growth in petroleum consumption was approximately matched by growth in production. Between 1960 and 1973 petroleum production in the “other developing” region2 grew at an annual rate of nearly 10 percent, from increased output in the Persian Gulf area and from such major new producers as Libya, Nigeria, and Algeria.

It is no accident that the energy deficits of the Western industrial countries were met entirely from increased oil imports and that trade in coal and natural gas remained relatively small. This reflects the low transportation cost of oil. During the 1960s this cost fell further as larger and larger tankers were brought into service. The principal flow of energy products continued to be from the Persian Gulf to Western Europe, but exports to the United States and to Japan had an even larger percentage growth.

Table 10–2 illustrates the development of electricity production from 1960 to 1973. Except in the “other developing” region, electricity grew more rapidly than primary energy, with the highest growth rates occurring in the “other developed” and communist regions. For the world as a whole, electricity consumption grew nearly 50 percent more than primary energy consumption. With the same exception, the share of hydroelectric power dropped everywhere. Nuclear power became significant, particularly in the United States and Western Europe, but the share of fossil fuels (oil and coal) also rose. In 1973 three fourths of the world’s electricity was generated from fossil fuels.

Table 10–1 also shows that the growth rate of primary energy consumption varied considerably among the five regions. It was lowest in the United States, and only slightly higher in the communist countries. The highest growth rate was recorded in the “other developed” region, which includes Japan; the “other developing” regions and Western Europe were also well above the world average growth rate. As a result of these disparities, the share of the United States in total world consumption fell from nearly 34 percent to nearly 30 percent, and that of the communist countries from about 30 percent to about 27 percent. Western Europe’s share increased slightly, and the shares of the remaining two regions went up considerably. However, the United States remained the world’s largest energy user, even compared with the aggregated blocs of countries in Table 10–1.

There was even more variation in the growth rates of energy production. The rate was highest for the “other developing” region, which includes the principal petroleum exporting countries; it was also substantial in the “other developed” region, due mostly to Canada. The other three areas were all below the world average growth rate. In the United States the growth rate of production was 3.1 percent, compared to one for consumption of 4.1 percent. In the communist countries production and

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement