Energy industry

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The energy industry is the totality of all of the industries involved in the production and sale of energy, including fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining and distribution. Modern society consumes large amounts of fuel, and the energy industry is a crucial part of the infrastructure and maintenance of society in almost all countries.

Contents

In particular, the energy industry comprises:

The increased dependence during the 20th century on non-renewable fossil fuel and nuclear power, means that the energy industry has frequently been an important contributor to pollution and environmental impacts of the economy. Until recently, fossil fuels were the main source of energy generation in most parts of the world, and are a major contributor to global warming and pollution. As part of human adaptation to global warming, many economies are investing in renewable and sustainable energy.


Energy consumption in kilograms of oil equivalent (kgoe) per person per year per country (2001 data). Darker tones indicate larger consumption, while dark grey areas are missing from the dataset. Red hue indicates increasing consumption, green hue indicates decreasing consumption, in the time between 1990 and 2001. Energy per capita.png
Energy consumption in kilograms of oil equivalent (kgoe) per person per year per country (2001 data). Darker tones indicate larger consumption, while dark grey areas are missing from the dataset. Red hue indicates increasing consumption, green hue indicates decreasing consumption, in the time between 1990 and 2001.

History

The use of energy has been a key in the development of the human society by helping it to control and adapt to the environment. Managing the use of energy is inevitable in any functional society. In the industrialized world the development of energy resources has become essential for agriculture, transportation, waste collection, information technology, communications that have become prerequisites of a developed society. The increasing use of energy since the Industrial Revolution has also brought with it a number of serious problems, some of which, such as global warming, present potentially grave risks to the world.

In some industries, the word energy is used as a synonym of energy resources, which refer to substances like fuels, petroleum products and electricity in general, because a significant portion of the energy contained in these resources can easily be extracted to serve a useful purpose. After a useful process has taken place, the total energy is conserved, but the resource itself is not conserved, since a process usually transforms the energy into unusable forms (such as unnecessary or excess heat).

Ever since humanity discovered various energy resources available in nature, it has been inventing devices, known as machines, that make life more comfortable by using energy resources. Thus, although the primitive man knew the utility of fire to cook food, the invention of devices like gas burners and microwave ovens has increased the usage of energy for this purpose alone manyfold. The trend is the same in any other field of social activity, be it construction of social infrastructure, manufacturing of fabrics for covering; porting; printing; decorating, for example textiles, air conditioning; communication of information or for moving people and goods (automobiles).

Energy industry

Economics

Production and consumption of energy resources is very important to the global economy. All economic activity requires energy resources, whether to manufacture goods, provide transportation, run computers and other machines.

Widespread demand for energy may encourage competing energy utilities and the formation of retail energy markets. Note the presence of the "Energy Marketing and Customer Service" (EMACS) sub-sector. [1]

The energy sector accounts for 4.6% of outstanding leveraged loans, compared with 3.1% a decade ago, while energy bonds make up 15.7% of the $1.3  trillion junk bond market, up from 4.3% over the same period. [2]

Management

Since the cost of energy has become a significant factor in the performance of economy of societies, management of energy resources has become very crucial. Energy management involves utilizing the available energy resources more effectively; that is, with minimum incremental costs. Many times it is possible to save expenditure on energy without incorporating fresh technology by simple management techniques. [3] Most often energy management is the practice of using energy more efficiently by eliminating energy wastage or to balance justifiable energy demand with appropriate energy supply. The process couples energy awareness with energy conservation.

Classifications

Government

The United Nations developed the International Standard Industrial Classification, which is a list of economic and social classifications. [4] There is no distinct classification for an energy industry, because the classification system is based on activities, products, and expenditures according to purpose. [5]

Countries in North America use the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). The NAICS sectors #21 and #22 (mining and utilities) might roughly define the energy industry in North America. This classification is used by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Financial market

The Global Industry Classification Standard used by Morgan Stanley define the energy industry as comprising companies primarily working with oil, gas, coal and consumable fuels, excluding companies working with certain industrial gases. [6] Add also to expand this section: Dow Jones Industrial Average [7]

