In a wide-ranging article, Saudi Gazette takes a look at energy consumption in Saudi Arabia. One of the world’s major oil producing countries is having to take a hard look at its own consumption patterns lest it end up, in effect, eating its seed corn, burning for its own use what it could be selling on global markets.
Prospects look good for the long term, assuming that consumers rein in their profligate uses, but the short term isn’t such a pretty picture. Saudi media report regularly on electricity brown outs and shortages of drinking water in the major cities. As even the drinking water in Saudi Arabia relies on energy-hungry desalination, systems can be overtaxed.
Among the solutions to the rising demand — fueled by Saudi Arabia’s rapidly expanding population — the article mentions more rational pricing of energy, bringing new oil and gas fields on line, development of solar and nuclear generation, and developing standards for building construction that require energy efficiency. All are likely going to be needed.
Energy consumption in the Kingdom: The reality & future challenges
Amjad Parkar | Saudi Gazette
SAUDI ARABIA, as a fast developing country, is becoming increasingly reliant on its fuel reserves to power its businesses, industries and households.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy consumption in the Kingdom in 2011 was about 7,400 kilowatt/hours per capita and increasing at about 7.5 percent a year, while demand for gasoline is also increasing at a similar rate.
The IEA’s Middle East analyst, Christopher Segar, told Saudi Gazette that even though the Kingdom has just over 2 million barrels a day of oil refining capacity, in recent years it has had to import both gasoline and diesel.
He said the country’s 261 billion barrels of conventional oil reserves and production capacity of 12.5 million barrels a day would easily meet its rapidly increasing energy consumption rate in the medium term, but not in the long term.
He said: “Already, demand growth in electricity has outpaced the capacity of the gas and fuel oil sectors to supply the power stations.