The Energy Race Goes On: IEA Shows Global Energy Production to Rise
Non-OECD Asia closing in on OECD’s position as the world’s largest energy consumer.
Reflecting the IEA’s increasingly global perspective, for the first time the Agency’s OECD and non-OECD Energy Balances and Statistics reports have been merged into two comprehensive global reports on energy data. World energy Balances and World Energy Statistics will contain detailed data on over 150 countries and regions and will be released in full at the end of August 2016.
These reports show that world energy production reached 13 800 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2014, up 1.5 per cent from 2013. Fossil fuels accounted for 81 per cent of this production – 0.4 per cent lower than in 2013 – in spite of rising oil (+2.1 per cent), coal (+0.8 per cent) and natural gas production (+0.6 per cent), as production of renewables grew even faster. For example hydro production was up 2.5 per cent and accounted for 2.4 per cent of global production while wind and solar PV continued their fast growth (+11 per cent and +35 per cent respectively), and accounted for around 1 per cent of global energy production. Among non-fossil sources, biofuels and waste accounted for 10.2 per cent of world energy production in 2014 and nuclear slightly increased its share to 4.7 per cent.
Global country level production
While restricted to primary fossil fuels, preliminary 2015 global country level production data show a clear slowdown in the growth of fossil fuel production, only 0.5 per cent higher than in 2014. While crude oil and natural gas production increased at a higher rate than in 2014 (+3.0 per cent and +1.6 per cent respectively), a 3.1 per cent fall in coal production over the same period resulted in an overall slowdown in growth.
The reports also highlight the significant changes in regional energy demand that have taken place over the past 40 years. In 1971 OECD (including Japan and Korea) and the rest of Asia (including China) together accounted for almost three quarters of energy usage, with OECD demand four times greater than that of Asia. Yet while the combined energy share of these regions remained at around three quarters of the global total in 2014, the proportions changed drastically; OECD and Asia became broadly comparable, at 38 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.
This drop in the OECD’s share of global total primary energy supply – or TPES, a measure of total energy use both in transformation and final use – from 61 per cent in 1971 to 38 per cent in 2014 reflects the fact that since 1971, annual average growth in TPES in Asia was above 5 per cent for all fuels except biomass – significantly above the average global increase.
This increase in demand for energy in Asia has been driven by consumers, with final consumption in the region increasing five-fold over four decades. Coal remains the most consumed fuel, with approximately the same share in 1971 and 2014 (29 per cent and 28 per cent respectively). However the rest of the mix is seeing rapid change. The share of oil in the total final consumption almost doubled (from 15 per cent to 28 per cent), while electricity rose from 3 per cent to 19 per cent. Following a seven-fold increase, the industry was by far the greatest energy consuming sector in Asia in 2014, representing 42 per cent of the region’s total final consumption, largely fueled by coal. The residential sector followed the industry in energy use, having seen a 120 per cent increase between 1971 and 2014. Traditional biomass was still the main fuel consumed by households, while electricity and natural gas consumption also increased significantly. Energy consumption grew 12-fold in the transport sector, and continued to rely mainly on oil.
Globally, total consumption more than doubled between 1971 and 2014. However the sectoral breakdown of energy use did not change dramatically. Industry remained the largest consuming sector in 2014, only one percentage point lower than in 1971 (37 per cent), followed by transport (28 per cent), a 5 per cent increase on 1971 figures, and residential (23 per cent).
Looking solely at OECD countries, where provisional data are available for 2015, energy production hit 4 164 Mtoe in 2015, a 0.5 per cent increase on 2014 figures, and the highest level since the IEA was founded in 1974. Exports were also the highest ever recorded at 1 790 Mtoe (+5.5 per cent from 2014). Following three consecutive years of decline, imports increased by 3.2 per cent, with net imports remaining broadly stable in the region compared to 2014. OECD total primary energy supply remained stable in 2015, coming in at 5 269 Mtoe, only 0.1 per cent less than in 2014.
In terms of the fuel mix, the OECD increased its use of oil (36 per cent of TPES, +1 per cent) and natural gas (26 per cent of TPES, +2 per cent) in 2015. Nuclear (10 per cent of TPES) remained stable, with Asia-Oceania increasing its use while Europe decreased. Other sources (10 per cent of TPES) increased by 2 per cent, mainly owing to renewables. Significantly, there was a drop of 15 per cent in the United States of coal use over 2014 figures. In 2015, more than 200 TWh of electricity came from natural gas, driving a 6 per cent decrease in the OECD region’s overall coal demand.
With production increasing more than energy use, the level of self-sufficiency (defined as production/TPES) in the OECD increased to 79 per cent in 2015, a figure comparable to the high levels of 1985. Notably, in 2015, OECD Americas became self-sufficient for the first time since the IEA was founded, with the United States not far behind at 93 per cent. This is in contrast with the levels observed in OECD Europe and OECD Asia Oceania, both coming in at below 60 per cent.