/en"euhr jee/, n., pl. energies.
1. the capacity for vigorous activity; available power: I eat chocolate to get quick energy.
2. an adequate or abundant amount of such power: I seem to have no energy these days.
3. Often, energies. a feeling of tension caused or seeming to be caused by an excess of such power: to work off one's energies at tennis.
4. an exertion of such power: She plays tennis with great energy.
5. the habit of vigorous activity; vigor as a characteristic: Foreigners both admire and laugh at American energy.
6. the ability to act, lead others, effect, etc., forcefully.
7. forcefulness of expression: a writing style abounding with energy.
8. Physics. the capacity to do work; the property of a system that diminishes when the system does work on any other system, by an amount equal to the work so done; potential energy. Symbol: E
9. any source of usable power, as fossil fuel, electricity, or solar radiation.
[1575-85; < LL energia < Gk enérgeia activity, equiv. to energe- (s. of energeîn to be active; see EN-2, WORK) + -ia -Y3]
Syn. 1. vigor, force, potency. 5. zeal, push.

* * *

Capacity for doing work.

Energy exists in various forms
and can be converted from one form to another. For example, fuel-burning heat engines convert chemical energy to thermal energy; batteries convert chemical energy to electrical energy. Though energy may be converted from one form to another, it may not be created or destroyed; that is, total energy in a closed system remains constant. All forms of energy are associated with motion. A rolling ball has kinetic energy, for instance, whereas a ball lifted above the ground has potential energy, as it has the potential to move if released. Heat and work involve the transfer of energy; heat transferred may become thermal energy. See also activation energy, binding energy, ionization energy, mechanical energy, solar energy, zero-point energy.
(as used in expressions)
Einstein's mass energy relation
energy conservation of
energy equipartition of
European Atomic Energy Community Euratom
high energy physics
zero point energy

* * *

▪ 1995


      The price of oil was the dominant theme in the world energy sector in 1994. In February prices plummeted to five-year lows. The price of Brent Blend, a benchmark crude oil quoted on the London market, fell to just under $13 a barrel amid fears that an oil-price collapse was in the offing. At one stage some market analysts and oil traders were predicting that prices could fall to single-digit figures, something not seen since the oil-price collapse of 1986. Prices, however, recovered steadily but slowly in the second and third quarters of the year. The Brent price reached its high for the year of about $19.40 a barrel during late July and early August, when strikes by oil workers led to a sharp cutback in exports from Nigeria. The average price for Brent Blend for the year was $15.86 per barrel, $1.15 below 1993's average. That put 1994 oil prices, on average, about the same in real terms as those before the first oil crisis in 1973.

      The 12 members of OPEC tried to underpin prices by restricting their output. A production ceiling of 24,520,000 bbl a day had been set by OPEC oil ministers in September 1993. In meetings in March and June 1994, the ministers dropped their usual policy of trying to match OPEC output to short-term changes in worldwide oil demand. Instead, they agreed to freeze production in 1994 at the previously agreed-upon level in the hope that economic recovery in the main Western industrialized countries would result in higher oil demand.

      In November OPEC decided to go along with the wishes of Saudi Arabia, its most influential member, and extend the production freeze for the whole of 1995, even though delegates admitted that such a course of action was unlikely to have any early impact on prices. A cut in production that might have boosted prices was never considered. OPEC ministers said they were reluctant to make any cuts in individual national quotas until Iraq, which was barred from exporting oil by UN sanctions, was readmitted to the production ceiling.

      The inability of OPEC to exercise short-term influence over world oil markets was caused in large part by a surge in production from non-OPEC countries. The surge surprised OPEC officials, who were unable to agree on a strategy to counter its dampening effect on prices. The largest increases occurred in the Norwegian and British sectors of the North Sea, both of which set new production records during the year.

