It is a pleasure to be with you here in Dallas this afternoon to discuss a subject that has caught the imagination not only of oil men but of the general public as well.
The spark that ignited this interest was the gas discovery in the Groningen province of Holland in 1959. Subsequent exploration has indicated it to be one of the largest gas fields in the world. What has quickened and held public interest, of course, is its potential significance to free Europe's energy supply.
With the aid of a few figures, I should like to do four things this afternoon:
First, comment on the European energy picture and outline the pattern that this new source of energy will be fitting into.
Second, describe the Groningen field and the way it is being developed.
Third, give you some idea of exploration problems in the North Sea area.
And fourth, speculate briefly on the impact which discoveries in these areas could have on European energy consumption.
Obviously, each of these topics deserves more attention than I will have time to give it, but I will touch on the essential points of each.
Fig. 1 compares free European energy consumption during 1964 with that of the United States and the Free World, in terms of oil equivalent. First this chart shows the energy consumption in Europe was some 16 million B/D. This is two-thirds of the U. S. consumption of 24 million B/D, and 30 per cent of the Free World total of 52 million B/D.
Fig. 1 also illustrated the considerable differences in the types of energy used in Europe and the U. S. For example, coal supplies 44 per cent of Europe's energy, twice that of the U. S. (22 per cent), while natural gas supplies less than 2 per cent of European energy as opposed to 29 per cent in this country. You will note that in both areas oil has a similar share of the energy market — some 45 per cent.
Another significant factor in the European energy pattern is that 42 per cent of the requirements are imported, as compared to 8 per cent in the U. S. Although everyone knows that most of Europe's petroleum must be imported, it is of interest to note that nearly 10 per cent of the coal consumed is also imported.
Finally, the over-all growth rate of energy consumption in Europe in the past 10 years has been 4.3 per cent a year, and is predicted to be 4.0 per cent a year in the foreseeable future. These figures are significantly higher than growth rates in the U. S.
Europe's rapid growth in energy demand and dependence upon imports offers many problems involving security of supply, balance of payments, etc.