Geopolitics With Energy Independence After Electrification and Fracking

Global oil demand could peak by 2030 with a rapid rise in electric vehicles, ride-sharing and self-driving vehicles. Trucks use 20% of the world’s oil and cars use 40%. This is from 1.5 billion cars.

Total global trade is about $20 trillion out of a $90 trillion world economy. Oil and gas imports and exports are about $1 trillion of this trade.

Currently, the impact is relatively modest. There was just over 5 million electric cars in the world at the end of 2018 and over 8 million electric cars at the end of 2019. An average car driving 21,000 miles with 30 mpg would use 700 gallons per year. This is about 17 barrels per year. 3 million electric cars would offset about 50 million barrels per year. This is about 136K barrels of oil per day. 13 million electric cars in the world at the end of 2020 would offset less than 1 million barrels of oil per day.

The world has been increasing oil usage by about 2 million barrels of oil per day every year. It will take about 5-10 more years for electrification, ride-sharing and self-driving vehicles to offset 2 million barrels of oil per day every year. Most new cars and trucks would need to be electric cars for electrification to prevent the increase in oil demand.

There is more offset from the electrification of buses, taxis or trucks. Buses and trucks are driven more and use more gas. They can use 10 to 40 times more fuel than a regular car. Taxis have 5 to ten times higher usage than a regular car.

Ridesharing can help reduce fuel usage with carpooling rides but some places that had poor transportation increase the number of trips. The increased trips boosts economic activity and efficiency but there is an increase in fuel usage. Ridesharing can also generate extra fuel usage while drivers are roaming around without fares and driving to and from high demand locations at hotels and airports.

In the 2030s, after peak oil demand is reached there will be the shifting of the global fleet of cars and trucks to electric. This would be new electric vehicles being added and old gas cars and trucks getting retired. This will enable almost all countries to become energy independent. China currently imports about 10 million barrels of oil per day out of the 14 million barrels of oil per day that they use.

China, India, Japan and Europe could become energy independent around 2040 with mass electrification and the transformation of transportation.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and other OPEC nations will see lower oil prices and the erosion of geopolitical power.

The drop in energy dependence will also be accelerated if other countries are able to exploit natural gas via fracking and other means. Israel is using the recent Tamar natural gas deposit discovery to become energy independent and to begin exporting natural gas.

China is developing shale gas in Sichuan.

Zhao Wenzhi, an influential researcher at China’s Academy of Engineering forecast that China’s shale gas output could reach 280 bcm, or 23% of the country’s total gas output, by 2035. Zhao is president of Exploration and Production Institute at state giant PetroChina. In 2018, China produced about 10.9 bcm shale gas, less than 7% of the nation’s total gas output at 161 bcm.

China’s 2035 projected shale gas output would require companies drilling over 500 wells a year between 2019 and 2035. This would be double the 2018 level. Wang Xueke, a consultant at Wood Mackenzie, raised China’s tight gas outlook to 85 bcm by 2040, up from an earlier forecast at 68 bcm.

China has tough geology and technology challenges to master shale gas. However, this is strategically important. There will be massive funding to enable China to master natural gas.

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