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BP Statistical Review shows slowing global energy demand

13 June 2017

The 2017 edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy shows a number of long- and near-term trends in energy markets—a shift to slower growth in global energy demand, demand moving strongly towards the developing economies of Asia, and a marked shift towards lower carbon fuels as renewable energy continues to grow strongly and coal use falls.

In 2016 global energy demand was weak for the third consecutive year, growing by 1%, around half the average growth rate of the past decade. Almost all this growth came from fast-growing developing economies, with China and India together accounting for half of all growth.

The year’s low prices drove demand for oil higher by 1.6%, while growth in production was limited to only 0.5%. As a result, the oil market returned broadly back into balance by mid-year, but prices continued to be depressed by the large overhang of built-up inventories. Natural gas production was also adversely affected by low prices, growing by only 0.3%. US gas output fell in 2016, the first reduction since the advent of the shale revolution in the mid-2000s.

Renewables were the fastest growing of all energy sources, rising by 12%. Although providing still only 4% of total primary energy, the growth in renewables represented almost a third of the total growth in energy demand in 2016. In contrast, use of coal fell steeply for a second year, down by 1.7%, primarily due to falling demand from both the US and China.

Symbolically, in 2016, coal consumption declined by 53% in the United Kingdom, the country where coal energy fueled the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th century. The UK coal consumption has now gone through a complete cycle, returning to the levels from the 1800s.

UK coal production and consumption
(Source: The Guardian)

The combination of weak energy demand growth and the shifting fuel mix meant that global carbon emissions are estimated to have grown by only 0.1%—making 2016 the third consecutive year of flat or falling emissions. This marks the lowest three-year average for emission growth since 1981-83. However, it is not yet clear how much of this break from the past is structural and will persist, noted BP.

Some of highlights from the BP Statistical Review include:

Source: BP Statistical Review