BP chief says energy industry faces turning point amid US energy glut and slowing Chinese demand

The rise in oil supply from the US – which overtook Saudi Arabia in oil, and Russia in oil and gas, as the world’s largest producer – seemed to take the market by surprise.

BP chief executive Bob Dudley saysthe volatility and uncertainty of energy markets last year have ‘profound implications for prices’. Eric Piermont / AFP
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The chief executive of BP says that the continued surge in United States oil supply and a sharp slowdown in the growth of China's energy consumption last year could mark a significant turning point for the energy industry.

“[Following] the eerie calm that had characterised energy markets in the few years prior to 2014 … the volatility and uncertainty that characterised 2014 felt like a return to more normal conditions,” said Bob Dudley in London yesterday at the launch of BP’s annual energy statistical review, one of the industry’s mostly widely referenced guides.

Last year’s events “may well come to be viewed as symptomatic of a broader shifting in some of the tectonic plates that make up the energy landscape”, he said, with “profound implications for prices, for the fuel mix, and for carbon emissions”.

The rise in oil supply from the US – which overtook Saudi Arabia in oil, and Russia in oil and gas, as the world's largest producer – seemed to take the market by surprise.

The slowdown in demand was also greater than expected, with world energy demand growing at less than 1 per cent, the slowest since the late 1990s, save for the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008.

Renewable energy outpaced fossil fuels and increased its market share, which was a major factor in slowing growth of carbon emissions to their lowest since 1998. Global carbon emissions grew 0.5 per cent, also the weakest since 1998.

amcauley@thenational.ae

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