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Oil and gas still highly relevant energy sources, especially in developing countries – IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said oil and gas are still highly relevant energy sources globally.

The agency disclosed this in its 2023 Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) report which was released on Thursday, January 12.

Recall that in December 2022, the IEA said that from 2022 to 2027, renewables would be seen growing by almost 2400 gigawatts (GW), equal to the entire installed power capacity of China today.

However, despite rapid renewable energy growth, stated in the report that the world still relies predominantly on fossil fuels for its energy supply.

  • “In fact, growth in clean energy supply since 2000 has been dwarfed by that of oil, gas, and coal, especially in the emerging and developing economies. In those countries, the share of fossil fuels in the total primary energy supply increased from 77% in 2000 to 80% in 2021, mainly due to a jump in coal, from 27% to 35%. In the advanced economies, the share dropped from 82% to 77% over the same period,” the report stated.

Globally, the IEA says that the overall share of fossil energy sources in the global energy mix has remained almost constant at about 80%.

Further breakdown: In the report, oil is highlighted as the single largest source of primary energy, making up 29% of the total energy supply in 2021 (down from 37% in 2000).

  • Coal is at 26% (up from 23%). Natural gas is at 23% (up from 21%).
  • Bioenergy is still the single largest source of non-fossil energy, accounting for around 10% of total primary energy use in 2021, though over one-third is in the form of traditional biomass, often used in unsustainable and polluting ways.
  • Nuclear power makes up 5% of the supply. Hydropower makes up 2%. Solar and wind energy sources make up a mere 2%.

The IEA notes that while electrification has accelerated over the last two decades, fossil fuels still dominate energy end use, accounting for around 35% of total energy use in buildings and 95% in transport. Also, the production of cement for infrastructure and buildings, steel for vehicles and manufacturing goods, as well as chemicals for fertilizers and consumer goods, still rely mainly on fossil fuels, either for combustion or as feedstock.

For the record: The IEA report says that in 2021, coal made up around 75% of the energy used in global steel production, and more than half of that was used to make cement, while about 70% of chemical production was based on oil or natural gas.

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