BP 2016: Global Energy Production At A Glance

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Oil, gas, nuclear, hydro and new-renewables production all grew in 2015 while coal production declined by 4%, the first significant decline for many decades. But global CO2 emissions were still up by 0.1%. Notably, CO2 emissions rose in Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

New renewables (wind, solar, biomass, etc.) continue their meteoric rise from a feeble base and still only represent 2.8% of the global energy mix (that excludes biomass used throughout developing countries). Fossil fuels still dominate with 86.1% of primary energy in 2015 compared with 86.8% in the year 2000.

The BP (NYSE:BP) statistical review of World Energy was published on 8th June. This post gives a broad overview of energy production trends and CO2 emissions in 9 simple charts. BP provides annual averages for all major energy classes with the series that began in 1965. All charts are plotted using million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) which is a means of allowing apples to be compared with oranges.

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Figure 1: One may be tempted to say that global oil production rose by 3.2% despite the rout in oil prices. The reality is that a 3.2% rise in global oil production caused the rout in oil prices. There are some big winners and losers. The US was up 8.5%! Other winners include Brazil up 7.9%, the UK up 13.4%, Saudi Arabia up 4.6% and Iraq up 22.9%. The big losers are Peru down 11.1%, Syria down 18.2%, Yemen down 67.8%, Libya down 13.4%, Sudan down 12.3%, Tunisia down 14.1% and Australia down 10.9%. Embedded in these figures is a story of total failure of US and NATO foreign policy.

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Figure 2: Global gas production continues its upwards march as it becomes increasingly important in the global energy mix. There are a couple of noteworthy statistics. Dutch gas production is down 22.8% as the Dutch authorities reduce production from the Groningen gas field owing to subsidence and earthquakes that were causing structural damage. This is one of Europe's major primary energy sources. Venezuela was up 13.2%. Rumours of that country's undoing are perhaps premature. Bangladesh was up 12.2% as that country continues to exploit its large gas reserves.

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Figure 3: Coal production looks as though it may have peaked, at least in the near term. It has succumbed to two major forces. The first is the ending of the industrialisation phase of the Chinese economy. The second is international pressure to phase out coal because of concern over CO2 emissions. Global coal production was down 4%. There is one noteworthy winner in Russia where production was up 4.5%. Elsewhere, the USA, Canada, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, The UK, Indonesia and Thailand all posted double-digit % losses. Production in China, the world's largest producer by far, was down 2%.

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Figure 4: Notably, global nuclear power production is once again on a rising trend. With 69 GWe of new power stations under construction this is a trend that may continue. The big winners in nuclear power production are China up 28.9% and India up 9.5%. The big losers are Belgium, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.

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Figure 5: Global hydro production was up 1% and the overall upwards trend must clearly reflect growing global capacity. But it is more difficult to make sense of the annual figures for individual countries since these are heavily impacted by rainfall patterns. The only countries that appear to have expanded capacity are Turkey up 64.6%, Indonesia up 5.9% and China up 5%.

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Figure 6: The other renewables category includes wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels. The meteoric rise continues though the +15.2% rise in 2015 compares with +20% in 2011. The absolute gain of 48.3 Mtoe needs to be compared with oil up 133.2 tonnes, gas up 69.3 Mtoe and coal down 158.8 Mtoe.

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Figure 7: The rate of growth in CO2 emissions has slowed in the last 5 years as gas and renewables substitute for coal in power generation and the Chinese economy evolves. Notable statistics include Germany up 0.8%, Austria up 3.6%, Portugal up 7.6%, Spain up 6.8%. Italy up 5.1%, Ireland up 5.4% and China down 0.1%.

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Figure 8: The rate of growth in global primary energy production appears to be slowing which most likely reflects the changing face of the Chinese economy. Primary energy is still overwhelmingly dominated by fossil fuels that accounted for 86.1% of global energy production in 2015. This compares with 86.8% in 2000.

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Figure 9: While the growth in new renewables looks spectacular (Figure 6), they remain insignificant in the global energy mix amounting to 2.8% of the total in 2015 compared with 2.4% the year before.