This week’s oil prices put the industry at a value of $1.7 trillion – almost three times larger than the $660 billion in revenues generated from all major raw metals and minerals combined.
Figures compiled by the
For the sake of comparison, gold, the largest raw metal market by dollar value, stands at one-tenth the size of Big Oil. Iron, the second most popular mined and traded metal, generates $115 billion in revenues for companies and governments.
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Oil producers extract 34 billion barrels of oil from the planet every year to provide the 94 million bpd the planet consumes to travel, build and illuminate.
The ascent of oil as the most-valuable commodity on Earth after food and drugs speaks to the technological progress that humans have made since the commercialization of the internal combustion engine in the 1860s, as pointed out by
The contraption allowed modern modes of transportation – notably, cars – to spread all over the world, one vehicle at a time.
The International Air Transport Association
Though climate change activists encourage the abandonment of all three major fossil fuels: coal, oil and natural gas—and with good reason—it’s important to understand the intermediary position of oil as nations begin to quit coal and work toward embracing natural gas and renewable energy sources.
As a cheap and mobile source of energy, coal—the most potent polluter of the fossil fuel trio—has powered the industrial revolutions of the United Kingdom, the United States, China and now,
And for as much as environmentalists today look scornfully upon oil, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that using oil produces roughly 20 percent
An estimated 20 percent of India’s population—a group roughly equal in size to three-fourths of the U.S. population—does not have access to electricity. For now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to bring the essential amenity to the poorest regions of his country with inexpensive coal.
Just like the massive countries that preceded India in hitting their development stride, the Asian giant will eventually curb coal consumption and adopt oil and natural gas—which is not to say that every country has or needs to follow the three-step process.
Over four million vehicles in Pakistan
These hurdles will slow the transition to LNG and other energy types, allowing oil to maintain its leader-of-the-pack status for the foreseeable future.
Over the next few years—even while coal brings the power of light and Internet connectivity to some of the most impoverished areas on the planet, and as developing countries construct pipelines and related facilities to effectively distribute natural gas — oil demand will continue to rise.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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