Significant changes in global energy production and consumption have had profound implications for prices, for the global fuel mix, and for global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
The report highlights the continuing importance of the US shale revolution, with the US overtaking Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil producer and surpassing Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas. Meanwhile primary energy consumption slowed markedly.
BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley said: “The eerie calm that had characterised energy markets in the few years prior to 2014 came to an abrupt end last year. However, we should not be surprised or alarmed. These events may well come to be viewed as symptomatic of a broader shifting of the tectonic plates that make up the energy landscape, with significant developments in both the supply of energy and its demand. Our task as an industry is to meet today’s challenges while continuing to invest to meet tomorrow’s demand, safely and sustainably.”
The shifts in production and consumption had major effects on energy prices as well as the fuel mix. For oil, prices have fallen sharply, largely driven by the strength of supply as non-OPEC production grew by a record amount while OPEC maintained its output levels to maintain market share. Elsewhere, the growth of China’s coal consumption stalled and global natural gas growth was also weak, held back by a mild European winter triggering a sharp fall in consumption.
Renewables were the fastest-growing form of energy, accounting for one third of the increase in overall primary energy use during a year in which global primary energy consumption growth slowed. Even so, they accounted for only 3% of primary energy.
Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use grew by just 0.5%, the weakest since 1998 (other than in the immediate aftermath of last decade’s financial crisis). The slower growth relative to its average over the past 10 years or so was largely attributable to the changing pace and pattern of Chinese economic growth.