Environmental impact

Government encouragement in the form of subsidies and tax incentives for energy-conservation efforts has increasingly fostered the view of conservation as a major function of the energy industry: saving an amount of energy provides economic benefits almost identical to generating that same amount of energy. This is compounded by the fact that the economics of delivering energy tend to be priced for capacity as opposed to average usage. One of the purposes of a smart grid infrastructure is to smooth out demand so that capacity and demand curves align more closely. Some parts of the energy industry generate considerable pollution, including toxic and greenhouse gases from fuel combustion, nuclear waste from the generation of nuclear power, and oil spillages as a result of petroleum extraction. Government regulations to internalize these externalities form an increasing part of doing business, and the trading of carbon credits and pollution credits on the free market may also result in energy-saving and pollution-control measures becoming even more important to energy providers.

Consumption of energy resources, (e.g. turning on a light) requires resources and has an effect on the environment. Many electric power plants burn coal, oil or natural gas in order to generate electricity for energy needs. While burning these fossil fuels produces a readily available and instantaneous supply of electricity, it also generates air pollutants including carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide and trioxide (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas which is thought to be responsible for some fraction of the rapid increase in climate change seen especially in the temperature records in the 20th century, as compared with tens of thousands of years worth of temperature records which can be read from ice cores taken in Arctic regions. Burning fossil fuels for electricity generation also releases trace metals such as beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, manganese, mercury, nickel, and silver into the environment, which also act as pollutants.

The large-scale use of renewable energy technologies would "greatly mitigate or eliminate a wide range of environmental and human health impacts of energy use". [8] [9] Renewable energy technologies include biofuels, solar heating and cooling, hydroelectric power, solar power, and wind power. Energy conservation and the efficient use of energy would also help.

In addition, it is argued that there is also the potential to develop a more efficient energy sector. This can be done by: [10]

Best available technology (BAT) offers supply-side efficiency levels far higher than global averages. The relative benefits of gas compared to coal are influenced by the development of increasingly efficient energy production methods. According to an impact assessment carried out for the European Commission, the levels of energy efficiency of coal-fired plants built have now increased to 46-49% efficiency rates, as compared to coals plants built before the 1990s (32-40%). [11] However, at the same time gas can reach 58-59% efficiency levels with the best available technology. [11] Meanwhile, combined heat and power can offer efficiency rates of 80-90%. [11]

Politics

Since now energy plays an essential role in industrial societies, the ownership and control of energy resources plays an increasing role in politics. At the national level, governments seek to influence the sharing (distribution) of energy resources among various sections of the society through pricing mechanisms; or even who owns resources within their borders. They may also seek to influence the use of energy by individuals and business in an attempt to tackle environmental issues.

The most recent international political controversy regarding energy resources is in the context of the Iraq Wars. Some political analysts maintain that the hidden reason for both 1991 and 2003 wars can be traced to strategic control of international energy resources. [12] Others counter this analysis with the numbers related to its economics. According to the latter group of analysts, U.S. has spent about $336 billion in Iraq [13] as compared with a background current value of $25 billion per year budget for the entire U.S. oil import dependence [14]

Policy

Energy policy is the manner in which a given entity (often governmental) has decided to address issues of energy development including energy production, distribution and consumption. The attributes of energy policy may include legislation, international treaties, incentives to investment, guidelines for energy conservation, taxation and other public policy techniques.

Security

Energy security is the intersection of national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led to significant vulnerabilities. Threats to energy security include the political instability of several energy producing countries, the manipulation of energy supplies, the competition over energy sources, attacks on supply infrastructure, as well as accidents, natural disasters, the funding to foreign dictators, rising terrorism, and dominant countries reliance to the foreign oil supply. [15] The limited supplies, uneven distribution, and rising costs of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, create a need to change to more sustainable energy sources in the foreseeable future. With as much dependence that the U.S. currently has for oil and with the peaking limits of oil production; economies and societies will begin to feel the decline in the resource that we have become dependent upon. Energy security has become one of the leading issues in the world today as oil and other resources have become as vital to the world's people. However, with oil production rates decreasing and oil production peak nearing the world has come to protect what resources we have left in the world. With new advancements in renewable resources less pressure has been put on companies that produce the world's oil, these resources are, geothermal, solar power, wind power and hydro-electric. Although these are not all the current and possible future options for the world to turn to as the oil depletes the most important issue is protecting these vital resources from future threats. These new resources will become more useful as the price of exporting and importing oil will increase due to increase of demand.

