High crude oil prices have encouraged energy conservation and substitution to alternative fuels

High oil prices in 2000 and 2001 were reflected in the markets, with weak oil demand growth and the first increase in coal consumption since 1996, and also encouraged fuel conservation, according to a British Petroleum (BP) review of world energy consumption and generation.

However, with oil production in both OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC countries now increasing strongly, oil production capacity appears to be growing faster than demand, says the report, BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

For the first time in the history of the report, the company has also published a companion survey, BP Statistical Review of US Energy, in which it found that energy consumption grew at 2.3% in 2000, which is above the 10 year average of 1.8% growth, and considerably greater than the rate of growth of production of 0.5%. The US is the world’s largest single energy market, consuming over 25% of all oil gas, coal and nuclear energy, and ranks top or second to top for the production of all four energy sources.

Elsewhere, there were marked regional differences in both demand and supply of energy. World primary energy consumption grew by a relatively strong 2.1% in 2000, following two years of virtually no growth in 1998 and 1999. In the European Union and Japan, energy consumption rose by a modest 1.1%, whilst in the emerging economies of Asia, other than China, consumption grew by 5.1% in 2000. The picture in China was very different, with total energy consumption falling for the fourth consecutive year as a decline in coal use of more than 6% was only partially offset by increased oil and gas consumption (see related story).

Oil prices rose dramatically in 2000, averaging 58% higher than in 1999, whilst gas was the fastest growing fuel in the year with consumption rising by 4.8%. Coal consumption increased in Asia, although not in China, and in Europe, and nuclear power consumption increased in all areas, averaging a 2.7% rise. Hydroelectric generation also increased, by 1.7%, with a 14.1% decline in US generation being counteracted by strong gains in Africa, South America and Asia-Pacific.

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