World energy consumption rose 2.4 percent last year, slowing from a rise of 3.2 percent in 2005, while China's energy use soared 8.4 percent, BP PLC said Tuesday in its annual survey of global trends.
Global growth in 2006 was just above the 10-year average, and the rate of growth slowed for every fuel except nuclear power, the British oil company said in its Statistical Review of World Energy.
The Asia-Pacific region again recorded the highest growth, at 4.9 percent, while consumption in North America fell 0.5 percent -- with a 1.0 percent drop in the United States partially offset by increases of 1.7 percent in Canada and 4 percent in Mexico.
In Europe and Eurasia, total consumption rose 1.5 percent in 2006 over 2005.
Within the European Union, Denmark showed the largest growth at 12.7 percent, followed by Portugal with an energy consumption rise of 8.2 percent.
The EU countries with the biggest declines in energy use were Sweden -- with a drop of 6.9 percent -- and Slovakia, which used up 4.8 percent less energy.
Chinese energy use continued to account for the majority of global energy consumption growth and the country now accounts for over 15 percent of world energy use.
The impact of persistently high energy prices was seen to slow consumption among energy importers and in continuing strong growth among exporters.
Oil prices in 2006 averaged $65.14 per barrel for dated Brent, almost 20 percent higher than the 2005 average. This led to a slim 0.7 percent rise in global oil use in 2006, the smallest increase since 2001 and half the average increase of the past 10 years.
"Last year showed markets at work," BP's chief economist Christof Ruhl said in a statement accompanying the report. "Primary energy consumption growth has decelerated -- particularly for fuels which have seen the highest increase in price."
Oil and natural gas reserves were largely unchanged. Despite a small decline in 2006, oil reserves totaled some 1.208 trillion barrels, around 15 percent higher than a decade ago.
Coal consumption rose by 4.5 percent -- the fastest growth among hydrocarbons -- pushed mainly by an 8.7 percent growth in China. Coal use was down in the United States but up in Britain and other countries for the third year in a row.
Nuclear power output grew by 1.4 percent in 2006, mainly because of increased capacity use and capacity upgrades.
The use of wind and solar energy continued to grow in 2006, but from a low base. Despite a 25 percent increase of installed wind power capacity, it still made up less than 1 percent of global electricity production, while solar power accounted for even less. Ethanol use rose by 22 percent.