      The surge in North Sea output reflected another trend that emerged in 1994—the growing ability of the oil industry to extend substantially the productive life of relatively mature oil provinces, such as the North Sea, or fields that had entered their decline, such as Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. Most industry experts had predicted that North Sea oil, first developed in the 1970s, would begin to run out by the mid-1990s. But the application of new technology enabled companies to get more oil out of individual fields and to tap smaller reservoirs that just a few years earlier had been thought to be uneconomic.

      The technology, which had dramatically lowered production costs in a number of countries, included new three-dimensional seismic techniques that helped geologists to pick out the most promising areas in which to drill. Offshore wells could be drilled with horizontal sections several kilometres long. That eliminated the need to build additional platforms to tap small oil accumulations frequently found near bigger fields.

      In the U.S. the new technology was enabling companies to explore beneath vast sheets of subsea salt, which until recently formed an impenetrable blanket over as much as 60% of the Gulf of Mexico, one of the richest U.S. oil- and natural gas-producing areas. In February a U.S. government auction of oil-exploration leases in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in record bids for "subsalt" acreage. Another rapidly developing technology allowed oil companies to exploit previously inaccessible oil deposits in very deep water far from shore. In April, Shell Oil Co. began producing oil from the Auger platform in 872 m (2,860 ft) of water in the Gulf of Mexico, a U.S. record.

      In November the British government gave the go-ahead for the first development in a new oil province at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, west of the Shetland Islands. Approval of the Foinaven field was likely to set off a flurry of interest in the region, which was thought to have reserves of about four billion barrels.

      Much of the international interest was focused on promoting big projects in the former Soviet Union, despite continuing political uncertainty in the region. In December 46 countries signed the European Energy Charter, a treaty that established long-term ground rules for Western investment in the energy industries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The U.S., however, declined to sign because it believed the charter failed to guarantee adequate protection for investors and fell below standards already obtained by the U.S. in bilateral and other multilateral investment agreements.

      Projects in Russia announced during the year included a $9 billion plan by a consortium of Western oil companies to develop oil and gas deposits on the eastern side of Sakhalin Island. A Texaco-led consortium announced a 40-year, $40 billion project in the remote Timan Pechora Basin of Russia above the Arctic Circle. In September agreement was reached between a consortium led by British Petroleum and Amoco to develop three offshore oil fields in Azerbaijan's section of the Caspian Sea.

      Few of the big Western projects in the former Soviet Union were proceeding smoothly. Those planned for Russia were held up by the lack of legislation establishing the legal rights of the Western partners. There were also officials within the Russian government who opposed large-scale Western participation in Russia's energy industries. But the Russian government did announce that foreigners would be able to buy shares in Lukoil, its biggest oil company, and Gazprom, the monopoly natural gas supplier that rivaled the Saudi Arabian state oil company as the world's largest producer of hydrocarbons.

      Russia made it clear over the course of the year that it intended to participate in all big energy projects planned for the newly independent republics around the Caspian Sea. Lukoil took a 10% stake in the Azerbaijan project and was keen to participate in developments in Kazakhstan. Full development of the vast energy reserves of the Caspian Sea over the next few decades could alter the world pattern of energy trade.

      Worldwide demand for oil increased by about one million barrels a day in 1994, but there was an important shift in world energy-consumption patterns. There was confirmation that China, one of the world's fastest-growing economies, had become a net oil importer for the first time since the early 1970s. Some analysts predicted that it would become a major oil importer by the year 2000, requiring as much as one million barrels a day of imported oil. A study published in April by the International Energy Agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicted that world consumption of energy in 2010 would be about 50% higher than in 1991 because of strong economic growth in China and elsewhere in Asia.

      Environmental concerns and issues continued to play a large part in energy-sector development in 1994. Tough new rules imposing unlimited financial liability on oil tankers sailing into U.S. waters took effect at year's end. The new regulations were first proposed in the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Owners of tankers entering U.S. waters after December 28 would be required to show that they could provide unlimited compensation in the event of an oil spill.

