The incredible scale of global energy demand

Perspectives blog
Ken Cohen - Jul. 08, 2015

The immense size of global energy needs is often difficult for people to comprehend.

Consumers around the world use more than 92 million barrels of oil and liquid fuels every single day. That works out to more than 1,000 barrels per second, each one produced at no small effort by companies like ours.

A real challenge facing those of us in the industry is to put such numbers in terms that the average person can wrap his or her head around. I am not sure we have come up with an adequate way to do that.

However, ExxonMobil Senior Vice President Darren Woods recently mentioned something fascinating that helps give some perspective to the vast nature of global energy demand. On top of that, it shows something of the challenge companies like ExxonMobil face in keeping the world economy supplied with the energy products that support modern life.

In a speech earlier this spring, Darren mentioned a project ExxonMobil is progressing called Hebron on the east coast of Canada. It is one of several important developments in ExxonMobil’s future production portfolio.

Like many projects undertaken by the oil and gas industry, Hebron is enormous. It is among the largest engineering projects currently underway anywhere in the world, and when completed will be one of the larger and more complex offshore drilling and production projects our industry has ever pioneered.

It will take five years to build and is not scheduled to start up until 2017. (By contrast, the Pentagon took 18 months to build.) The cost to build Hebron? More than $14 billion.

We expect Hebron to produce oil for three decades, and we are in the process of hiring people who could spend their entire careers working on this one project.

When all is said and done and Hebron comes online, this massive energy project is expected to produce about 700 million barrels of oil.

Remember, that is over the course of 30 years.

Here’s the kicker: The amount of oil Hebron will supply over three decades is equivalent to about eight days of current global oil requirements. Not eight years. Not eight months. Eight days.

That should give you some idea about the size of our industry and about what is required to power the global economy. The world will need a lot of projects like Hebron to keep it moving. At ExxonMobil, we are working hard to do our part.



Tags:   emerging energy marketenergy demandglobal energy demand
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