# News Chinese for gas crisis = conservation opportunity

1. Oct 14, 2004

### Loren Booda

Chinese for "gas crisis" = conservation opportunity

Whoever becomes president, I hope they realize that China and India will together approach half the world's oil consumption over the next twenty years. Doesn't it make sense to secure now conservation as priority one in energy policy, followed closely by alternative fuels and sources, then utilization of secondary oil resources, e. g., the tar sands of Canada or high-sulfur coal. The energy is there, if we are willing to a priori invest the $50,$60, $70... per barrel equivalent for secure fuel. 2. Oct 14, 2004 ### wasteofo2 Yes it makes sense, but idiots who want to buy SUV's to drive from the suburb to the city will accuse you of wanting to take away their "right to chose" for even suggesting that we should limit our gas consumption in any way. 3. Oct 15, 2004 ### Locrian I'm not sure there is much reason to limit. Some excellent alternatives to standard combustion engines will be available by the end of the 20 year period you quote. As gasoline gets significantly more expensive, wont it just mean that these other systems will then be economically efficient? 4. Oct 15, 2004 ### selfAdjoint Staff Emeritus They become attractive only at the higher cost per mile. Any way you slice it, driving is going to be a lot more expensive than now. What would$10 a gallon gas or the equivalent in other technology do to US society?

5. Oct 15, 2004

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
I seriously doubt this. I'm really curious where you read this.

Right now, China (with over 4 times the US population) consumes about 25% of what the US does, and India (with over 3 times the US population) consumes about 10% of the US consumption. And even though the growth rate in both these countries is rising (while it's dropping in the US), I find it hard to imagine that they will account for half the world's consumption in twenty years.

In addition, I'm not sure how this is relevant to the rest of the argument. Let's say that 20 years down India, China and the US consume 15%, 30%, and 30% (or are you claiming that the US will be consuming less than both these countries, by then) respectively of the world oil consumption. Why is that additional reason to conserve.

I'm a strong proponent of conservation. I just don't see how the opening line serves other than to have people treat China and India as global threats. The same argument could have been made by anyone in the world years ago, about US energy consumption - that one country would account for nearly 30% of global consumption.

PS : My car gives me over 30 miles to the gallon, and I drive less than 400 miles a month. My daily commute involves a half hour of walking and/or riding the bus.

Last edited: Oct 15, 2004
6. Oct 15, 2004

### Locrian

Well true. I somehow feel that, if China and India grow as much as expected, then any amount of fuel we save now will be insignificant compared with the fuel they are using then.

But you are right; why make an argument against improved efficiency?

7. Oct 15, 2004

### Loren Booda

Gokul43201,

China and India are competitors regarding fuel consumption, and have as much right to access natural resources as America does, if they can afford it.

Also, like the U.S. was, they (especially China) are emerging threats to polluting the world ecosystem by abusing the environment. Perhaps they will learn from the mistakes of the U.S. and evolve quickly out of wasteful practices, and regain their tradition of conservation.

Do you think the combined oil consumption of China and India will reach 50% of the world total within 20 years?
?
?
?

8. Oct 15, 2004

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Here's my guess :

Current approximate shares of World oil consumption are :
US = 28%, China = 8%, India = 3% (CH + IND = 11%)

Now let's assume the worst case, which is that oil consumption grows only in China and India, and decreases all over the rest of the world so as to keep the global consumption constant (of course, this is hardly realistic, but it only makes the numbers look much worse than they really will be). China's current growth rate is below 4% and India's is about 5%.

Going by the above assumption, and the current rates of growth, the shares of World oil consumption in 20 years will be :
US = 24%, China = 18%, India = 8% (CH + IND = 26%)

Even if their growth rates increase constantly and double, by the end of this 20 yr period, their shares would be :
China = 30%, US = 20%, India = 13%

So my answer to the poll would be : NO

Further, in my opinion, India will not be among the 3 largest consumers (which will still be US, China and Japan), and China will not exceed the US in consumption.

