Ex-bp publication shows trends in the global energy sector

The UK-based Energy Institute published global power trends in its Statistical Review of World Energy—acquired from the leading energy corporation bp

The global energy transition presents a number of questions among fossil-fuel users within the industry and as many historical solutions are forced away by more renewable solutions, firms like BP are looking for the most effective ways to evolve. 

The company previously owned a global publication, which sets out the trends based on industry data, showcasing everything in a report for consumption by leaders in the sector. The data specifically focuses on global combustion of hydrocarbons and the pricing of precious metals for critical applications—cobalt and lithium are examples highly sought after as focus on electric vehicles (EVs) increases. 

Now under the watchful eye of the UK-based Energy Institute, a membership organisation for industry professionals. The latest 2023 edition of the report is a result of data analysis by seasoned energy and climate analysts. 

Growing energy demand in OECD countries

The first piece of analysis focuses on countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which, in 2022, saw an all-time high of energy consumption. 

Primary energy consumption data suggesting trends from 1965 to 2022 as found in the Statistical Review of World Energy

The global demand for energy is on the rise, but there is a divergence between economies. High- and middle-income economies belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reached their peak in primary energy demand 15 years ago. This also coincides with the year when the rest of the world surpassed the OECD's demand. Since 2007, energy demand in OECD countries has decreased by 3.4%, growing steadily in the rest of the world.

The OECD's contribution to global energy demand is seen to be on the decline, albeit at a slow pace. 

In 2007, the OECD accounted for just under half of the total energy consumption, whereas today it constitutes less than 39%. The crucial questions concerning the future of energy revolve around the extent to which this demand can further decline in the long run and how quickly non-OECD countries can reach their own collective peak in energy demand.

Oil, coal, and gas are still sought after energy sources

When looking at the data from a global perspective, rather controversially there is still a high demand for fossil fuels, which is in fact at an all-time high according to the report. Oil was the most consumed fossil fuel in 1965 and remained the same in 2022, and with such a high dependence on oil the global transition to renewables must accelerate to reverse climate effects. 

The graph of growing coal demand from 1965 to 2022
Comparison of oil demand from 1965 to 2022
Gas demand increase from 1965 to 2022 for comparison

The trends around fossil fuels can be attributed to the global economic crises, unforeseen disruptions and the resources boom. With an objective view of all three, the data suggests that gas has increased the most, which aligns with some initiatives shift toward lower-emitting sources of energy as part of the wider transition. With gas producing the least carbon emissions, it makes sense for organisations to tackle the demand for coal and oil. 

Ships transport global gas supplies

As a demanded resource, natural gas is supplied via pipelines or overseas by shipments. In light of the most recent disruptions and a booming LNG trade, the report suggests that shipments of liquefied natural gas will serve countries more so than pipelines. 

Global gas trade is upheld by the shipping industry during the current period of disruption

While this may not be the most sustainable solution to meet natural gas demand, the potential risk factor in the energy sector at present is driving demand via overseas means of distribution. 

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