Growth in global oil market slows

Global oil consumption increased by 0.7 per cent in 2011 to reach an all-time high of 88.03 million barrels per day.

According to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online service, this rate of increase was considerably slower than in 2010, when oil consumption rose by 3.3 per cent following a decline of 1.3 per cent in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.

China's oil consumption increased by 5.5 per cent in 2011, and China accounted for about 85 per cent of global net growth in oil use. An increase in oil consumption of 5.7 per cent in the former Soviet Union contributed another 37 per cent of net growth. But these increases were offset by declines in the United States and European Union, where oil consumption fell by 1.8 and 2.8 per cent respectively, writes Worldwatch climate and energy research associate Shakuntala Makhijani.

The gap in oil consumption between countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and all other countries narrowed further in 2011, with the two groups respectively accounting for 51.5 and 48.5 per cent of total oil consumption. Oil remained the largest source of primary energy worldwide in 2011, but its share fell for the 12th consecutive year to 33 per cent.

To meet continued growth in demand, global oil production rose for the second year in a row, by 1.3 per cent in 2011, to reach 83.58 million barrels per day. Most of this increase was driven by higher production in countries that belong to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which overall grew by 3 per cent in 2011.

Meanwhile oil production in non-OPEC countries fell slightly by 0.1 per cent. Oil production growth was slow compared with natural gas and coal production, which grew by 3.1 and 6.1 per cent, respectively, in 2011.