Development

Producing energy to sustain human needs is an essential social activity, and a great deal of effort goes into the activity. While most of such effort is limited towards increasing the production of electricity and oil, newer ways of producing usable energy resources from the available energy resources are being explored. One such effort is to explore means of producing hydrogen fuel from water. Though hydrogen use is environmentally friendly, its production requires energy and existing technologies to make it, are not very efficient. Research is underway to explore enzymatic decomposition of biomass. [16]

Other forms of conventional energy resources are also being used in new ways. Coal gasification and liquefaction are recent technologies that are becoming attractive after the realization that oil reserves, at present consumption rates, may be rather short lived. See alternative fuels.

Energy is the subject of significant research activities globally. For example, the UK Energy Research Centre is the focal point for UK energy research while the European Union has many technology programmes as well as a platform for engaging social science and humanities within energy research. [17]

Transportation

All societies require materials and food to be transported over distances, generally against some force of friction. Since application of force over distance requires the presence of a source of usable energy, such sources are of great worth in society.

While energy resources are an essential ingredient for all modes of transportation in society, the transportation of energy resources is becoming equally important. Energy resources are frequently located far from the place where they are consumed. Therefore, their transportation is always in question. Some energy resources like liquid or gaseous fuels are transported using tankers or pipelines, while electricity transportation invariably requires a network of grid cables. The transportation of energy, whether by tanker, pipeline, or transmission line, poses challenges for scientists and engineers, policy makers, and economists to make it more risk-free and efficient.

Crisis

Oil prices from 1861 to 2007 Oil Prices Since 1861.svg
Oil prices from 1861 to 2007

Economic and political instability can lead to an energy crisis. Notable oil crises are the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 oil crisis. The advent of peak oil, the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, will likely precipitate another energy crisis.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Between 1985 and 2018, there have been around 69,932 deals in the energy sector. This cumulates to an overall value of 9,578 bil USD. The most active year was 2010 with about 3.761 deals. In terms of value 2007 was the strongest year (684 bil. USD), which was followed by a steep decline until 2009 (-55,8%). [18]

Here is a list of the top 10 deals in history in the energy sector:

Date AnnouncedAcquiror NameAcquiror Mid IndustryAcquiror NationTarget NameTarget Mid IndustryTarget NationValue of Transaction ($mil)
12/01/1998Exxon CorpOil & GasUnited StatesMobil CorpOil & GasUnited States78,945.79
10/28/2004Royal Dutch Petroleum CoOil & GasNetherlandsShell Transport & Trading CoOil & GasUnited Kingdom74,558.58
04/08/2015Royal Dutch Shell PLCPetrochemicalsNetherlandsBG Group PLCOil & GasUnited Kingdom69,445.02
02/25/2006Gaz de France SAOil & GasFranceSuez SAPowerFrance60,856.45
07/05/1999Total Fina SAOil & GasFranceElf AquitaineOil & GasFrance50,070.05
08/11/1998British Petroleum Co PLCOil & GasUnited KingdomAmoco CorpOil & GasUnited States48,174.09
09/01/2010PetrobrasOil & GasBrazilBrazil-Oil & Gas BlocksOil & GasBrazil42,877.03
10/16/2000Chevron CorpPetrochemicalsUnited StatesTexaco IncPetrochemicalsUnited States42,872.30
06/20/2000Vivendi SAWater and Waste ManagementFranceSeagram Co LtdMotion Pictures / Audio VisualCanada40,428.19
12/14/2009Exxon Mobil CorpPetrochemicalsUnited StatesXTO Energy IncOil & GasUnited States40,298.14

See also

Related Research Articles

Energy development Methods of energy production from various sources

Energy development is the field of activities focused on obtaining sources of energy from natural resources. These activities include production of conventional, alternative and renewable sources of energy, and for the recovery and reuse of energy that would otherwise be wasted. Energy conservation and efficiency measures reduce the demand for energy development, and can have benefits to society with improvements to environmental issues.

