Energy consumption reduced in Portugal

PORTUGAL WAS one of the seven countries in the European Union to reduce its energy consumption last year. The drought, stagnant economy, increase in the price of crude oil and, consequently, higher cost of fuel led companies and families to spend 5.4 per cent less on energy. In the rest of the world, growth was recorded at 2.7 per cent, with China, for the first time, being one of the countries with the highest increases in energy consumption, according to BP’s 2006 statistical review, recently presented in Lisbon.  

The rising price of crude oil – the average price per barrel currently standing at 54.52 dollars (21.6 dollars higher than the average price recorded last year) – was the main reason for the reduction in fuel consumption in Portugal.

Around 2,000 less barrels of petroleum were used per day (0.5 per cent less). Families chose to use their cars less and the stagnant economy caused industrial firms to produce less, and so consume less energy. This had a knock-on effect, causing a 0.5 per cent drop in the demand for natural gas and 1.1 per cent less for coal.

Also, for various reasons, hydro power was reduced by half. The drought left the Portuguese reservoirs at less than half their normal level, thereby reducing the production of hydroelectricity by 51 per cent.