be exploited at current prices and with present-day technology. On top of this, solely the OPEC countries led by Saudi Arabia have major reserve capacities, i. e. the possibility to increase oil production within a matter of weeks for a certain period of time. This allows them to compensate, for example, for seasonal peaks in demand or temporary bottlenecks in other producing countries.

Domestic production contributed 2.4 million tonnes to the oil supply. Domestic petroleum production is centred in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. Under mining law, the German Länder are also in charge of approving exploration and production activities. The only offshore production of crude oil in German waters takes place on the Mittelplate drilling and production platform, about seven kilometres off the Schleswig-Holstein North Sea coast. The companies involved in the production of petroleum and natural gas are organised in the economic association Erdöl- und Erdgasgewinnung e. V.

Individual companies decide what to procure and thus the origin of crude oil imports - aside from exceptions due to EU or UN sanctions on certain countries. The German Government supports the international activities of German enterprises politically. It has energy partnerships with several states that are based on long-term, mutual cooperation. On top of this there are multilateral processes within the framework of the European Union, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Group of Seven/Eight (G7/8) and the Group of Twenty most important industrialised and newly industrialising countries (G20).

The crude oil market is a global market, i. e. global factors on the supply and demand sides determine the price of crude oil (economic growth of the industrialised countries, oil stocks, the dollar rate, etc.). The oil trade is by the same token oriented towards reference types such as North Sea "Brent" oil and the US reference type West Texas Intermediate (WTI). In Europe Rotterdam is the most important trading centre for crude oil and petroleum products. Trading takes place in dollars, which means that the local price for fuels and heating oil is also influenced by the exchange rate of the Euro.