Understanding the future of oil
Only oil that has been found before can be produced. Therefore, the peak of discoveries which took place a long time ago in the 1960s, will some day have to be followed by a peak of production. After peak oil, the global availability of oil will
decline year after year. There are strong indications that world oil production is near peak…
In the period 1960 to 1970 the average size of new discoveries was 527 Mb per New Field Wildcat. This size has declined to 20 Mb per New Field Wildcat over the period 2000 to 2005…
- “Peak oil is now”. For quite some time, a hot debate is going on regarding peak oil. Institutions close to the energy industry, like CERA, are engaging in a campaign trying to “debunk” the “peak oil theory”. This paper is one of many by authors inside and outside ASPO (the Organisation for the Study of Peak Oil) showing that peak oil is anything but a “theory”, it is real and we are witnessing it already. According to the scenario projections, the peak of world oil production was in 2006. The timing of the peak in this study is by a few years earlier than seen by other authors (like e.g. Campbell, ASPO, and Skrebowski) who are also well aware of the imminent oil peak. One reason for the difference is a more pessimistic assessment of the potential of future additions to oil production, especially from offshore oil and from deep sea oil due to the observed delays in announced field developments. Another reason are earlier and greater declines projected for key producing regions, especially in the Middle East.
- The most important finding is the steep decline of the oil supply after peak. This result – together with the timing of the peak – is obviously in sharp contrast to the projections by the IEA. But the decline is also more pronounced compared with the more moderate projections by ASPO. Yet, this result conforms very well with the recent findings of Robelius in his doctoral thesis. This is all the more remarkable because a different methodology and different data sources have been used…
The major result from this analysis is that world oil production has peaked in 2006. Production will start to decline at a rate of several percent per year. By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a
supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame.
The world is at the beginning of a structural change of its economic system. This change will be triggered by declining fossil fuel supplies and will influence almost all
aspects of our daily life.
Climate change will also force humankind to change energy consumption patterns by reducing significantly the burning of fossil fuels. Global warming is a very serious problem. However, the focus of this paper is on the aspects of resource depletion as
these are much less transparent to the public.
The now beginning transition period probably has its own rules which are valid only during this phase. Things might happen which we never experienced before and which we may never experience again once this transition period has ended. Our
way of dealing with energy issues probably will have to change fundamentally.
The International Energy Agency, anyway until recently, denies that such a fundamental change of our energy supply is likely to happen in the near or medium term future. The message by the IEA, namely that business as usual will also be possible in future, sends a false signal to politicians, industry and consumers – not to forget the media.
Read more [PDF].