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Energy Superpower USA: Shale Oil & Gas Hit Record Production Levels in 2018

The Wall Street Journal

World-wide energy demand grew at its fastest rate since 2010

The shale revolution powered U.S. oil and gas production in 2018 to the largest annual increases ever recorded by any country, according to energy giant BP PLC .

Surging global energy demand is fueling the production boom, even as oil and gas prices rise and economic growth slows, said BP’s annual statistical review published Tuesday.

World-wide demand for energy grew 2.9% in 2018, its fastest rate since 2010.

Unusual weather spurred some of the stronger-than-expected growth, as a greater number of extremely hot and cold days drove up air conditioning and heating use around the world, particularly in China, the U.S. and Russia, the company said.

In the U.S., energy consumption rose by 3.5% in 2018, with oil at 20.5 million barrels a day and a total of 817 billion cubic meters of gas consumed during the year.

Natural gas dominated 2018’s energy growth, accounting for almost half of total demand growth. Demand rose 5.3%, as the world continues to pivot toward the cleaner-burning fuel, partly as a result of environmental concerns.

In the U.S., around half of the increase in gas demand came from the power sector, said Spencer Dale, chief economist at BP.

“The growth of gas demand in the U.S. last year is roughly equivalent to the whole of the U.K.’s gas consumption,” Mr. Dale said.

China also saw exceptional growth in energy use, with gas consumption rising 18%, according to the report. The Chinese government has been striving to switch away from coal and toward gas because of air-quality concerns, resulting in the country’s gas consumption rising by one-third over the past two years.

Global demand for renewable energy, including wind and solar, rose 14.5% last year. However, this was below the average pace of growth of the past decade of 16.4%.

Renewable energy accounted for around 4% of the global energy mix in 2018, greatly overshadowed by fossil fuels at 85%, although the data showed oil and coal are slowly losing ground to renewables and natural gas.

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