Current situation and characteristics of world energy consumption

1. Affected by economic development and population growth, the world’s primary energy consumption continues to increase

With the continuous expansion of the world economy, the world’s primary energy consumption continues to grow. In 1990, the world GDP was 26.5 trillion US dollars (calculated at constant prices in 1995) and reached 34.3 trillion US dollars in 2000, with an average annual growth rate of 2.7%. According to the “2004 BP World Energy Statistics” data, the world’s primary energy consumption in 1973 was only 5.73 billion tons of oil equivalent, and in 2003 it reached 9.74 billion tons of oil equivalent. In the past 30 years, the average annual growth rate of the world’s primary energy consumption was about 1.8%.

2. The world’s energy consumption structure tends to be high-quality, but regional differences are still very large

The consumption of fossil fuels has grown dramatically since the Industrial Revolution of the 1870s. In the early stage, coal was the mainstay. After entering the 20th century, especially after the Second World War, the production and consumption of oil and natural gas continued to rise. Oil surpassed coal for the first time in the 1960s and became the dominant energy source. Although the world experienced two oil crises in the 1970s, the world’s oil consumption showed no trend of decreasing. Since then, the proportion of coal and oil has slowly decreased, and the proportion of natural gas has increased. At the same time, other forms of new energy, such as nuclear energy, wind energy, hydropower, and geothermal energy, have been gradually developed and utilized, forming an energy pattern dominated by fossil fuels and coexisting with renewable energy and new energy.

3. The world energy consumption shows different growth patterns, and the growth rate of developed countries is significantly lower than that of developing countries

Over the past 30 years, the total energy consumption of North America, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific has increased. However, the two regions, North America and Europe, which are relatively developed in economy and technology, are growing very slowly, and the proportion of their consumption in the world’s total consumption is also decreasing year by year. North America dropped from 35.1% in 1973 to 28.0% in 2003, and Europe dropped from 42.8% in 1973 to 29.9% in 2003. The proportion of energy consumption in the member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the world’s total consumption dropped from 68.0% to 55.4%. The main reasons are: ① The economic development of developed countries has entered the stage of post-industrialization, the economy is developing towards an industrial structure with low energy consumption and high output, and the manufacturing industry with high energy consumption is gradually transferred to developing countries; ② Developed countries attach great importance to energy conservation and improving energy efficiency.

4. The world is still relatively rich in energy, but the pressure on energy trade and transportation is increasing

According to the “2004 BP World Energy Statistics” data, by the end of 2003, the world’s remaining proven recoverable oil reserves were 156.58 billion tons. Among them, the Middle East accounted for 63.3%, North America accounted for 5.5%, Central and South America accounted for 8.9%, Europe accounted for 9.2%, Africa accounted for 8.9%, and Asia Pacific accounted for 4.2%. In 2003, world oil production was 3.697 billion tons, an increase of 3.8% over the previous year. By comparing the oil production and consumption in various regions, it can be found that the Middle East needs to export about 880 million tons, and the oil production in Africa and Central and South America is also greater than the consumption.