The New Global Oil Market: Understanding Energy Issues in the World Economy

By Siamack Shojai | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
The Changing Determinants of Global Energy Consumption

Edward T. Dowlingand Francis G. Hilton

Twenty years have passed since the 1973 oil crisis pummeled the global economy. That oil crisis quadrupled oil prices, eliminated economic growth, doubled inflation rates, and launched many nations into urgent pursuit of energy self- sufficiency. The 1979-80 oil crisis--a result of Iran's revolution, the Iraq/Iran War, and the West's panicked response to both events--tripled oil prices, dragged economic growth to yet another halt, reignited inflation rates, and underscored again the need for energy self-sufficiency. The 1986 crash in oil prices exerted an opposite effect. The very forces that collapsed oil prices--the fall in worldwide oil demand and the increase in non-OPEC production--suggested that there was no reason to pursue greater self-sufficiency. The 1990-91 Gulf conflict subsequently demonstrated greater cooperation between oil producers and consumers and further persuaded nations to slow the pursuit of energy independence. The fall of the self-sufficiency imperative, like its rise, reshaped the world's energy consumption patterns.

The retreat of security concerns has allowed other issues--financial, diplomatic, and regulatory--to influence worldwide energy demand. The environmental imperative, more than any of the other issues and imperatives, promises to exert the greatest impact on global energy use. This chapter examines how the rise and retreat of the self-sufficiency imperative changed demand patterns. It then considers some of the probable ways in which the environmental imperative could further restructure worldwide energy consumption.


THE RISE AND RETREAT OF THE SELF-SUFFICIENCY IMPERATIVE

The two oil shocks traumatized the global economy and drove most nations to pursue greater energy self-sufficiency. Market forces and ambitious govern-

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