BP review: Energy consumption stagnates in 1999

Global energy consumption stagnated for the second consecutive year, growing a mere 0.2% in 1999 in the aftermath of the Asian economic crisis and changing patterns of fuel use in China, BP Amoco PLC reported today in its annual statistical review of world energy. That's well below the average growth rate of 0.9% over the past 10 years. But world oil consumption grew 1.6% last year, slightly faster than the 1989-99 average. And global gas use shot up 2.4%, the highest growth rate since 1996.


Global energy consumption stagnated for the second consecutive year, growing a mere 0.2% in 1999 in the aftermath of the Asian economic crisis and changing patterns of fuel use in China, BP Amoco PLC reported Wednesday in its annual statistical review of world energy. That's well below the average growth rate of 0.9% over the past 10 years, officials said.

But world oil consumption increased by 1.6% last year, slightly faster than the 1989-99 average. And global consumption of natural gas shot up 2.4%, the highest growth rate since 1996.

Total energy consumption in the Asia-Pacific region was down 2.3% last year, led by a dramatic drop of 10.7% in China. Among Asian countries, only South Korea exceeded its average 1989-99 consumption, registering a growth rate of 9.3%, the largest of any country last year, BP Amoco reported.

China's setback was triggered by a whopping 16.8% drop in its coal consumption. China is the second largest consumer of coal behind the US, which registered an increase of less than 0.05% in 1999.

Annual growth of total energy consumption also was below average in Africa and in Central and South America, said officials. Among the seven largest national economies, only the United States, Italy, and Canada exceeded their 10-year average growth. US energy consumption increased by 1.6% last year to 25.8% of total world energy consumption.

Total energy consumption was down 0.3% in Europe. But BP Amoco officials said those statistics mask a distinction between members of the European Union, where energy consumption was up a modest 0.4%; and Central Europe, where Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary all saw decreases in excess of 3%.

Romania had the biggest decline in 1999 energy consumption, down 12.4%, while five other nations reduced their energy consumption more than 5%, officials reported.

Fuel use
There were strong contrasts in the performance of different fuels last year, reports BP Amoco.

While world consumption of coal and hydroelectricity grew less, consumption of oil, natural gas, and nuclear energy exceeded their 10-year trends.

Total world oil use reached 73.215 million b/d, a rise of 1.6% over 1998 figures. The Middle East saw the biggest percentage increase, at 3.8%, followed by Asia-Pacific at 3.6%. Africa oil use rose 2.6%, and North America consumption increased 1.8%. Oil use fell 0.7% in Europe, compared with declines of 0.2% in South and Central America and 0.1% in the former Soviet Union (FSU).

North America accounted for 30.2% of total world oil use last year, vs. 26.9% for Asia-Pacific, 21.8% for Europe, 6.3% for Central and South America, 6.2% for the Middle East, 5.2% for FSU, and 3.4% for Africa.

Upgrading of the oil barrel continued, with strong growth in worldwide consumption of gasoline and middle distillates amid continued decline in fuel oil consumption.

Africa registered the biggest increase in natural gas consumption, up 7.2% for the year. Europe and FSU also exceeded their 10-year historic averages, while gas consumption more than doubled in both Portugal and Greece as a result of improved transportation.

Strong gas markets also were reported in South Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Chile, Spain, Brazil, and China.

In North America, gas demand was up only 0.6%, with another warm winter and competitive low prices for fuel oil.

Consumption of nuclear power was up 3.8% worldwide, led by a sharp increase in the US and a rebound in Russia, said BP Amoco. Coal consumption fell in all areas except North America and FSU. And hydroelectric generation increased by 0.9% due to a small drop in Asian consumption and slower growth in South America, officials said.

Energy output
While oil consumption grew in 1999, most members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries voluntarily reined in their production. The group as a whole cut output 5.4% to a combined 29.3 million b/d in an effort to curb a 39% rebound in world oil prices to an average $18.25/bbl for the year.

Excluding Iraq where changes in United Nations sanctions permitted a production increase of almost 20% during 1999, output from other OPEC nations fell 7.2% to the lowest level since 1994, said BP Amoco. Non-OPEC countries Mexico and Norway also cut production in support of OPEC action, down 4.8% and 0.6%, respectively, in 1999.

US oil production was down 3.8% last year. But UK output increased 3.4% with 10 new fields commissioned�the only exception to downward production trends among the major producing countries.

BP Amoco also reported rapid production growth in many newer provinces, including the Caspian Sea area, Brazil, Viet Nam, and West Africa.

Total proved oil reserves declined slightly in 1999, partially because of a reassessment of Mexico's reserves.

Worldwide production of natural gas was up 2.5%, with 12 countries reporting increases of at least 10%. But among the two biggest gas producers, Russia and the US, production was essentially unchanged.

BP Amoco's statistical review can be accessed on the internet at www.bpamoco.com/worldenergy/.

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