The 65th edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy sets out energy data for 2015, revealing a year in which significant long-term trends in both the global demand and supply of energy came to the fore with global energy consumption slowing further and the mix of energy sources shifting towards lower-carbon fuels.
Since its first edition in 1952, the BP Statistical Review has provided timely and objective data to help inform discussion, debate and decision-making in matters regarding energy. Its annual data helps the industry to better interpret market swings and fluctuations, and the historical data provides important context for gauging where energy markets may be heading next.
The Review shows that in 2015 global demand for primary energy grew by only 1%, significantly slower than the 10-year average. This reflected continued weakness in the global economy and lower growth in Chinese energy consumption as the country shifts from an industrial to a service-driven economy.
On the supply side, technological advances have increased the range and availability of different fuels. The US shale revolution has unlocked huge swathes of oil and gas resources, and rapid technology gains have supported strong growth in renewable energy. Natural gas and oil also recorded solid growth in 2015, while global demand for coal saw its largest fall on record.
Prices for all fossil fuel energy fell last year, prompting adjustments in the energy markets; boosting demand in some markets – most notably oil which gained market share for the first time since 1999 – and curtailing supply and shifting the fuel mix in others.
Sluggish demand growth together with the shift in the energy mix away from coal meant that the growth in carbon emissions from energy consumption stalled in 2015. This encouraging development represented the slowest growth in emissions in nearly a quarter of a centry (aside from immediately following the financial crisis).
Review highlights – energy developments
- Global primary energy consumption increased by just 1% in 2015, similar to growth in 2014 (+1.1%), but much slower than the 10-year average of 1.9% a year.
- Oil remained the world’s leading fuel, accounting for 32.9% of global energy consumption, and gaining market share for the first time since 1999.
- Coal remained the second largest fuel by market share (29.2%), but was the only fuel that lost global market share in 2015.
- Natural gas market share of primary energy consumption was 23.8%.
- Energy consumption growth was below the 10-year average for all regions except Europe and Eurasia.
- Although emerging economies continued to dominate the growth in global energy consumption, growth in these countries in 2015 (at 1.6%) was again well below its 10-year average rate. Emerging economies now account for 58.1% of global energy consumption.
- Energy consumption in China grew 1.5% in 2015, the slowest rate in almost 20 years. Despite this, China remained the world’s largest growth market for energy for a fifteenth consecutive year.
- Prices for all fossil fuels fell in 2015. Crude oil prices recorded the largest annual decline on record in dollar terms, and the largest percentage decline since 1986.
- Dated Brent averaged $52.39 per barrel in 2015, a decline of $46.56 per barrel from the 2014 level and the lowest annual average since 2004.
- Crude oil prices rose in early 2015 as global consumption rebounded and US production began to register month-on-month declines. But strong growth in OPEC production, particularly in Iraq and Saudi Arabia, caused prices to fall sharply later in the year.
- The average WTI–Brent differential narrowed for the third consecutive year, to $3.68 per barrel.
Consumption and production
- Global oil consumption grew by 1.9 million barrels per day (bpd), or 1.9% – nearly double the recent historical average (+1%) and significantly stronger than the increase of 1.1 million bpd seen in 2014.
- The relative strength of consumption was driven by the OECD countries, where consumption increased by 510,000 bpd (+1.1%), compared with an average decline of 1.1% over the past decade.
- Growth was well above recent historical averages in the US (+1.6%, or 290,000 bpd) and the EU (+1.5%, or 200,000 bpd), while Japan (-3.9%, or -160,000 bpd) recorded the largest decline in oil consumption.
- Outside the OECD, net oil importing countries also recorded significant increases: China (+6.3%, or 770,000 bpd) once again accounted for the largest increment to demand, while India (+8.1%, or 310,000 bpd) passed Japan as the world’s third-largest oil consumer. But this growth was offset by weaker growth in oil producers, so that oil demand in non-OECD as a whole (+2.6%, or 1.4 million bpd) was below its recent historical average.
- Global oil production increased even more rapidly than consumption for a second consecutive year, rising by 2.8 million bpd or 3.2%, the strongest growth since 2004.
- Production in Iraq (+750,000 bpd) and Saudi Arabia (+510,000) rose to record levels, driving OPEC production up by 1.6 million bpd to 38.2 million bpd, exceeding the previous record reached in 2012.
- Production outside OPEC slowed from last year’s record growth but still grew by 1.3 million bpd. The US (+1 million bpd) had the world’s largest annual growth increment and remained the world’s largest oil producer. Elsewhere, production growth in Brazil (+180,000 bpd), Russia (+140,000 bpd), the UK and Canada (+110,000 bpd each) was partly offset by declines in Mexico (-200,000 bpd), Yemen (-100,000 bpd) and elsewhere.
Refining and trade
- Global crude runs rose by 1.8 million bpd (+2.3%) in 2015 – more than triple the 10-year average growth despite declines in South and Central America, Africa and Russia.
- Strong refining margins lifted crude runs by 1 million bpd in the OECD, with growth in Europe (+740,000 bpd) the highest since 1986.
