Integration and Competition in the Petroleum Industry

By Melvin G. De Chazeau; Alfred E. Kahn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
The Public Interest in Oil

MAN'S MATERIAL PROGRESS through the ages has depended and will continue to depend on the harnessing of extrahuman sources of energy. The total energy used in this country in 1900 was the equivalent of only about 300 million short tons of bituminous coal. By 1925 it was 800, by 1950, 1,300 million -- the energy equivalent of the labor of 200 slaves at the disposal of every American.1 The Paley Commission estimated the national total would double again by 1975.2

This slave-power we have on call is fueled principally by oil. In 1900 nine-tenths of our total energy requirements were supplied by coal. In 1954, coal provided only three-tenths; the share of oil and natural gas had risen, during the intervening period, from one-twelfth to two-thirds.3 In 1900, this country produced only 64 million barrels of crude oil and natural gas liquids. Fifty-five years later, we produced 2,749 million barrels and consumed 3,072. By 1975, the Paley Commission has estimated, our annual consumption will reach 5,000 million barrels.4

____________________
1
Eugene Ayres and Charles A. Scarlott, Energy Sources -- the Wealth of the World ( New York, McGraw-Hill, 1952), p. 28.
2
The President's Materials Policy Commission, Resources for Freedom ( Washington, Government Printing Office, 1952, cited below as Paley Report), 1, 103-104. Later projections have produced similar estimates. See, e.g., Philip Sporn , "The Role of Energy and the Role of Nuclear Energy in the United States", in International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy held in Geneva, August, 1955, Proceedings ( New York, United Nations, 1956), 1, 423; Wallace Pratt, "The Impact of the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy on the Petroleum Industry", in U. S. Congress, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, Report of the Panel on the Impact of the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, 2, Background Material, Joint Committee Print ( 1956), p. 89.
3
Crude oil alone accounted for 42 per cent, natural gas 25 per cent, in 1954. U. S. Bureau of Mines, "Petroleum and Natural Gas", a chapter preprint from Mineral Facts and Problems, Bulletin 556 ( Washington, D.C., December, 1955), p. 18.
4
The 1955 figures are from American Petroleum Institute (cited below as API), Statistical Bulletin ( April 17, 1956) Forms 1, 2, and 8; all others, Paley Report, 3, 4. According to later projections, the Paley Report's estimate of

-3-

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