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World Overview of the Energy Sector

A compilation of the most significant data from the latest reports published by BP and the European Commission


  • The latest report published by BP, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012, accents supply disruptions and an increasingly greater demand as the two outstanding energy themes in 2011.


  • The report concludes that open energy markets are the key to guaranteeing security.


The world faced a year of upheavals caused by natural disasters and social revolution


As the BP report notes, events like the “Arab Spring”, the Fukushima accident in Japan and floods in Australia, to give just a few examples of disruptions affecting the international energy system, have affected oil and gas supplies, nuclear energy and coal production. Accordingly, energy prices have risen in most parts of the world. The price of oil, for example, broke all records when it rose to an annual average of above $100 per barrel. Nevertheless, in his report, Christof Rühl, BP’s Chief Economist, states, “And yet – nothing in the aggregate data indicates anything out of the ordinary. In fact, both GDP and energy consumption growth last year landed right at their long term average.”


Rühl suggests three factors that enabled the system to function: fuel substitution, supply, and demand responses and trading patterns. He explains that “[…] an increase in oil supplies, most notably from Saudi Arabia, together with flexibility in trading and the global refining system, allowed heavier Saudi crudes to replace lighter Libyan oil in Europe; a diversion of natural gas from Europe to Asia allowed the substitution of lost nuclear energy in Japan without harming energy needs of other economies in this fast growing region; and finally, the release of coal from the Americas, facilitated by the availability of unconventional gas in the US, helped to replace gas in Europe.”



The global growth of primary energy consumption in 2011 was 2.5%. OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) energy consumption dropped by 0.8% while non-OECD energy consumption growth was estimated at 5.3%. Bob Dudley, Group Chief Executive BP, had the following to say at the launch of BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2012:“As we seek to manage short-term disruptions and meet long-term demand, we should remember that open markets can be a powerful ally. They provided the flexibility that was crucial to the world’s ability to cope with last year’s disruptions. And over time, markets lead to the chain reaction of competition, innovation and growth which creates the secure and affordable energy supplies which governments and consumers are looking for.” Referring to falling natural gas prices in the United States as a result of shale gas production, he continued, “… an open and competitive environment drives technological innovation and unlocks resources. […] I think the message for policy makers is to follow this model and to encourage competition wherever possible.”


Energy and the Economy




  • Although the growth rate of the international economy in 2011 was much slower than it was in 2010, in both cases the measures were almost exactly the same at the ten-year average. It should be emphasized that non-OECD economies surpassed this estimate, contributing almost three quarters (73%) of global growth.


  • The United States maintains its trend of slow post-crisis recovery. Europe, however, is held back by its euro-zone problems.


  • Growth in primary energy consumption is confirmed after the upheavals of recent years.


  • Non-OECD energy consumption growth (5.3%) remained on trend in 2011, while China’s consumption increased by 8.8%. By contrast, OECD energy consumption fell by 0.8%, despite average GDP growth. This situation may be explained by three factors: the impact of high oil prices throughout the world and of high coal and gas prices outside the United States; the impact of Fukushima (in Japan, the world’s third largest economy, energy consumption dropped by 5%); and the increasingly warmer weather in Europe.


1 A Summary of the main figures


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World energy data in the latest report of the European Commission




The European Commission has recently published a summary of its annual energy report. This publication (EU Energy in Figures: Statistical Pocketbook 2012) offers an overview of the most significant statistical data on world energy up to 2009, which is presented below.

Moreover, the report includes, besides other information of interest, specific data pertaining to the 27 European Union member states up to 2010 (see the attached complete study in English).


1.1  World energy production by region



1.2 World energy production by region in 2009 (%)




1.3 World fuel production



1.4 World fuel production in 2009 (%)




1.5 Gross inland consumption by region***



1.6 Final world energy consumption by region***



1.7. Gross inland consumption by region in 2009 (%)




1.8 Final world energy consumption by region in 2009 (%)




1.9 World energy generation by fuel type



1.10 World energy generation by fuel type in 2009




1.11 Evolution of word energy production by fuel type (MTOE)



* Coal and other solid fuels

** Oil and derivatives.

*** The total quantity of energy resources consumed in a country or region for any use (either final use or in being transformed into another form of energy) is called primary energy consumption. Energy used for non-energy purposes (for example in the manufacture of oil-derived plastics) may or may not be included in this consumption. Gross inland consumption of primary energy is calculated on the basis of inland energy production, adding net imports of primary energy resources and subtracting exports based on these resources. The most usual units of measure are ton of oil equivalent (TOE) and its multiples (KTOE and MTOE).


Please find attached (1) the BP report (in Spanish and English), which includes, apart from the conclusions, data by fuel type, and (2) the European Commission report (in English).