Skip to main content

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Constance B. Bailey explained why the decrease of global oil consumption is an issue in an article for The Conversation.

Global oil consumption declined by roughly 9 percent in 2020 as the pandemic reduced business and pleasure travel, factory production, and transportation of goods. This abrupt drop accelerated an ongoing shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Constance Bailey
Constance B. Bailey

Many oil companies are trying to make up losses by boosting production of petrochemicals derived from oil and natural gas.

Petrochemicals are used in millions of products, from plastics, detergents, shampoos, and makeup to industrial solvents, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, and carpeting. Over the next 20 years, oil company BP projects that the market for petrochemicals will grow by 16 to 20 percent.

Researchers are working to develop more sustainable replacements for petrochemical products, including biobased plastics and specialty chemicals, but petrochemicals can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost. As a biochemist working to develop environmentally benign versions of valuable chemicals, Bailey is concerned that without adequate support, pioneering green chemistry research will struggle to compete with fossil-based products. Read the full article on The Conversation.

UT is a member of The Conversation, an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the general public. Through the partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important work of our faculty.



Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,