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13-06-2012 12:06:00

UPDATE: Record Saudi, US Oil Output Offsets Libya Output - BP

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By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch MADRID (MarketWatch) ..

--Record oil production by US/Saudi Arabia in 2011 helped ensure the world economy was supplied despite global disruptions

--Loss of oil production in Libya offset by large increases in OPEC production

--Global oil consumption increased 0.7% or 0.6 million barrels a day to reach 88 million barrels a day in 2011

(Adds details from seventh paragraph onwards.)

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 producers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, 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" of 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 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, declined 1.2% to its lowest level since 1995, while oil consumption outside the 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.

China was the largest contributor to a rise in global oil demand growth in 2011, increasing its total oil demand by 505,000 barrels a day or 5.5% in 2011, although the growth rate was below its 10-year average, BP said. Meanwhile middle distillates were again the fastest-growing refined product category by volume, for the seventh time in the past 10 years, the oil major added.

On the production side, annual global oil output rose by 1.1 million barrels a day or 1.3% in 2011, largely due to net production growth from countries that make up OPEC. Saudi Arabia boosted output by 1.2 million barrels a day, while output from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iraq more than offset a 1.2 million barrels a day output drop in Libya.

Output reached record levels in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, BP said.

In non-OPEC countries, output was broadly flat, with increases in the U.S., Canada, Russia and Colombia offsetting continued declines in mature areas such as the U.K. and Norway, as well as unexpected outages in a number of other countries. The U.S. registered the largest increase among non-OPEC producers for the third consecutive year, driven by continued strong growth in onshore shale liquids output, which pushed U.S. oil output to its highest level since 1998, BP said.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 13, 2012 06:06 ET (10:06 GMT)

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

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