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.

20 thoughts on “Geopolitics With Energy Independence After Electrification and Fracking”

  1. They won’t end. The currency becomes worth less, or worthless! That’s how these things work out.
    Consider the british, and spanish currencies. Each had their empire, and it’s collapse. The pound at least remains, but worth much less in terms of the USD.
    Now, consider the german mark of the 1920s, the reichmark, the continental dollar, the confederate dollar, and the “silver” denarius, the debased roman currency.

  2. if you think things are bad in the M.E. now, wait till the oil wealth goes away.

    I guess it would be become like central Africa or something, or what central Africa would be like if they had started in 1950 with a lot more weapons and unsustainable population densities.

  3. Realistically though, the whole albedo-raising aerosol thing is just too cheap to not be done. There’s definitely problems with that method but it will happen anyway.

    I agree that we should work on CO2 sequestration though. It’ll become more economical if we invest in it for enough decades. Eventually we can come out the other side.

  4. Not so easy. You are talking thousands of square miles. And you are making it much more difficult to get to the Moon or Mars. Less light also means less plants soaking up CO2. Much easier to blast ocean water into the air to increase albedo. And easy to adjust. But such methods you become dependent on, and need more and more, which is a recipe for disaster. Better to deal with the cause…the CO2. CO2 would still be acidifying the ocean…and there might be other more subtle effects.

  5. If the US was mostly electrified then we could produce all the fuel needed for airplanes and ships.

    The answer is that the world is becoming independent of the Middle East and when we are independent then things will get really bad there because none of the big kids will care anymore and if you think things are bad in the M.E. now, wait till the oil wealth goes away.

  6. Regardless of whether other production costs go down, Shale production will always need a metric ton of capital investment. The good news is Shale wells hit quick and produce quick.

  7. It is possible we could move to electric cars for even global low cost vehicles. It is impossible to predict the future timeline of battery/capacitor advancement. Someone could come up with a cheap battery that has 10x the energy density as advanced lithium batteries, next week. Or we could be waiting 20 years to get to double. I don’t think either of those endpoints are particularly likely. Most likely is double by 3-4 years…in my opinion. Then next doubling over the next 5-8 years. That second doubling will probably result in personal flying electric drones (that carry people obviously).

  8. As scary to some as this sounds, I think we are only about 1/3 of the way to peak oil/natural gas. And we will likely need ways to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. What makes me think this? Only a small fraction of people have all the road vehicles they want that are not redundant. Maybe when you get to one reliable vehicle per adult, that will approximate saturation. Some people would still prefer none. And delivery services, telecommuting and 3D printing may reduce the need for transportation. We will need something approaching 6 billion road vehicles, and we are only at 1.2 billion. And a lot of roads are yet to be built. Global mining, manufacturing and commerce will probably pick up dramatically, as more of the world’s people get involved. That means more ships, trains, aircraft and trucks.
    Actually, I think it will be electric automated personal drones and nuclear power plants that will really put a dent in oil use for transport. They won’t be used for everything at least not initially. Heavy construction materials and lots of other stuff will continue to be moved by road vehicles. They will probably have to come up with more durable materials to make roads out of, because the few users will be less able to afford to pay the taxes or fees to keep the roads up. But this is way down the road.
    Electric cars? There will certainly be electric cars. But it will be hard for a few decades to make electric cars cheaper than very high production cars.

  9. Very little electricity production in the world is powered by oil. It is either coal or natural gas if it is not nuclear or renewables. So electrifying transport does make the world less dependent on oil. Combined with the increased production of oil and gas in the US and other countries makes the world less dependent on Middle East oil.

  10. If there is so much wrong, just pick one thing and explain it. Being exasperated that there is too much to cover does not bolster your assertion that it’s all rubbish! I’d like to know what is wrong with it all. Expose us to different thought and educated opinion.

  11. There is so much wrong with this post i would have no idea where to begin. Except to say all of the base assumptions are wrong except the corr one of oil demand peaking. But generally that happening will be a will be a symptom and a bad one at that.

  12. No it does not. You have been paying attention the last couple of years to advances being made by specific companies. Which is big oil moving into chale finally is so important. They are good at controlling marginal costs.

  13. Have no fear. Methane clathrates (the fracking of the high seas) will come. We can run our ships on LNG and buy it from a wide variety of suppliers.

  14. But even if the transport is electrified, where will the electricity come from? Nuclear is only about 10% world wide, and even ultra environmental Europe has a substantial fossil fuel part of the energy mix. Gas is needed to back up the (economically unprofitable) wind power…

    In addition, jet fuel and crude oil are still needed for airplanes and ships. So just how independent of the middle east would the world be?

  15. When low interest rates end the world will have much bigger issues to worry about: a pandemic of debt crisis as every nation struggles to pay interest on their debt.

  16. Once the effectively zero interest rates(lower than the rate of monetary inflation) end, crude oil prices will need to be much higher to make shale wells profitable.

  17. What if autonomous electric cars are a immediate disruptive shift instead of being a slower long-term adaptation? Love this video – – and think he’s got a point that a 10x cost improvement for self-driving electric cars would lead to a remarkably fast adoption rate and speed up this entire transition, bringing the end of peak oil in 3-5 years instead of 10.


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