We in the oil industry are often accused of talking too much to ourselves. That may be true. But it is also true that our best missionaries come from the ranks of those who understand our problems.
During recent months, I am sure you have all heard a great deal -- perhaps more than you care to know -- about the U.S. energy situation . There has been a steadily growing awareness i n business, government, and academic circles that there are some ominous clouds looming on our energy horizon. A recent survey of public attitudes in representative markets showed that 81 percent of the adults believe the U.S. will face a serious energy shortage unless new sources of oil and gas are found. We had a sharp intimation of what an energy shortage can mean in the power shut-down in the New York area on November 9, 1965. For a brief period lights went out, TV sets went dark, kitchen ranges grew cold, and elevators stalled between floors.
Recent events in Great Britain gave us an even more vivid warning of what an energy crisis can mean to a modern industrial nation. The prolonged coal miners? strike shut down factories ; threw about two million people out of work; left offices , stores , and homes without light or heat , for hours at a time; imperiled the supply of milk, eggs, bread, and sugar; reduced even Buckingham Palace to the use of candlelight; and threatened an overturn of the government.
Unfortunately, the concern about energy matters aroused by these and other related events has thus far produced much confusion and little in the way of constructive action. The energy situation has gotten to be a little bit like the weather; everybody talks about it but nobody does much to improve it. And so my purpose today will be to go back to the fundamentals and deal with three simple questions: , what is the problem; d, what are the causes; and third , how do we find our way out of the woods.
THE LONG-TERM OUTLOOK
Let me begin by suggesting t h a t bur energy problems lie primarily in our medium-term, rather than our long-term, future. From a long-term standpoint, our basic energy position is reasonably sound. This nation was liberally endowed with basic energy materials. We are certainly far better off in this regard than many other industrial nations of the world, such as Japan and the countries of Western Europe.
At the present time, we are consuming about 68 quadrillion BTU's per annum, and our needs will probably double by 1985. To meet these requirements, we have crude oil , natural gas, coal, uranium, hydroelectric power, shale oil , and geothermal power. Taken in the aggregate, these energy resources have a BTU content sufficient to meet our needs for at least 100 years or more.