Finally, if I was to guess the what the total consumption of India and China would be, I'd put it below 20% of the world's.

Last edited: Oct 15, 2004
9. Oct 16, 2004

### Loren Booda

Gokul43201,

Thanks for the analysis. In the end, I suppose price and ability to pay it is king.

10. Oct 16, 2004

### Mercator

Hi guys, I live in China and work in the energy, I just completed a fairly detailed study of the situation here. India, I admit I don't know. In fact oil consumption is rising in China with more than 10 % yearly. I commanded a study by a Chinese consultant and compared earlier surveys made by American and Japanese. The highest estimate was almost a tripling of the annual crude oil consumption from the anticipated 280 million Mtons this year by 2015. This is not only due to fuels for transport and electric power (China's main power source is coal), but because of the need for feedstocks for the chemical industry. The world's chemical industry is shifting to China because their customer industries (textile, anything with plastics, cars etc...) have shifted to China or are in the process of doing so. This does not work in a very linear way. Between 2006-2007 there will be an enormous increase in chemical capacity because of the large integrated projects that will then be coming onstream. This is for sure, because the they are being built right now. It is predicted that in the next ten years 1/3 of American and european chemical industry will shift to China. Now, how do all these figures add up? In my projections I was more conservative. I think there is a limit to the Chinese growth, purely for economical reasons. China's oil reserves are very limited, so they will always have to import substantial amounts.At a certain moment they will weigh very heavily on the pricing of oil and they will reach a level were the advantages of producing in China will balance out with the cost of getting the energy (and raw materials) there. So I don't believe in an unlimited growth at the present speed. China is looking for solutions, hydro power, nuclear, natural gas, of which they have more, liquefaction of coal etc... And of course they are struggling to get deals with Kazakhstan and Russia for oil via pipe to West China. Nobody can give an accurate prediction for the next ten years in China, too many parameters are unsure. My educated guess is that it will level out at about the double of today's figures. This still means that China, by 215 would need to import about 6.6 mio bbl per day. So, purely considering OIL, I guess most analysts would agree that they will not overtake the US. However the total energy by, coal, natural gas and oil together might by that time outgrow the US.
Sorry, it's not east to compound an 80 pages report in one post...!

Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2004
11. Oct 16, 2004

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Looks like some of my numbers were wrong (I now see that they are 3 years old). But the upshot of Mercator's post suggests that China will level off at about 16-20%. Higher than I had guessed, but nowhere near the 30-40% required to give the India + China total of 50%.

12. Oct 16, 2004

### Mercator

Correct, though many Chinese sources give higher figures. They purely reason on an extrapolation of present growth figures and think supply growth will follow. I think it's sad that crude oil is wasted on energy. All efforts should concentrate on preserving the oil for USE IN THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY. Where even today energy alternatives are already available (nuclear power foremost), there is no alternative for most chemical processes. Plastics and other chemicals form the basis of our society today and without them progress would come to a stop. Plastics can be recycled too, while after burning oil, well, it's gone...

13. Oct 16, 2004

### Locrian

Thanks for all that good info Mercator, very interesting!

14. Oct 19, 2004

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus

15. Mar 18, 2005

### Loren Booda

It's been five months since the last post of this thread. Do oil futures appear different now?

16. Mar 18, 2005

### misskitty

Why is it that China consumes 25% of what we do? Is it because their cities are so populated that it would be ludicrous for them to have the number of vehicles we have?

Thats a good idea walking and riding the bus. Less emissions
Did you know that your car release something like 5 pounds of carbon for every 1/2 gallon of fuel.

17. Mar 18, 2005

### Rev Prez

I can second Mercator's comments on Chinese industrial consumption. And in the end, that's the class of energy consumers that matters and the one we can address most readily in the near future.

Rev Prez

18. Mar 18, 2005

### Rev Prez

Its because China's been crawling out of third world status for the past century, their industry is geographically less distributed than the Americans', and the exchange rate places regular automobile ownership beyond the reach of even their tremendous middle class.

Rev Prez