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The BP Energy Review

June 28, 2015

By Paul Homewood  





I took a quick look at the latest BP Statistical Review a couple of weeks ago, but have now had a chance to look at in a bit more detail.  




1) Territorial Analysis


First, the territorial breakdown of primary energy consumption for 2014, out of the global total of 12928 Mtoe.




China has been the largest consumer for a while, so no surprise there. What I would not have expected until I ran the numbers was just how big the ROW figure is, accounting for 38% of global consumption.

Of this ROW number, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, the Middle East and South Korea account for 2603 Mtoe, more than half.


There are thirteen countries with consumption greater than the UK’s 188 Mtoe.




If we exclude the two big consumers, China and the US, we can see more clearly the relative shares of the others.




As we always tend to focus on China, the US, and to a lesser extent India, we risk losing sight of just how much energy is consumed in other parts of the world.

Remember these are consumption figures and not production. It may surprise many, therefore, to see just how much energy is used in Saudi Arabia, Iran and other Middle East states.

For instance, in 2012 the Economist wrote:

With domestic electricity demand rising 10% per year in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom now devours more than a quarter of its oil production—nearly three million barrels per day. International Energy Agency figures show that Saudi Arabia now consumes more oil than Germany, an industrialized country with triple the population and an economy nearly five times as large

Saudi power-generating capacity has doubled in the past decade. Partly this is to mitigate the fearful heat: according to a report from Chatham House, a think-tank, air-conditioning units soak up half of all power generated at peak consumption periods.

The second relates to economic structure. It takes energy to produce energy: pumps must be powered and vast quantities of seawater desalinated. Aramco, the Saudi state oil company, sucks up nearly 10% of the country’s energy output. Attempts to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil, gas and petrochemicals have not gone far.

The third reason for rising Gulf consumption is the inefficiency of domestic energy markets. Some 65% of Saudi electricity is generated using black gold, even as successive price shocks and the relative inefficiency of oil generation have seen it all but phased out in rich countries. Oil is used with such profligacy because domestic consumption is massively subsidised. According to the International Energy Agency, global oil subsidies added up to $192 billion in 2010. OPEC countries accounted for $121 billion of the total…

Saudi Arabia is trying to develop nuclear and solar energy. But its fleet of oil-fired power stations will keep going for years. And as Mark Lewis of Deutsche Bank points out, two more big ones are now being built. On current trends the kingdom would become a net importer of oil by 2038 (unlikely though that is).


In Iran, it is more about the cold, as Azernews reported last year:

During Iran’s ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency the oil officials kept warning about the high rate of gas consumption in the country. They used to stress the importance of cutting gas consumption, saying that Iran’s gas consumption is equal to that of the European Union.

On March 2, the managing director of Iranian Fuel Conservation Company, Nasrollah Seifi, repeated the claim. He said that households’ consumption accounts for the lion’s share of the country’s total gas consumption.

He went on to note that Iranians currently pays only 16 per cent of the real price of natural gas and the government pays for the rest in the form of subsidy.

According to him, the final price of natural gas after implementation of the subsidy reform plan should be around 18,700 rials per cubic meters. The figure currently stands at 700 rials.

Iran’s gas consumption equal to that of EU’s?

BP’s annual report suggests that Iran’s gas consumption was around 156.1 billion cubic meters in 2012. Iranian officials say that the consumption rate has been increased in the current calendar year, which started on March 21, 2013.

Iranian Mehr News Agency reported in January that the country’s gas consumption is around 160 billion cubic meters per year now.

While according to BP, around 440 billion cubic meters of gas was consumed in the European Union (excluding Turkey’s consumption and liquid gas consumption) in 2012.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s report, which was released in September 2013, the EU’s gas consumption did not changed significantly in the first half of 2013. So a simple calculation shows that the EU’s gas consumption is 2.75 times more than Iran’s.

EU’s consumption accounted for 13.4 per cent of the world’s total gas consumption in 2012. Over 3.314 trillion cubic meters of natural gas was consumed across the world in the mentioned year.

Per capita gas consumption in Iran and the EU

While the EU’s population is 6.6 times that of Iran’s, the per capita consumption of natural gas in Iran is more than the EU.

This is mainly due to the low price of gas in Iran. The major problem in Iran is the great share of gas consumption by household and commercial sectors, which account for 77 percent of the country’s gas consumption.

