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WRI: global oil consumption hits all-time high

After falling 1.5% between 2008 and 2009 due to the global financial crisis, global oil consumption recovered by 3.1% in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 87.4 million barrels per day, according to a new Vital Signs Online report from the Worldwatch Institute. The 3.1% increase more than makes up for the brief decline in consumption caused by the economic crisis.

About one third of this growth came from China, which now uses more than 10% of the world’s oil. The United States, Brazil, Russia, and the Middle East accounted for an additional 48% of the increase. Meanwhile, consumption in the European Union decreased for the fourth consecutive year, falling 1.1%. The gap in oil consumption between countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD countries narrowed, with the two groups respectively accounting for 52.5 and 47.4% of total oil consumption in 2010.

OPEC and non-OPEC countries (excluding the former Soviet Union) each accounted for almost 42% of global oil production in 2010, with the former Soviet Union responsible for 16.8%, up from 10.7% has taken the top producing spot from Saudi Arabia in the last two years.

Other findings from the report, which can be found at vitalsigns.worldwatch.org, include:

  • Oil consumption in countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was more than 7% lower in 2010 than in 2005, while consumption in non-OECD countries is up 20% since then.

  • In 2010, oil remained the largest source of primary energy use worldwide, but its share of this use fell for the eleventh consecutive year, to 37%. Responding to this falling demand, global oil production fell 2.1% to 80.3 million barrels per day in 2009.

  • One third of the increase in consumption came from China, which now uses more than 10% of the world’s oil.

  • Political unrest in the Middle East-North Africa region and uncertainty about new regulations on deepwater offshore oil drilling have both further contributed to volatility in the global oil market.

  • The Middle East remains the largest exporter of oil with 35.3% in 2010, followed by the former Soviet Union and the Asia Pacific region.

  • Global proved oil reserves have been increasing since 1980 and reached an estimated 1,526 billion barrels in 2010.

  • Canadian oil sands now contribute around half of that country’s crude oil production and are expected to provide a growing share, but they are energy- and water-intensive to develop. In the case of pit mining, they can lead to extensive landscape alteration and large waste streams of toxic mining tailings.



If we really beat 1000 barrels a minute, I'll have to eat some of my words.

Fortunately, I'll only have to eat about 1% of them.


You mean 1000 barrels per second?


Yes, I did. I even have the book on my shelf.


OECD - Obsessive Extreme Compulsive Discipline disorder.


"China's dependence on imported oil rose to 55.2 percent in the first five months of this year, up from 55 percent in 2010 and 33 percent in 2009, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). Meanwhile, that of the United States has dropped to 53.5 percent." People's Daily


Those who claimed than crude oil consumption would quickly go down with increased bio-fuel production will be disappointed.

This increase could have been much higher if we had not been into an almost world wide recession. EU seems to be the exception. Is the recession worse in that area or have they found ways to reduce crude consumption?



I am pretty sure that the 87.4 Mb/d numbers include the biofuels. So you can 't know from this number how much is what. The biofuel account to about 2Mb/d. But again the 87.4Mbd/d is the "all liquids' production not the crude oil, the crude oil is in fact only 74Mbd and is flat since mid 2004. The difference is mainly the liquefied natural gas that account for 10Mb/d and is growing so giving the false impression that the oil production is growing. All this is summarized here : http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8162#more

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The numbers are taken from the several month old BP statistical report, 2011 page 9. They do include biofuels and natural gas liquids. The report shows that global reserves keep growing so that each year we discover (or are able to extract) more oil than we remove. Moreover, for the past 10 years the reserve to production ratio has stayed at a constant 80 years. Therefore, no global peak oil in the horizon yet.

The day the global oil reserves drop for five years in a row with oil prices increasing each year for the same five years that would be an early indication of global peak oil is coming. However, it is so far away that it will never happen as new technology will make fossils obsolete before we run out of them. As the Saudi oil minister once said “The Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.”




we only discover one barrel for 3 or 4 that we consume, the reserve growth is just a manipulation by updating existing reserves over time not by discovering new oil. Old trick to give the impression that discovery are growing. To have the whole picture you have to look a the back-dated oil discovery and the then the story is entirely of what you say. Discoveries peaked in 1969 and have fallen to almost nothing today.

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Essentially you are telling me that BP is wrong and the conspiracy theorists at the oil drum are right. I do share your concern for global warming but I do not share your concern that the world is facing an imminent energy crisis. There is plenty of energy even at affordable prices. The oil price today is much less than the inflation adjusted oil price during the OPEC embargo (about 160USD per barrel in 2011 USD) and the world did not end at that time even though we used oil for transport, electricity and for heating. Today we only use oil for transport and everyone can buy a Prius that go 50 mpg and in a few years everyone can also buy a Leaf that consumes zero oil.

However, global warming could become catastrophic for the survival of most species on this planet. It is going to be a huge challenge to stop that warming before it evolves into a mass extinction event. Currently, I am pessimistic that global warming will be stopped in due time and the reasons for that pessimism is the accelerating coal consumption in China that you can also read about in the PB report.


The world will NEVER be short of or run out of energy. If we do, that will be because we did not innovate enough to find new ways to produce more of it. Solar energy alone is many thousand times more than we use without relying on limited fossil fuels.


Would make this an opportune time to acknowledge entirely new forms of energy production would it not?

To do so takes extraordinary leadership and courage. THAT is what we expect from the United States and their energy companies. But if not, it will come from small, revolutionary entrepreneurs. Energy is abundant throughout the universe and we know how to make use of it.

Resistance is futile. (adapted Ohms Law)


Have to agree with Reel$$ this time.


Reel$$'s "entirely new" is unproven and likely fictional.

On the other hand, there are "old" but suppressed nuclear technologies (IFR, LFTR) which can expand our current nuclear output by a factor of 100 or more. This is what he's trying to divert us away from.

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