Earth’s Appetite for Energy

The Land of Enchantment needs good news, and it just got some, courtesy the federal government’s release of its “International Energy Outlook 2017.”

The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that “total world energy consumption” will rise from 575 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2015 to 736 quadrillion Btu in 2040 — an increase of 28 percent.

That growth means more demand for U.S. coal, petroleum, and natural gas. And that means jobs for New Mexicans.

Yes, the state’s economy needs diversification, and energy can be a volatile business. But while prices fluctuate, planetary demand for the stuff that moves us around and powers our devices looks to only increase in the decades to come. Meanwhile, BP has “hit a highly productive field in New Mexico’s San Juan Basin,” and the Permian Basin, which sprawls across Texas into the southeast corner of the Land of Enchantment, could be on the way to becoming “the world’s biggest oil field.” Even coal’s future looks a little brighter, with the White House “encouraging more … mining on lands owned by the federal government.”

Despite the shrill hectoring of alarmist “greens,” the EIA estimates that “world consumption of liquid fuels” will rise from “95 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015 to 113 million b/d in 2040.” Demand for natural gas, “the world’s fastest growing fossil fuel,” will increase by 43 percent. (See chart above.) Coal consumption isn’t likely to grow domestically, but in India, demand will grow by 90 percent.

New Mexico doesn’t have much export infrastructure for its energy, but that hardly matters. As formations, fields, and basins closer to the country’s Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf coasts sell their products abroad, regions deep in the interior will pick up the slack. America is a global player in energy again, and our state stands to benefit, bigly, from the shift.

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