Having graduated from the University of Kansas in 2007 and completed my tour at Manchester Fuel Department, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound, Wash., in 2009, I figured Navy Fuels would be in the rear-view mirror for a while.
Little did I know that six years later, while stationed in Europe, I would be presenting my graduate paper in China. That, however, is where I found myself during the last week of March.
“Challenging Technology and Economic Limits to Meet the Global Energy Demand,” was the theme for the Sixth Annual International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC). The conference was held in Beijing, China during the last week of March. The conference was hosted by China’s largest oil and gas producer, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and co-hosted by the world’s largest non-governmental producer of oil and natural gas, Exxon-Mobil.
The conference serves as the flagship multidisciplinary technical event in the Eastern Hemisphere, which rotates between the Middle East and Asia. The IPTC is a collaborative effort among the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG); the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE); the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG); and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). The synergy of these four, leading, individual-member driven societies provides the most comprehensive opportunity to form multidisciplinary committees and an outstanding technical program.
This year’s conference focused on the dissemination of new and current technology, best practices and multi-disciplinary activities designed to emphasize the importance of the “value chain” and maximizing asset value. More than 5,000 participants from the around the globe attend the conference.
Beyond the Department of Defense’s (DoD) strategic pivot to Asia, China is important on a multitude of fronts to not only the military, but also the world writ large.
China is the world's second-largest consumer of energy, and the third-largest producer of energy. China consumes more than 10 percent of the world's energy, following only the United States. It is projected between 2015 and 2020 the world oil supply will flatten, and then slowly decline. In contrast to declining oil reserves, China's oil needs are projected to more than double by 2030. China's electricity and natural gas demand is expected to triple while reliance on coal is expected to double. At current energy consumption/production rates, China will overtake the United States and become the largest consumer and producer of energy in the world.
China's current plan to meet future energy needs is very much dependant on fossil fuels. According to industry reports, coal (60%) and oil (27%) will account for 87 percent of China's total energy demand by 2030. The reliance on coal as the primary energy source will have drastic impacts to China and the world if cleaner burning initiatives are not utilized. The World Heath Organizations reports that within the next two decades, China will become the largest emitter of green house gases in the world. The effects of pollution on the Chinese economy are enormous. The World Bank estimates pollution costs China eight percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Finally, if energy demand continues to grow at present rates, China may begin to crowd the United States and others out of the global energy market. The United States -- as the top consumer of energy -- will either have to curb consumption to make room for China, or will have to find a way to curb China's massive energy needs.
As we have all been told from every academic setting we’ve encountered, learning does not end in the classroom. As Supply Corps officers, we are a multidisciplinary community with a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience covering a spectrum that no other community can match.
Because of this, it is imperative that we continue to challenge ourselves and our Supply Corps by writing and presenting.
By Cmdr. Bert Hornyak; Aide de Camp, Supreme Allied Commander Europe/Commander, U.S. European Command