Oil demand

Oct. 11, 1999
Oil is the fuel of choice, in part, because the alternatives are unacceptable.

Oil is the fuel of choice, in part, because the alternatives are unacceptable. Burning more coal would increase air pollution of smog-choked cities to hazardous levels, and since nuclear power plants also produce huge amounts of weapon-grade plutonium, nuclear power is a political nightmare. Oil use will continue to increase as people of the world strive to achieve the lifestyle of the personification of the American Dream. Developing Third World nations will need more oil than ever to power their transformation from simple lifestyle to consumer powerhouses. All over the world, millions are starting to live "the American dream" and every improvement relies on oil. Without it, the improvements can't become a reality.

Cheap, oil-based energy has been the lifeblood of the world's economy for nearly all of the 20th century. Its influence cannot be overestimated; it controls the way we live, what we expect, and directly affects every aspect of our existence. The great American economic miracle and its military might owe almost everything to the country's vast endowment of oil. Yet American oil production peaked in 1971 and is now in terminal decline. Oil is decidedly a finite resource, being consumed globally at the rate of 25 billion bbl/year-and rising. The US, the world's most nature oil producer, is wealthy enough to import increasing amounts (57%) from other less depleted countries to cover the growing indigenous shortfall. Yet it's amazing that a country that once supplied the world now imports more than half of its oil needs. The next crunch will not be temporary like we experienced in 1973 and 1979. Within the next decade, the supply of conventional oil will be unable to keep up with demand. The world is finding less than 6 billion bbl/year of oil, on a falling trend. At this rate, significant oil exploration will be over in less than 25 years, and we will be dependent on oil for the next 50 years!

Dailey J. Berard
Universal Fabricators LLC
New Iberia, La.