In 2009, more cars were sold in China than in the United States, something most analysts did not expect to see before 2018 or 2020, said Mr. Yergin. If China continues at its current pace, he said, it will be consuming more oil than the United States by the end of the decade.
The United States consumes about 19 million barrels-per-day now. China consumes about 8. The difference is 11. Thanks to the slowdown in energy consumption, OPEC producers now hold an estimated (highly unlikely given decline rates and overstated reserves) six million barrels a day of spare capacity, equal to roughly 7 percent of current demand, much of it in Saudi Arabia alone.
Here’s the deal. Once we run through the current spare capacity, the oil supply then and for the rest of your life is essentially a Zero Sum Game. If China uses more, someone else must use less.
zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant’s gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.
Saudi Arabia is gradually reducing crude oil exports to the US as it is pushing deeper into China and other fast-growing Asian markets. Exports to the US fell to 837,000 b/d in November, the lowest level in 21 years.