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Industrial Attitudes to Petroleum Prices: Policies and Energy Efficiency
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Beginning in 2001, the US began to see sharp increases and volatility in what had been historically low natural gas prices. The traditional response to events such as this had been to switch fuels when possible and negotiate more attractive price contracts. When it became apparent that gas prices were no longer going to be in the vicinity of $2/Mbtu for the foreseeable future, industry began to seriously invest once again in energy efficiency. A 2003 study by ACEEE found that a modest 5% decrease in natural gas consumption could result in a 20% reduction in retail price. While much of the focus from industry and the policy community has been on natural gas prices, it has also become apparent that all fuel markets – natural gas, coal, electricity and petroleum are experiencing upward pressure in price. Petroleum is of particular interest to industry since it is used both as a fuel and feedstock. Based on the results of our previous work on natural gas markets, we have hypothesized that energy efficiency can effect petroleum market in a similar way. Since petroleum markets are global (vs. the mostly domestic natural gas markets) this task is much more complex. As a precursor to this work we are proposing to begin to better understand how industry reacts to high petroleum prices under our current energy market situation. Does industry look for technology improvements? Better price contracts to shield from volatility? Fuel switching? Advocating for effective federal and state policies? The answers to these questions will help to form the basis of estimates for the potential for energy-efficiency and policy-based savings in petroleum consumption. This paper will include the results of a survey of industrial petroleum customers from a variety of industry types.
Shipley, A. M.; Langer, T.; Black, S. (2007). Industrial Attitudes to Petroleum Prices: Policies and Energy Efficiency. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from