Oil is Still in the Lead

Oil is still our largest energy provider. And while fossil fuels predominate, renewables have a long way to go before they can make a considerable impact.
This article appeared in Vol. 11, No. 4 - 2015


World energy consumption by energy type. Fossil fuels predominate, by far, and in spite of a 16% increase in 2013, renewables are – with only 1.5% (not including hydroelectricity) – still a minor source of energy. Total energy consumption increased a little in 2013 compared to 2012, and fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) now have a market share of 87%. Oil is still the favorite source of energy – 33% of energy consumption came from the black liquid.

Contrary to the belief of many environmentalists, world oil production was higher than ever in 2013. With an average output of 86.8 MMbopd, last year saw an increase of 0.6% compared to 2012. Ten years ago the average daily production was only 77.6 MMbopd.

On top of that, “the year 2013 saw an acceleration in the growth of global energy consumption, despite a stagnant global economy”, as stated by Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive. 

Nevertheless, there was a 16% increase in consumption of renewables (not including hydroelectricity) compared to the year before, and that consumption has doubled in less than five years. The number is, however, still small, as renewables only account for 1.5% of world energy consumption. “The importance of policy is also apparent in the strength of renewable forms of energy, which continued to grow robustly, albeit from a low base,” as explained by Dudley.

Three countries dominate world oil production. Together, Saudi Arabia (11.5 MMbopd), Russia (10.5 MMbopd) and the United States (10.0 MMbopd) produce more than a third of the total. China ranks as number 4 on the list with 4.2 MMbopd. 

Norway and the United Kingdom produced 1.837 and 0.866 MMbopd respectively, ranking them at numbers 15 and 25 in the world. Amongst the European countries, Norway, UK and Denmark (0.178 MMbopd) are leading producers.


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