Statistics of Oil Peak
In the present times, the depletion of oil all over the world has become a major topic of concern all over, and this subject is indeed an extremely important one because of the fact that a world without oil is a frightening prospect and will hurt mankind and the very lifestyle of human beings everywhere. Since it is well-known that everywhere it is conventional oil that is being produced in large quantities today, it must be understood that the production of this oil has been dominating the oil production all over the world, in fact, about 95% of oil that has been produced so far is the conventional oil, and there is no doubt that it will continue to dominate oil supply all over the world for a great many years in the future. It was in the 1960’s that the discovery of conventional oil actually peaked, and at present, the statistics reveal that for every one barrel of oil that is found, four are consumed.
The production of oil in the Middle East has been on the rise, while other parts of the world where the oil had peaked during the late 1990’s, is now in a veritable state of terminal decline. The world peak of oil occurs once in every five years, and non-conventional oil delays peak only a few years, but will also act to ameliorate the resulting decline. It is a fact that peak oil is a turning point for mankind in general, and since the economic prosperity of the entire twentieth century was driven by cheap and oil-based energy, when the oil is no longer available, it is indeed a state of danger and all the warning signs must be read as early and as competently as possible so that mankind will continue to do well. (Peak Oil: Presentation at the Technical University of Clausthal)
There is a general lack of preparedness for the depletion of this important resource, and it is the truth that man sees only what he wants to see, and all the warnings that were given by experts have been significantly ignored, resulting in a total lack of preparation and readiness. The warnings were basically about two factors: one was that one has to find or discover oil first before one can produce it, and second, the production has to mirror the very discovery of the oil. One example is that during the 1960’s discovery if oil was at its peak, while it was only during the past few years that oil production has been at its very peak. However, this is a knowledge that has been rejected not only by flat-earth economists but also by numerous other people who have had insurmountable faith in technology and in market forces. (Peak Oil: Presentation at the Technical University of Clausthal)
The ‘Environmental Impact of the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry’ states that, based on the reports on the global oil resource base in the world, the oil production in the whole world will be on the increase for the next few decades. (Interesting facts about Oil Gas and Ocean Environment) However, the question is, ‘When will the oil production peak?’ And what will be the various effects of the several different estimates of the world conventional oil resource base? The fact is that the larger the oil source is, the later the production will eventually peak. The world oil resource base estimates state that the figures have been steadily increasing over the years: whereas it was a mere 600 billion barrels in the 1940’s, it has now reached the high rate of 3,900 billion barrels, according to the estimates brought out by the U.S. Geological Survey, or the USGS.
The most important factors that affect the estimates of the peak production year are, according to the figures derived from the 12 different scenarios created by the EIA that were in turn based on the three conventional oil resource base estimates, that are, in increasing order, 2,248, 3,003, and 3,896 billion barrels of oil respectively, of high, mean and low probabilities of occurrence. In addition, four different world oil production oil growth rates were also taken, which were 0, 1, 2, and 3% respectively. (World Oil production Scenarios)
Then the peak production rates could be calculated with the help of a simple algorithmic calculation. This is: the peak production year estimates ranged from 2021 to 2012 across the twelve scenarios that were to be taken into account. For example, when the USGS mean resource base estimate, that is, 3,003 billion barrels and an annual production growth rate of 2%, which is similar to the current production rate were to be taken into consideration, then the estimated peak production year would be the year 2037. However, EIA’s rates differ from those of the USGS’s rates, and according to those estimates, the peak would occur at a much later date. It also indicates that the world’s production of conventional oil may increase substantially for two decades or even more, after which it would start to decline. Why is EIA so very optimistic? (World Oil production Scenarios)
The first reason for the optimism is that the usage of the current rate of the USGS statistics of the world conventional oil resource estimates, which are not only larger but are also much better technically than other resources that had been used in the preceding years. Another reason to be so very optimistic may be that the use of a methodology that would estimate the peak production is based on the ‘reserve to production ratio’ that has been generally utilized in the United States of America from the year 1970 when the oil production underwent a peak. A third reason may be based on the various choices that were made to make the estimates, like for example, the choice of the production curve hypothesis, the market dynamics, the technological progress, and the various economic policies that may have come into force, all affected the figures one way or another. (World Oil production Scenarios)
Sometimes, petroleum has been referred to as ‘black magic’ and this is because of the fact that this raw material is so very valuable and has changed the world so much ever since it has been discovered that it is often referred to as the very life-blood of our civilization of today. It is the truth that the petroleum industry provides 40% of the world’s entire energy, and is also one of the largest commercial enterprises to have been undertaken by the human being at any time. Oil is the world’s best fuel, because it is not only extremely flexible but it is also the most concentrated, and also the most convenient fuel that the world has. It is not an outlandish statement to say that without oil and the industries based on oil, the world would have come to a standstill; there would be no automobile industry, because how can a car run without fuel, there would be no tourism industry, and so on. It is also a fact that without oil, the 2% of Americans, for example, who would be able to eat, would not, however, be able to feed the remaining 98% of the population that couldn’t feed itself. (When will the joy ride end?)
It must be remembered that oil is not just ‘energy’ or ‘fuel’; it is also the key feedstock for innumerable products like plastics, medicines, clothing, pesticides, paints, and so on. Oil is the world’s premier commodity, and it is predicted that oil production will soon reach a peak or an apex. However, the hitch herein is that after the so-called peak, there will be a massive decline, after which it supposedly will never pick up again. Today, the world is nearer to the end of the ‘oil era’ as a historian of the future would refer to it, than at the beginning. This means that we are fast approaching the peak and then, the inevitable decline. It was in 1859 that oil was first struck in Pennsylvania, and it is often thought that this was the ‘magic fluid’ that was responsible for America becoming a massive ‘super-power’. The ‘transformation’ as it actually was, resulted in America, that was traveling on horse back in the year 1859, to drive fuel powered automobiles and even fly up to the moon in the year 1969.
