The 19-nation International Energy Agency yesterday released a highly detailed, country by country study pointing toward major oil shortages and higher petroleum prices by 1985 if present consumption trends continue.
The report said that none of the member countries had done all they could to save oil, but it pointed a finger particularly at the United States as the world's largest oil importer.
The report spoke of a gap of 4 million to 12 million barrels a day between what the oil-exporting nations are likely to be willing and able to produce and how much the industrialized importing nations are likely to be demanding by then.
Oil analysis intimately familiar with the energy agency's data said that, except for the United States, most member countries had submitted numbers that the experts view as being excessively optimistic. Even with such optimistic forecasts, "This is not a good picture," said one analyst.
The single largest predicted increase in consumption of imported oil was a rise in the United States from 8.7 million barrels a day in 1977 to 11.5 million barrels a day in 1985 and 13.8 million barrels a day in 1990.
Those numbers were submitted by U.S. energy authorities in response to an agency questionnaire. They are based on the assumption that President Carter's national energy plan, which is stuck in the Congress, will not be passed. If all the measures asked for by President Carter were to win passage, the U.S. need for oil imports would be cut back to 6.4 million barrels a day, slightly less than 1976 levels, the report indicated.
U.S. officials apprently were pleased that critical comments along the lines of those made by the White House should be given the additional weight of an international agency. Officials of the agency say that the main point of the exercise is to provide moral suasion for energy saving measures by forcing member nations to submit to comparisons against each other and against internationally adopted joint goals.
The delays in passage of the Carter administration's energy plan and the high likelihood of modifications by Congress already make the prospects dim that the United States will meet its lowered oil import goals for 1985; endangering the international agency's original of limiting oil imports for member countries to 26 million barrels a day by that year, the report said.
Given American performance in this field, the most hopeful estimate now is that member countries will be importing 29 million barrels a day, but even this is considered by many oil analysts to be overly optimistic.
Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Turkey were criticized for having inadequate fuel conservation programs; but none of them weigh heavily in the total picture. Best marks went to Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, with qualified high marks to Canada and Norway.
A middle group included West Germany, Britain and Italy. The United States and Japan were given high marks for their plans only, rather than any implementation of energy conservation measures.
On the upbeat side of the energy picture was a continued commitment of governments to nuclear energy programs despite all the difficulties they have encountered. The report saw nuclear energy rising rapidly from its present 9 percent of the total to 22 percent by 1985, less than originally anticipated, but still high. Nuclear programs are still particularly attractive to countries with limited native energy sources because they ensure at least some guaranteed domestic energy supply.
The agency report forecast a drop in oil as a proportion of total energy consumption from 21 percent currently, to 17 percent by 1985 and a dramatic drop in natural gas from 11 to 6 percent. Coal is expected to remain virtually stable.
The agency called on the United States to take into account the needs of other industrialized countries as it expands the use of its huge coal resources. Japan is expected to register the heaviest increase in use of coal, doubling over the next eight years.
Another development the agency viewed as positive was the break in the last few years both with the assumption and the practice that a percent growth in gross national product almost automatically created a corresponding 1 percent growth in energy consumption.
In fact, the figures show that instead of the traditional one-to-one ratio, the increase in energy demand was shaved to half the increase in national product during 1972 to 1977. The United States is seen as doing about average in that field, energy analysts say.
The United States and Canada were also singled out in the report for criticism for not taxing gasoline heavilyenough and for not taxing automobiles in accordance with their weight