LONDON, UK: For the first time ever, the developing world leapfrogged OECD nations in the consumption of primary energy, according to the 2009 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
Led by China, overall primary energy consumption nudged up 1.4 per cent, the smallest rise since 2001.
In the developed world, energy consumption fell by 1.3 per cent with demand in the USA declining 2.8 per cent, the steepest single year decline since 1982.
"The centre of gravity of the global energy markets has tilted sharply and irreversibly towards the emerging nations of the world, especially China," said BP chief executive Tony Hayward.
"This is not a temporary phenomenon but one that I believe will only increase still more over time. It will continue to affect prices and bring with it new challenges over economic growth, energy security and climate change."
Hayward warned the shift will bring short term volatility, but suggested "…the diversity and flexibility of modern energy markets will continue to ensure that energy supplies continue to reach consumers efficiently and without interruption."
Tthe annual average price of $97.26 a barre lmasked huge variations across 2008. The price began the year at just below $100 a barrel, peaked at $144 in early July, finally falling dramatically to less than $40 at year-end.
Over the year, global oil consumption fell by 0.6 per cent, or 420,000 barrels a day; the first decline since 1993 and the largest drop for 27 years. This included a steep fall in demand of 1.5 million barrels a day from the developed OECD countries—their third consecutive year of decline—and slower growth in demand (up just 1.1 million barrels a day) from outside the OECD.
Despite overall lower demand, average oil production rose 0.4 per cent, or 380,000 barrels a day, driven largely by OPEC production increases. With cuts late in the year, average OPEC oil output rose by almost 1 million barrels a day, or 2.7 per cent. This all came from the Middle East with daily production from Saudi Arabia up 400,000 barrels and from Iraq up 280,000 barrels.