      An oil slick spilling from a pipeline near Usinsk in Russia's northern Komi Republic was the subject of widespread international publicity. It highlighted growing concerns that much of Russia's energy infrastructure, especially the pipelines that ran through environmentally sensitive areas such as the Arctic, were well below international standards. (See also Arctic Regions. (Arctic Regions ))

      U.S. oil companies spent much of the year preparing for the introduction on Jan. 1, 1995, of reformulated gasoline, the biggest change in motor-fuel specifications since unleaded gasoline was introduced in the 1970s. Only nine of the most polluted U.S. cities would be required to use the fuel, but a number of other metropolitan areas joined the program voluntarily. An estimated 90 million Americans lived in the areas where the fuel would be on sale.

      In the European Union (EU) representatives from the European Commission, the executive branch of the organization, and the European oil and automobile industries began studying new fuel formulas and possible changes to car designs that might result in lower emissions of a wide variety of pollutants.

Natural Gas.
      Another major trend in 1994 was the emergence of natural gas as the world's fastest-growing fossil fuel. Gas was increasingly viewed as the least polluting fossil fuel and was one of the most efficient fuels for producing electricity when burned in combined cycle power plants. In the U.S. high natural gas prices at the beginning of the year caused a surge in production that helped offset the country's growing dependence on imported oil.

      Elsewhere, a large number of new gas projects were put forward. In November Exxon announced a $40 billion plan to develop the giant Natuna field off Indonesia over the next 30 years. Other proposals made during the year included a plan to build an undersea pipeline to ship gas from Oman to India. Construction began on a new pipeline linking Algeria with Spain, and agreement was reached on the construction of a gas pipeline linking Britain with the continental European gas grid.

      The British government also approved plans to introduce competition into the country's domestic gas market in one of the most ambitious public utility liberalization plans put forward by any industrialized country. (ROBERT CORZINE)

      World hard coal production in 1994 was estimated at 3,456,000,000 metric tons, about 30 million tons higher than in 1993. In the final months of 1994, the international coal industry saw its fortunes beginning to turn for the better. After years of depression and falling prices, an uptrend was apparent.

      In the U.S., record production of 928.8 million metric tons (1,032,000,000 short tons) was projected. Coal's share of the U.S. power-generation market was expected to rise from 57% to 60% by the end of the century. Coal production in Canada also rebounded, while exports from the new producers in the hemisphere, Colombia and Venezuela, continued to grow. Australia continued as the world's leading coal exporter, shipping about 130 million tons in 1994, or 30% of the world market share. China, with 1,154,000,000 tons of raw hard coal production in 1994, remained the world's leading producer—and consumer.

      In Europe the decline of the coal industry continued unabated. In the U.K. the privatization of the British coal industry was completed with the sale of most of its remaining mines to RJB Mining. Hard coal production fell in all other EU countries and in former Soviet bloc states, with the exception of Poland. (ROBERT J.M. WYLLIE)

      This updates the article petroleum.

      Data for 1993, released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1994, showed that there were 430 nuclear power units in operation in 29 countries, with a total capacity of 330,651 MW. This was a net growth of 6 units, and a rise of 7,169 MW in total capacity, compared with the previous year. There were 55 units under construction in 18 countries, of which 6 began during the year. A total of 68 units were shut down, 19 units were suspended, and 65 projects were canceled. Worldwide, nuclear plants produced almost 2.1 billion MWh (megawatt hours) of electricity during 1993. Over half the national production of electricity was by nuclear power in Lithuania (87.2%), France (77.7%), Belgium (58.9%), and Slovakia (53.6%). The average nuclear power contribution in all the OECD countries was 24%.

      Although Lithuania's dependence on nuclear power was the highest in the world in percentage terms, the total capacity was only 2,370 MW. This was very low compared with the 59,033 MW on-line in France. Electricité de France announced that no new nuclear plant orders would be placed for at least five years owing to the improved performance of existing plant and lower-than-expected growth in demand.

