Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Energy Export Databrowser

Access to fossil fuels is one of the most important issues of our time. The world's largest economies are extremely dependent upon imported supplies of oil and gas. Understanding who produces and consumes oil, coal and natural gas is critical today and will remain so in the years ahead.

The Energy Export Databrowser hosted by Mazama Science uses data from the 2009 BP Statistical Review and displays coal, oil & natural gas production and consumption timelines for each country in the database and several political and geographic groupings of nations. Users can dynamically plot import/export curves to get a sense of who the major fossil fuel producers and consumers are and how this has changed in the last four decades.

Interpreting Results

Various interesting patterns appear in the data graphics. A few interpretations are provided here.

Peak ProductionUninterrupted by war or political upheaval and developed with the latest technology, the North Sea provides a very good example of a 'normal' (almost gaussian) production curve that is now past 'peak' production. It is anticipated that annual production volumes will continue to decline barring a dramatic new discovery.

Export Land ModelThe 'Export Land Model' proposed by Jeffrey Brown and Samuel Foucher describes how developing nations, enriched by oil profits, will grow economically and increase their own consumption of energy resources. Declining production and increasing consumption can rapidly turn an exporting nation into one that requires imports as exemplified by ex-OPEC member Indonesia.

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