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admin 27.03.2015

China's energy use has more than doubled over the last decade to overtake the United States as the word's biggest user, according to preliminary data from the International Energy Agency. As the data from the IEA shows, China has gone from using 1,107 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2000, to 2,131 Mtoe in 2008 and is estimated to have consumed 2,265 Mtoe in 2009.
Meanwhile, US energy consumption was only marginally higher in 2008 (at 2,281 Mtoe) than it was in 2000 (2,270 Mtoe), and will actually be shown to have fallen last year (to 2,169 Mtoe).
4886296Americans are using less energy than ever before, while simultaneously spending less money thanks to cheap oil and natural gas. Energy consumption per person in United States has declined substantially in the last decade, according to this Human Progress graph. This abundance of energy is provided by hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which helped America surpass Russia in early 2015 as the world’s largest and fastest-growing producer of oil and natural gas.
Cheap energy prices especially benefit the poor and ethnic minorities, who spend far higher proportions of their income on energy than the average household, according to a study by the Pacific Research Institute. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. We frequently see stories telling us how well the United States is doing at oil extraction. One of the issues is that a few years ago, the US created a new oil-related grouping, combining valuable products with much less valuable (lower energy content, less dense) products. Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) are the liquids that condense out of natural gas when they are chilled and compressed in the natural gas processing plant. Refinery expansion occurs when a refinery breaks long chain hydrocarbons into shorter ones.
The process of breaking (cracking) long hydrocarbon chains is a valuable service to those producing heavy oils, because it makes valuable products from crude that otherwise would not have been useful for most purposes. Whether or not the US should be credited with this expansion of volume is somewhat “iffy,” since the process doesn’t add energy content. If we look at the base figure reported by the US Energy Administration, that is, “Crude and Condensate”(Figure 2), the US does not come out as well in original comparison (Figure 1). This drop  in NGPL price occurred because the US market for at least some components of this grouping became saturated. Production is indeed rising, but it is still far below consumption–about 55% of consumption in 2013.
The emphasis in most news reports is the drop in imports–that is the difference between the blue line and the red line in Figure 5.
A person can better see the drop in consumption by looking at consumption on a per capita basis. If we look at total per capita energy production and consumption in the US, we see even more of this trend. With a smaller percentage of the US population employed (and lagging salaries for those employed), US consumers cannot afford to buy as large a quantity of energy products. With negative cash flows, companies have to keep increasing their debt levels–something that eventually becomes impossible.
When those producing the oil see that US oil prices are at times not as high as world oil price (Brent), they hope that selling their crude to world export markets, they will be able to get higher prices for their crude.
The problem comes when what we are facing in shrinkage of energy consumption, over and above what can be accommodated by technological progress and efficiency.
A major concern with falling per-capita energy consumption it that the financial system may soon reach limits where it is stretched beyond what it can stand.
Gail TverbergGail Tverberg is a casualty actuary whose prior work involved forecasting and modeling in the insurance industry. We need sufficient energy to have a functional economy, after that, more energy offers diminishing returns. The problem with the economy is not energy, it’s bankster gambling on world currencies and insuring their quadrillion dollars in bets with Credit default Swaps that have insufficient reserves. Finding energy sources is getting more and more difficult to do cheaply, so the only way we can now keep energy prices low is to reduce demand without reducing economic activity, a neat tick if you can do it.
Some few hundredths of one percent of humanity have come out winners, being at the receiving end of lavish subsidies for solar panels and electric vehicles. If I drive a car which does 45mpg rather than a less efficient model which does 25 mpg, then I become more prosperous rather than less. I would say that having a larger screen with better picture whilst using less power represents growth. Such changes can cut lighting energy consumption by 60 to 90% as compared to legacy technologies.
Such trends in energy efficiency are accelerating, further decoupling economic and energy growth. We can see an even more pronounced version of this pattern if we look at the oil consumption of the five countries known as the PIIGS in Europe: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain. Oil consumption for the PIIGS in total hit its highest level in 2004, before the decline began. High-cost renewables can also have an adverse impact, regardless of whether the cost is borne by businesses, consumers or the government. If the cost is borne by businesses, those businesses must raise their prices to keep the same profit margins, and because of this become less competitive. If the cost is borne by consumers, those consumers will cut back on discretionary expenditures, in order to balance their budgets. If the government bears the cost, it still must pass the cost back to businesses or consumers, and thus reduce competitiveness because of higher tax costs. Countries that are warm in the winter will be at a competitive advantage, because homes don’t have to be built as sturdily, and don’t have to be heated in winter.
