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16. Energy Crisis (Nagrathna)

16. Energy Crisis (Nagrathna)

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Published by Sanjeev Kumar
Unconventional Topics of UPSC's Geography Main's Syllabus prepared by Geography 4 IAS group.
Unconventional Topics of UPSC's Geography Main's Syllabus prepared by Geography 4 IAS group.

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Published by: Sanjeev Kumar on Mar 03, 2013
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Energy crisis
Our civilization has evolved based on an abundant supply of cheap oil
The transportation industry and agricultural fertilizers heavily depend on oil
Oil demand is projected to rise to 121 million barrels per day by 2025 (International EnergyOutlook, EIA, 2004)
The Energy Crisis is often overlooked based on the following misconceptions:
1. “Higher prices will bring in larger investments, which will lead to more production”
2. “Rise in prices will lower consumption”
“Oil shale and tar sands will replace conventional oil”
 4. Fudging of reported reserves by oil companies and countries for political/economic reasons
5. “Many previous ‘crisis’ predictions p
roved wrong
this one will too.
The day-to-day market prices of oil reflect many factors like the current stocks, shipments,economic situation, speculative investment, etc. and not so much the size of reserves of oil
We have now reached a stage in the exploitation of the earth where trying harder to produce moreoil can have only limited results
Oil consumption on a short-term basis does not depend on the price of oil, as is the case for othergoods. There is a large time lag before consumers shift to alternatives or reduce demand
In fact, some experts believe that a rise in oil prices
demand on a short term basis. E.g Oiland natural gas demand growth rates in China have been in the range of 7-15% per year since 1999,despite the tripling of oil prices since then.
Geopolitical reasons
Energy crisis is generally misconstrude as lack of resources rather it is the disruption in thedistrubution of supply of the resources. energy crisis refers to the blockades and as a consequence multipleraise in the fuel price all over the world in petroleum. the genesis of energy crisis is deeply laid in thehistory of Arab-Israel conflict. OPEC was constituted with a purpose of regularising supply and havinguniform price. In 1973 when 6days war brokeout between Israel and Arab as a retaliatory measure OPECraised the prise from 1.5$/barrel to 7$/barrel which generated shock waves in the economy. for the firsttime it was felt that every country must have the concept of energy security. In 1979 Iranian revolution ledto another severe crisis and there was a 3 fold price hike. In 1980 it settled around 23$/barrel. The third oilcrisis came during Invasion of Iraq over kuwait. The petroleum prises are roaring high 73$/barrel many of the developing countries India, china recieved backlash in the economies. Many of S.E.Asian countries
sauash buckelled but in 1996-97 there was a surprising fall in the price of petroleum it is lowest around inthe history 10$/barrel because of three reasons,1. economic crisis in south east asia2. winters were mild in temperate countries thus demand fell in europe and us3. food for oil program in iraq so supply was greater.In 2008 the energy crisis were at 150$/barrel it was highest ever in the international market due toforward trading speculation and demand from china and india. But now the prises are low because of global economic meltdown. geographically enery crisis should include over use of all non renewableresources and it is an indication of a major future crisis which a world can face.
 Future Exploration
The major oil fields in the world have already been discovered
the largest fields are always found first
Except for some parts of the China Sea and of the western desert in Iraq, major regions in the world havebeen fully explored.
Advances in geological technology allow us to predict promising areas for oil
we now know reasonably wellwhere new oil will be found
Oil in the Caspian Sea has high sulfur content which corrodes the pipes and is expensive to extract andrefine. Caspian Sea oil is not likely to become a significant factor in the world oil scenario.
Non-conventional Oil to the Rescue?
conventional” oil produced from oil shale and tar sands may become economical as oil prices
Canada and Russia may have 300 billion bbl of tar sands and shale oil. Venezuela has 1.2 trillion bbl of oil(mixed with heavy metals and sulfur) (Campbell, 1998)
Extraction from oil shale and tar sands is
, expensive, heavily polluting and resource- (e.g. water) andtime-consuming
It may not be possible to achieve the necessary
rates of production
to meet demand by processing oil shale /tar-sands, even when it is economical
 After Oil
Natural Gas?
Natural Gas cannot be a permanent replacement for oil
Use of natural gas in daily life, (e.g. as transport fuel) requires extensive infrastructure build-up

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