U.S. Energy Output Jumps as China Spurs Global Demand: BP

The world’s two largest economies followed opposite paths on energy last year as the U.S. boosted oil and gas production while Chinese consumption jumped, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

Shale production made the U.S. the world’s largest gas producer and the country’s oil output climbed more than any nation outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2011, BP said today in its annual survey. China accounted for 71 percent of global demand growth.

The U.S. experience “shows how an open and competitive environment drives technological innovation and unlocks resources,” BP Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in a statement. “The message for policy makers is to follow this model and to encourage competition wherever possible.”

Global energy consumption grew 2.5 percent, close to the historical average, against a background of unrest in the Middle East, the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant and average 2011 oil prices exceeding $100 a barrel, BP said. An increase of oil coming from Saudi Arabia, diversions of natural gas to Asia and the rising use of coal in Europe helped offset disruptions, BP’s chief economist Christof Ruehl said.

Energy demand slipped 0.8 percent in Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development countries as it jumped 5.3 percent in emerging markets, BP said.

Primary Energy

U.S. oil production grew 3.6 percent to 7.84 million barrels a day, as gas output gained 7.7 percent. Primary energy consumption in the U.S. slipped 0.4 percent to the equivalent of 2.27 billion tons of oil, the review showed. In contrast, China’s energy consumption jumped 8.8 percent to 2.61 billion ton of oil equivalent.

The average price of Brent crude oil rose 40 percent last year, dragging up oil-indexed gas prices outside the U.S., BP said. Demand for oil grew by less than 1 percent and gas demand gained 2.2 percent, according to the report. Demand for coal was above average, growing 5.4 percent in 2011.

“The coal story is one of production and trade patterns able to adjust to market conditions,” Ruehl said. “In this way, coal was buttressing the global supply security.”

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