According to the World Bank, approximately 3.5 billion people live in countries rich in oil, gas or minerals. Over the past few years the price of oil has fluctuated in price due to a number of external factors. However, large oil importing countries such as India and China have seen the benefits of reduced oil prices. This new oil price environment may be an opportunity for oil exporter countries to rebalance their economies and support their people to find alternative employment. These changes in the oil industry may encourage companies to shift their focus to renewable energy sources or more environmentally friendly fuels, with increased vigour going forward.
Approximately 90% of all vehicles in the world run on oil-derived products, however there are already alternatives available on the market such as electric cars. Electric vehicles may represent one of the most promising pathways to increased energy security and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. The popularity of electric cars in the United Kingdom has risen over the last few years with around 50,000 plug-in vehicles on the road. This increase in cars in 2015 has come about due to a greater level of choice for drivers and a shift in the public’s attitude towards electric cars. Furthermore, the UK government has created a plug-in car scheme offering it to be more affordable to purchase an electric car, as a method of reducing carbon emissions. A paper outlining the electric vehicle landscape up to 2020, forecasts 20 million electric vehicles may be on the roads worldwide in the next few years. The vast share of the worldwide electric vehicle market is in the United States, followed by Japan, China and France. This global shift in terms of the future for automotive vehicles may help achieve sustainability for future generations.
As well as electric cars, there may be alternative methods of providing energy for powering cars. For example, biodiesel may be classed as an alternative fuel which may be produced straight from vegetable oil, animal oil or fats cooking oil. The largest possible source of suitable oil comes from oil crops such as rapeseed, palm or soybean. The benefits of using bio-oils is waste, vegetable oils may often be sourced for free or sourced already treated for a small price, providing cost savings. Furthermore, it encourages re-use of waste materials and has environmental benefits. Other types of green energy sources such as solar energy have a primary advantage of being 100% renewable and this method produces zero emissions of any type. Solar energy and other kinds of green renewable energy may provide an alternative source of employment and reduce reliance on oil production. Many recruitment agencies in this new area actively seek qualified people with experience in electrical engineering and offshore oil operations with the intention of transferring this knowledge to wind farm development and maintenance. This may provide re-assurance to those employed in the oil industry as the dynamics of the sector changes over time.
There may be many opportunities following the changes in oil prices for businesses, employees and nations in the future. By implementing more environmentally responsible practices, this may reduce a country’s reliance on fossil fuels. In many rural communities in Africa, solar energy may provide affordable electric alternatives. Generating electricity from renewable energy rather than fossil fuels offers significant public health benefits such as cleaner air. By simply using energy generated by the sun or the elements such as wind, energy resources are everlasting. Furthermore, renewable energy industry may be more labor-intensive, suggesting more jobs may be created for each unit of electricity generated from renewable sources rather than from fossil fuels.
How might major oil exporter countries evolve to remain economically viable in the future?