Economic content

Energy plays a vital role in the functioning of the world economy

Improving our understanding of the relationship between energy and the economy can shed light on many important policy areas, including economic development and environmental preservation.

The data from BP's Statistical Review of World Energy, combined with economic statistics available elsewhere, provide valuable tools for such analysis. Examples of such data transformations include:

  • Energy intensity of economic activity: This measures the amount of energy used to generate a unit of economic output. In practice, this is done by dividing energy consumption by a measure of economic activity, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Energy intensity is not the same as energy efficiency: changes in energy intensity are the product of changes in the structure of economic output and changes in the efficiency of energy consuming equipment. This helps to explain significant variations in energy intensity between countries and the generally higher levels of energy intensity in emerging economies than in mature OECD economies. It also explains the tendency for the energy intensity of the world economy to decline over time, given underlying efficiency gains and the transition to a more service-based economy.
  • Energy consumption per capita: By combining population data with energy consumption, one can analyse trends in energy use per capita and differences in per capita energy use between countries. For instance, which country consumes the most energy per person? Does the average Italian consume more energy than the average Canadian? How has energy consumption varied with a growing world population?

Links for economic statistics

BP does not produce data on economic and demographic variables. However, data are available from the following organizations:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) publishes economic indicators, including GDP, for most countries in the world.

The World Bank publishes a range of indicators relating to development, including economic and social statistics.

The United Nations Population Information Network publishes demographic data, including population by country.

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