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updated 6/8/2011 2:46:33 PM ET 2011-06-08T18:46:33

Global energy consumption rose in 2010 at the fastest pace since 1973, as fast-growing developing nations led a strong rebound from recession, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The overall 5.6 percent rise in consumption saw gains in all regions and all categories of energy, BP PLC said in its 60th annual Statistical Review of World Energy.

Consumption in the world's richest countries grew by 3.5 percent, the most since 1984, bringing it back to the level of a decade ago, BP said. Consumption in developing countries — particularly resource-hungry ones in Asia and South America — logged a 7.5 percent increase.

Story: Oil surges as OPEC maintains production level

"By year-end, economic activity for the world as a whole exceeded pre-crisis levels driven by the so-called developing world," said Christof Ruehl, chief economist for BP.

Last year's surge was led by China, which increased its energy consumption by 11.2 percent, according to BP.

That moved China ahead of the United States as the world's biggest consumer of energy, accounting for 20.3 percent of global demand compared with 19 percent for the U.S., the report said.

The International Energy Agency reported in July that China had become the world's biggest energy consumer, though Chinese officials insisted their country still lagged behind the United States.

China was by far the world's largest consumer of coal, taking 48 percent. The United States had the biggest thirst for oil with 21 percent of global demand, double China's consumption.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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