By Ronald Stein
Over the last 200 years, after the discovery of crude oil, the world populated from 1 to 8 billion. Today, all the electricity generation options available, such as wind turbines, solar panels, nuclear, hydro, coal, and natural gas, are all dependent on the products and components manufactured from crude oil to be able to generate electricity.
Looking back, the history of the petroleum industry illustrated that crude oil was virtually useless unless it could be manufactured (refineries) into oil derivatives that are now the basis of chemical products, such as plastics, solvents, and medications, that are essential for supporting modern lifestyles. The more than 6,000 products being used for humanity’s needs and the generation of electricity did not exist a few short centuries ago.
Today, we have more than 50,000 merchant ships, more than 20,000 commercial aircraft, and more than 50,000 military aircraftthat use the fuels manufactured from crude oil. The fuels to move the heavy-weight and long-range needs of jets moving people and products and the merchant ships for global trade flows; the military and space programs, are also dependent on what can be manufactured from crude oil.
For the aircraft and ships, just like that for the various options for the generation of electricity, they all utilize parts and components made from the oil derivatives manufactured from raw crude oil.
Mankind in the pre-1800s set the stage for the fantastic growth after the mankind’s discovery of crude oil:
- Life longevity was around forty years of age, and people seldom travelled more than one hundred miles from where they were born.
- A world population of about one billion people.
- No electricity, as all generation of electricity is only possible with the parts made from the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil for wind turbines, solar panels, and coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydropower plants.
- The following infrastructures were not around a few short centuries ago, because they all need components and parts that were NOT available in the pre-1800s.
- Medical equipment
- Communications systems
- Space programs
- Heating and ventilating
Today, a few centuries after the discovery of crude oil:
- Everything that needs electricity and every infrastructure is made from oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil, from the light bulb to the iPhone, defibrillator, and all the parts of EVs, toilets, and spacecraft.
- Weather-related fatalities have virtually disappeared with all the products and medications available today that were not available a few centuries ago.
Globally, as most of the world leaders in the few wealthy countries continue to focus on ceasing oil production and shuttering the refining of crude oil, the future does not bode well, as 20 percent of the almost 700 worldwide refineries are expected to close in the next 5 years, i.e., 140 closures. Further inflation and shortages in perpetuity are guaranteed, as those refineries are manufacturing the oil derivatives for all the products in society, and the fuels for the jets moving people and products, and the merchant ships for global trade flows and the military and space programs.
While the few wealthy countries are pursuing the elimination of crude oil, China has no intentions of abandoning its economic, military, or strategic ambitions – all of which rely on crude oil. Asia is the region with the greatest number of future petroleum refineries. As of 2021, there were 88 new facilities in planning or under construction in Asia.
Policymakers in the few wealthy countries are not cognizant enough to understand that there has yet to be identified a replacement for crude oil that now provides the products and fuels that have been manufactured from crude oil during the last few centuries, that are the basis on every infrastructure segment supporting the 8 billion on this planet!
The elephant in the room that no one wants to discuss is that crude oil is the foundation of our materialistic society, as it is the basis of all products and fuels demanded by the 8 billion on this planet.
- Ridding the world of raw crude oil before we have a replacement to produce the oil derivatives currently manufactured from crude oil, we’re back to the 1800s.
- The greatest threat to the world’s populations could be the future for billions to exist and prosper without those oil derivatives that are currently supporting more than 6,000 products for society.
- Shockingly, very few parents, teachers, students, politicians, and those in the media have any clues or understanding about the basis of the products in our daily lives from crude oil! Energy Literacy at its best!!!
The proverb “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” tells us that:
- You can’t rid the world of crude oil and
- Continue to enjoy the products and fuels that are currently made with the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil.
Without a replacement for the crude oil that’s been providing the products supporting today’s humanity for the last couple of centuries, policymakers seem to be focused on jumping out of an airplane without a parachute!
Here are a few suggested subjects for those energy literacy discussions at the dinner table:
- Everything that needs electricity is made from the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil, from the light bulb to the iPhone, defibrillator, and all the parts of EVs, toilets, and spacecraft.
- All generation of electricity is only possible with the parts made from the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil for wind turbines, solar panels, and the coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydropower plants.
- Electricity came after crude oil!