Energy usage (all types combined, not just oil) is far higher in cold countries than it is in warm wet countries. The countries that are most affected by rising oil prices are the countries that use oil to the greatest extent in their mix of energy products. Businesses find that the price of oil used in manufacturing and shipping their products has risen. The net effect of all of these changes is that there are fewer workers with jobs in the countries with high oil usage. The substitution of natural gas for oil combined with increasing fuel economy means oil demand is approaching a tipping point. There are way too many of “them” relative to us, for energy efficiency to even make a dent in our problem.
Using a ruler, we could probably make fairly reasonable projections of future population for each of these groups. Per capita oil consumption for the EU, US, and Japan group peaked in 1973–a very long time ago. When we look at past oil consumption, changes in vehicle energy efficiency did not make a big difference. If we look at per capita oil consumption in the US, split between gasoline and other oil products, we see that the big drop in oil consumption came from the drop in other oil products–that is the commercial and industrial part of US oil consumption. The amount of fuel used for gasoline has stayed in the 10 to 12 barrels a year per capita band, since 1970, in spite of huge improvements in vehicle efficiency.
Substituting natural gas for oil still leaves the US (as well as Europe and Japan) very high priced, compared to the rest of the world, that doesn’t use much energy.
Living in the US, Europe or Japan, it is  hard to get an idea of the cost structure of the rest of the world. When a country is not competitive, it is not just oil consumption that drops, but consumption of other energy products as well. More detailed data shows that the big increase in non-oil consumption was a huge rise in coal consumption, after China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in December 2001.
I would argue that lack of competitiveness in world markets is a limit that the US, EU-27 and Japan are hitting right now, but at slightly different rates.
It seems to me, though, that a big piece of the problem with lack of competitiveness gets transferred to the governments of the affected countries. One possible way I see of the current situation working out is that the total energy consumption (including all types of energy products, not just oil) of the EU, US and Japan will continue to fall, as high-priced oil continues to erode our competitive position in the world marketplace. The slope of the decline is based on the type of decline experienced by the Former Soviet Union, in the years immediately following its collapse. The Rest of the World is now growing rapidly, but at some point they will start reaching limits. I don’t know exactly how soon the Rest of the World will hit limits, but given the interconnectedness of the world system, it would seem to be within the next few years.


If there is a silver lining to all of this, it is that world CO2 emissions are likely to start falling quite rapidly, because of Peak Oil Demand. MemberI KApril 15, 2013 11:44Oil is now highly priced because of historic technology investments.
I think a much more likely scenario is that natural gas prices will rise to parity with oil prices (unless the economy sinks too far into recession).
Switch 10 mbpd worth from oil to gas and we will be in a situation where the premium of oil to gas is low and also gas to coal is low.
Second, replacement of high quality low cost oil currently appears likely to be dominated by low quality low cost coal. Energy prices dropped 41 percent over 2015 due to fracking, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Lower-income black communities bore an even larger burden and ended up spending 26 percent of their household income on energy, according to the Pacific Research Institute study. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected]. The fact that there are stories in the press about the US wanting to export crude oil adds to the hype. US Total Liquids production, including crude and condensate, natural gas plant liquids, “other liquids,” and refinery expansion.
Using this new grouping, the US was able to show much improved growth in total “oil” supply.
Quite a bit of the oil processed in this way uses imported oil, such as oil from the Canadian oil sands. For a while, the price was up with the price of crude, but as supply increased, the US price dropped during 2011 (Figure 4).
Price Comparison per Million Btu for Oil (West Texas Intermediate), Natural gas plant liquids, and natural gas, based on EIA data. We don’t really have use for all of the low value products that are being produced, other than to burn them as part of natural gas. This approach makes it easy to see how much of our fuel is US produced, and how much is imported (Figure 5). If we look at the chart, though, we see that a big reason for the drop in imports is a drop in consumption, with the big step down coming in 2007 and 2008. US per capita oil and Natural Gas Plant Liquids production and consumption, based on EIA data. Rising US oil production is not really helping US consumers, because at its high price, we cannot really afford it. Image by Steven Kopits showing Free Cash Flow of US independent oil and gas producers, from Platts Guest Blog. If they are successful, there will be less crude available sold to US producers, perhaps raising the price of this crude sold in this country as well. Perhaps my statement “Energy growth is needed for economic growth,” in the header is a little too strong. Starting in 2005-2006, she decided to apply her skills to the question of how oil and other limits would affect the world. If oil prices were a whole lot higher, the Middle East would be doing better financially and there would be less tendency to fight over what the land and resources available. In recent years, we have been adding a millions and millions of consumers in China and the rest of Asia. Expanding use of both have seen the global economy survive in recent years, despite the ravages of peak oil. Apparently oblivious to the acute crisis that threatens the fate of billions, these lucky folks have the audacity to proclaim all is well and getting better. Televisions changed over from CRT to Plasma and LED models which use considerably less energy to deliver a larger and better picture.