Oil is so very a part of the economy of today that it is indeed difficult to imagine a world without this very important fuel that one tends to take for granted with ease. People all over the world use almost 20 million barrels of oil every sibgle day. This makes up to 4% of the total number of people in the world, and about 25% of the world’s total oil. In fact, the humans of today can be actually called the ‘oil tribe’ or the ‘petroleum clan’, wherein about three whole gallons of oil are used everyday, by every person, everywhere in the world. Since the automobile is a status symbol, and also a symbol of the person’s success in life; the more successful he is, the better the automobile, and the larger, and the more oil it consumes. An average American will drive about 1,000 miles every month, which makes it about 12,000 miles every year, which in turn is equal to the distance to the moon every twenty years. The number of people who consume oil is about 280 million at any given time, and because the faster the world grows, the faster the average human being needs to travel to catch up, he is fond of speed for which he would need petroleum, and he is also fond of motion, or moving from one place to another, because travel has also become so very easy that anyone and everyone can travel anywhere he wants to whenever he wants to. (When will the joy ride end?)
In fact, an average American individual actually ands up consuming his own weight in petrol once in every seven days! America, because of its ideal geological location, has always been availing of cheap oil, and this oil in plenty; only one other country was able to rival the amount of oil that was available in America, and that was Saudi Arabia. In fact, as an example, Oklahoma State possessed more oil than Germany or Japan, and the state of California managed to possess more than the total amount of oil possessed by Italy, Germany, France, and Denmark, Sweden, Japan, and Finland, all put together. In fact, the United States of America had 20 times more oil than India, 10 times more than Brazil, and 3 times more than China at any given time. In the year 1950, the U.S.A. was producing more than half of the total amount of the entire world’s oil, while in the year 2000; the U.S.A. does not even produce half of its own oil. (When will the joy ride end?)
While domestic production reached peak level sin the year 1970, just about 45% of the crude oil that is consumed today is being produced, and more than 65% of the entire oil supply has been exhausted today, and where it will go from there and where will it eventually end is the moot question that has economists and experts and researchers going around in endless circles trying to find a suitable answer. America has been continually drilling and in fact fueling her economy by drilling more and more and pumping much longer than should have been done, and this is what has resulted in the depletion of this valuable resource. The oil policy that the U.S.A. has been following all these many years is known as the ‘Strength through Exhaustion’, and though America still retains its position as the world’s third largest producer of oil, it is not known whether the same position would continue for a much longer time. (When will the joy ride end?)
What are the future projections of the oil peak? Since it is already clear that peak oil is the time when the extraction of oil from the earth would reach its highest peak and after which it would automatically go into a state of decline, what is the future of oil under these circumstances? Some opine that the peak has been reached already, while some others state that it would be reached in a few years’ time. Whenever it is reached, however, what does it herald for the future and for the future of mankind in general? The first thing that would happen is that it would be the end of the availability of cheap oil or cheap energy, and this may be because the entire human civilization has come to rely so very much on this fuel that it cannot survive without an abundance of this cheap and freely available oil. Today, there is widespread fear and panic about the peak of oil, and man is being warned that this valuable resource is indeed getting finished and that even as production declines, the demand for the material increases, and the very economy would be severely affected by this phenomenon. The human being has to wake up right now, immediately, and face this reality and ultimatum that is being issued by the experts, otherwise, maybe one would have to murder each other so that there would be that much less demand for oil. (Peak Oil: The peak in oil will change everything)
Oil in fact will not just run out or get over, because of the fact that all oil production generally follows a definitive ‘bell curve; wherein oil is plentiful on the upward area of the bell curve, and scarce and extremely expensive on the downward slopes of the curve. The peak of the curve is the point where oil has been depleted 50%, and it is a fact that after the peak has been passed, then the production of the oil will begin to decline considerably, and at the same time, the costs begin to rise. For example, if 2000 were the year in which there was to be a peak, then the worldwide production of oil in the year 2020 will be about the same as it was in the year 1980. But the fact remains that the world in the year 2020 will be more industrialized and consume more oil than the world in 1980, and this means that the world wide demand for oil will eventually outpace the worldwide supply or production of oil, and this by a wide margin. Therefore, as an inevitable result, the prices of oil will increase, in fact, sky rocket, and all the various oil-dependent economies will decline, and resource wars will begin and start to explode all over the world. (Peak Oil: Life after the Oil Crash)
If one were to be more careful and conserve oil, then this would not happen, and the future of mankind would be brighter, therefore, let us hope that this would not come to pass any time in the future.
Campbell, C.J. (December, 2000) “Peak Oil” Presentation at the Technical University of Clausthal. Retrieved From http://www.geologie.tu-clausthal.de/Campbell/lecture.html Accessed on 8 February, 2005
“Interesting facts about Oil Gas and Ocean Environment” Retrieved From
http://www.offshore-environment.com/facts.html Accessed on 8 February, 2005
“Peak Oil: Life after the Oil Crash” Retrieved From
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net / Accessed on 8 February, 2005
“Peak Oil: The peak in oil will change everything” Retrieved From
http://www.peakoil.org / Accessed on 8 February, 2005
“When will the joy ride end?” Retrieved From
http://www.aspencore.org/Fossil_Fuels_Futures/Joy_Ride/Joy_Ride_-_Print/joy_ride_-_print.html Accessed on 8 February, 2005
“World Oil production Scenarios” Retrieved From
http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/presentations/2000/long_term_supply/sld020.htm Accessed on 8 February, 2005
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