Energy demand hits record in 2021, driven by renewables: BP

28 Jun 2022

Quantum Commodity Intelligence - Global primary energy demand rose nearly 6% in 2021, overtaking 2019 levels by 1.3%, with the rise entirely driven by renewable energy sources, while fossil fuel consumption was static between 2019 and 2021, BP said in an annual report.

Primary demand rose by 31 exajoules (EJ) last year – its sharpest annual gain on record – as the world reopened after strict Covid measures a year earlier, the British energy giant said in its Statistical Review of World Energy.

Total world energy demand reached a new high of 595.15 EJ, 8 EJ above 2019 levels.

"In many ways, this sharp rebound in energy demand is a sign of global success, driven by a rapid recovery in economic activity as the widespread distribution of effective vaccines allowed for an easing in Covid-19 restrictions," Spencer Dale, BP's Chief Economist, said.

Renewable energy, led by wind and solar power, made up 13% of the global energy supply in 2021, rising 17% from 2020 and accounting for half the energy supply increase between 2019 and 2021.


Yet despite the strong growth in renewable energy production, global emissions from energy use (including methane), industrial processes, and flaring increased by 5.7% in 2021 to 39 GtCO2e.

Emissions from carbon dioxide alone were up 5.9% to 33.9 GtCO2, close to 2019 levels, driven by a comeback in coal demand.

"Smoothing through the impact of the pandemic, emissions were broadly unchanged over the past two years," Spencer said.

While considerable progress has been made by nations and companies to achieve carbon neutrality, global emissions have risen every year – bar 2020 – since the Paris goals were agreed upon.

"The world remains on an unsustainable path."

Oil demand

Global oil demand rose by 5.3 million bpd in 2021 to 94.09 million bpd, but the remaining 3.7 million bpd below 2019 demand, mainly driven by the 33% fall in jet fuel consumption versus pre-Covid levels.

Demand for diesel and gasoil was 1 million bpd, or 3% below pre-Covid levels, while demand for naphtha and other oil light end products was above 2019 levels.

Finally, global refining capacity declined for the first time in over 30 years as a net 500,000 bpd of capacity was lost, driven by a 1.1 million bpd in the OECD and only partially offset by gains in Asia and the Middle East.