      This announcement was another blow for the future of the French-German European pressurized-water reactor, the prototype for a new generation of plants in France and Germany. Germany, in the runup to its October general election, introduced legislation demanding that in any new nuclear project in the country, the effects of any accident create no dangers outside the site. While ostensibly keeping the option for new nuclear capacity active, proving a negative capability such as this was regarded as a virtual impossibility and would present a severe obstacle to the new design being introduced in Germany.

      A similar impasse had arisen in the U.S. Continued delays in the designation of sites for disposal of nuclear waste led to lawsuits by groups of utilities and states against the U.S. Department of Energy, which would not be able to begin accepting irradiated nuclear fuel by January 1998, as required under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Only one disposal site was being considered—at Yucca Mountain, Nevada—but it could not possibly be ready by the 1998 date.

      The best prospects for new nuclear projects were seen to be in the Far East. The Chinese market was increasingly important for the French nuclear industry. China entered a new agreement with the French firm Framatome on the joint design of a 600-MW unit. Construction of the first nuclear reactor in the world for district heating had already begun at Daqing (Ta-ch'ing) in northern China. Japan had one of the most rapidly growing nuclear power programs in the world, with an installed capacity of 38,029 MW at the beginning of the year that accounted for 31% of the national production of electricity in 1993. However, strong reaction, both at home and abroad, to plans for recycling plutonium from power reactors resulted in a revised long-term program by the country's Atomic Energy Commission. The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor was set to reach full power late in 1995, but the start of construction of two demonstration commercial-scale fast-breeder prototypes had been put back some 10 years.

      The Superphénix fast-breeder reactor in France began its return to power after a four-year shutdown following a failure of part of the liquid-sodium cooling system. This joint international project had been reclassified as a research reactor, but it would still produce and sell electricity to recoup some of the costs of the project. The reactor would be used to prove the viability of fast breeders and their use in the destruction of long-lived actinides, particularly plutonium, americium, and neptunium.

      International pressure grew for a complete shutdown of all the Chernobyl units in Ukraine so that work could concentrate on repairing or replacing the sarcophagus on the destroyed Unit 4. An IAEA review of the Chernobyl station found numerous safety deficiencies in the two units in operation and continued deterioration in the Unit 4 sarcophagus. Despite these warnings, Ukraine, under the pressure of power shortages, insisted on continued operation and lifted the moratorium on the construction on other sites. (See Ukraine .)

      India's government put nuclear energy expansion plans on hold as a result of the continuing long delays in construction. The Atomic Energy Corporation's Rs 80 billion expansion plan for Tarapur was among the projects deferred owing to lack of funds. Cost increases for the seven existing projects had been disastrous; the original Rs 30.2 billion estimate had risen beyond Rs 63.6 billion.

      Nuclear Electric, the state-owned nuclear utility for England and Wales, published its best-ever annual results, including an 11% increase in output, a reduction in costs, and a 20% increase in operating profit. The company's chairman said that such results proved the company could compete with the privatized power companies and thus had earned the right to join them. (RICHARD A. KNOX)

      This updates the article energy conversion.

▪ 1994

      During the first half of 1993, the dominant development in regard to energy was the intense political struggle waged over the energy tax proposals in U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton's budget plan. As presented to the U.S. Congress, the plan included a broad-based tax on nearly all forms of energy, with the level of the tax to be determined by the heat content of the various fuels. Each of the basic energy industries concluded that it would be disadvantaged in one or more ways by such a tax structure. Coal, with the highest energy content per unit, would be hit hardest, as the industry vehemently pointed out. The oil industry stressed the market dislocations that would result from different taxes on the various oil products. The natural gas and nuclear industries objected to their fuels' being taxed when they made little or no contribution to air pollution. The public in general made known its dislike of the increases in transportation and heating costs that would result from such taxes. In the face of such opposition, the legislation passed by Congress in August contained only a single tax of 4.3 cents per gallon on transportation fuels.

