US Unconventional Oil, NatGas Development Carrying Global Energy Spend, Says IEA

Global electricity investment overtakes oil

The International Energy Agency's World Energy Investment report sees global spending on energy fall by 12% overall in 2016, marking the second-consecutive year that investment has dropped as less money is poured into costly gas and oil infrastructure.

The electricity sector nevertheless for the first time surpassed the fossil fuel supply sector as the leading recipient of energy investment.

The IEA is still confident that the global oil and gas upstream investment will come back to growth this year, by about 6 percent.

For the very first time, ever investment in the electricity sector got the largest level of investment.

"The United States is a solid number two, Europe is a solid number three... but China by far is the first destination in terms of the investments", Birol said, noting that India also made a significant progress in developing its electricity sector a year ago.

The industry as a whole is also transforming itself by delivering large cost savings and focusing more on technology development and efficient project execution. And if we compare it with the investment of oil and gas sector than oil and gas investment fell 44 percent.

Total electricity investment was nearly flat at Dollars 718 billion in 2016 as growing network spending was offset by a drop in power generation spending.

Dr Fatih Birol, executive director at IEA, said, "Our analysis shows that smart investment decisions are more critical than ever for maintaining energy security and meeting environmental goals".

"As the oil and gas industry refocuses on shorter-cycle projects, the need for policymakers to keep an eye on the long-term adequacy of supply is more important".

"Even with ambitious climate-mitigation goals, current investment activity in oil and gas will have to rise".

In terms of the regional distribution of the energy investments, the IEA indicates that China continues to be the biggest energy investor, accounting for 21% of the total. Meanwhile grid operators spent some 10% of their investment in "modernising and moving from a pure electricity delivery business to an integrated platform for data and services, enabled by rapid progress in digital information and communications".

"Coal investment is coming to an end", Varro said.

In tandem the global energy system saw $1 billion in investment in battery storage for the first time previous year. More than 90% of investments are financed from the balance sheets of companies, governments and households, reinforcing the importance of sustainable industry earnings. Although renewables have become cheaper, clean energy rollout has nevertheless "stalled" on lower investments in hydro and nuclear, the report - World Energy Investment 2017 - says.

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