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Answers to three big energy questions

Release date: 7 October 2019

With the future of energy under intense scrutiny, where does the energy world go to find the facts? One impartial, free-to-access, source of data has been informing public debate for some 68 years. BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy draws on huge datasets and the big brains of our number-crunching economics team. We’ve looked at the latest publication for answers to three of the world’s pressing energy questions:
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
Question 1

CO2 emissions from energy grew at their fastest rate in seven years in 2018 as demand surged. With a growth of 2.9%, global energy demand was double the 10-year average.

 

The rise in carbon emissions comes at a time when there’s an urgency for them to fall.

 

The key question: why did energy demand surge last year?

Much of that strength can be put down to weather effects.  Last year, we saw an unusually large number of hot and cold days, which  pushed up domestic demand for heating and cooling. 

“There is a growing mismatch between societal demands for action on climate change and the actual pace of progress, with energy demand and carbon emissions growing at their fastest rate for years. The world is on an unsustainable path.”

 

Spencer Dale, BP chief economist

Question 2

The US achieved an amazing double-first last year. It recorded the largest annual increases in both oil and natural gas production seen by any country in history, with most increases coming from shale  ̶  which continues to up-end traditional forms of energy. As a result, it had a huge impact on global oil and natural gas production. 

 

The key question: what impact does the US production boom have on exports?

With this additional output, tight oil production from the US is now on a par with Saudi Arabia crude oil exports, which shows how developments in the US oil industry are shaking up traditional energy trends.

 

The increase in output also helped the US to dramatically reduce net oil imports to below 3 million barrels a day. Meanwhile, LNG exports increased by almost 70%, making the US the fourth-largest LNG exporter.

“This goes to show what an energy powerhouse the US has become again. The reverberations of that are being felt well beyond the energy sector, from the standpoint of market balance, global trade, and also geopolitically.”

 

Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive

Question 3

Global power demand grew strongly again last year as the world continued to electrify. Renewables made a large contribution to power generation, but coal still remains in the mix. The pace of growth in power demand has meant that overall carbon emissions from the sector have increased substantially over the past three years.


The key question: is power getting greener?

Renewable energy provided the single-largest contribution to that growth in power generation. But, despite this, non-fossil fuels still only accounted for around a third of power generation, with coal providing a broadly similar amount.

 

As a result, the power sector was responsible for around half of the growth of global carbon emissions last year.

“Electrification without decarbonizing power is of little use.”

 

Spencer Dale, BP chief economist

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