Global energy demand grew by 2.2% in 2017, up from 1.2% last year and above its 10-year average of 1.7%. This above-trend growth was driven by the OECD, particularly the EU. Much of this strength can be directly related to the pickup in economic growth. Despite the unusually strong growth in the OECD, the vast majority of the increase in global energy consumption came from the developing world, accounting for nearly 80% of the expansion, according to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy 2018.
China alone contributed over a third of that growth, with energy consumption growing by over 3% in 2017, almost three times the rate seen over the past couple of years. This sharp pickup was driven by a rebound in the output of some of China’s most energy-intensive sectors, particularly iron, crude steel and non-ferrous metals. Despite this increase, the growth of China’s energy demand in 2017 was still significantly slower than its 10-year average, and its rate of decline in energy intensity was more than twice the global average.
Global oil consumption growth averaged 1.8%, or 1.7 million barrels per day (b/d), above its 10-year average of 1.2% for the third consecutive year. China (500,000 b/d) and the US (190,000 b/d) were the single largest contributors to growth. Global oil production rose by 0.6 million b/d, below average for the second consecutive year. US (690,000 b/d) and Libya (440,000 b/d) posted the largest increases in output, while Saudi Arabia (-450,000 b/d) and Venezuela (-280,000 b/d) saw the largest declines. Refinery throughput rose by an above-average 1.6 million b/d, while refining capacity growth was only 0.6 million b/d, below average for the third consecutive year. As a result, refinery utilisation climbed to its highest level in nine years. The oil price (Dated Brent) averaged $54.19 per barrel, up from $43.73/barrel in 2016. This was the first annual increase since 2012.
Around 60% of the increase in primary energy was provided by natural gas and renewable energy. Natural gas (3.0%, 83 Mtoe (metric tons of oil equivalent)) provided the single largest contribution to the growth of primary energy, buoyed by exceptional growth in China. This was closely followed by renewable energy (including biofuels) (14.8%, 72 Mtoe), which again grew rapidly driven by robust growth in both wind and solar power.
Coal consumption increased by 25 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe), or 1%, the first growth since 2013. Consumption growth was driven largely by India (18 mtoe), with China consumption also up slightly (4 Mtoe) following three successive annual declines during 2014-2016. OECD demand fell for the fourth year in a row (-4 mtoe). Coal’s share in primary energy fell to 27.6%, the lowest since 2004. World coal production grew by 105 mtoe or 3.2%, the fastest rate of growth since 2011. Production rose by 56 mtoe in China and 23 mtoe in the US.