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Many dire forecasts about future hydrocarbon potential in the United States culminated in the pessimistic Club of Rome forecast and recent statements by officials of DOE that, "we cannot substantially increase our domestic production." Forecasts can be self-fulfilling, can impact the shape of the future, and should be examined in these terms.
A look at energy supply and demand predictions made over the last 6 years in the United States is instructive. Forecasts made in 1973 for a 1990 energy demand of 67 million BCOE (barrels crude oil equivalent) and a domestic supply of 45 million BCOE indicated a short fall of 22 million BCOE. Today, forecasts indicate a demand of 50.4 million BCOE and a domestic supply of 37.3 million BCOE producing a short fall of 13.1 million BCOE. Because we appear to be in a domestic-supply-limiting situation, we must examine very carefully the supply analysis used in the forecast.
Most forecasts contain a failure of imagination usually due to relying on today's "logic." This disallows the possibilities of breakthroughs which are the real future. Most important in looking at the future is to (1) describe its "volume," (2) determine what changes could affect the limits of the "volume," (3) do research in areas
where positive changes to the limits might be expected, and (4) obtain "directionality" from the forecast.
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