- Global refining capacity grew by only 450,000 bpd, the smallest increase in 23 years. Delayed expansion in China, combined with closures in Taiwan and Australia, resulted in a fall in Asian capacity for the first time since 1988.
- Global refinery utilization rose by 1 percentage point to 82.1%, the fastest increase in 5 years.
- Global trade of crude oil and refined products in 2015 expanded by 3 million bpd (+5.2%), the largest increase since 1993.
- Crude oil trade was lifted by growing exports from the Middle East (+550,000 bpd), while Europe and China accounted for the largest increases in imports (+770,000 and +530,000 bpd respectively).
- Growth in refined products exports was again led by the US (+470,000 bpd); the country’s net oil imports fell to 4.8 million bpd, the lowest since 1985.
Consumption and production
- World natural gas consumption grew by 1.7%, a significant acceleration from the very weak growth (+0.6%) seen in 2014 but still below the 10-year average of 2.3%. Growth was below average outside the OECD (+1.9%, accounting for 53.5% of global consumption) but above average in the OECD countries (+1.5%).
- Among emerging economies, Iran (+6.2%) and China (+4.7%) recorded the largest increases in consumption, even though growth in China was weak compared with its 10-year average growth of 15.1%. Russia (-5%) recorded the largest incremental decline, followed by Ukraine (-21.8%).
- Among OECD countries, the US (+3%) accounted for the largest growth increment, while EU consumption (+4.6%) rebounded after a large decline in 2014.
- Globally natural gas accounted for 23.8% of primary energy consumption.
- Global natural gas production grew by 2.2%, more rapidly than consumption but below its 10-year average of 2.4%. Growth was above average in North America, Africa, and Asia Pacific. The US (+5.4%) recorded the largest growth increment, with significant increases also in Iran (+5.7%) and Norway (+7.7%). EU production fell sharply (-8%), with the Netherlands (-22.8%) recording the world’s largest decline. Large volumetric declines were also seen in Russia (-1.5%) and Yemen (-71.5%).
- Global natural gas trade rebounded in 2015, rising 3.3%.
- Pipeline shipments increased by 4%, driven by growth in net pipeline exports from Russia (+7.7%) and Norway (+7%). The largest volumetric increases in net pipeline imports were in Mexico (+44.9%) and France (+28.8%).
- Global LNG trade increased by 1.8%. Export growth was led by Australia (+25.3%) and Papua New Guinea (+104.8%), offsetting declines in shipments from Yemen (-77.2%). Higher net LNG imports for Europe (+15.9%) and rising Middle Eastern imports (+93.8%) were party offset by declines in net imports in South Korea (-10.4%) and Japan (-4%).
- International natural gas trade accounted for 30.1% of global consumption; pipeline share of global gas trade rose to 67.5%
- Global coal consumption fell by 1.8% in 2015, well below the 10-year average annual growth of 2.1% and the largest percentage (and volumetric) decline in our data set. Coal’s share of global primary energy consumption fell to 29.2%, the lowest share since 2005.
- The net decline in coal consumption was entirely accounted for by the US (-12.7%, the world’s largest volumetric decline) and China (-1.5%), with more modest increases registered in India (+4.8%) and Indonesia (+15%).
- Global coal production fell by 4%, with large declines in the US (-10.4%), Indonesia (-14.4%), and China (-2%).
Nuclear and hydroelectric
- Global nuclear output grew by 1.3%, with China (+28.9%) accounting for all the net increase. China passed South Korea to become the fourth largest supplier of nuclear power, while EU output (-2.2%) fell to the lowest level since 1992
- Nuclear power accounted for 4.4% of global primary energy consumption.
- Global hydroelectric output grew by a below average 1%. Hydroelectric output accounted for 6.8% of global primary energy consumption.
- China recorded the largest increment of hydroelectric output growth (+5%) and remains by far the world’s largest producer of hydroelectricity.
Renewables (including wind, solar, and biofuels)
- Renewable energy in power generation continued to increase in 2015, reaching 2.8% of global energy consumption, up from 0.8% a decade ago.
- Renewable energy used in power generation grew by 15.2% (or 213 Terra-watt hours), an increment which was roughly equal to all of the increase in global power generation. Renewables accounted for 6.7% of global power generation, up from 2.0% a decade ago.
- China (+20.9%) and Germany (+23.5%) recorded the largest increments in renewables in power generation.
- Globally, wind energy (+17.4%) remains the largest source of renewable electricity (52.2% of renewable generation), with Germany (+53.4%) recording the largest growth increment.
- Solar power generation grew by 32.6% with China overtaking both Germany and the US to become the world’s leading generator of solar energy.
- Global biofuels production grew by 0.9%, well below the 10-year average of 14.3%.
- Emissions of CO2 from energy consumption globally increased by just 0.1% in 2015. Other than the recession of 2009, this represented the lowest growth rate since 1992. The drop was driven by slower energy consumption growth, as well as a shift in the fuels mix.
- Regionally, emissions growth was below average in every region except Europe and Eurasia.