Power plants and petrochemical units in Iran consume 130 million cubic meters and 35 million cubic meters of gas per day, respectively. Gas supply to power plants and petrochemical units sharply falls in winters due to rising consumption by the household sector.


With a population of 75 million, Iran’s energy consumption per capita works out at at 3.4 tonnes oil equivalent, compared to the UK’s 2.9 tonnes. Despite large scale oil and gas production of its own, Iran even imports gas by pipeline from Turkmenistan.


It is clear that cuts to EU energy usage will make little difference globally.



2) Renewable Energy


So, who is leading the way in developing renewables?

Apart from Germany and the UK, very little seems to be happening at all, despite claims that we hear regularly about how renewable is coming on in leaps and bounds.






3) Analysis by fuel. 


As can be seen below, renewable energy still only contributes 2.5% of the total.





4) Changes since 2010


Finally, let’s look at how energy consumption has changed around the world since 2010.




The decline in the EU of 134 Mtoe, representing a fall of 8%, probably says more about the state of the economy there than anything else.

As well as the large increases in China and India, which have added 6% to global totals, we again see growth in the ROW, where consumption has increased by 9%.

We find a similar pattern with changes in fossil fuel consumption. Primary energy consumption has risen by 950 Mtoe, a global rise of 8% since 2010. Of this, fossil fuels have accounted for 751 Mtoe.






Announcements of the death of fossil fuels are, I suspect, rather premature. 





1) BP Review 2012


2) BP Review 2015

  1. Joe Public permalink
    June 28, 2015 3:48 pm

    Renewable energy – graph 2:

    Perhaps Germany & the UK can rest on our laurels for a while, and give our power consumers a subsidy-break.

  2. June 28, 2015 4:14 pm

    Lets be generous and say that 1 billion people (EU, US, plus a few others) will be so infected by gullible greenery that ALL their electricity will come from renewables, that leaves a mere 6 billion who will continue to use coal, gas and diesel generators, and will increase their use as their prosperity grows.

    Oh, and lets not forget transport, all 7 billion still wanting to fill their cars with petrol/diesel, and still wanting to fly to the US/EU to see their post-industrial theme parks.

    • June 28, 2015 4:34 pm

      Disney World will have to rename “Tomorrowland” to “Yesterdayland”!

  3. June 29, 2015 7:06 am

    I find the numbers for China strange. Are the hydro-electric power stations (eg Three Gorges Dam) included in the renewables data?

    • AndyG55 permalink
      June 29, 2015 8:07 am

      this is from 2012.

      Still searching for 2014. after dinner, maybe

    • June 29, 2015 10:27 am

      No, BP show Hydro seperately.

  4. June 29, 2015 7:18 am

    For further analysis of the 2014 BP emissions data see

    Some highlights from the data are:

    • by 2014 CO2 emissions for the developing world were 44% higher than those from the developed world.

    • China’s CO2 emissions / head for its population of some 1.4 billion almost matched the emissions / head in Europe.

    • China’s CO2 emissions / head was higher than both France and the UK.

    • CO2 emissions / head for India and the rest of the world’s Underdeveloped nations (~53% of the world population) remained very low at ~1.7 tonnes / head, meaning that their state of very serious deprivation and underdevelopment was continuing.

    • India overtook China in the growth of its CO2 emissions

    • India’s growth in CO2 emissions 2013 – 2014 was at twice China’s level.

  5. Brian H permalink
    June 30, 2015 4:55 am

    Indeed. Its production and use of energy should be celebrated as signs of advance, and success in Gaia’s mandate to reverse the excess natural sequestration of carbon dioxide which threatens her flora.

  6. June 30, 2015 5:11 am

    That 13 country graph the impression that China and the US use MOST of the world’s primary energy. Actually the missing countries use almost the same as China & US combined ie 40% of world’s energy.
    World Total is 13,000 Mtoe , US 2,300 , China 3,000 and those other 11 countries about 3,000 …so 4,700 is used by ROE (Rest of EU) and ROW (Rest of The World). It would be good if that graph showed those two extra columns.
    – Indeed that last graph “changes since 2010” does show two extra columns ROW and World.
    That World total does seem to the TOTAL sum of countries losses – countries gaining.
    But likewise it would have been good to show ROE (Rest of EU) and ROW (Rest of The World)

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