Energy profiles in the North Sea

This section provides an overview of the overall energy profiles in each country, in terms of the current energy mix, energy produced and consumed, and energy imported and exported in order to meet supply and demand needs. Terminology, including Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and Total Final Consumption (TFC) as defined by Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is used to profile countries.

TPES is defined as energy production plus energy imports, minus energy exports, minus international bunkers, then plus or minus stock changes. Total Final Consumption (TFC) is the total value of all expenditures on individual and collective consumption goods and services incurred by resident households and general government units. It may also be defined in terms of actual final consumption as the value of all the individual goods and services acquired by resident households plus the value of the collective services provided by general government to the community or large sections of the community. Both TPES and TFC metrics are expressed in million tonne of oil equivalent (Mtoe).


Figure 6: Country Energy Flows, including TPES and TFC (Source:


The TPES varies widely for the different North Sea countries. Germany has, with 311.8 Mtoe in 2015, by far the highest of all, followed by the UK (180 Mtoe in 2015). The TPES of the remaining countries of this same year ranges between 71 Mtoe in the Netherlands and 16 Mtoe in Denmark (Figure 8). Germany had the 6th highest TPES worldwide in 2014.

Furthermore, the TFC of Germany is the highest of all the North Sea countries listed here (212 Mtoe by 2015), again followed by the UK with 130 Mtoe. Denmark has the lowest final consumption, with a consumption of 13.94 Mtoe in 2015.

The energy production of the various countries shows the on-going dominance of fossil fuels. Norway stands out with the highest production of oil and natural gas and the highest production of energy in general. In 2015, they produced 91.4 Mtoe oil and 102.1 Mtoe natural gas, representing 93 % of their total energy production. In second position the Netherlands has an 86.2 % share of oil and natural gas in their total energy production. This high share of fossil fuels for the Netherlands is due to its high gas production. In 2015, the Netherlands produced 39 Mtoe, natural gas, and only 2 Mtoe oil. For the other oil and natural gas producing countries, the share of these fuels seems to be more in balance. Sweden has not produced any oil or gas in 2015, and the same accounts for Belgium in terms of natural gas.


Figure 7: National energy profiles of North Sea countries in 2015. Countries ranked based on energy consumption (TFC).


In absolute terms, Germany is the leading country producing wind energy (including both on- and offshore wind) of the North Sea countries. Producing 6.81 Mtoe in 2015, they are by far the largest producer. The UK, Sweden and Denmark follow, producing respectively 3.47 Mtoe, 1.4 Mtoe and 1.22 Mtoe. The other countries all produce less than 1 Mtoe. In relative terms, however, the picture is slightly different. Denmark leads with wind energy representing 7.7 % of its total production. Germany follows with 5.69 % wind energy and Belgium and Sweden both produce over 4 % of their energy using wind. Norway had the lowest share of wind energy in their total production in 2015. The resource only represented 0.11 %. On a global scale, this resource is steadily growing in importance, although its share is still relatively small. Wind, solar, thermal, solar PV and geothermal together accounted for little more than 1 % of the global energy production in 2014 according to the OECD.

All countries, apart from Norway, have a higher import than export rate. This difference can be explained by the high oil and natural gas production of Norway. The country exported 185.2 Mtoe in 2015, and only imported 8.1 Mtoe. Germany has the highest import, both absolutely and in relation to its export. Germany imported 255.8 Mtoe in 2015, which is over 4 times what they export (59.8 Mtoe). For the other countries, these numbers are closer together.