India is the world's third largest producer and third largest consumer of electricity. The national electric grid in India has an installed capacity of 364.17 GW as of 31 October 2019. Renewable power plants, which also include large hydroelectric plants, constitute 34.86% of India's total installed capacity. During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the gross electricity generated by utilities in India was 1,372 TWh and the total electricity generation in the country was 1,547 TWh. The gross electricity consumption in 2018-19 was 1,181 kWh per capita. In 2015-16, electric energy consumption in agriculture was recorded as being the highest (17.89%) worldwide. The per capita electricity consumption is low compared to most other countries despite India having a low electricity tariff.

Energy policy is the manner in which a given entity has decided to address issues of energy development including energy production, distribution and consumption. The attributes of energy policy may include legislation, international treaties, incentives to investment, guidelines for energy conservation, taxation and other public policy techniques. Energy is a core component of modern economies. A functioning economy requires not only labor and capital but also energy, for manufacturing processes, transportation, communication, agriculture, and more.

Energy policy of the United States Where and how the United States gets electrical and other power

The energy policy of the United States is determined by federal, state, and local entities in the United States, which address issues of energy production, distribution, and consumption, such as building codes and gas mileage standards. Energy policy may include legislation, international treaties, subsidies and incentives to investment, guidelines for energy conservation, taxation and other public policy techniques.

The current energy policy of the United Kingdom is set out in the Energy White Paper of May 2007 and Low Carbon Transition Plan of July 2009, building on previous work including the 2003 Energy White Paper and the Energy Review Report in 2006. It was led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, then headed by Amber Rudd. The current focus of policy are on reforming the electricity market, rolling out smart meters and improving the energy efficiency of the UK building stock through the Green Deal.

The energy policy of India is largely defined by the country's expanding energy deficit and increased focus on developing alternative sources of energy, particularly nuclear, solar and wind energy. India ranks 81 position in overall energy self-sufficiency at 66% in 2014.

A low-carbon economy (LCE), low-fossil-fuel economy (LFFE), or decarbonised economy is an economy based on low carbon power sources that therefore has a minimal output of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the biosphere, but specifically refers to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. GHG emissions due to anthropogenic (human) activity are the dominant cause of observed global warming since the mid-20th century. Continued emission of greenhouse gases may cause long-lasting changes around the world, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

World energy consumption energy consumption at international level

World energy consumption is the total energy produced and used by the entire human civilization. Typically measured per year, it involves all energy harnessed from every energy source applied towards humanity's endeavors across every single industrial and technological sector, across every country. It does not include energy from food, and the extent to which direct biomass burning has been accounted for is poorly documented. Being the power source metric of civilization, world energy consumption has deep implications for humanity's socio-economic-political sphere.

Energy security National security considerations of energy availability

Energy security is the association between national security and the availability of natural resources for energy consumption. Access to (relatively) cheap energy has become essential to the functioning of modern economies. However, the uneven distribution of energy supplies among countries has led to significant vulnerabilities. International energy relations have contributed to the globalization of the world leading to energy security and energy vulnerability at the same time.

Renewable energy commercialization

Renewable energy commercialization involves the deployment of three generations of renewable energy technologies dating back more than 100 years. First-generation technologies, which are already mature and economically competitive, include biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal power and heat. Second-generation technologies are market-ready and are being deployed at the present time; they include solar heating, photovoltaics, wind power, solar thermal power stations, and modern forms of bioenergy. Third-generation technologies require continued R&D efforts in order to make large contributions on a global scale and include advanced biomass gasification, hot-dry-rock geothermal power, and ocean energy. As of 2012, renewable energy accounts for about half of new nameplate electrical capacity installed and costs are continuing to fall.

