CHINA, No. 1: A worker checks pipes at PetroChina's Tarim Oilfield in Taklamakan Desert in China in March 2009. According to the International Energy Agency, China consumed the equivalent of 2.265 billion tons of oil in 2009, which was about 4 percent more than the 2.169 billion tons used in the United States. Nearly three-fourths of China's energy consumption comes from coal. By 2015, the Dragon is expected to consume the equivalent of 2.783 billion tons of oil compared to America's 2.291 billion tons. AP/FILE
UNITED STATES, No. 2: In the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana on June 19, oil is burned off the surface of the water after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The United States consumed more than twice as much energy as China in 2000. Unlike China, which has steadily increased its energy use, the United States fell from a high of the equivalent of 2.333 billion tons of oil in 2007 to 2.169 billion tons in 2009. America is expected to consume the equivalent of 2.291 billion tons of oil in 2015. Lee Celano/Reuters
EUROPE: An employee walks at Gazprom's Sudzha pumping station in January 2009 after Russian gas started flowing into Ukraine. Led by Germany, the region is the world's third-largest energy consumer and is heavily dependent on overland oil imports from Russia. Europe, which consumed the equivalent of 1.826 billion tons of oil in 2007, is expected to consume the equivalent of 1.788 billion tons of oil in 2015. Denis Sinyakov/Reuters
INDIA: A worker holds a fuel nozzle at a petrol pump in Mumbai, India, on June 11. India's oil ministry wants free pricing of petrol and diesel to help state firms who are forced to sell fuel at low, state-set prices. While currently ranked behind Africa in energy use, India is expected to become the world's fourth-largest energy user by 2015, consuming the equivalent of 764 million tons of oil. Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
AFRICA: An oil platform is seen in the Red Sea near Abu Rudeis, Egypt. Egypt and Algeria alone account for nearly two-thirds of all gas use on the continent. Africa in 2007 was the world's fifth-largest energy user, consuming the equivalent of 630 million tons of oil. Africa is expected to retain its slot in fifth place, at 716 million tons in 2015. Newscom/FILE
RUSSIA: A member of the Emergencies Ministry takes part in an exercise in front of a storage facility, which belongs to Russian oil producer Rosneft in Stavropol, Russia, on July 16. Currently ranked fourth in the world in terms of energy use, Russia is projected to fall back to sixth place by 2015, consuming the energy equivalent of 700 tons of oil, which will be less than India or Africa. Eduard Korniyenko/Reuters
MIDDLE EAST: Portraits of late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini (r.) and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a construction site at South Pars gas field in Assalouyeh, Iran, on July 19. The IEA projects gas demand to double over the region from 2008 to 2030. Iran alone is already the world's third-largest gas-consuming country after the US and Russia. The Middle East, ranked the eight-biggest energy user in 2007, is project to surpass Latin America by 2015. Vahid Salemi/AP
LATIN AMERICA: A worker walks along Sao Tome ethanol distillery in Parana, Brazil, in March 2006. Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela together account for almost 70 percent of all energy demand in Latin America, according to the IEA. The agency projects the region to fall back to eight place in terms of energy consumers by 2015, from seventh place in 2007. Paulo Whitaker/Reuters
SOUTHEAST ASIA: A worker checks an electrical power installation in Gandul, Indonesia, on June 15. While it consumed less energy than Japan in 2007, according to the IEA, the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is projected to surpass Japan by 2015 while consuming the equivalent of 612 million tons of oil. Dadang Tri/Reuters
JAPAN: A man fishes near Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Kashiwazaki, Japan, in May 2009. As Japan's economy shrinks, so too does the nation's energy consumption. Ranked the world's ninth-biggest energy user in 2007, consuming the equivalent of 514 million tons of oil, the island is projected to scale back to the equivalent of 489 million tons of oil by 2015. Toru Hanai/Reuters
Hezbollah fighters fired antitank missiles at a convoy, killing two Israeli soldiers. The much-anticipated reply to an Israeli strike 10 days before showed the challenge both sides face: retaliation without escalation.
The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has launched its most severe attack on Israeli forces since 2006, when a cross-border incident set off a summer war. Wednesday's strike drew Israeli retaliation, but analysts suggested both sides were aiming for restraint.