This is the greatest country in the world, but sometimes I just wonder what other countries think of us.

That thought crossed my mind twice in one day. The second time was while watching some cowboy trying to ride a bull.


Here was a large group of trade reporters from all over the world, sitting on bleachers, watching a brief rodeo on a surprisingly cool June evening at the Southfork Ranch on the outskirts of Dallas. In the stands were natives of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Of course, there were more than a handful of media folk from the United States, too.

All were present for some good ol’ Texas hospitality, compliments of Siemens Building Technologies (SBT). Because the company held its International Trade Press Forum in Dallas this year, SBT thought it would be a good idea to entertain its invited guests — after a day full of press briefings and conferences, of course (which will be reported on in a future issue of The News) — at a “famous” place nearby.

Yep, Southfork is famous. This was the filming location for the “Dallas” television series. Remember?

North America Leads

At least everyone left the evening event with a smile on his or her face. Such was not the case earlier in the day when Richard Costello, manager of Energy Services and Solutions at SBT, gave a rundown regarding global energy. The facts he threw out regarding North America were, well, kind of embarrassing.

For instance, the amount of natural gas consumed globally in 2001 was approximately 2,500 billion cubic meters. Leave it to North America to lead the way in consuming approximately 750 billion cubic meters, with the former Soviet Union following with 500 million cubic meters. As far as the consumption per capita, North America and the former Soviet Union consumed more than 2 tonnes oil equivalent (toe) per capita.

The amount of natural oil consumed globally in 2001 was approximately 3,500 million toe. This represents approximately 75 million barrels per day of oil consumed worldwide. Leading the way, again, was North America, which consumed approximately 24 million barrels per day, with Europe following at approximately 20 million barrels per day.

The amount of hydro energy consumed globally in 2001 was approximately 600 million toe. North America led the way again.

Because the speaker addressed his remarks in English, the non-English-speaking reporters had to hear the presentation through an interpreter via headphones. Maybe I was too self-conscious, but those non-English-speaking reporters seemed to be looking around the room, eyeing those who did not have headphones on — as if those who were not wearing a headphone were responsible for all of this energy being consumed. Some even shook their heads during the talk.

Time To Reevaluate

The reason this information was relayed was to give attendees a look at what is presently happening and what is coming down the line in regard to energy consumption. World electric consumption is predicted to increase from approximately 13,000 billion kilowatt-hours to 24,000 billion kilowatt-hours over the next 20 years. The largest expected growth will be in the developing countries, with over 50 percent of new generation units being installed in those countries. Natural gas is projected to see the greatest increase in use for the production of electricity.

Given the current financial and physical status of energy across the globe, SBT just wanted to let everyone know that it is partnering with customers to improve energy efficiency and facility performance. For example, in the United States alone, SBT said it has provided customers with well over $1 billion in energy cost savings.

With the desire for maintaining one’s energy security in a world of terrorism, global recession, and volatile energy prices, one can only imagine the renewed importance placed on the world’s energy supply system. Here’s betting (and hoping) North America will lead the way in reducing energy consumption over the next 20 years. If not, I don’t want to know what people think of the United States. I’ll already know.

Mark Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446, 248-362-0317 (fax), or

Publication date: 07/07/2003