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SA’s oil use increases in line with economic growth

CIPS 9 June 2011

SA’s oil use increases in line with economic growth

Oil usage in SA increased in line with its GDP, says BP.

SA’s oil usage increased in line with its gross domestic product growth last year, data from energy company BP showed yesterday.

Last year global energy consumption grew at its quickest rate since the aftermath of the 1973 oil price shocks, and China’s energy consumption overtook the US’s for the first time.

"The story told by the data in this year’s review is that of a strong rebound of global energy consumption in 2010, following the global recession," BP CE Bob Dudley said on the release of the energy giant’s Statistical Review of World Energy annual report for last year.

Last year also marked the end of SA’s first recession since 1992.

The number of oil barrels SA used rose 2,7% last year compared with the year before, from 517000 to 531000 barrels a day.

Economist Tony Twine said BP’s findings were not surprising.

"The growth in oil consumption is directly in line with gross domestic product growth. Real growth last year was 2,9%.

"In the last four months of the year we saw price increases in refined products. So the findings by BP are exactly as one would have expected," he said.

Oil is the world’s leading fuel, at 33,6% of global energy consumption, but it did lose market share last year, for the 11th consecutive year.

World Wide Fund for Nature SA climate change programme manager Richard Worthington said he was concerned by SA’s dependency on oil and other energy sources.

"We need to wean off oil globally," he said. "Transport is 90% dependent on oil and sudden fluctuations in oil prices are very dangerous for economies. We need to grow renewable energy as fast as we can, here in SA and abroad."

He stressed that SA’s dependency on coal was especially worrying.

"Our coal usage is one thing that leads us to be vulnerable to climate change and to the world’s responses to climate change," he said.

Said BP: "China became the world’s largest energy consumer in 2010, overtaking the US during a year which saw the rebound in the global economy drive consumption higher and at a rate not seen since the aftermath of the 1973 oil price shocks." Chinese energy consumption grew 11,2% last year.

BP said demand for all forms of energy grew strongly last year, and increases in fossil fuel consumption suggested that global carbon dioxide emissions from energy use rose at their fastest rate since 1969.

"The growth in energy consumption was broad-based, with both mature Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD countries growing at above-average rates."

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