      As the year began, a milestone in U.S. energy policy passed with little fanfare—the last remaining controls on the price of natural gas at the wellhead were phased out. The effect was minor—because more than 95% of all gas being sold was at prices below the legal ceilings—but it marked the end of an era that had begun in the 1950s. In May the U.S. Department of Energy said that it would voluntarily submit to the supervision of worker safety by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

      For yet another year OPEC struggled vainly to achieve prices for oil at the organization's target level of $21 a barrel. As in previous years, the nub of the problem was OPEC's inability to enforce compliance by its members with the agreed-upon quotas for each country's production. At the February meeting of the organization, the quotas were adjusted to include Kuwait, which had recovered from the destruction of its oil facilities in the 1991 Gulf war. In June the total OPEC production ceiling remained unchanged, and because its quota was not significantly increased, Kuwait elected to remain outside the agreement. Price weakness intensified during the summer as total OPEC output increased in the face of no rise in demand. By the time of the OPEC meeting at the end of September, prices had fallen some $6 per barrel below the $21 target and threatened to fall as low as $10 per barrel. This possibility produced a measure of unity. A new production ceiling was agreed upon, with Kuwait this time accepting its quota, and the ceiling was set for a six-month period rather than the customary three months. Market weakness reappeared during October and November. An OPEC meeting at the end of November failed to produce any agreement on curtailing production, and on December 17 prices dropped to $13.91 per barrel, the lowest levels in nearly three years in the U.S. market and in five years in the European market.

      Saudi Arabia merged its national production company with its refining and marketing company, creating the world's largest fully integrated oil firm. Venezuela approved the first oil projects with foreign oil company participation since its industry was nationalized in 1976. The projects involved development of the country's huge resources of extra-heavy crude oil in the Orinoco River basin. China agreed to the first foreign drilling onshore since the establishment of the communist regime in 1949. At year's end the Mobil Corp. announced that it and a Japanese consortium had been granted the right to drill offshore in Vietnam, while Exxon, with a consortium that included Mobil and Texaco, Inc., had been given offshore rights on Russia's Sakhalin Island. A well in the Adriatic Sea off the Italian "bootheel" established a new record water depth of 850 m (2,789 ft) for commercial production. In October, Shell Oil Co. said that it planned to drill for oil 894 m (2,933 ft) beneath the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.

Natural Gas and Coal.
      On November 1 the natural gas industry in the U.S. entered a new era as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Order 636 took effect. The order completed the process, begun in 1986, of increasing competition and creating more open markets in the industry. Under the order, interstate gas pipeline companies gave up their traditional role as suppliers of gas to local distribution companies, becoming instead service companies offering transportation, storage, and other functions to all interested buyers. The distributors and large industrial users, in turn, became fully responsible for obtaining their own gas supplies, without the benefit of the pipeline's traditional backup function.

      Natural gas prices in the U.S. remained generally strong throughout the year. A sharp increase during the spring brought them to near record levels. Despite a subsequent decline during the summer, prices remained above $2 per thousand cubic feet as September brought the onset of the heating season. The Venezuelan government approved the first foreign investment in that country's gas industry since nationalization. The multibillion-dollar project involved the liquefaction of gas for export. Poland granted a U.S. company the rights to develop the production of methane gas from coal by drilling wells in the coal beds of working mines as well as in unworked deposits.

      Labour strikes plagued the U.S. coal industry throughout most of the year but did not lead to any supply shortages for coal users. In Britain the government began the process of privatization of the national coal industry by offering the first pits for sale.

