First up is the IMF’s World Economic Outlook, which highlights a couple of key trends through some simple graphics. This first one is economic growth illustrated through painting by numbers – the darker the blue, the stronger the growth. The seeping from beige to red…the worse it gets.
Yes, the most obvious observation is that the OECD (the developed nations) appear to be lagging the most in terms of economic growth.
But what is most fascinating from an energy perspective is that all three of the outliers across the globe – the pink in South America (Venezuela), the beige in Africa (Sudan), and the red in the Middle East (Iran) – are all petro-states, and have seen deteriorating economic conditions due to falling oil flows. Iran’s problems are due to sanctions, Sudan due to its border war with South Sudan, and Venezuela due to underinvestment in its oil industry.
The second chart from the IMF report underscores how commodity prices not only trend with industrial and manufacturing activity, but also with equities. Something to consider as we see equities and commodities diverging of late…one of them has to be wrong.
Th IEA released the Clean Energy Progress Report for 2013 this week, which is a whopping 154 pages long. Here are two charts plucked from the depths of it, with the first illustrating how coal-fired power generation will continue to be a dominant force this decade – a sentiment echoed in other IEA reports.
In fact, the report highlights an ‘alarmingly slow‘ rate of progress from technologies which are supposed to help diversify the world away from reliance on fossil fuels. In the foreword, the IEA’s executive director Maria van der Hoeven says ‘the carbon intensity of the global supply has barely changed in 20 years, despite successful efforts to deploy renewable energy‘.
This reliance on fossil fuels, and specifically coal, is reflected most clearly through the shift in global industrial energy consumption over the past decade. The shift in consumption has basically been a transfer from the OECD to China. And given that China is the largest coal consumer in the world – accounting for almost 50% of global consumption - it is no surprise to see the aforementioned ongoing favorability towards coal.
Global production of biofuels, coal-to-liquid, and gas-to-liquid fuels totaled 2.1 million barrels a day in 2011, making up 2% of the total of all liquid fuels. The EIA projects this number will nearly triple to 5.7 million barrels a day in 2040.
But these numbers are tiny compared to total global consumption of petroleum and other liquids. Current consumption is 46 million barrels a day for the OECD, and 43 million for non-OECD.
However, by 2040 this is expected to have shifted to 65 million barrels a day for the non-OECD, compared to a minorly minor rise in the OECD to 47 million barrels. Demand in the OECD will continue to be driven at the margin by price, while non-OECD demand will be driven by economic growth.
Thanks for playing alphabetti spaghetti. Until next time…rock on!