LED lighting and more efficient luminairs are beginning to make substantial inroads into commercial lighting power consumption, and to a lesser extent into domestic lighting. Such a huge leap in efficiency must to an extent decouple economic growth from energy growth.
In many jurisdictions, building regulations for energy efficiency in new homes and commercial buildings have been greatly tightened up. What’s more, boosting efficiency has a superb ROI beating just about any other investment available in the market. All of these countries have had serious declines in oil consumption in recent years, as high oil prices have impeded their economies. One reason this happens is because the country’s energy cost structure is not competitive in the world market-place.
Oil consumption as percentage of energy consumption for selected countries, based on BP’s 2012 Statistical Review of World Energy. This would include “carbon taxes,” if competitors do not have them, and if there is no tariff on imported goods to reflect carbon inputs.
This is likely to mean  a cutback in demand for discretionary goods by local consumers. If costs were “externalized” before, and are now borne by the local system, it makes the local system less competitive.
For example, Bangladesh’s per capita energy consumption is slightly less than 2% of US energy consumption. Another issue is that oil exporters now have large populations that need to be kept fed and clothed, so they don’t revolt. In fact, in the US there is evidence that wages stagnate when oil prices are high, partly because fewer are employed, and partly because the wages of those employed flatten. If they raise the sales price of the goods to reflect their higher costs, it means that fewer people can afford their products. This reduces the demand for oil in the high oil usage countries, both from business owners making goods and from the consumers who might use gasoline to drive their cars.
If prices stayed at the low level they were in the past (say $20 barrel), there would not be enough to go around.
There are way too many of “them” compared to the number of “us,” for energy efficiency to make even a dent in our problem. Substituting natural gas for oil still leaves cost levels for the US, Europe, and Japan very high, compared to those for the rest of the world, where little energy is used. Per capita oil consumption separately for the group US, EU-27, plus Japan, and for the rest of the world, based on BP’s 2102 Statistical Review of World Energy, and population statistics from EIA (since 1980) and Angus Maddison data. In recent years, it has been drifting down fairly rapidly, just to keep up with a slight per capita rise in oil consumption of the Rest of the World.
The market for cars is unbelievably huge, compared to today’s market, if costs could be brought down. We are so far above the cost structure of the rest of the world that substituting natural gas for oil would do little to fix the situation. Per capita consumption for the sum of the EU-27, US, and Japan, based on BP’s 2012 Statistical Review of World Energy. Per capita energy consumption for the Rest of the World, based on BP’s 2012 Statistical Review of World Energy. EU-27 now seems to be ahead in the race to the bottom, partly because its combined currency.
This happens because collection of tax revenue lags, because not enough people are working, and those who are working are earning lower wages. Countries with little connectedness to the world system (for example, countries in central Africa) may have fewer problems than others. Thus, it gives one estimate of  future world energy consumption based on Peak Demand considerations. Population levels will likely drop, indirectly because of serious recession, job loss, and cutbacks in government benefits.
Low oil prices are not really a possibility, because oil exporters require high prices, to support their desalination plants, and all the other infrastructure needed to produce the oil and to keep their populations happy.
Reducing high oil prices leads to civil disruption in some oil exporters, and quite possibly falling exports. The US EIA now calls the grouping “Total Oil Supply.” I refer to it as “Total Liquids,” a name I find more descriptive. In some ways, the process is like making whipped cream out of whipping cream–more volume, but not really more product.
Because natural gas in the US is inexpensive relative to its price in most other countries, the US can perform this process more cheaply than other countries.


Excess ethane, for example, could be sold to be burned as natural gas, putting a floor under its price.
The net impact may be higher prices for US consumers, making the US consumers even less able to afford the oil products.
Perhaps if energy consumption is flat, with the benefit of technological progress and efficiency changes, there can still be economic growth. Then we have danger of a collapsing financial system, as the low energy consumption growth pushes the economy toward contraction. The issue is that current oil refineries are not configured for the influx of very light oil. While good for today’s economy, the use of carbon intensive energy is an assault on the economy of future generations, through the relentless progression of climate change impacts.
In the UK for example, from 2016, new homes will have to be built to efficiency standards comperable to Passivehaus with the additional requirement that they be energy neutral in terms of heating, lighting, and water heating.
Many of the developed nations are not able to outbid the developing nations when it comes to the world’s limited oil supply.
With the run-up in oil prices starting about 2003, oil is by far the most expensive of the traditional energy sources we have available today. For example, putting in proper pollution controls will make local industry less competitive, if the competition is Chinese industry, acting without such  controls.
In a global economy, countries with higher wage levels for workers, and higher benefit levels for workers (such as health insurance and pensions) will be at a competitive disadvantage.
