ENERGY YEAR IN REVIEW 2023 – The World Doubles Down on Energy Security and Reliability

Faced with soaring costs that rippled across economies, governments around the world embraced the critical need for energy security in 2023, adopting a more pragmatic approach to achieving climate goals. 

The world used more crude oil and coal in 2023 than at anytime in human history, while global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) continued to grow as a vital fuel source, primarily in Europe and Asia. 

Europe in particular stepped back from some of its more aggressive timelines for reducing its reliance on oil and gas, with some nations striking long-term supply deals for LNG, returning to burning coal, or renewing investment in oil and gas exploration. 

Economic powerhouses China and India increasingly turned to coal to power their developing economies, spurring global growth of the most emissions-intensive fuel, while the U.S. maintained its lead as the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, setting new high water marks for both. 

Canada, meanwhile, saw steady progress on some key energy projects, completing construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, achieving major milestones on the LNG Canda export terminal, seeing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion near completion, and the approval of a new major oil sands project for the first time in five years. 


The following is a recap of some of the key events from 2023, outlining how oil and gas have once again taken center stage in the aftermath of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and the global energy crisis that it made worse: 


  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits Canada to make a personal appeal for more access to LNG. Like German Chancellor Olaf Scholz just five months earlier, Kishida is essentially rebuffed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 
  • The International Energy Agency predicts that global oil demand will reach a record high in 2023, an increase of 1.9 million barrels per day from 2022’s previous peak. 
  • With LNG emerging as a critical resource to deal with the lingering global energy crisis, the United States catches up to Qatar as the world’s largest exporter. 


  • The bill for the 2022 energy crisis comes due in Europe, where it’s learned European governments shelled out nearly US$900 billion to shield households and businesses from its impacts. Germany, which was a world leader in transitioning to renewable energy led the way in efforts to blunt the energy crisis’ impact, handing out nearly US$300 billion in subsidies. 


  • In the U.S., the Biden Administration approves a massive new oil project in Alaska, expected to produce as much as 180,000 barrels per day of crude oil over the course of 30 years. The project is also estimated to create some $17 billion in revenue for the U.S. federal government. 
  • A new report by the UK-based Energy Transitions Commission finds that global investments in green energy would need to increase to $3.5 trillion per year in order to reach global net zero targets by 2050. That would add up to $110 trillion in new spending by 2050, more than the world’s current combined GDP. 

Insert Image #5 (April) with Text Comment included below the image in a smaller font size: Indigenous leaders meet with U.S. ambassador to Canada David Cohen. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future.

Indigenous leaders meet with U.S. ambassador to Canada David Cohen. Photo courtesy Energy for a Secure Future.


  • A global survey that polled over 24,000 people in 28 countries found that Canada was the number one choice for countries that import oil, citing Canada’s strong record of democracy and environmental safety compared to other major producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia. 


Norway Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Assland and Equinor vice-president Grete B. Haaland at the official reopening of the Njord field on May 15th, 2023. Photo courtesy Equinor.


  • Recognizing the growing need for energy security across Europe and the world, Norway says oil and gas companies have a “social responsibility” to find more oil and natural gas resources in the northern Barents Sea adding they should “leave no stone unturned” in the pursuit of the critical resources. A month later Norway approves $18.5 billion to develop 19 offshore oil and gas projects. 
  • Skyrocketing demand for oil, led primarily by China’s economic surge, forces the IEA to recalculate its predictions for the year, upgrading its demand growth estimate to 2.2 million barrels per day to further increase record usage around the world. 
  • Canada’s Public Policy Forum estimates phasing out the country’s oil and gas industry in an effort to reduce emissions will lead to the loss of some $100 billion to the nation’s economy by 2050, with Alberta bearing the brunt of the blow. “This essentially amounts to a deep recession without a recovery ever materializing,” the authors wrote. 


Qatar Minister of State for Energy Affairs and QatarEnergy CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi tours sites related to the North Field East project in March 2023. Photo courtesy QatarGas.


  • The annual Statistical Review of World Energy shows that record increases in solar and wind installations in 2022 failed to make a dent in the dominance of oil and gas in the global energy mix. Even with a record increase of 266 gigawatts of new renewable capacity, oil, gas and coal continued to represent 82 percent of global energy consumption. 


Qatar Minister of State for Energy Affairs and QatarEnergy CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi tours sites related to the North Field East project in March 2023. Photo courtesy QatarGas.


  • With rising global demand for LNG, the CEO of QatarEnergy predicts the tiny Middle Eastern nation will supply some 40 per cent of new LNG coming to market by 2029 as the U.S. works to significantly ramp up its industry.  


Workers at the Sunrise oil sands project in northern Alberta. Photo courtesy BP


  • Independent researchers announce that China continues to ramp up coal power use, permitting 52 gigawatts of new capacity over the first six months of 2023. The additional plants would increase China’s coal burning capacity by 23 percent. 
  • Independent analysis by S&P Global finds that Canada’s oil sands emissions remained flat in 2022, despite production growth, a positive sign that measures to reduce emissions  are working. 


A natural gas processing plant in Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy Saudi Aramco.


  • Meeting in India, leaders of the G20 highlight the importance of energy security, and while agreeing to triple renewable capacity by 2030 avoid any language calling for a phase out of fossil fuels. Fault lines emerge between the West and developing nations that want to harness oil, natural gas and coal to grow their economies. 
  • Saudi Aramco, one of the world’s largest oil producers, announces its intention to enter the burgeoning LNG industry, buying a minority stake in MidOcean Energy, which is looking to obtain stakes in four Australian LNG projects. 




Coastal GasLink has surpassed 60 per cent overall project completion. Photo courtesy Coastal GasLink


  • Despite its earlier World Energy Outlook suggesting a looming peak for oil demand, the IEA revises its prediction for 2024, estimating global demand for oil will reach a new record high of 102.9 million barrels per day next year. A more bullish OPEC predicts oil demand will reach 104.4 million barrels per day in 2024. 


Russian President Vladimir Putin and executives with state oil company Rosneft present a major shipbuilding complex to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India will be an investor in a new US$157 billion oil project in the Russian Arctic. Photograph courtesy Rosneft.


by Shawn Logan