Much is made about the amount of oil that China and the United States use, but oil is a worldwide fossil fuel that the entire world consumes. Every nation on the planet today consumes oil at some level.
Global oil production advanced in 2013 by 557,000 barrels per day, reaching an all-time high of 86.8 million barrels per day.
World Oil Consumption
There were declines in oil production in 2009, but production levels have increased every year since. Production in the United States since then has increased by 1.1 million barrels per day in that 5 year period. This means that outside of the US, worldwide production of oil has actually decreased by over 500,000 barrels per day.
- Over the past 5 years, 5 regions have seen at least a 10% increase in oil consumption. The Middle East leads the way with an 18.3% increase.
- Over the same period of time, the European Union has seen more than a 10% decrease in oil consumption. The US demand for oil has also declined, but by less than 5%.
- 87% of the demand for oil growth since 2009 has come from the Asia Pacific region.
- Oil is directly responsible for about 2.5% of world GDP and accounts for 33% of the primary energy supply for the planet.
- Oil and natural gas powers 100% of all transportation.
- 40% of the cargo that is currently on the world’s oceans is oil. There is more oil on the ocean than there is fish within the ocean’s waters.
- World energy production from oil alone is 2 orders of magnitude higher than wind power and 3 orders of magnitude higher than solar power. It’s like comparing riding a bicycle to driving an F1 racecar.
- 76% of the crude oil reserves that have been discovered are within the borders of OPEC member countries.
The fact that China and the United States account for 56% of the world’s oil consumption is a fact that needs to be mentioned. What is often not mentioned is that the demand for oil in China is slowing and it is dropping in the US and Europe. As the rest of the developing world works to catch up with other nations, there is a change in technology on the horizon. Industrialized nations are looking at renewable resources instead of fossil fuels for power. Even so, if solar power doubled every decade for the next century, it would still never catch up to oil. That’s how much the world consumes.
Is Oil Consumption Killing The Planet?
- About 8% of the world’s oil production goes to the creation of plastic. It takes 0.25 liter of oil to create a 1 liter bottle.
- 6 million tons of petroleum products wind up in the world’s oceans every year.
- 5%. That’s the percentage of oil that enters the world’s oceans from oil spills. US Coast Guard estimates show that sewage treatment plans discharge 2x the amount of oil of annual tanker spills.
- 1 billion gallons of oil is spilled worldwide on average.
- Oil supplies the US with 30% of its energy, 50% for the UK, 10% for Japan, 22% for India and 90% for Nigeria.
Many people are familiar with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Widely regarded as one of the worst environmental disasters of all time, there are two facts that many people don’t know. First of all, it doesn’t even rank in the Top 30 of largest oil spills of all time, even though 257,000 barrels of oil were lost in the spill. Secondly, the Exxon Valdez was repaired and still works to transport oil on the ocean today. It’s now called the “Sea River Mediterranean” and a law was passed that forbids this ship from returning to Prince William Sound. This is the reality of our need for oil. We’ll do virtually anything to get it.
What Does The Future of Oil Consumption Look Like?
- At current consumption rates, without new resources, there are about 39 years of oil left in reserve.
- US increases in production in 2013 [400k barrels per day] outpaced Chinese increases in production [390k barrels per day] for the first time since 1999.
- Dated Brent averaged $108.66 per barrel in 2013, a decline of $3.01 per barrel from the 2012 level, but the third consecutive year of prices above $100.
- When inflation is accounted for, the price of oil has yet to reach the all-time high of the Pennsylvania oil boom of 1861-1869.
Ultimately worldwide oil consumption relies on supply and demand. Prices are down because demand is down in the developed world – even in China. Will this help developing nations or hurt them? The next 5 year period will see many changes occur. In 2020, we may have a very different world on our hands.