Renewable energy in Finland

Renewable energy in Finland grew to 38.7% of total final energy consumption by year end 2014, achieving joint second position with Latvia in terms of renewable energy consumption by share amongst the EU-28 countries, behind its neighbour Sweden in first position on a 52.6% share. The 2014 share in Finland breaks down as renewable energy providing 52% of the heating and cooling sector, 31.4% of the electricity sector and 21.6% of the transport sector. By 2014 Finland had already exceeded its 2020 target for renewable energy use under the EU renewable energy directive as shown in the table of country targets.

Renewable energy in China

China is the world's leading country in electricity production from renewable energy sources, with over double the generation of the second-ranking country, the United States. By the end of 2018, the country had a total capacity of 728 GW of renewable power, mainly from hydroelectric and wind power. China's renewable energy sector is growing faster than its fossil fuels and nuclear power capacity.

Energy in New Zealand

Despite abundant natural resources and a relatively small population, New Zealand is a net importer of energy, in the form of petroleum products. The ratio of non-renewable and renewable energy sources was fairly consistent from 1975 to 2008, with about 70 percent of primary energy supply coming from hydrocarbon fuels. This ratio decreased to about 60 percent in 2018. The proportion of non-renewable energy varies annually, depending on water flows into hydro-electricity lakes and demand for energy. In 2018, approximately 60% of primary energy was from non-renewable hydrocarbon fuels and 40% was from renewable sources. In 2007 energy consumption per capita was 120 gigajoules. Per capita energy consumption had increased 8 per cent since 1998. New Zealand uses more energy per capita than 17 of 30 OECD countries. New Zealand is one of 13 OECD countries that does not operate nuclear power stations.

Energy subsidy Government subsidies of electricity and gasoline, etc.

Energy subsidies are measures that keep prices for consumers below market levels or for producers above market levels, or reduce costs for consumers and producers. Energy subsidies may be direct cash transfers to producers, consumers, or related bodies, as well as indirect support mechanisms, such as tax exemptions and rebates, price controls, trade restrictions, and limits on market access.

The energy policy of Malaysia is determined by the Malaysian Government, which address issues of energy production, distribution, and consumption. The Department of Electricity and Gas Supply acts as the regulator while other players in the energy sector include energy supply and service companies, research and development institutions and consumers. Government-linked companies Petronas and Tenaga Nasional Berhad are major players in Malaysia's energy sector.

Energy in Switzerland

The energy sector in Switzerland is, by its structure and importance, typical of a developed country. Apart from hydroelectric power and firewood, the country has few indigenous energy resources: oil products, natural gas and nuclear fuel are imported, so that by 2013 only 22.6% of primary energy consumption will have been covered by local resources.

Energy in Turkey

Turkey consumes over 6 exajoules of primary energy per year, over 20 megawatt hours (MW/h) per person. 88% of energy is fossil fuels and the energy policy of Turkey includes reducing fossil fuel imports, which are a quarter of import costs and three quarters of the current account deficit. Greenhouse gas emissions by Turkey are about 6 tons/person year, which is more than the global average.

Energy in Ireland

Ireland is a net energy importer. Ireland's import dependency decreased to 85% in 2014. The cost of all energy imports to Ireland was approximately €5.7 billion, down from €6.5 billion (revised) in 2013 due mainly to falling oil and, to a lesser extent, gas import prices. Consumption of all fuels fell in 2014 with the exception of peat, renewables and non-renewable wastes.

Carbon bubble hypothesized bubble in the valuation of companies dependent on fossil-fuel-based energy production

The carbon bubble is a hypothesized bubble in the valuation of companies dependent on fossil-fuel-based energy production, because the true costs of carbon dioxide in intensifying global warming are not yet taken into account in a company's stock market valuation. Currently the price of fossil fuels companies' shares is calculated under the assumption that all fossil fuel reserves will be consumed. An estimate made by Kepler Chevreux puts the loss in value of the fossil fuel companies due to the impact of the growing renewables industry at US$28 trillion over the next two decades-long. A more recent analysis made by Citi puts that figure at $100 trillion.

Worldwide energy supply is the global production and preparation of fuel, generation of electricity, and energy transport. Energy supply is a vast industry, powering the world economy.

References

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Further reading