The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2013 reveals that 2012 had the largest single-year increase in U.S. oil production ever recorded, and new evidence of the flexibility of the world’s energy system in meeting rapid global change.
The U.S. recorded the world’s highest growth in production of both oil and natural gas in 2012, on the back of increasing production of unconventional hydrocarbons such as tight oil, an example of the increasing diversity of energy sources as the global market continues to adapt, innovate and evolve. With rising natural gas output driving prices lower in the US, natural gas displaced coal in power generation, causing the US to experience the largest decline of coal consumption in the world.
Elsewhere, 2012 saw the largest annual decline in world nuclear output. In Japan, where nuclear power generation all but disappeared after 2011’s Fukushima accident, higher imports of fossil fuels including liquefied natural gas (LNG) ‘kept the lights on’. In Europe, where gas prices were higher than in the U.S., power generators took the opposite course from the US, and substituted coal for gas.