Trends in world energy consumption - implications for the North
March 16, 2012
What do the trends in energy consumption throughout the world mean for northern regions ?
- As shown in the graph attached, oil consumption is declining; natural gas and coal consumption are rapidly increasing per capita.
- The increase in coal production is coming from Asia, mainly China. The increase in natural gas consumption is widespread.
- The USGS states that 22% of the world’s natural gas reserves lie in Arctic regions.
- Changes in technology, specifically horizontal drilling and ‘fracking’ have led to major discoveries in Canada and the United States that have increased supply.
- The price of natural gas has fallen to the lowest level in many years with the result in reduced drilling.
The long term trend in North America is towards increased natural gas consumption. In the long run the arctic regions will be tapped to provide natural gas. In the short run though it is doubtful that either a pipeline to the lower 48 from Alaska or from the Beaufort Sea down the Mackenzie valley will be built.