Africa, with its wealth of natural resources and fast-growing population, may have a significant impact on international energy markets over the next 25 years. The International Energy Outlook 2018 (IEO2018) analyzed uncertainty associated with future energy demand growth in Africa by examining a sensitivity case in which a faster rate of economic growth in Africa—compared with the IEO2018 Reference case—results in greater energy consumption and a larger manufacturing sector through 2040.
The IEO2018 Reference case projects that real African gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at an average rate of 3.8% per year from 2015 to 2040, and the IEO2018 Africa High Growth case projects an average growth rate of 5.0% per year over the same period. In these cases, Africa’s energy consumption is projected to grow from 23 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2015 to 35 quadrillion Btu in the IEO2018 Reference case and to 44 quadrillion Btu in the Africa High Growth case. Energy consumed in the industrial sector (manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture) accounts for most of the difference between cases.
Within the industrial sector, non energy-intensive manufacturing—pharmaceuticals and electrical equipment, for example—sees the largest increase in energy consumption. Energy consumption for non energy-intensive manufacturing in 2040 is 7.9 quadrillion Btu in the IEO2018 Reference case and 10.9 quadrillion Btu in the Africa High Growth case. The energy-intensive manufacturing sector’s energy consumption increases by 1.0 quadrillion Btu, and non manufacturing energy consumption increases by 0.5 quadrillion Btu.
A higher rate of GDP growth in the Africa High Growth case leads to African manufacturing growing as a share of the economy and the services share shrinking relative to the IEO2018 Reference case. The manufacturing sector accounts for 19% of total output in the IEO2018 Reference case in 2040, with services accounting for 47%. In the IEO2018 Africa High Growth case, however, the manufacturing share of Africa’s economy in 2040 rises to 24%, and the services share drops to 37%.
Even though GDP and energy consumption both grow in Africa in the IEO2018 Reference case, energy consumption per capita declines between 2015 and 2040. Africa’s population growth rate is higher than its energy consumption growth rate, underscoring the difficulties the continent will have in meeting its energy needs. In the Africa High Growth case, however, energy consumption rises from 19 million Btu per person to 22 million Btu per person between 2015 and 2040, compared with a decline to 17 million Btu per person in the IEO2018 Reference case over that period.
Although energy consumption per capita in 2040 in the Africa High Growth case is 25% higher than it is in the IEO2018 Reference case,the African value is still lower than in many countries. African energy consumption per capita in 2040 is projected to be one-half of the level in India, one-fourth of the level in Brazil, and one-tenth of the level in Russia in the IEO2018 Africa High Growth case.
The net effect of the Africa High Growth case on the rest of the world, because of trade and global supply chains, shows limited impacts on other countries—either positive or negative—in terms of output. The biggest effect is on non energy-intensive manufacturing in Eurasian countries, where output is 3% lower in the Africa High Growth case. This slight drop occurs because Africa’s availability of low cost labor gives it a competitive advantage in manufacturing.
Principal contributors: Vipin Arora, Ilan Gmach, George Pantazopoulos
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 11 February 2019 – Brent: US$61/b; WTI: US$52/b
Headlines of the week
Midstream & Downstream
Global liquid fuels
Electricity, coal, renewables, and emissions
2018 was a year that started with crude prices at US$62/b and ended at US$46/b. In between those two points, prices had gently risen up to peak of US$80/b as the oil world worried about the impact of new American sanctions on Iran in September before crashing down in the last two months on a rising tide of American production. What did that mean for the financial health of the industry over the last quarter and last year?
Nothing negative, it appears. With the last of the financial results from supermajors released, the world’s largest oil firms reported strong profits for Q418 and blockbuster profits for the full year 2018. Despite the blip in prices, the efforts of the supermajors – along with the rest of the industry – to keep costs in check after being burnt by the 2015 crash has paid off.
ExxonMobil, for example, may have missed analyst expectations for 4Q18 revenue at US$71.9 billion, but reported a better-than-expected net profit of US$6 billion. The latter was down 28% y-o-y, but the Q417 figure included a one-off benefit related to then-implemented US tax reform. Full year net profit was even better – up 5.7% to US$20.8 billion as upstream production rose to 4.01 mmboe/d – allowing ExxonMobil to come close to reclaiming its title of the world’s most profitable oil company.
But for now, that title is still held by Shell, which managed to eclipse ExxonMobil with full year net profits of US$21.4 billion. That’s the best annual results for the Anglo-Dutch firm since 2014; product of the deep and painful cost-cutting measures implemented after. Shell’s gamble in purchasing the BG Group for US$53 billion – which sparked a spat of asset sales to pare down debt – has paid off, with contributions from LNG trading named as a strong contributor to financial performance. Shell’s upstream output for 2018 came in at 3.78 mmb/d and the company is also looking to follow in the footsteps of ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP in the Permian, where it admits its footprint is currently ‘a bit small’.
Shell’s fellow British firm BP also reported its highest profits since 2014, doubling its net profits for the full year 2018 on a 65% jump in 4Q18 profits. It completes a long recovery for the firm, which has struggled since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, allowing it to focus on the future – specifically US shale through the recent US$10.5 billion purchase of BHP’s Permian assets. Chevron, too, is focusing on onshore shale, as surging Permian output drove full year net profit up by 60.8% and 4Q18 net profit up by 19.9%. Chevron is also increasingly focusing on vertical integration again – to capture the full value of surging Texas crude by expanding its refining facilities in Texas, just as ExxonMobil is doing in Beaumont. French major Total’s figures may have been less impressive in percentage terms – but that it is coming from a higher 2017 base, when it outperformed its bigger supermajor cousins.
So, despite the year ending with crude prices in the doldrums, 2018 seems to be proof of Big Oil’s ability to better weather price downturns after years of discipline. Some of the control is loosening – major upstream investments have either been sanctioned or planned since 2018 – but there is still enough restraint left over to keep the oil industry in the black when trends turn sour.
Supermajor Net Profits for 4Q18 and 2018
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$6 billion (-28%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$20.8 (+5.7%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$5.69 billion (+32.3%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$21.4 billion (+36%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.73 billion (+19.9%);
- 2018 – Net profit US$14.8 billion (+60.8%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.48 billion (+65%);
- 2018 - Net profit US$12.7 billion (+105%)
- 4Q18 – Net profit US$3.88 billion (+16%);
- 2018 - Net profit US$13.6 billion (+28%)