Other Developments.
      Despite several severe weather incidents during the year, the energy industries fared surprisingly well. An unusually strong winter storm in March, with high winds and tornadoes along with record snowfalls and plunging temperatures from Florida through the mid-Atlantic states, resulted in the loss of power to more than 1.2 million customers in Florida alone. Predicted cold temperatures in the wake of the storm did not materialize, however, and statewide blackouts were averted. Electric utilities in states along most of the Eastern Seaboard suffered only moderate damage. The storm caused some gas pipelines to curtail deliveries, but in this regard also the effect on customers was minor. A severe and prolonged heat wave in July (with temperatures of more than 38° C [100° F] from New York City to Memphis, Tenn.) resulted in new all-time or summer record levels of peak demand for 22 electric utility systems in the eastern half of the U.S. The historic and devastating floods produced by unending rainfall during the summer and fall in the upper Mississippi River drainage basin likewise spared electric utilities from severe damage to their systems. Some generating plants and substations were flooded out, but the effects were local, and power supplies were not affected by the flood interference with fuel shipments.

      A troublesome event in nuclear energy was the action by the Ukrainian legislature in October to reverse a decision in 1991 to close the two remaining operating reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant at the end of 1993. The plant was the site of the world's worst civilian nuclear disaster in 1986. The decision was based on the urgent need to rely on nuclear plants to provide the country with adequate power, despite the dismal safety record of the type of reactors at Chernobyl. In the U.S. the government announced that the uranium-enrichment business would be privatized, and the operator of the Trojan nuclear power plant near Rainer, Ore., closed the plant four years ahead of schedule rather than perform needed repairs. In October the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it was abandoning a plan to put plutonium-contaminated bomb waste in underground storage in New Mexico. In China the country's largest nuclear power plant began operations. The decision to open the plant, located about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of Hong Kong and jointly owned by a Hong Kong utility and the Chinese government, was made despite controversy over its safety. (The plant is located on a geologic fault and in an area subject to typhoons.)

      Two developments in the field of unconventional energy deserve mention. In May a team of researchers in Zürich, Switz., reported the discovery of a new superconducting material that raises the temperature at which superconductivity is attainable. The previous limit was 127 degrees on the Kelvin scale, equivalent to -231° F (-146° C). The new limit was 133 K (-220° F [-140° C]). The higher temperature was made possible by the incorporation of mercury for the first time in a superconducting material. (The other elements in the new compound are barium, calcium, copper, and oxygen.) The material itself has no practical applicability; it is difficult to prepare and is toxic. It is, nevertheless, significant in widening the range of superconducting possibilities. In April the largest wind farm for electric power generation outside the U.S. began operation at Llandinam, Powys, Wales. The 103 wind turbines had a capacity of 31 MW, enough power to supply 20,000 homes.


      This updates the articles energy conversion; petroleum.

* * *

      in physics, the capacity for doing work. It may exist in potential, kinetic, thermal, electrical, chemical, nuclear, or other various forms. There are, moreover, heat and work—i.e., energy in the process of transfer from one body to another. After it has been transferred, energy is always designated according to its nature. Hence, heat transferred may become thermal energy, while work done may manifest itself in the form of mechanical energy.

      All forms of energy are associated with motion. For example, any given body has kinetic energy if it is in motion. A tensioned device such as a bow or spring, though at rest, has the potential for creating motion; it contains potential energy because of its configuration. Similarly, nuclear energy (energy conversion) is potential energy because it results from the configuration of subatomic particles in the nucleus of an atom.

      Energy can be converted from one form to another in various ways. Usable mechanical or electrical energy is, for instance, produced by many kinds of devices, including fuel-burning heat engines, generators, batteries, fuel cells, and magnetohydrodynamic systems.

      Energy is treated in a number of articles. For the development of the concept of energy and the principle of energy conservation, see physical science, principles of; mechanics; thermodynamics. For the major sources of energy and the mechanisms by which the transition of energy from one form to another occurs, see coal; nuclear fission; oil shale; petroleum; electromagnetism; energy conversion.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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