Saturday, October 3, 2009

Will History Repeat Itself?

Over the period 2001-2006

* World oil consumption increased by 6.9 million b/d or 9%
* Demand growth in China accounted for 37% of the volume
* Increased consumption in the United States contributed 14%
* This growth occurred in spite of a 280% rise in OPEC oil prices from $19.73/B to $55.35/B

This is a marked difference to what occurred between 1979 and 1982.

* OPEC oil prices rose 168% from $19.88/B to $33.48/B
* World oil demand dropped by 6.3 million b/d or 10%
* OPEC output dropped 37% and their market share declined from 48% to 35%

While consumers might hope for some price relief, today’s market is different from conditions in 1979.

* The world oil and gas industry has become more efficient through increased application of finding and development technology so consumers can’t expect a dramatic increase in supply
* The easy to apply energy savings methods are already in place so we can’t hope for simple measures to reduce oil use
* China and India’s share of world oil markets was 3.8% in 1979 and 12.0% in 2006 and their economies are using low labor costs to manage higher energy expenses
* The Federal government seems unwilling to take the necessary steps to improve automobile and truck fuel economy unlike the steps taken in the late 70s

What is the same is the lack of long-term thinking to provide a solution to the world’s energy appetite. It has been thirty-four years since the Arab Oil Embargo and the Federal government has failed to develop an energy strategy. So while the government considers new fuel sources and fossil fuel reductions that may take years to occur, consumers are left to deal with the short-term consequences of a bi-partisan policy failure.


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