chapter  1
19 Pages

Global energy needs and resources: geographical imbalances and energy security


There is no further need to stress the im port ance of energy for the global eco­ nomy. It is crit ical how ever to be aware that any pol icy de cisions about energy should be based on a sound know ledge of the facts about the inter na tional energy industry. Apart from the strictly technical aspects of energy sources (calorific factors, production technologies, pollutants con tent by fuel and so on), the other funda mental feature of global energy is the unbalanced geographical distribution of reserves, production and consumption, so that inter na tional energy­ related trade flows become essential for the energy secur ity (see Chapter 2) of most countries. This chapter will briefly review the basic stat ist ical data of the world energy sys tem – world energy demand, production and reserves – with a breakdown in each case by energy sources and by regions. We will begin with energy demand, since it can be argued that the energy industry – the ac tiv ities of ex plora tion, production, transport and distribution – follows the path set by energy consump­ tion, which in turn is highly de pend ent on eco nomic growth. Energy production patterns and fossil fuel reserves will be ex plored next. Finally, an ana lysis of inter na tional energy trade will connect supply origins with demand centres and will provide the basis for the in­ depth ana lysis of energy cor ridors and energy secur ity carried out in the rest of the book. The inter action between energy pro­ duction and demand determines the short run equilibrium of the sys tem, while the long run situ ation depends on the rate of growth of energy consumption and the expected variation in reserves. In each section the stat ist ical data will be provided for the main world regions – North Amer ica, Central and South Amer ica, Europe and Eurasia, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific – and for some selected coun tries in each region.1 Besides, ag greg ated data are included for different groups of coun tries – not geo­ graphical in nature – when it is con sidered use ful for the ana lysis.2 Most of the fol low ing series of data are taken from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy (2010) and cor res pond to the end of 2009. Fortunately, this book refers to mat ters that are mostly structural in nature and pol icy oriented, so that its conclusions will hopefully be use ful beyond the imme diate future in spite of the inev it able updates of the stat ist ical series.3