World demand for energy remained essentially flat in 1999, growing by only 0.2 per cent, well below the average increase for the past ten years of 0.9 per cent. If the significant fall in Chinese energy use is excluded, however, global consumption rose by 1.4 per cent.

Emerging and developing economies’ consumption fell by 2.3 per cent during the year, compared to 1.4 per cent growth in demand in the OECD area, according to the BP Amoco Statistical Review of World Energy 2000.

There was a dramatic change in energy use in China, with overall demand falling by 10.7 per cent, including a 16.8 per cent fall in demand for coal. Excluding China though, energy use in the Asia-Pacific region rose 2.5 per cent. 1999 also saw the first rise since 1990 in energy consumption in the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU), growing by 1.4 per cent.

Oil demand recovered, up 1.6 per cent across the world and particularly in the Asia Pacific region, up 3.6 per cent on 1998. US demand rose 2.2 per cent.

Gas continues to gain market share, rising to over 24 per cent of total energy consumption. Demand rose 2.4 per cent in 1999, significantly above the 10-year trend of 1.7 per cent, driven by increasing market deregulation, environmental benefits and the technical advances in CCGT generation. Demand in the US, the world’s largest market, rose by only 0.5 per cent due to warm weather and the low price of fuel oil. Gas production rose 2.5 per cent with 12 countries increasing supply by more than 10 per cent.

Coal continued to lose market share, with demand falling 5.1 per cent. In Europe, coal demand was down 5.2 per cent, it remained flat in the US and Asian consumption outside China grew by just 0.6 per cent against a ten-year average of 2.8 per cent.

The use of nuclear power rose 3.8 per cent in 1999, largely due to an 8.0 per cent rise in the US where re-licensing of existing plant supported output despite no new plant commissioning. Use of hydroelectricity continued to slowly grow, up 0.9 per cent in 1999, but is significantly influenced by the weather on a year-by-year basis. Production of energy from other renewable sources remains tiny by comparison with other sources.

Wind is the fastest growing of the renewable energy sources.