“Beyond Petroleum” BP needs to own up to the facts that it is a fossil fuel company and fossil fuels are inherently good compared to dilute, intermittent, non-scalable alternatives. Instead, it takes the moral low ground and wonders why it is losing the PR war against the critics of economic growth and prosperity.
Try to find out what the global market share of oil, gas, and coal is today. It will not be easy. You have to hunt and compute it yourself in many cases. I did.
Take BP’s Annual Statistical Review for 2019. In the front summary, simple market shares for each fossil fuel are not stated, just changes in growth rates and country-by-country statistics. This hides what could be the most relevant statistic of all: the global market share of fossil fuels.
Instead, you have to go to page 9 of the report (“Primary energy: consumption by fuel”) to a dense statistical table of global production of each fuel by country. There is a total for oil, natural gas, and coal–but no composite for the three–followed by nuclear, hydro, and renewables.
So for 2018, I added the three numbers for fossil fuels and then divided by Total World to get 84.7 percent, rounded to 85 percent. Whew…..
Company head Bob Dudley’s opening letter states:
the data compiled in this year’s Review suggest that in 2018, global energy demand and carbon emissions from energy use grew at their fastest rate since 2010/11, moving even further away from the accelerated transition envisaged by the Paris climate goals….
The strength in energy consumption was reflected across all the fuels, many of which grew more strongly than their recent historical averages. This acceleration was particularly pronounced for natural gas, which grew at one of its fastest rates for over 30 years, accounting for over 40% of the growth in primary energy.
On the supply side, the data for 2018 reinforced the central importance of the US shale revolution. Remarkably, the US recorded the largest ever annual increases by any country in both oil and natural gas production last year, with the vast majority of both increases coming from onshore shale plays
Hooray! The supply and demand for our products are increasing!
But wait: what is good news for a business is somehow bad news for this European-based oil and gas major. Dudley all but apologizes. “Decarbonizing the power sector while also meeting the rapidly expanding demand for power, particularly in the developing world,” he states, “is perhaps the single most important challenge facing the global energy system over the next 20 years.”
The apologetics come in the next section of the report, “Energy in 2018: An Unsustainable Path,” by BP chief economist Spencer Dale. First, the facts (p. 3):
Global primary energy grew by 2.9% in 2018 – the fastest growth seen since 2010. This occurred despite a backdrop of modest GDP growth and strengthening energy prices. At the same time, carbon emissions from energy use grew by 2.0%, again the fastest expansion for many years.
And the greenwashing (p. 3):
the actual energy data continued to move stubbornly in the wrong direction. A growing mismatch between hopes and reality. In that context, I fear – or perhaps hope – that 2018 will represent the year in which this mismatch peaked…. [H]ow worried should we be? …
Mr. Dale’s concludes (p. 7):
[T]he energy data for 2018 paint a worrying picture, with both energy demand and carbon emissions growing at the fastest rates seen for years. What does seem fairly clear is that the underlying picture is one in which the actual pace of progress is falling well short of the accelerated transition envisaged by the Paris climate goals.Last year’s developments sound yet another warning alarm that the world is on an unsustainable path.
Unsustainable? Abundance, affordability, flexibility, growth, geographical diversity, prosperity–the reality is that mineral energies are growing more sustainable, not less.
A suggestion. BP’s next report (its 69th) should also include historical reviews of price, geographical diversity, gasoline and diesel cleanliness, and air emissions from fossil fuels. A review of industrial progress over seven decades could follow, coupled with a chart of climate-related deaths. At least offer the moral case for fossil fuels for your primary products and not lament the growth of mineral energy production and usage and increasing CO2 emissions therein.
“Beyond Petroleum” BP needs to own up to the facts that it is a fossil-fuel company and fossil fuels are inherently good compared to dilute, intermittent, non-scalable alternatives. Instead, it takes the moral low ground and wonders why it is losing the PR war against the critics of economic growth and prosperity.