World primary energy consumption grew by 2.2% in 2017, up from 1.2% in 2016 and the highest since 2013. Growth was below average in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and South & Central America but above average in other regions
All fuels except coal and hydroelectricity grew at above-average rates. Natural gas provided the largest increment to energy consumption at 83 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe), followed by renewable power (69 mtoe) and oil (65 mtoe).
Primary energy world consumption (million tonnes oil equivalent)
Primary energy regional consumption by fuel 2017 (percentage)
Fuel consumption by region 2017 (percentage)
Shares of primary energy (percentage)
Asia is the leading regional consumer of oil, coal, renewable power and hydroelectricity, while North America leads for nuclear power and natural gas. Asia dominates global coal consumption, accounting for almost three quarters of global consumption (74.5%). Asia’s share of the coal market has grown steadily since 1965 when it made up only 17% of the coal consumption. It reached the 50% mark in 2001.
Oil remains the world’s dominant fuel, making up just over a third of all energy consumed. In 2017 oil’s market share declined slightly, following two years of growth. Coal’s market share fell to 27.6%, the lowest level since 2004. Natural gas accounted for a record 23.4% of global primary energy consumption, while renewable power hit a new high of 3.6%.
In this review, primary energy comprises commercially traded fuels, including modern renewables used to generate electricity.