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13-06-2012 11:44:00

Record Saudi, US Oil Output Offsets Libya Output - BP

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By Alexis Flynn

LONDON--Record oil production by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. in 2011 helped ensure the world economy was supplied with enough crude, despite the severe disruptions to the energy system that occurred last year caused by civil war in Libya and a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan, BP PLC's (BP.LN) annual statistical review showed Wednesday.

The loss of oil production in Libya, a major supplier of light crude to Europe, was more than offset by large increases by Middle Eastern Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries producers, as well as the continued renaissance in U.S. oil and gas production, which led the way in non-OPEC output for the third year running.

"Last year is a story about disruptions and continuity. 2011 was characterized by severe hits to the energy system, but when you look at the aggregate numbers it seems like a perfectly normal year," said BP Chief Economist Christof Ruehl.

Massive increases in OPEC production combined with an efficient and sophisticated crude trading system helped ensure the world's growing demand for energy continued to be met, said Ruehl. In addition, the "tremendous redirection" liquefied natural gas shipments away from Europe and instead to Japan to substitute for the loss of nuclear power following the tsunami was done without harming the energy needs of other fast-growing Asian countries such as China.

Global oil consumption increased 0.7% or 0.6 million barrels a day to reach 88 million barrels a day in 2011, marking the weakest global growth rate among fossil fuels in BP's statistical review. Oil consumption in member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, declined 1.2% to its lowest level since 1995, while oil consumption outside OECD grew 2.8% in 2011, BP said.

"Despite strong oil prices, oil consumption growth was below average in producing regions of the Middle East and Africa due to regional unrest," the oil giant said.

Write to Alexis Flynn at alexis.flynn@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 13, 2012 05:44 ET (09:44 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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