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How much crude oil has the world really consumed?

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the world consumed 96.92 million barrels per day in 2016, with the top ten consumers accounting for 60 percent of total consumption. That's almost 100 million barrels a day.

At today's average oil price of $ 60 per barrel for Brent crude, it will cost $ 5.8 billion. Everyone. Day.

The three largest oil consumers – the United States (20%), China (13%) and India (5%) – account for more than a third of global consumption. Of these three, only the United States is a major oil producer. Saudi Arabia and Russia, which are two of the world's top three oil producers, occupy places 5 and 6 in terms of fuel consumption.

Data source: EIA [19659005] However, this is only the current daily average based on 2016 EIA data. By today's estimates, we chew through 100 million barrels a day or more. This was not always the case.

According to BP's Statistical Review of World Energy, consumption has been on a steep upward trend for decades, starting at about 40 million barrels per day consumed in 1969.

This is the average daily rate. Annually, global consumption is even more impressive, reaching 36.4 billion barrels in 2018, according to BP. This equates to $ 2.184 trillion in oil consumption in a single year. In gallons, global annual consumption is $ 1,134 trillion – about half of the water found in Lake Michigan.

Looking at total consumption over a decade, consumption has risen from nearly 200 billion barrels in the 1970s to nearly 350 billion barrels in the last decade.

Overall, the world from 1969 to 2018 consumed a period of fifty years 1,306 trillion barrels of oil.

But what about the time before 1969? While this data is broadly less meaningful because it is significantly less volume, it is more difficult to determine. In the early years, production data is easier to obtain, which is a reasonable substitute for consumption because you can not consume what you did not produce and producers would not produce barrels that are not consumed. Related: Slate bleeds cash Despite the best quarter in 1950, world oil production totaled 3.8 billion barrels – just over 10 million barrels a day. To compare this with current production rates, the US, Saudi Arabia and Russia each produce more than that.

Estimated global oil consumption from 1950 to 2018 is then estimated at 1.457 trillion barrels.

But what about before 1950?

Unfortunately, the world's ability to keep records was somewhat inferior to today's methods. Not every producing country has closely monitored the amount of oil it has pumped out of the ground, and fewer countries have kept a good record of how much oil has been used up. For this reason, the estimates of how much oil the world consumed before 1950 vary widely. And of course, the further you go back in history, the worse the ability to keep records. In order to find out how much oil the world has consumed, one would have to get into the Way Back machine until 1850.

Hungarian Academy of Sciences

In 2008, two chemists at the Academy of Sciences estimated that the world had produced 100 billion tons of crude oil. This corresponds to around 733 billion barrels of oil. We can assume that this estimate will include production by 2007. From 2008 to 2018, the world consumed an additional 371.2 billion (BP), which would bring total oil consumption since the beginning of time to 1.104 trillion – using the 1.457 trillion barrels in the above calculations, derived from several sources.

The discrepancy in the number of barrels the world has consumed so far shows that no one really knows exactly how many barrels were pumped out of the ground.

But what happens if, according to the above estimates, we have consumed between 1.1 trillion and 1.5 trillion barrels of oil since the beginning of time?

Oil demand growth

Growth in oil demand is set to slow in the coming years. However, slowing demand growth does not mean that demand is zero, and cries for "peak oil" are still not in sight. While the world currently consumes 100 million barrels a day, oil consumption is expected to rise by an average of 1.1 million barrels a day in 2019, according to the EIA. By 2020, growth of 1.4 million barrels per day is expected. However, these forecasts are often adjusted and forecasts for demand growth have been revised downwards in recent weeks, as analysts predict a slowdown in the economy and thus demand due to the trade war between the US and China. This means that the world will close almost until 2040 42 billion barrels per year will be consumed.

By comparison, how much oil does the world have in reserve? As of 2018, according to OPEC, the world has over 1.477 trillion barrels of oil, with 79.4% of these reserves in OPEC countries and 64.5% of OPEC reserves in the OPEC Middle East lie. Venezuela and Iran – two sanctioned countries – together hold 30% of OPEC's reserves. Nigeria and Libya – which also had security risks that hindered production – still hold another 5%. This leaves 35% of the world's oil in danger of being left in the ground.

OPEC, however, holds the lion's share of the world oil, and in the next ten years most of the new oil supply will come from the United States.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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