As is the United States, Germany is a fully industrialized country with a large appetite for oil. Germany has a highly developed market economy—the largest economy in Europe, and the fifth largest in the world. As a result Germany has considerable purchasing power in the world market. With its advanced economy Germany is also a voracious consumer of energy, the world's fifth-largest consumer for several consecutive years. Germany consumed 14.7 quadrillion Btu of energy in 2004, according to the EIA.16
Many of the EIA data for Germany's level of energy consumption are comparable to those for the United States, especially in terms of fossil fuel consumption. In 2004 oil met 37 percent of Germany's energy demand, while coal and natural gas each provided 24 percent of energy. Germany is the fifth-largest consumer of oil in the world and Europe's largest consumer of electricity; in 2004 electricity consumption totaled 524.6 billion kilowatt hours (a kilowatt hour, often abbreviated as kWh, is a measure of a unit of electricity expended per hour). This represented a significant portion of the 566.9 billion kWh of electricity Germany produced that year. Most of Germany's 2004 electricity production, 61 percent, was powered by conventional sources of energy— mainly coal. The IEA has reported that brown coal accounted for the largest share of conventional thermal electricity generation, 42 percent; hard coal and natural gas accounted for 37 percent and 16 percent, respectively.17 Germany is actually the world's seventh-largest coal producer and fourth-largest coal consumer, and it has the largest quantity of coal reserves of all EU nations. Brown coal is Germany's most important domestic energy source, representing about 40 percent of its total domestic energy production and meeting about 24 percent of its total energy needs in 2004.
Germany also consumes a sizable quantity of natural gas, consuming the second-highest levels of natural gas among EU nations. At the same time, Germany is the EU's third-largest producer of natural gas, having 9.1 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, according to Oil and Gas Journal in 2006.18 The EIA reported that in 2004 Germany produced 730 billion cubic feet of natural gas but also suffered from a lack of new natural gas discoveries in recent years, which could impede future growth in natural gas production.
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