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Energy in India

By Dr. Kaushik Deb, bp India Economist (2012 to 2018)


With India set to contribute more than any other country to the projected rise in global energy demand, he strongly advocates that India has to aggressively develop sources of clean energy such as gas and renewables. Views expressed here are personal.


The 2016 edition of the bp Statistical Review of World Energy, in its 65th year, continues to document India’s energy evolution, highlighting data trends that though not wholly unexpected, point to India emerging as a large energy market globally.


The major headline is that India’s primary energy share in global energy consumption is its highest ever, placing it as the third largest energy consumer in the world, having overtaken Russia in 2015. However, the shares of fuels within primary energy haven’t moved significantly. Coal remains dominant at 58.1% of total primary energy. Oil has steadied its market share around 28.5% since 2009, while gas continues its losses having fallen to 6.5%, the same that it was ten years ago. Among non-fossil fuels, nuclear and hydro have remained around 1% and 4% of total primary energy, while renewables have gradually crept up to 2.2% in 2015.

For context, it is important to remember that India, home to 18% of the world’s population, uses just over 5% of the world’s primary energy. However, in the coming years, it is set to contribute more to energy demand than any other large country with sustained economic growth and great industrial activity.


India’s share in global coal consumption exceeded 10% for the first time in history in 2015. India has now overtaken the US as the world’s second largest coal consumer, with China still remaining the largest. To feed this growth, there was a large expansion in output. India’s share of global coal production is at its highest ever - 7.4% of the total global coal production in 2015, following a growth if 4.7% in 2015 (29.4 mt). This is nearly twice the next largest contribution to the increase in production of 15.9 mt by Russia in 2015!

As for oil, India is definitely pressing hard on the accelerator. The country had its largest ever increase in oil consumption of 309.9 kb/d (+8.1% growth in 2015), and more than 50% higher increase than the previously highest increment of 204.1 kb/d in 2007. India has overtaken Japan as the third largest oil consumer in the world. 


The other major hydrocarbon - gas – continues to slow down. India’s gas consumption declined, falling by 0.1% in 2015, taking it back to 2008-09 levels. Gas production also was lower having fallen by 3.8% in 2015, its fifth continuous year of decline, taking it 20.1 Bcm below its peak of 49.3 Bcm in 2010.


Energy is central to India’s expanding economy and achieving its development goals. To this end, the country has to aggressively develop sources of clean energy such as gas and renewables. bp’s Statistical Review will follow these developments with close interest in the coming years.


The views expressed here are personal and those of the author.