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.