Global Resources: Energy:


World Primary Energy Consumption in 2002


By Nagy Árpád Zoltán



In this brief overview, the world consumption of primary energy -- oil, gas, coal, hydro and nuclear -- is summarized in a Table based on the 2002 data of British Petrol, which provides basic data on a year-by-year basis. The Table comprises the above-cited commercially traded fuels only, excluding other fuel sources such as solar, wind, wood, peat or animal waste, which are important fuel sources in many countries, but are unreliably documented in terms of consumption statistics. Recent developments are mentioned in the application of the challenging fuel of the future - hydrogen. 

In the Figure the "energy units" - eV, Joules, kilocalories, Watt-hours, tons of TNT, and mass of meter converted to energy by E= MC2 - are displayed in logarithmic scale and the most important conversion factors are also illustrated.

(Dear Editor; please remove from the Figure the Hungarian energy consumption and replace the primary energy consumption in the USA in 2002, together with the text):

Primary energy consumption in the USA in 2002 = 

2293 million tons oil equivalent = 96.3 exajoules ~ 10**20 J = 97.3 quadrillion Btu

1 British thermal unit (Btu) = 1. 055 kJ ~ 1kJ

One ton of oil equivalent ~ 42 gigajoules =42 GJ = 42 10**9 J



2002 in review

World consumption of primary energy increased by 2.6% in 2002, well ahead of the 10-year growth trend of 1.4% per annum. Reported growth in energy demand of almost 20% in China was behind much of this relative strength: energy consumption in the world, excluding China, grew by less than 1% during the year, reflecting a second year of below-trend economic growth.





Brent oil prices averaged $25.19 per barrel in 2002, up slightly on the 2001 average price of $24.77 and well above the post-1986 annual average of $19.40. Prices were relatively weak at the start of the year in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, but trended upwards over the course of 2002 on the back of OPEC production restraint and supply disruptions involving Iraq and Venezuela. The low point in prices of around $18 per barrel was recorded in mid-January, whereas the peak of almost $32 was registered just before the end of the year. OPEC oil production fell substantially in 2002 for the second year running. Average production for the year was down by more than 1.8 million barrels per day (b/d) or 6.4%, following an 870,000 b/d or 2.8% decrease in 2001. The steep drop in OPEC output was the result of output restraint and a number of unplanned disruptions to production. As in 2001, the largest fall in percentage terms was 14.4% in Iraq, which was affected by a month-long suspension of exports from April to May and the imposition of 'retroactive pricing' under the UN's 'Oil for Food' program. OPEC output restraint in 2002 was a response to the sharp drop in the demand for its oil in the face of weak global oil demand growth and the rapid expansion of oil production outside OPEC. Oil demand in 2002 was exceptionally weak for the third consecutive year, with consumption growing by only 290,000 b/d. Oil production outside OPEC increased by 1.45 million b/d. The countries of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) accounted for over half of this increase, with Russia and Kazakhstan, up by 640,000 b/d and 150,000 b/d respectively, accounting for nearly all the FSU's gains. Other large output increases came from Canada, Angola and Brazil, up by 170,000 b/d, 160,000 b/d and 160,000 b/d respectively.

The oil consumption is the largest in the USA (19.7 and will be 31.8 million barrels per day in 2002 and 2025 respectively according to EIA), but the second position of China (5.4 and 12.9 million barrels per day) is not so evident and not so widely known in Europe.  Presumably the reason is that vehicle (including SUV) ownership in the USA was 779 vehicles per 1000 person in 2001 and 13 vehicles per 1000 person as compared to China with strong growth of automobile use in the future.


Natural gas

World consumption of natural gas grew by a relatively strong 2.8% in 2002 on the back of a 3.9% US consumption increase and robust growth in Non-OECD Asia Pacific of more than 7%. The US increase followed a fall of similar magnitude the year before, as natural gas prices moderated from 2001 levels. On the gas production side, North America was the only region to see a decline. A price-driven drop in drilling activity following the boom in 2001 explains some of the decrease, but the maturity of the USA and Canada from a resource perspective also seems a contributing factor. Another notable feature of 2002 was the first increase in Russian production for several years, as the super-giant Zapolyarnoye field was brought on stream. Within Europe, Norwegian output expanded strongly by 21.4% as production from the UK and the Netherlands, down 2.6% and 3.2% respectively, contracted.


Other fuels


World coal consumption increased by 6.9% in 2002. However, this was almost entirely a Chinese phenomenon: reported consumption in China rose by an extraordinary 27.9%. Excluding China, world coal consumption grew by just 0.6%, with strong growth of 3.7% in Asia (excluding China), and modest growth in North America of 1.5%, offset by declines of 1% in Europe and 7.8% in the FSU.


Nuclear Power

At the end of 2002, 362 nuclear power units were connected to grid in OECD countries, providing approximately 24% of total electricity supply in the OECD area. Three new nuclear units were brought into operation: one in the Czech Republic and two in Korea; two units were retired in the UK. Seven units were under construction: three in Japan, two in Korea, and two in the Slovak Republic. Consumption of nuclear power rose modestly in 2002, expanding by 1.5% globally.  Nuclear power (historically started 60 year ago with the Manhattan Project, May 5, 1943) now is representing a shrinking share of electricity consumption despite the new constructions in Asia (India, China, etc.) and life extensions (mainly in the USA) of the commercial reactors. In the US approach the NRC has approved renewal of operating licenses for 18 nuclear units and has applications under review for 12 more. US plants are initially licensed for a period of 40 years, instead 30 years for example in Hungary. (see also Nuclear Energy Data to 2020 in OECD Countries, Paris, June 6 2003.


