HAVANA TIMES — A few months ago, a group of us who follow this issue tried to answer the question above, taking advantage of the annual Statistical Review report published by British Petroleum. Our ideas were gathered together and published in an article here and on other digital magazines.
In this year’s edition, we returned, curious to know whether our predictions had come true. The study which I will now summarize – and broaden with further details – appeared on The Oil Crash blog.
As we had foreseen a year ago, the energy scene in Latin America and the Caribbean is becoming more and more complex.
Out of all the energy sources we have, oil is in the most critical situation; because of our extremely high dependence on it, because oil production has been falling at a steady rate for a decade now, and because it can’t be substituted in the short-term for crucial economic activities. A small drop in consumption could set fire to the continent.
Last year, we predicted that the consumption of this black gold would decrease before 2020. In the best of cases, it would increase until it crossed over with oil production levels and then it would begin to fall. The following graph shows our predictions.
We warned, furthermore, that the spike in energy consumption (the sum of all kinds of energy sources) wouldn’t be too far off either. It has been hair-raising to confirm just how accurate we were.
The immediate cause for these slightly “premature” energy drops has been the economic recession that has taken root in Latin America since two years ago. The recession has affected investments in the energy sector and this vicious cycle has been dragging us down to a point of no return. However, the global cause has been the depletion of capitalism’s expansion model, which can no longer continue to harm and consume the planet’s finite resources in an exponential manner. There will be better and worse times but evil is always lurking in the background and the predictions for industrial civilization are dire.
Another aspect of the problem that needs to be examined is oil refinery. We are becoming more and more dependent on the derivatives of our own crude oil which are manufactured in distant lands, nearly always in the north.
In spite of the fact that these are industries which create a lot of pollution, the US has preferred to keep their refineries which process oil – their own as well as that of others – on their own soil. Not by choice, but because refined oil is a powerful control mechanism which will play a decisive role when fossil fuels are in their last days. 31% of the black gold that we extract here in the region is distilled abroad.
Things don’t look very promising for the energy sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, the IMF and the BM predict that there will be growth within these parts of the world in 2017. We’re dying of curiosity to see how that will happen.
And I won’t give anything else away so that you’ll want to read the article written by Anibal Hernandez and Demian Morassi, who have been meticulous in giving explanations and details.