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BP: Global Energy Demand Growth Already Slowed Before The Pandemic

Global growth in primary energy consumption slowed down to 1.3 percent last year from 2.8 percent demand growth in 2018, with renewables a major growth driver in 2019, BP said in its annual Statistical Review of World Energy 2020 on Wednesday.  

Renewables, together with natural gas, accounted for three-quarters of last year’s increase in global energy consumption, said BP, which has been publishing the annual statistical review since 1952.

Renewable energy accounted for over 40 percent of the global growth in primary energy in 2019, more than any other fuel. The share of renewables in power generation rose to 10.4 percent and surpassed the share of nuclear energy in the global power mix for the first time, according to BP.

China was the key driver of energy consumption growth last year, followed by India and Indonesia, while the United States and Germany saw the largest declines in primary energy consumption.

Global oil consumption increased last year by a below-average 900,000 bpd, or 0.9 percent annually. Demand for all liquid fuels – including biofuels – grew by 1.1 million bpd and topped 100 million bpd for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, China was the main driver of oil demand growth, accounting for 680,000 bpd of the 2019 global increase, BP’s closely watched report said.

Related: The Most Vulnerable Of The Oil Majors

While global energy demand growth slowed down, the growth in carbon emissions from energy was 0.5 percent in 2019, less than half the ten-year average growth of 1.1 percent per year. Slower energy demand growth and increased use of renewables and natural gas instead of coal helped reduce the carbon emissions growth, partially reversing some of the unusually strong 2.1-percent increase in emissions in 2018, BP said.

“Of course, one effect of the pandemic is that emissions may fall again – perhaps by as much as 2.6 gigatonnes,” BP’s chief executive Bernard Looney wrote in a LinkedIn post, noting that the price of the falling emissions is a terrible loss of lives and jobs in the pandemic.

To get to net zero emissions by 2050, the world would need similar-sized reductions in carbon emissions every other year for the next 25 years, BP says.

“For me, that shows the challenge we face. We can’t lockdown every year. We need another way - to build back better,” said Looney, reiterating BP’s pledge to do its part as the supermajor is reinventing itself to become a net-zero energy company by 2050 or sooner.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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