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BP Chief Economist outlines world energy trends

Release date:
28 May 2020
Representatives from Government and the private sector received insight into global energy trends from BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale who visited Trinidad and Tobago from September 04-05 to present the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

The Statistical Review of World Energy is an annual BP publication that has provided timely and objective data to help inform discussion, debate and decision-making in energy-related matters. First established in 1952, it provides data used by the energy industry to better interpret market swings and fluctuations, and the historical data provides important context for anticipating where energy markets may be heading in the future.


Dale shared highlights from this year’s statistical review which showed that global primary energy grew by 2.9% in 2018 – the fastest growth seen since 2010. This growth was largely driven by China, US and India which together accounted for over two thirds of the growth in energy demand. The most striking growth was in the US, where energy consumption increased by 3.5%, the fastest growth seen for 30 years. Natural gas demand also increased by 5.3%, one of its strongest growth rates for over 30 years, accounting for almost 45% of the entire growth in global energy consumption.


Dale outlined that Global primary energy consumption grew rapidly in 2018, led by natural gas and renewables, while carbon emissions rose at their highest rate in seven years. He expressed that energy demand increased as a result of drastic changes in the number of hot and cold days during the year, which increased the demand for heating and cooling services thereby increasing carbon emissions. He explained that if, in fact, carbon emissions were the major contributor to these weather changes this will produce a vicious cycle. Low carbon and energy efficiency.


Dale also presented the energy economics that support the need to lower carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency and discussed world trends as it relates to the transition toward cleaner and renewable sources of energy. He shared that carbon emissions from energy use grew by 2.0%, the fastest expansion for many years, with emissions increasing by around 0.6 gigatonnes. Dale described this as roughly equivalent to the carbon emissions associated with increasing the number of passenger cars on the planet by a third. 


As fossil fuels still represent the greatest proportion of the global energy mix, the strong growth in energy consumption contributed to this growth in carbon emissions. He added however that natural gas is the cleanest form of energy deriving from fossils as it relates to carbon emissions. He added that the number one way to address carbon emissions is to start by decarbonizing the power generation sector. He also made a call to citizens to try conserving energy even in their households. 


Dale shared that this trend is unsustainable and while the world is demanding more energy, we need a faster transition to lower carbon sources of energy. BP has coined this the Dual Challenge and is making significant progress in venturing into new low carbon businesses, establishing partnerships, developing facilities and adopting the technologies needed to lower its carbon emissions and improve its fuel products. 


BPTT remains committed to advancing the low carbon agenda. 

Note to editors

Spencer Dale joined BP as Group Chief Economist in October 2014. He manages BP’s global economics team, providing economic input into the firm’s commercial decisions. BP’s economics team also produces the annual Statistical Review of World Energy.

BPTT operates in 904,000 acres off Trinidad’s east coast. BPTT has 15 offshore platforms and two onshore processing facilities.


Further information:

Ryan Chaitram, BPTT: +1 868-772-3116 ryan.chaitram@bp.com 
Luis Araujo, BPTT: +1 868 793-3374 luis.araujo@bp.com