On June 15, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center hosted BP’s Group Chief Economist, Spencer Dale, for the US launch of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2017. The BP Statistical Review is looked to as the gold standard by policymakers, industry analysts, and energy stakeholders for yearly analysis of the changing energy market.
During his presentation, Dale highlighted the key global developments in each energy sector. Drawing from these developments, Dale concluded that in 2016 the global market was subject to two separate forces: short-run, cyclical adjustments and long-run, structural shifts. Short-run adjustments like weak energy supply growth and increasing demand growth have occurred in response to a period of excess supply, particularly in the oil market. On the other hand, a structural transition is also underway, as demand growth is increasingly being driven by developing economies, and has manifested predominately in the form of robust renewable power development.
Dale also pointed to China as a major driver of global energy trends noted the impact that a slowdown in Chinese energy demand, driven by a cyclical downturn in its energy-intensive industries at the same time it has embraced renewables, scaled down coal production, has had on energy markets.
In response to questions from the audience and Global Energy Center Founding Director and Chairman Richard Morningstar, Dale reaffirmed the energy market’s ultimate path towards sustainability. Dale pointed to rapid growth in renewable energy, as well as technological advancements, global market integration, and the emerging prominence of electrification and the power sector as major drivers, and underscored the impact of political and societal pressures in the transition to a low carbon economy.