Global energy consumption topped pre-pandemic levels in 2021, says BP

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A worker refuels a cargo aircraft with aviation fuel at an airport in Nantong, Jiangsu province, China September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - Global energy consumption rose by 5.8% in 2021, exceeding pre-pandemic levels as economies revved up activity, while strong growth in renewable energies chipped away at fossil fuel use, according to a benchmark report by BP (BP.L).

Oil demand last year was 3.7 million barrels per day (bpd) below 2019 levels, driven primarily by weakness in the aviation sector, which was 33% below pre-pandemic levels, BP said in its 2021 Statistical Review of World Energy.

The rapid economic recovery also led to a 5.7% increase in greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, roughly similar to 2019 levels.

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"The pronounced dip in carbon emissions in 2020 was only temporary," BP Chief Economist Spencer Dale said in the report.

Here are some highlights from the report:


  • Primary energy demand increased by 5.8% in 2021, exceeding 2019 levels by 1.3%.
  • Fossil fuels accounted for 82% of primary energy use last year, against 83% in 2019 and 85% five years ago.


  • Oil demand in 2021 averaged 96.9 million bpd, some 3.7 million bpd below 2019 levels.
  • Much of this weakness was concentrated in aviation-related oil demand, which was more than 2.5 million bpd, or 33%, below 2019 levels.
  • Global oil production increased by 1.4 million bpd in 2021, with the OPEC+ group of producing nations accounting for more than 75% of the increase.


  • Global natural gas demand grew 5.3% in 2021, recovering above pre-pandemic 2019 levels and crossing the 4 trillion cubic metres mark for the first time.
  • Its share in primary energy in 2021 was unchanged from the previous year at 24%.
  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply grew by 5.6%, or 26 billion cubic metres (bcm), to 516 bcm in 2021, its slowest rate of growth since 2015 (other than in 2020)


  • Coal consumption rose by more than 6% in 2021, slightly above 2019 levels and its highest level since 2014.
  • China and India accounted for more than 70% of the growth in coal demand in 2021.


  • Renewable primary energy (including biofuels but excluding hydro) increased 15% in 2021, stronger than the previous year's 9% and any other fuel in 2021.
  • Solar and wind capacity continued to grow rapidly in 2021, increasing by 226 gigawatts (GW), close to the record 236 GW jump in 2020.
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Reporting by Ron Bousso Editing by David Goodman

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