Hydrocarbons and 1980
- Robert O. Anderson (Atlantic Richfield Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 1967
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,325 - 1,327
- 1967. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 7.4.4 Energy Policy and Regulation, 5.8.4 Shale Oil, 4.3.4 Scale, 4.6 Natural Gas, 6.5.1 Air Emissions, 5.8.5 Oil Sand, Oil Shale, Bitumen
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Demand for oil in the United States by 1980 is expected to be 17 million BID; however, current data indicate that the nation's crude oil and natural gas reserves are beginning to decline. Discussed in this article is the possible use of imports and synthetic hydrocarbons to fill a growing fuel-supply gap in this country. Import-export policies and potential capabilities of U. S. producing districts are examined. Emphasis is placed on the future role of hydrocarbons from shale, tar sands and coal in the nation's total energy market.
Factors Shaping the Hydrocarbon Future
While our vision of the 1980 hydrocarbon industry is still a bit misty, there are recognizable factors that will inevitably influence the next decade or so; in describing and recognizing them, a clearer picture of the future may emerge. Reviewing the scope of the subject broadly, these factors stand out. 1. Hydrocarbons, and particularly flowable hydrocarbons such as crude oil and gas, are presently the dominant energy sources of the world. 2. Looking toward 1980, the petroleum industry must continue to be the principal energy supplier of the world. Total world demand has already climbed well past 30 million B/D, and a demand of 60 million B/D by 1980 is looming up with certainty. 3. The U. S. is relatively well endowed with energy sources per se. However, it is a large consumer of energy, especially energy from crude oil and natural gas, the fuels of which it has the least supply. Current discovery performance portends further decline in relative reserves. 4. Many forms of energy are becoming more adaptable and interchangeable than before, and the consumer will have growing options for his choice of power or fuel. The technical developments and rising demand that generate these options foster a viewpoint of nonparochial regard for specific fuels or fuel forms. For example, the petroleum industry, in planning its future ventures and assessing its competition, must view itself more than ever before as part of the total energy industry. 5. Nevertheless, the utility of flowable liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons will always make them compelling choices for many uses in our nation's economy. If economical supplies of crude oil and natural gas fall short of demand, the gap can be filled by imports and synthetic hydrocarbons. 6. National self-interest and the realities of world commerce will preclude singular reliance on imported offshore oil to supplement domestic production. 7. The economies of scale and the evolving technologies of mining and hydrogenation will cause hydrogen-deficient hydrocarbons (tar, shale oil and coal) indigenous to the North American Continent to become logical sources of synthetic hydrocarbons.
Emerging Supply Gap
U.S. markets for hydrocarbons will continue to grow through 1980, and we will see development of additional uses for petroleum. Our forecasts of various demands within the energy markets indicate that petroleum will maintain its high growth rate well into the future. By the time we reach the 60 million-bbl level of world production, U.S. demand will probably be about 17 million B/D. The rapidly expanding transportation markets will continue to be supplied by petroleum. There is no reason to doubt that pollution problems will be solved to the satisfaction of our citizens. The petroleum industry has been aware of this situation for some time and, in fact, has spent millions of dollars on research and development to insure that the consumer is provided with the cleanest products possible. In recent years, the private ownership of automobiles has increased so rapidly that we will be spending even more money to minimize this problem of air pollution. Undoubtedly, individual and cooperative effort in the petroleum and auto industries will provide adequate solutions. Expanding U. S. petroleum markets will increasingly challenge the nation's producers to innovate. The trend toward new production techniques in old producing areas will continue. In some of these older areas, the crude production volume from secondary recovery and pressure maintenance operations has already passed the half-way point. For the U. S. as a whole, the percentage of production from these types of operations has risen from 17 percent in 1950 to about 35 percent currently, and will be near So percent by 1980. In recent years, with few exceptions, following major discoveries injection programs have been started as soon as development permitted. This will continue in the future as a means of increasing recoveries and productivities to the highest efficient level possible.
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