Image courtesy of BP/Flickr.

Global energy consumption growth slowed to a crawl last year, mirroring slowing economic growth.

In BP’s latest “Statistical Review of World Energy,” the company found that global primary energy consumption grew by only 1 percent last year.

That rate was similar to the growth rate seen in 2014 and significantly lower than the ten-year average of 1.9 percent.

According to BP, the slowdown was tied to slowing consumption growth in China.

In 2015, China posted its slowest rate of energy consumption growth in 20 years, although it still remained the world’s largest growth market for energy for a fifteenth consecutive year.

BP CEO Bob Dudley said that the energy industry is “seeing a gradual deceleration in global energy consumption as the huge boost from globalization and Chinese industrialization slowly subsides.”

Slowing industrial growth was compounded by continued global economic weakness.

While continued technological advances helped push oil, natural gas and renewable energy production growth up last year, coal booked its largest decline ever on record.

In 2015, the share of coal within the world’s primary energy mix fell to 29.2 percent, its the lowest level since 2005.

Slowing demand and shifting fuel mix trends helped keep carbon emissions from energy consumption essentially flat in 2015, according to BP.

Carbon emission from energy consumption posted the lowest growth level seen in nearly a quarter of a century, excluding the period immediately following the most recent financial crisis.

Oil remained the world’s leading fuel, accounting for 32.9 percent of global energy consumption, the report said.

Emerging economies continued to dominate global energy consumption growth and now account for 58.1 percent of global energy consumption.

However, growth from emerging economies only came in at 1.6 percent last year, well-below the decade average of 3.8 percent.

World natural gas consumption increased by 1.7 percent in 2015, up significantly from 0.6 percent in 2014 but still below the 10-year average of 2.3 percent.

The global trade of crude oil and refined products expanded by 3 million barrels per day, or about 5.2 percent in 2015, the largest increase since 1993.

Global natural gas production increased by 2.2 percent, growing faster than consumption but still below its 10-year average of 2.4 percent.

Natural gas production growth was above average in North America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region last year, the report said.

Natural gas production in the European Union fell sharply by 8 percent in 2015 while the Netherlands recorded a 22.8 percent fall, the largest decline in the world last year.

Renewable energy sources in power generation continued to grow in 2015, accounting for 2.8 percent of global energy consumption, up from 0.8 percent a decade ago.

“Our industry is living through a period of profound change. But that is nothing new: the past 65 years have seen huge changes to the global energy landscape. Our task as an industry is to take the steps necessary to provide the energy to meet the world’s growing demand and ensure our sector remains resilient to the many factors that may buffet us in the near term,” BP CEO Bob Dudley said.


Leave a Reply