Top Seven Tidbits From The BP Statistical Review

Todd Shriber
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I will be the first one to confess to being, shall we say, a bit harsh on BP (BP) over the past year or so, but I will give the British oil giant this much credit: The company's annual Statistical Review of World Energy always makes for interesting reading. Assuming you do not want to peruse the entire document, I have taken the liberty of compiling a list of seven highlights from the 2011 version, which was released yesterday.

1) Oil Reserves Rose In 2010

Global oil reserves jumped by 6.6 billion barrels last year to 1.383 trillion barrels, the BP Statistical Review says. The study says production declines in Mexico and Norway were offset by gains in Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Russia and India (go figure on that last one). Still, do not be fooled. This does nothing to diminish the merits of the peak oil argument.

2) The Song Remains The Same

While the first point may seem like good news, it really is not if you live in the U.S. or Europe. As the chart below illustrates, it is the same old regions that are boosting reserves. You know, places where they really do not like the U.S.

Oil Reserves By Region

3) Supply/Demand

This point is much like the first where it pays to read between the tea leaves. Sure, global oil production increased by 1.8 million barrels per day last year. That is the largest increase since 2004. The bad news is that consumption jumped 2.7 million barrels per day. Hmmm, increased consumption outpacing higher production by 50%. Sounds like peak oil.

4) OPEC Remains A Problem

Those are my words, not BP's, but the Statistical Review says that Brent Crude averaged $79.50 a barrel last year (that seems like ages ago when looking at current prices). The Review goes on to note that ''restrained'' OPEC production pushed Brent to $94 late last year. Well, OPEC decided to keep output restrained again yesterday, again highlighting the need for OPEC customers to invest in alternative sources of energy and do so sooner rather than later.

5) Fun Facts

The following may help you win a wager at the 19th hole sometime: On a percentage basis, what country increased its oil production the most in 2010? Answer: Colombia with an output increase of 16.9%. Among OPEC members, the biggest production increase belonged to Nigeria at 16.2%. Uzbekistan has the dubious honor of worst production decline in 2010 with a drop of 17.8%.

6) Part II

The biggest increase in consumption in percentage terms belongs to Qatar with an 18.2% jump, but that's no big deal when you're an OPEC member. Bulgaria saw its thirst for oil plunge 29.3% last year, good for the biggest decline among the countries featured in the Review.

7) Glory Days

West Texas Intermediate averaged $12.23 a barrel in 1976, according to the Review. Last year, it averaged $79.45 a barrel. Needless to say, we will probably never see the $12-$20 area again and if we do, it probably means a recession of epic magnitude.

Todd Shriber