This paper was prepared for the 1974 Eastern Regional Meeting of the Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, to be held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14–15, 1974. Permission to copy is restricted to an abstract of not more that 300 words. Illustrations may not be copied. The abstract should contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper is presented. Publications elsewhere after publication in the paper is presented. Publications elsewhere after publication in the JOURNAL OF PETROLEUM TECHNOLOGY or the SOCIETY OF PETROLEUM ENGINEERS JOURNAL is usually grated upon request to the Editor of the appropriate journal provided agreement to give proper credit is made.

Discussion of this paper is invited. Three copies of any discussion should be sent to the Society of Petroleum Engineers office. Such discussions may be presented at the above meeting and, with the paper, may be considered for publication in one of the two SPE magazines.


In the past two years, the energy economy of the U.S. and the rest of the world has been jolted by a series of events that have altered appreciably the historic nature of the energy market. The factors that have caused these major changes in energy markets and the prospects for their continuation in the future are examined. Future prices for energy and the sources of supply are discussed as are the prospects for reduced demand through price prospects for reduced demand through price elasticity, changes in lifestyle, increased conversion efficiencies and energy conservation.

The projections of future energy developments are made for two time frames—the next 10 years and the period beyond. This distinction is necessary because of the long lead times required to make significant changes in either supply or demand without direct government involvement or controls.

The nature of the many different areas in which federal involvement can affect the future of the energy industries and the various federal options and their different impacts are analyzed.


In relatively few years nearly everything about the energy industries has changed so rapidly that the historic problems with which we wrestled in the past now no longer seem real. The great debates over whether coal prices would increase from 20 to 25 cents per million Btu or whether the regulated wellhead price of natural gas should be 18 or 20 cents per million Btu are as a dream that never really was. This sudden change in the energy situation was not entirely unanticipated, although some important events which occurred suddenly and without any warning greatly accelerated and aggravated a developing problem. As a result, the two hundred years of low-cost adequate supplies of domestic energy resources available in any form desired came to an abrupt end with the beginning of the decade of the 70s.

To understand what has happened and where we are today requires a separate review of each of the energy industries since no two of them have been influenced by exactly the same factors.

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