There Is Enough Oil…No There Isn't

BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy published last week boldly stated we have enough oil. Specifically, there is enough proven oil reserves to last us 40 years. The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre in London disagrees as you might expected from their name. They say we are doomed that peak oil will hit in 4 years and we will crash hard. Did I mention the part about global economic collapse. Apparently the problem is that the cheap and easy to extract stuff – has already come and gone in 2005. Even when you factor in the more difficult to extract heavy oil, deep sea reserves, polar regions and liquid taken from gas, the peak will come as soon as 2011.

So does the more optimistic estimate of 40 years make you feel any better.  Sure I will be 73 then, if I live that long, and probably will not want to drive anyway.  But what about my kids?  I actually don’t have any.  But what about Kevin and Peter’s kids?  Take a moment to let this settle in.  The most optimistic, sunny day scenario of how long we can last on oil reserves, calculated by the oil industry themselves, is just 40 years.

3 Replies to “There Is Enough Oil…No There Isn't”

  1. 40 years **at the current rate of consumption**.

    Although the production doesn’t increase these days, the rate of consumption does, so it might be shorter than 40 years, and during the last of these 40 years, not everyone will have access to oil.

  2. Proven reserves and peak oil are different things. Proven reserve is an estimate of the total amount of oil available under current conditions (cost of extraction and price). So, it fluctuates directly with price and is always changing. Peak oil is the point at which the rate of oil extraction is maximum. The only way peak oil can increase is with the discovery of more reservoirs. Proven reserves go up every time price does.

    Possibly the best thing that could happen in the long run is for oil prices to increase slowly and steadily. As price goes up, alternative technologies become competitive, and help reduce the demand for oil.

  3. well said, Andrew…I agree. We don’t want it to be a shock, but high prices will (hopefully) create a culture of energy efficiency.

Comments are closed.