Sunday, April 20, 2008

World oil shortage: A fatality as sure as death and taxes?

Jad Mouawad, in today’s NYTimes [4/19/08] has pointed out some things about the oil reserves around the world that are worth noting and keeping track of. He provides a number of statistics that may be well enough known to the experts but are generally outside of the purview of most of us. Here are some notes on the present world situation that ought to cause serious concern – along with all the other conditions that we need to worry about.

  • The planet’s population is expected to grow by 50 percent to nine billion by sometime in the middle of the century. The number of cars and trucks is projected to double in 30 years
  • global oil consumption will jump by some 35 percent by the year 2030
  • The world’s total energy demand — including oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear power, as well as renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydro power — is set to rise by 65 percent over the next two decades,
  • the energy crunch might … result in a global scramble for resources, energy wars, and much higher energy prices.
  • The North Sea and Alaska are slowly running out of oil and producers there are struggling to keep production from falling. Russia’s phenomenal oil surge is coming to an end
  • Fourteen of the world’s Top 20 oil companies are state-owned giants, like Saudi Aramco and Russia’s Gazprom. That leaves Western oil companies in control of less than 10 percent of the world’s oil and gas reserves.
  • Despite spending over $100 billion on exploration last year, the five largest international oil companies found less oil last year than they pumped out of the ground.
  • [G]iven the current rate of growth in demand, a trillion of [the 1.2 trillion barrels of known conventional oil reserves] will be used up in less than 30 years.
  • Oil now accounts for just 19 percent of China’s energy needs. But China’s oil demand is expected to more than double by 2030 to over 16 million barrels a day,
  • China has now surpassed both Germany and Japan to become the second-largest car market in the world, and is set to overtake the United States by around 2015 …

So what do you make of this? One more view of the future that makes us wonder.

In the mean time journalists are asking Presidential candidates why they don’t wear flags on their lapel.

[Click on the title for a link to the article.]

No comments: