World energy consumption in 2012

Once again, all of the net growth took place in emerging economies, with China and India alone accounting for nearly 90 percent of the net increase in global energy consumption. OECD consumption declined for the fourth time in the past five years, led by a large decline in the U.S. Despite the slowdown, consumption and production reached record levels for all fuels except nuclear power and biofuels. The data suggests that growth in global CO2 emissions from energy use continued in 2012, but at a slower rate than in 2011.

Energy price developments were mixed. Brent, the international crude oil benchmark, saw annual average prices reach record levels (in money-of-the-day terms), although annual prices declined slightly on an inflation-adjusted basis. Crude oil prices peaked in March 2012 following a decline in Iranian exports, but eased thereafter in the face of rising output in the U.S., Libya, and other OPEC producers. Oil production growth in the U.S. was the largest in the world in 2012, and the largest in the country’s history. In response, the differential between Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) reached another record premium, although the gap began to narrow later in the year as infrastructure bottlenecks in the U.S. eased.

Natural gas prices rose in Europe and Asia, but fell in North America, where rising U.S. natural gas output pushed gas prices to record discounts against both crude oil and international gas prices. Coal prices declined in all regions.

World primary energy consumption grew by 1.8 percent in 2012, well below the 10-year average of 2.6 percent. Consumption in OECD countries fell by 1.2 percent, led by a decline of 2.8 percent in the U.S. (the world’s largest decline in volumetric terms). Non-OECD consumption grew by 4.2 percent, below the 10-year average of 5.3 percent. Global consumption growth was below average for each fossil fuel and for nuclear power; regionally growth was below average everywhere except Africa. Oil remains the world’s leading fuel, at 33.1 percent of global energy consumption, but it also continued to lose market share for the 13th consecutive year and its current market share is the lowest in BP Statistical Review of World Energy which begins in 1965.

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