US surpasses China in oil demand says BP

Jun 16, 2014 12:00 AM

Oil demand in the US grew at the fastest pace in the world in 2013, outstripping China for the first time since 1999 as the world's top economy reaped the benefits of a shale boom, oil company BP said on Monday.

In its annual review of energy statistics unveiled in Moscow, BP also raised its global oil reserves estimate by 1.1 percent after revising US reserves upward by more than a quarter.

Global natural gas reserves were cut for a second year as lower provisions for Russia and Qatar offset a significant uptick in US estimates.

BP also said the US recorded its largest-ever annual rise in oil production for a second year in a row with a 13.5 percent increase to more than 10 million barrels per day (bpd).

The annual review, first published in 1951 and considered an industry benchmark, showed that US oil consumption in 2013 grew by 400,000 bpd to 18.9 million bpd, the sharpest gain in the world, followed by China's rise of 390,000 bpd to 10.8 million bpd.

The consumption growth was led by an expansion of the US industrial sector as the world's top economy emerged from the 2008 financial crisis, BP Chief Economist Christof Ruhl said.

At the same time, a Chinese slowdown was driven mainly by lower consumption of diesel and gas oil, which traditionally reflect the rate of economic growth.

"It is easy to understand the US - if you have a lot of cheap domestic oil that feeds into the industry, it will show up eventually in GDP growth numbers. It's not that easy to reconcile the slowdown in Chinese energy numbers," Ruhl said.

China's economic growth hit a 14-year low in 2013, a decline that accelerated in the first part of this year as China leads a wide drive to reform.

Overall, China's energy consumption growth slowed to around 4.7 percent in 2013 from a 10-year average of 8.4 percent, Ruhl said.

Global oil production, up 560,000 bpd, or 0.6 percent, failed to keep pace with growth in oil consumption. Output disruptions from Libya, Nigeria and Iraq due to political strife were almost entirely offset by growth of 1.1 million bpd in US output, BP said.

BP raised its estimate of global proved oil reserves by 1.1 percent to 1.69 trillion barrels at the end of 2013, enough to meet 53.3 years of current global production.

US reserves estimates were increased by 26 percent to 44.2 billion barrels, and Russia's by 6.7 percent to 93 billion barrels.

The company cut its estimate of global reserves of natural gas for a second year in a row to 185.7 trillion cubic meters (tcm), enough to meet 54.8 years of global production.

The decline was mostly due to Russia, where reserves estimates were cut by 4.9 percent to 31.3 tcm, according to BP.

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