Month: March 2019

LatAm BEN – Ecuador

Continuing my mini-series on Sankey diagrams showing energy balances of Latin American countries. After my recent post on the Balance Energetico Nacional (BEN) of Bolivia the neighbouring Peru would be next. However, I have presented a Sankey diagram on energy flows in Peru on this blog before. So today, here is the BEN for Ecuador. It is published every year by the Ministerio Coordinador de Sectores Estratégicos.


Data is for 2016. The unit of flows is ‘kbep’ (kilo barrels of oil equivalents / miles de barriles equivalentes de petróleo). The appearance is very similar to the BEN Bolivia I showed here.

Again the flows are not to scale, which is a pity. Smaller flow quantities (in the range of 0 to 1000 kbep) are shown as arrows with a minimum width, which is fair, because otherwise we wouldn’t see much more than a hairline for ‘Solar’ or ‘Eólica’. However, if you look at the light grey flow of 17,533 kbep derivates exports branching out after the refineries node, it has the same width as the arrow representing 3,024 kbep of own use (consumo própio) – although it should be 5 times wider. The orange arrow depicting 4,433 kbep of natural gas on the other hand is wider than the one 17,533 kbep derivates exports…

I really like the graphical aspects of the Sankey diagram, and I admire the effort made here to come up with an annual Balance Energetico Nacional. In my opinion, not showing the flows to scale thwarts the whole effort, and makes using this diagram type superfluous. I know that doing such a Sankey diagram to scale is sometimes challenging, in particular when there is a very large dominating flow (like here the 139,046 kbep petroleum exports), but nevertheless, the message you are otherwise conveying with the figure is simply misleading.

Just as for Bolivia I will again have to draw this one myself …

Adyen Income Statement Sankeyfied

Amsterdam-based graphic designer Nadieh Bremer (a winner of a 2017 Information is Beautiful award) has created this Sankey diagram for the H2 2018 shareholder report of Adyen.

Definitely a novelty in a financial report (at least I have never seen a Sankey diagram in a such a publication).


via Twitter @NadieBremer

Apart from the fact that it is beautifully crafted and clean, it is also quite a tweak of the d3.js Sankey library … After all, this is not the typical d3.js Sankey diagram (with left-to-right orientation, only with boring grey bands, or even arrows superimposing each other where they curve). Here we have a top-to bottom flow, with streams branching out to the left and to the right, flows smoothly curving in to join the main streams, saturated color, and an interesting hatching pattern on the nodes.

Nadieh writes on her decision to use a dedicated software: “The main reason was the fact that the final numbers could change (slightly) until just days before the publication, making it quite a chore to have to remake these if they were all crafted in Illustrator.
Furthermore, by programming the logic of these visuals, I could prepare 90% of the required effort a month before the deadline by using the numbers from the previous report. When I finally received the final numbers, it was only a matter of changing the underlying data, and some small tweaks to get these final visuals ready.”