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Commodities at a Glance

Special Issue on Energy

image of Commodities at a Glance

The series “Commodities at a Glance” aims to collect, present and disseminate accurate and relevant statistical information linked to international primary commodity markets in a clear, concise and reader-friendly format. This quarter’s edition of UNCTAD’s Commodities at a Glance describes world energy trade, price, production and consumption trends, with a particular focus on Africa.

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Facts and figures: Primary energy

This quarter’s edition of UNCTAD’s Commodities at a Glance describes world energy trade, price, production and consumption trends, with a particular focus on Africa. Over the last three decades, world consumption of primary energy nearly doubled from 280 quadrillion British thermal unit (BTU) in 1980 to 490 quadrillion Btu in 2008 (see Figure 4). A number of factors have been attributed to this dramatic increase in consumption including global economic growth, rapidly industrializing developing countries, increasing world population and urbanization. Over the next two decades, the world population is forecast to grow from approximately 7 billion to 8.32 billion, with the likelihood of rising demand for primary energy resources. International Energy Agency (IEA) projections suggest that between 2008 and 2035 global demand for such resources will increase by 36 per cent or 1.2 per cent per year on average. Most of this projected increase is expected to come from non-OECD countries, particularly India and China, accounting for 18 per cent and 36 per cent respectively of this increase. The Middle East is expected to experience the most rapid demand growth at 2 per cent per year largely due to fast growing energy demand sectors, such as petrochemical industries and power generation. Demand in Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, is also expected to grow as electricity supply needs to increase in response to population growth. However, a lack of infrastructure in the region is expected to limit access to primary energies, and demand growth is projected to match the world average at 1.2 per cent per year. Together, non-OECD countries will account for about 93 per cent of global primary energy demand growth by 2035.

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