Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Oil Consumption

New Year's Resolution: I will learn to edit my posts in a real editor that doesn't suddenly forget everything I typed just because the weather over Burma changed.

But back to my (re-typed) point: Jeff and I were talking over lunch the other day about our presidential woes (He hates Kerry more than Bush, and I'm the opposite), and I mentioned that I thought Kerry's energy platform had merit.

Jeff opined that the problem was simply lack of production in the U.S., and that by increasing production we could adaquately reduce our dependence on foreign oil. My gut feel is that we could drill the ANWR until it looks like swiss cheese and we'd never make a dent in our oil imports. But as usual, we're both pretty much talking out of our ass, so I decided to go find some hard data.

There is a recent article in Fortune that talks about the issue, but doesn't give any real specifics (although, to be fair, they give more specifics than Kerry, who just vaguely mentions that he'll address the issue). But there are some good hard numbers in the EIA web site that track historical oil production and consumption.

What I gleaned from this is that, over the time of the data reported, U.S. Oil consumption has varied between a low of just under 15 million barrels per day in 1982, to a present consumption rate of about 20 million barrels/day. U.S. Production has stayed constant with a slight decrease over the last 10 years, dropping from 9.6 million barrels/day in 1990 to 9.0 million in 2000. Over the same period the total Persian Gulf output moved from 16 million to 21 million barrels/day. The raw data is worth checking out, the re are lots of interesting trends in there.

Finding out information on how much the U.S. Could increase its capacity by is harder. The same EIA web site states that they have no idea how much oil could be found in the ANWR. this article in the Petroleum News said that if approved today, production could start in 2013, with a capacity between 600k BPD (barrels per day, apparently a standard unit in the oil industry) and 1.6M BPD.

The obvious consclusion is stated later in the same article:
Because ANWR coastal oil production in 2025 is estimated to be only 0.5 percent to 1.3 percent of total world oil consumption, it is only expected to reduce world oil prices by 30 cents to 50 cents per barrel, based on an estimated world oil price of $27 per barrel in 2002 dollars. “Assuming that world oil markets continue to work as they do today, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries could countermand any potential price impact of ANWR coastal plain production by reducing its exports in an equal amount,” the agency said.

So I think I'll stick to my argument: the only way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to either manufacture it or switch to using alternate fuels like methanol.

No comments: