Abstract.

What are the economic and political forces that will influence both the supply of and the demand for petroleum? Production techniques, exploration potential, and the role of enhanced recovery will influence the supply side. On the demand side of the equation, conservation, substitution and efficiency improvements will continue to play a major role. Understanding the basic limits imposed by economics and technology helps to circumscribe the arena in which political power can be exercised to influence oil markets. The integration of these factors into a coherent picture helps to define a number of plausible views of the developing petroleum supply/demand/price picture. Planners must evaluate all of the possible alternatives in order to test the ability of their plans to cope with the acknowledged uncertainties of the marketplace.

Résumé.

Quelles sont les forces économiques et politiques qui vont influencer à la fois l'offre et la demande de pétrole? Les techniques de production, le potentiel d'exploration et le rôle de la récupération assistée vont influencer l'offre. Quant à la demande, les améliorations concernant les économies d'énergie, le remplacement d'énergie et l'efficacité continueront à jouer un rôle extrêmement important. La connaissance des limites fondamentales imposées par la rentabilité et la technologie aide à circonscrire le domaine dans lequel le pouvoir politique pourra être utilisé pour influencer les marchés du pétrole. L'intégration de ces facteurs dans un tout cohérent aide à définir plusieurs vues probables de l'ensemble de l'évolution de l'offre, de la demande et des prix du pétrole. Les responsables devront évaluer toutes les solutions possibles afin d'examiner dans quelle mesure leurs projets permettent de faire face aux incertitudes reconnues du marché.

INTRODUCTION

From its earliest days, the oil industry has been subject to the extreme pressures of the marketplace.

In many respects, stability and continuity have been the exception rather than the rule. Brief periods of stability have more often than not been punctuated by periods of extreme volatility and instability in oil markets. There are several factors inherent in the oil business which tend to create this phenomenon.

Probably the most significant contributing factor is the underlying cost structure of the oil industry.

Before trying to describe a set of possible views of the petroleum industry in the year 2000, it is necessary first to analyse some of the fundamental issues shaping the industry-past, present and future. Evaluation of the responses to a series of questions-some implicit in the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the industry and some raised by ‘contrarians’-may help to clarify these issues. 1. ARE OIL PRICES INHEREN

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