Petroleum requirements since V-J day have been appreciably higher thanpredicted. Foreign operations now exceed maximum wartime levels by about 14 percent. Domestic operations since V-J day have averaged 92 per cent of thewartime peak. In spite of maximum foreign refinery runs, large exports of allproducts, except residual fuel oil, are necessary to meet foreign demand.

During the next few years it is expected that foreign operations willcontinue at capacity, including new installations, but that, because ofincreases in foreign demand, exports will continue at about their presentlevel. Domestic operations will increase during this period and crudeproduction probably will exceed maximum efficient rates.

Even after 10 years some exports probably will be required, but eventuallythese will be supplanted by increased output of foreign refineries, except forsmall tributary exports. The increase in domestic requirements will exceed thedecline in exports. Unless findings of crude oil exceed present expectations, the increasing demand will be met by increased imports and syntheticmethods-such as the Hydrocarbon Synthesis Process for conversion of natural gasand coal to gasoline and distillates. Catalytic cracking installations willincrease as crude availability decreases. This will help to meet the increasingdemand for gasoline but will intensify the domestic shortage of residual fueloil. Eventually larger imports will be required to satisfy the demand - forthis product.


Under the pressure of the wartime period, there was time only occasionallyto look ahead in anticipation of what the postwar era held for the petroleumindustry. Perhaps the general expectation was that a rather pronounced declinein the level of industry petroleum operations would take place shortly afterthe end of the war, with the impact felt mainly on the economy of the UnitedStates. It is of interest now, nine months after V-J day, to take inventory ofthe near-term situation and see what significant forces are at work. With thisas a starting point, it should be possible to engage in something moresatisfactory than pure speculation concerning trends in the immediate futureand 10 to 20 years ahead.

T.P. 2048

This content is only available via PDF.