Primary energy - 2015 in review

World primary energy consumption grew by a below-average 1.0% in 2015, the slowest rate of growth since 1998 (other than the decline in the aftermath of the financial crisis)

Growth was below average in all regions except Europe & Eurasia. All fuels except oil and nuclear power grew at below-average rates. Oil remains the world’s dominant fuel and gained global market share for the first time since 1999, while coal’s market share fell to the lowest level since 2005. Renewables in power generation accounted for a record 2.8% of global primary energy consumption.

Primary energy world consumption 2015 (million tonnes oil equivalent)

Primary energy regional consumption by fuel 2015 (percentage)

Oil remains the dominant fuel in Africa and the Americas, while natural gas dominates in Europe & Eurasia and the Middle East. Coal is the dominant fuel in the Asia Pacific region, accounting for 51% of regional energy consumption - the highest share of any fuel for any region. Europe & Eurasia is the only region with no fuel reaching one-third of the total energy mix. The Middle East has the least diverse fuel mix, with oil and gas combined accounting for 98% of energy consumption.

Fuel consumption by region 2015 (percentage)

Fossil fuel reserves-to-production (R/P) ratios 2015 (years)

Primary energy per capita growth

Coal remains - by far - the most abundant fossil fuel by R/P ratio; oil and natural gas reserves have increased over time, although both registered small declines in 2015.

Non-OECD countries account for the majority of proved reserves for all fossil fuels. The Middle East holds the largest reserves for oil and natural gas, and the highest R/P ratio for natural gas; South & Central America holds the highest R/P ratio for oil. Europe & Eurasia holds the largest coal reserves and North America has the highest R/P ratio.


In this review, primary energy comprises commercially traded fuels, including modern renewables used to generate electricity.

In the primary energy table oil consumption is measured in million tonnes; other fuels in million tonnes oil equivalent (mtoe).

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