This difference in energy consumption means that salaries can be much lower, and thus products made in Bangladesh can be much cheaper, than those made in the United States. Oil price through 2011 from BP’s 2012 Statistical Review of World Energy, updated to 2012 using EIA data and CPI-Urban from BLS.
This price mechanism is part of what leads to the oil consumption shift we see in Figure 1. Instead, higher prices redistribute oil to countries that can use it manufacture goods at low overall cost.
Even with recent changes, per capita oil consumption of the EU, US and Japan group is more than 4.5 times that of the rest of the world.
I concluded that the majority of the decrease in consumption was due to a drop in commercial use. A total of 10 of us (including driver) traveled for several miles in a three-seated version of one of these. Also, a recently University of Texas study showed that Barnett Shale was past peak production, if prices do not rise.
Perhaps increased efficiency and natural gas substitution will help low-cost producers, until they reach a different limit of some sort. I wrote a post in March 2012 called Why High Oil Prices Are Now Affecting Europe More Than the US, explaining the situation. At the same time increased payouts are needed to stimulate the economy, and to provide benefits to the many without jobs. Another will be lack of spare parts, because businesses in the US, Europe and Japan are failing for financial reasons. Of course, their energy consumption (of the type measured by the EIA or BP) is very low now. In the scenario I show, energy consumption drops faster than forecasts such as those put out by the Energy Watch Group. The financial system will need to be completely revised, because debt financing will make sense much less often than today.
The new products tend to be more valuable–say, diesel and lubricating oil made from something close to asphalt. Because of this, it makes financial sense for the US to import heavy crude oil and process it in this way, whether or not US citizens can afford to buy the finished products. With all of their student loans, it is hard to be able to afford to get married and buy a house.
The economy has been held together since 2008 with quantitative easing and zero interest rates.
Many of them are busy “cracking” long hydrocarbon chains, often using imported oil as their energy source.
The fact that energy is getting more expensive will curtail economic activity for the reasons you stated. A chart of oil consumption shows that oil consumption peaked for the combination of the United States, EU-27, and Japan in 2005 (Figure 1). Countries that use a large percentage of oil in their energy mix can be expected to have a hard time competing, because of oil’s higher cost. Countries that use coal as their prime source of energy will be at an advantage, because workers’ wages will tend to “go farther” in heating their homes and buying electricity. This is part of our competitiveness problem, even apart from the energy mix problem mentioned earlier. There is no reason to believe that these costs will level off or fall, no matter how much oil the US produces using high-priced methods, such as fracking. Average wages calculated by dividing Private Industry wages from US BEA Table 2.1 by US population, and bringing to 2012 cost level using CPI-Urban. Sometimes businesses decide to outsource production to a cheaper country, or use more automation, as a way of mitigating the cost increases that higher oil prices add, but automation or outsourcing also tends to reduce US wages. Workers in factories making these goods are then able to afford to buy goods that use oil, such as a motor scooter. Perhaps increased efficiency and natural gas substitution will help low-cost producers until they reach a different limit of some sort.
Even if efficiency were improved to allow cars to use half as much fuel, it would save a little less than one-fourth of current oil consumption. Those of us on the edges held on tightly to the frame, because there was not room for all of us. Unfortunately, these actions do not solve the basic structural problem of high and rising world oil prices, and the fact that these rising prices make their economies increasingly less competitive in the world marketplace.
They may use cow dung and fallen branches for fuel, but these are not counted in international data. Such forecasts do not take into account financial considerations, so are likely overstated. Energy of the right type is needed for every process we can think of–getting to work, shipping goods, operating our computers, heating metals when they are refined. The plan has been to allow consumers more income to spend, by keeping interest rates artificially low. If US oil producers have the option of selling their crude oil abroad, perhaps they can get a higher price for it. How far would this oil go in satisfying the needs of 6 billion other people–and growing every year? The likely path seems downward, because any action taken to fix the government gap between income and expense can be expected to have a recessionary impact, and thus have an adverse impact on energy consumption. There no doubt will be some people who survive and prosper, but their lives will likely be very different from what they are today.
We need to thank Canadian oil producers for helping to support the US economy with the low prices they have been receiving on oil exports. I heard an excellent presentation on this subject recently called Global Financial System on Life Support by Roger Boyd. If US oil producers can get higher prices for their oil, this may very well filter through to higher oil prices for US consumers, and less oil consumption by US consumers, but this is not the concern of oil companies.
For example, a shortage of water can be worked around through desalination, but this raises costs.
These higher costs, when passed on to consumers will also lead to a cutback in demand for discretionary goods, and the same kinds of problems experienced in oil exporting nations. Thus, these countries will also have “Peak Demand” problems, because of rising prices, related to limits they are reaching.



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