ABSTRACT

Throughout this decade hydrocarbons will supply the overwhelming proportion of the world's growth in energy demand. After 1985, nuclear power and energy from the sun, the deep earth , the winds and tides will without much doubt become much more important than they are today. Sometime between 1985, and 1990 energy from these sources may even represent most of the h in demand. It is unlikely that they will start to e hydrocarbons as primary sources of energy before the end of the century. In other words, not before the year 2000 can we expect the e consumption of conventional hydrocarbons in the world to level off and start to decline.

These dates are of course speculative. New methods of discovering hydrocarbons; new methods of drilling in deep water or breakthroughs in recovery methods could extend for several years, perhaps decades, the period of hydrocarbon dominance of energy in the world. Similarly, nuclear fusion may not be developed by the end of this century; there may be unforeseen problems in developing breeder reactors ; geothermal energy may prove to be unfeasible and we may not develop coal or shale on any substantial scale . The failure of any or all of these new processes could also extend the period of hydrocarbon dominations; although this would imply that energy supplies would be inadequate to meet future demands, or more accurately stated , that the cost or price of hydrocarbons would rise to the point where demand would be inhibited.

Conversely, a breakthrough in development of nuclear fusion or new methods of in situ retorting of shale or of mining and converting coal could cut short the primacy of oil and gas. The picture could also change drastically, and in an entirely different manner if the main oil producers were to decide that it were in their interest to restrain growth. This is a process which has already been begun and will surely be one of the most important factors in international energy in the next two or three decades. There are, most likely, adequate supplies of petroleum and natural gas n the world to meet the world's demands and there might not be cause for concern if they were all located in areas of heavy consumption, or even if they were evenly distributed throughout the world. They are not, however, and is at last widely (but, still far from universally) recognized that the world's primary hydrocarbon reserves are concentrated in areas with small populations, with limited possibility for economic development, and whose demands for capital are limited. We cannot be sure that these producing countries will automatically find it to their own interest to expand production without restraint .

It is almost axiomatic that an adequate supply of energy, at reasonable prices is in the interest of the world -- and this would include the oil producing countries as well.

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