US nuclear operators report their 2002 operations and maintenance (O&M) spending continued gains in generating efficiency, producing a kilowatt-hour (kWh) for a record low median of 1.59 cents, according to an exclusive analysis by Platts' Nucleonics Week. The most efficient nuclear generator reporting in 2002 was Duke Power's Catawba at 1.13 cents/kWh. Other top-ranked plants were Tennessee Valley Authority's Sequoia, Progress Energy's Harris, and Dominion Energy's North Anna and Surry, all producing in the 1.1-1.2 cent/kWh range. Only hydroelectric and some mine-mouth coal plants produce power for less.


Forecast for electricity consumption for 2025:
Electricity consumption (Billion Kilowatt-hours) 1990 2001 2025 %
Industrialized Countries 6368 8016 11994 1.7
United States 2827 3602 5252 1.6
EE/FSU 1906 1528 2642 2.3
China 551 1312 3596 4.3
India 257 492 1104 3.4
Total World 10546 13934 24673 2.4
(%) Average Annual Percent Change, 2001-2025



Hydro electricity

Hydroelectric generation recovered only partially from a very weak 2001. Strong rebounds of 10.4% in North America and 4.6% in Latin America were counteracted by weakness in Europe, which declined by 9.9%.





The 50 million tons of hydrogen produced worldwide each year is mostly used in fertilizer production, petroleum refining and other industrial uses, though it's also used as rocket fuel for space programs said Moe Khaleel, director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Hydrogen and Transportation programs. But its most promising future use will be in fuel cells, he said. A future world with cars, trucks, homes and businesses running smoothly and emissions-free on the fuel of the future -- hydrogen.

The United States and the European Union in June 16, 2003 in Brussels, Belgium signed a cooperation agreement to develop fuel cell technology. The seven point plan, brokered by European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and the U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, aims to strengthen research by bringing together European and U.S. researchers from public and private sectors. Key challenges for fuel cells to become commercially competitive are cost reduction, improved performance and durability.



Table - Primary energy consumption in 2002, by selected countries and by fuel

(in million tons oil equivalent)

in 2002 Oil Gas Coal Nuclear Hydro Total [in 1991]
USA 894,3 600,7 553,8 185,8 58,2 2293,0 1949,8
North-America 1064,9 711,2 591,5 205,0 142,4 2715,4 2300,7
France 92,8 38,5 12,7 98,9 15.0 258,0 231,1
Germany 127,2 74,3 84,6 37,3 5,9 329,4 340,6
UK. 77,2 85,1 36,5 19,9 1,7 220,3 215,9
EU 15 634,4 347,2 216,8 201,7 69,2 1468,9 1345,6
Russian Fed. 122,9 349,6 98,5 32,0 37,2 640,2 -
FSU 168,3 511,9 160,5 53,4 52,0 946,1 1375,3
Europe & Eurasia 925,2 939,5 506,1 280,0 178,9 2829,5 -
Middle East 207,4 185,1 8,4 - 1,9 403,1 264,3
Africa 118,6 60,7 90,6 2,9 18,5 291,0 220,2
China 245,7 27,0 663,4 5,9 55,8 997,8 694,5
Japan 242,6 69,7 105,3 71,3 20,5 509,4 451,1
India 97,7 25,4 180,8 4,4 16,9 325,1 205,8
Asia 991,6 297,3 1183,5 118,0 127,7 2717,8 1886,2
Australia 38,0 21,6 49,5 - 3,8 112,9 88,0
OECD 2181,9 1235,6 1116,3 522,7 289,5 5346,1 4606,7
World 3522,5 2282,0 2397,9 610,5 592,1 9405,0 8147,2

[Total primary energy consumption in 2002 and Total primary energy consumption in 1991]



1) British Petrol Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2003 (pp.40)


2) Global Resources: Energy: A Statistical Review of the World Energy Situation, BWW Journal, 2003 January/February


3) International Energy Outlook DOE/EIA-04842003 (2003) May 2003 (pp. 260)


4) This Week In Petroleum (TWIP)


5) Analytical Data Service


6) Oil information, 2003    or


7)  Nuclear Energy Data to 2020 in OECD Countries, Paris, June 6 2003    or


8) World Nuclear Power Reactors 2002-2003 and Uranium Requirements 2003 June




US: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has published an interdisciplinary study that examines the prospects and challenges faced by the nuclear power industry, focused on the USA. The report says that nuclear energy has an important role in meeting future global electricity needs without emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants. The study states that the nuclear option must be retained 'precisely because it is an important CO2-free source of power'. The authors urge the US to focus its attention over the next decade on building nuclear reactors that use existing technology and a 'once-through' fuel cycle. The study postulated a 'grow scenario' by 2050 of about 700 new reactors worldwide, each of approximately 1000 MWe of capacity, to keep nuclear's share of the electricity market constant. However, for a large expansion of nuclear energy to take place, four critical areas must be addressed: better economics; continued high security; waste management; and, proliferation issues. The report - 'The Future of Nuclear Power' - is available at


10) Trans-Atlantic Fuel Cell Development Pact Signed  BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 16, 2003 (ENS)


11) Fueling the future October 20th, 2003



©Á.Z. Nagy



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