Energy Consumption Highest Since 1970s

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Global energy consumption rates rose 5.6% -- the highest rate since 1973 -- as demand for all energy forms grew strongly, boosted largely by increased consumption of fossil fuels, British Petroleum ( BP) said on Wednesday.

"Energy intensity - the amount of energy used for one unit of GDP - grew at the fastest rate since 1970," said Christof Rühl, BP's chief economist. "And so, when all the accounting is done, planet Earth - we all - consumed more energy in 2010 than ever before."

The findings were part of the 60th annual BP Statistical Review of World Energy report.

Conversely, it meant that 2010 carbon emissions rose more rapidly than in every year since 1969. The report also confirmed that China surpassed the United States to become the world's single largest consumer of energy in 2010, a finding that the International Energy Agency reported in July.

Cyclical and structural factors drove the growth, said Bob Dudley, chief executive of BP.

"The cyclical factor is reflected in the fact that industrial production rebounded very sharply as the world recovered from the global downturn," Dudley said. "Structurally, the increase reflects the continuing rapid economic growth in the developing world."

OECD demand grew by 3.5%, which was the strongest growth rate since 1984. Non-OECD consumption grew by 7.5%, a gargantuan 63% higher than 2000 levels.

Global oil consumption grew by 2.7 million barrels per day, which Rühl said was a rate more than twice the ten-year average.

Rühl said that shale gas was reshaping the world of natural gas, calling it a "revolution," which bolstered IEA forecasts that natural gas consumption would match oil by 2035 .

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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