‘Record Volume Rise’ in World Energy Consumption
By Thomas Catan
Tuesday 14 June 2005
World energy consumption surged 4.3 per cent last year, the biggest percentage rise since 1984 and the largest volume increase ever, according to new figures from BP, the oil company.
Burning fossil fuels at a faster rate also resulted in the largest absolute increase in carbon emissions, adding to the stock of “greenhouse gases” blamed for global warming.
BP’s annual statistical review, released on Tuesday, showed that the fast-growing economies of Asia were responsible for a large portion of the rise. China’s fuel consumption rose by 15.1 per cent and India’s by 7.2 per cent.
Global consumption of oil also rose by 3.4 per cent, or 2.5m barrels a day, the biggest increase since 1978. Some 900,000 b/d of that increase in demand came from China, but BP said the demand also rose strongly across virtually every region.
“Overall, the growth of global oil demand has outstripped oil production capacity growth, reducing the level of spare capacity,” said David Allen, group managing director of BP. “That has been the fundamental cause of the oil price increases we’ve seen over the last two years.”
The average oil price in 2004 was $38 a barrel, BP said, up from $29 a barrel in 2003 and the highest ever figure expressed in “money-of-the-day”. The oil price has averaged about $49 a barrel so far this year.
At the same time, Britain and Australia suffered large falls in oil production they pumped 10 per cent and 13.9 per cent less respectively.
Even so, BP said there was no shortage of available energy resources. At present production rates and without taking into account future discoveries, the world has enough oil to last 40 years and enough natural gas to last 60 years, according to BP.
Lord Browne, chief executive of BP, said last week he expected world oil prices to remain at more than $40 a barrel until new supplies came on stream in the next three to four years.