World energy patterns show evidence of shifting in 2006

The year 2006 was another year of high and volatile energy prices. But despite high prices, world energy consumption growth remained above average, continuing the trend of recent years. Energy use is also increasingly shifting away from OECD countries and becoming more carbon-intensive.

It was a year when energy markets were once again the centre of attention, attracting the interest of politicians, consumers and policy-makers alike.

"Last year showed markets at work. Primary energy consumption growth has decelerated - particularly for fuels which have seen the highest increase in price," said BP''s chief economist-designate Christof Rühl speaking at the launch of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2007. "However, global carbon intensity - the link between carbon emissions growth and energy growth - has increased."

For the second year in a row, world energy growth slowed, rising by 2.4 per cent, down from 3.2 per cent in 2005, but still just above the 10-year average.

The pattern of recent years, which has seen robust demand in Asia Pacific and China in particular, was repeated with Chinese energy consumption rising more than 8 per cent. China''s usage of all forms of energy rose in the year, taking the country''s share of total global consumption to more than 15 per cent.

Continued high energy prices resulted in slower consumption growth amongst the main energy importers, particularly the US where primary energy consumption fell by 1 per cent in 2006 compared with 2005, despite economic growth. Oil, natural gas and coal usage were down while nuclear energy and hydro-electricity were up very slightly.