A fascinating and important article was the lead story in Sunday’s New York Times:
The economies of many big oil-exporting countries are growing so fast … several of the world’s most important suppliers may need to start importing oil within a decade to power all the new cars, houses and businesses they are buying and creating with their oil wealth.
Indonesia has already made this flip. By some projections, the same thing could happen within five years to Mexico, the No. 2 source of foreign oil for the United States, and soon after that to Iran, the world’s fourth-largest exporter. In some cases, the governments of these countries subsidize gasoline heavily for their citizens, selling it for as little as 7 cents a gallon, a practice that industry experts say fosters wasteful habits.
“It is a very serious threat that a lot of major exporters that we count on today for international oil supply are no longer going to be net exporters any more in 5 to 10 years,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, an oil analyst at Rice University.
We are becoming a planet of guzzlers:
… some producing countries have surpassed the United States in oil consumption per person. They include Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Kuwaitis, for instance, often leave their air conditioning — powered by electricity generated from natural gas or oil-derived fuels — running for weeks while on vacation, said an official at the World Bank. Sportsmen of the United Arab Emirates ski indoors on manufactured snow and play golf on lush courses that require desalinated water produced with fuels refined from oil.
Not that we are in a position to judge any other country, of course, given our wasteful ways. But this is just more evidence that oil supply is not going to keep up with demand for very much longer.