* U.S. oil growth outpaces China for first time since 1999
* Shale boom boosts U.S. production for second year in a row
* BP raises oil, gas reserves in its annual statistics review
By Ron Bousso
LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - Oil demand in the United States grew at the fastest pace in the world in 2013, outstripping China for the first time since 1999 as the world’s top economy reaped the benefit of the shale boom, oil major BP said on Monday.
BP also said the United States recorded its largest-ever annual rise in production for a second year in a row at 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd).
In its annual review of energy statistics, first published in 1951 and considered an industry benchmark, BP said U.S. oil consumption in 2013 grew by 400,000 bpd, the sharpest increase in the world, followed by China’s rise of 390,000 bpd, BP said.
The consumption growth was led by an expansion of the U.S. industrial sector as the world’s top economy emerged from the 2008 financial crisis, BP Chief Economist Christof Ruhl said.
At the same time, a Chinese slowdown was driven mainly by lower consumption of diesel and gasoil, which traditionally reflect the rate of economic growth.
“It is easy to understand the U.S. - If you have a lot of cheap domestic oil that feeds into the industry, it will show up eventually in GDP growth numbers. It’s not that easy to reconcile the slowdown in Chinese energy numbers,” Ruhl said.
China’s economic growth hit a 14-year low in 2013, a decline that accelerated in the first part of this year as Beijing leads a wide drive to reform the country’s economy.
Overall, China’s energy consumption growth slowed to around 4.7 percent in 2013 from a 10-year average of 8.4 percent despite the fact the Beijing officially reported a 7.7 percent rise in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, Ruhl said.
“There is a lot of tension between the official growth numbers for China and the official energy numbers consumption for China,” he said.
Global oil production did not keep pace with the growth in oil consumption, rising by 560,000 bpd or 0.6 percent, as output disruptions from Libya, Nigeria and Iraq due to political strife were almost entirely offset by a 1.1 million bpd growth in U.S. output, BP said.
“The huge investments seen in the U.S. have been encouraged and enabled by a favourable policy regime. And this has resulted in the U.S. delivering the world’s largest increase in oil production last year. Indeed, the U.S. increase... was one of the biggest annual oil production increases the world has ever seen,” Ruhl said.
This balance also explains oil price stability over the past three years, with the lowest volatility since the early 1970s, he said.
BP increased its global proved natural gas reserves at the end of 2013 to 185.7 trillion cubic metres (tcm), enough to meet 54.8 years of global production, up from a revised 2012 figure of 185.3 tcm.
The oil major also increased its global oil reserves estimates to 1,687.9 billion barrels at the end of 2013, enough to meet 53.3 years of current global production. (Reporting by Ron Bousso, editing by David Evans)