Global oil consumption increased last year to 87.4 million barrels of oil a day, according to a Worldwatch report. The report calls the increase an “all-time high.” One-third of the increase is from China, which uses over 10 percent of the world’s oil. U.S., Brazil, Russia and the Middle East accounted for 48 percent of the increase. Consumption in the EU actually decreased for the fourth consecutive year. From 2008 to 2009, oil consumption decreased 1.5 percent due to the recession.
Oil remained the biggest source of primary energy use globally in 2010. However, its share of primary energy use decreased for the 11th consecutive year -this time to 37 percent. The gap in oil consumption between countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD countries narrowed. OECD countries represented 52.5 percent of total oil consumption, and non-OECD represented 47.4 percent.
Oil Sands Cost Plenty to Harvest
The report pointed out that although oil sands “represent huge resources” their “relatively high production and environmental costs will likely prove to be important limiting factors on production.” Oil sands in Alberta, Canada accounted for an extra 143 billion barrels of proved reserves last year, equal to slightly more than Europe and Eurasia’s reserves combined. Alberta’s oil sands now contribute to about half of Canada’s crude oil production and are expected to continue to provide more.
“Between the recession, the BP oil spill, and instability in the Middle East and North Africa, oil markets have been on a roller coaster the last few years,” said Worldwatch Sustainable Energy Fellow Saya Kitasei, who co-authored the report along with Worldwatch researcher Natalie Narotzky.
“When the dust settles, however, it is clear that the momentum of future market growth has moved to the developing world, where oil consumption did not miss a beat during the recession and shows no sign of slowing,” Kitasei added.