Bryan Lawrence : Oil Demand

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Oil Demand

Some interesting numbers:

  (million barrels per day)    2005    2007  
  World Oil Production    84.63    84.60 
  Chinese Oil Demand    6.84    7.60  

The original article (hat tip John Fleck) makes the point that a natural inference from these numbers is that while Chinese oil demand has been rising, elsewhere in the world, demand has been falling. Now remember these figures predate the recent price eruptions.

I find an interesting subtext in these numbers. As far as I'm aware it would hard to be argue that while the fall in demand has probably come from Europe, Japan and the U.S., it has been driven by consumer or governmental drives to reduce oil consumption because of concerns about global warming. So that implies that if we could actually devise an effective policy to drive down oil consumption in the west superimposed on what might be a natural downward trend1, then it would probably be possible to allow Chinese demand to continue growing and have a net decrease in consumption globally. And if that's so, it removes one of those planks from the "do nothing" brigade who argue that there's no point because Chinese (and Indian and Brazilian etc) consumption will continue to increase.

We can make a difference!

(I wonder what the coal figures look like?)

Update: I shouldn't have started this, but now Jeff has a link to the latest EIA figures, and I haven't a clue what the real state of supply and consumption is ... which echoes the major point of his first post I guess).

1: yes, I know, two points don't make a trend ... and I suppose there is an argument about exporting carbon consumption to consider ... and further, the original article does point out that if this all remains linear then there would be no oil consumption in the US in 17 years, but this argument is not about decades it's about the here and now! (ret).

Categories: environment

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This page last modified Wednesday 13 August, 2008
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