# Oil Demand and Consumption

## Summary

Using US Government data from the Energy Information Administration in the Department of Energy, students create models of future oil demand and predict the time frame when cumulative oil demand exceeds oil reserves.

Using a limited number of data points regarding demand, students can create mathematical and graphical models (e.g., linear, exponential, polynomial) to fit the data.

Using the models, students can forecast future yearly energy demand and the cumulative energy demand over time.

Knowing that the estimated oil reserves in the world is 134,000 x 106 barrels, students will predict that oil consumption meets or exceeds the reserves in 2030-2050. Moreover, if we would discover another deposit equivalent to the current Middle East reserve, oil consumption meets or exceeds these new reserves in 2060-2080.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications

## Learning Goals

• Recognize that energy is a conserved quantity.
• Realize that the use alternative sources of energy (besides oil) will need to increase.

• Recognize consequences of past energy policies and practices.
• Create, analyze, and use data tables and graphs.
• Review use of Excel spreadsheet input, use of equations, graphing and forecasting.
• Apply data analysis to real-world situations

## Context for Use

This activity can be introduced and monitored during a 45-minute lecture setting. It requires computer access by individual or small groups of students. It works best if students already have some familiarity with Excel.

I have used this activity with non-science majors.

## Description and Teaching Materials

World Oil Demand and Reserves

Using US Government data from the Energy Information Administration in the Department of Energy, students create models of future oil demand and predict the time frame when cumulative oil demand exceeds oil reserves.

The PowerPoint slides describe:
• Oil consumption by sector indicating that transportation is the largest user.
• Oil consumption by region indicating theta the developed regions (e.g., US, Europe, Asia) are the biggest current users
• Most of the oil reserves and production takes place in the OPEC countries.

Using a limited number of data points regarding demand, students can create mathematical and graphical models (e.g., linear, exponential, polynomial) to fit the data.

Using the models, students can forecast future yearly energy demand and the cumulative energy demand over time.

Knowing that the estimated oil reserves in the world is 134,000 x 106 barrels, students will predict that oil consumption meets or exceeds the reserves in 2030-2050. Moreover, if we would discover another deposit equivalent to the current Middle East reserve, oil consumption meets or exceeds these new reserves in 2060-2080.
Overview of Oil Demand Activity (Microsoft Word 26kB Jun29 09)
PPT Background (PowerPoint 1.7MB Jun29 09)
Intro Spreadsheet (Excel 17kB Jun29 09)

## Teaching Notes and Tips

Data collection, calculations, presentations, and analysis are critical processes of science. This activity requires that students use past information to make predictions about the future. This aspect allows students to practice the reasoned approach to model application as a process of science. The activity also asks students to identify social and political implications of the results. This too is a process of science.

## Assessment

Each student or group of students can be asked for a prediction of when the oil consumption curve reaches the predicted reserve value. Students can be asked to describe and print out their model data sets and graphs. They can also be asked to identify why they believe that their mathematical model is the best.

## References and Resources

https://www.eia.gov/

This is the Energy Information Agency for the US government. While it may provide biased data, it is the official agency for the government. If any bias exists, I predict that it would be toward lower energy consumption values and larger energy reserve values so that the case could be made that the current energy policy, production levels, and projected needs are both favorable and aligned.