Each June BP publishes the annual data that has been collected on the world’s energy markets, to assess what has happened this last year and how last year’s experience relates to longer-term trends. The aim is to understand both the forces behind today’s headlines as well as the underlying trends that are shaping the new energy landscape .
2011 was an unusually eventful year in global energy. The tumultuous events of the ’Arab Spring‘ shook energy markets and underscored the importance of maintaining spare capacity and strategic stockpiles for dealing with supply disruptions. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan was a humanitarian disaster; and one with immediate implications – in Japan and around the world –for nuclear power and other fuels. Oil prices hit an all-time record high. Yet the revolution in shale gas production drove US natural gas prices lower, reaching record discounts to oil.