Structural forces in 2017 continued to push forward the transition to a lower carbon economy
The 2018 edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy shows that, during the year 2017, structural forces in the energy market continued to push forward the transition to a lower carbon economy. However, cyclical factors have reversed or slowed some of the gains from prior years. Combined with rising demand for energy, these factors, have resulted in a material increase in carbon emissions following three years of little or no growth.
The 67th annual edition data reveal that: led by growing demand for natural gas and renewables, growth in energy demand increased; as industrial activity in the OECD accelerated and output from China’s most energy-intensive sectors returned to growth, gains in energy efficiency slowed; led by growing demand in India and China, coal consumption increased for the first time in four years; after three years of little to no growth, carbon emissions are projected to have increased
“This year’s Review looks at the energy mix within the power sector, for the first time, which astonishingly shows that the share of coal in the sector is unchanged from 20 years ago," said Bob Dudley, group chief executive.
Global energy demand grew by 2.2% in 2017, which is above its 10-year average of 1.7%, the growth trend being driven by stronger economic growth in the developed world and a slight slowing in the pace of improvement in energy intensity.
There was a growth in demand in fuel by 1.8% while growth in production was below average for the second consecutive year. Production decreased from OPEC and the 10 other countries that agreed cuts, while the US and other producing countries outside of the group driven by tight fuel, saw increases. For much of 2017, consumption exceeded production, and as a result, OECD inventories fell back to more normal levels.
With consumption up 3% and production up 4%, 2017 was a strong year for natural gas, which is the fastest growth rates since immediately following the global financial crisis. The surge in Chinese natural gas demand was the single biggest factor fueling global gas consumption, where consumption increased by over 15%, driven by government environmental policies encouraging coal-to-gas switching. In 2017, renewables, with wind and solar leading the way, grew strongly. Growing for the first time since 2013, coal consumption was also up.
Bob Dudley said, “This year’s Review looks at the energy mix within the power sector, for the first time, which astonishingly shows that the share of coal in the sector is unchanged from 20 years ago. As we have said in our Energy Outlook, our Technology Outlook and now our Statistical Review, the power system must decarbonize. We continue to believe that gains in the power sector are the most efficient way to drive down carbon emissions in coming decades.” PWKD15052018