Worldwide Oil Prize, Desalination and Population Growth Correlation Study

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In this paper, the investment in new desalination capacity, expressed as daily production capacity, was studied as a function of oil production and population increase for a large group of countries for the last 25 years. These countries were selected for their large desalination production and Sweden presented as reference. Oil production correlated well with investments in new desalination capacity. On a yearly basis, the correlation was about 78 %, but taking into account the time needed from investment decision to inauguration of new desalination plants, the correlation increased. The world oil production two years prior inauguration correlated to 88 % with new world desalination capacity during the entire study time.
The total population for the studied countries was compared to the world population. In 1950, about 69 % of world population lived in the chosen countries, decreasing to 63 % in the year 2008 and according to population prognosis continues to decrease to 56 % in the year 2050 with occupied area of about 52 %. The total
desalination capacities of these countries are slightly increased from 88 to 92 % in 1996 and 2008 respectively, and decreased to 90 % at 2050.
Increased desalination capacity means increased energy demand. To a large extent, the energy costs are site specific as are the costs of labour and capital, but the reported water price was about 2.5 US $/m3 desalinated
water until the 1980s, decreasing to roughly US $1.5/m3 in the early 1990s and to about $0.50/m3 in the late 2003.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Social Sciences
  • Water Engineering


  • Population, Oil Production, Seawater Desalination and Capacity, Brine Discharge, Recovery Ratio, Salinity
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalVatten: tidskrift för vattenvård /Journal of Water Management and research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch

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