Drill this!

~Oil Running Out~

In 1956, a geologist with Shell Oil, M. King Hubbert, used a bell-shaped curve to correctly predict that oil from the lower 48 states in the US would peak around 1969, to be followed by irreversible decline. The term ‘peak oil’ has since been used to identify the point at which roughly half of all the oil in the region has been extracted, and production would decline, driving up the price of oil and eventually failing to meet demand.

Dr. Colin J. Campbell, who spent decades working as an international exploration geologist for major oil companies, assembled what has become widely recognized as the world’s leading hydrocarbon database. He is now a trustee of the Oil Depletion Analysis Center (ODAC), a London-based charitable organization. In his book, The Coming Oil Crisis published in 1999 and later writings, Campbell used the same ‘Hubbert’ curve to predict that worldwide oil production would peak between 2005-10. (More...)

~Running Out of Oil -- and Time~

March 6, 2004-- The news last month that the vast Saudi oil fields are in decline is a far bigger story than most in the media, or the United States, seem to realize. We may begrudge the Saudis their 30-year stranglehold on the world economy. But even the possibility that the lords of oil have less of the stuff than advertised raises troubling questions. How long will the world's long-term oil supplies last? As important, what will the big importing nations, like the U.S., do the day world oil production hits its inevitable peak?

For more than a century, Western governments have been relentlessly upbeat about the long-term outlook for oil. Whenever pessimists claimed that supplies were running low — as they have many times — oil companies always seemed to discover huge new fields. It's now an article of faith among oil optimists, including those in the U.S. government, that global oil reserves won't run out for at least four decades, which seems like enough time to devise a whole suite of alternative energy technologies to smoothly and seamlessly replace oil.

But such oil optimism, always questionable, is now more suspect than ever. True, we won't "run out" of oil tomorrow, or even 10 years from now. But the long-term picture is grim. In the first place, it's not a matter of running out of oil but of hitting a production peak. Since 1900, world oil production — that is, the number of barrels we can pump from the ground — has risen in near-perfect step with world oil demand. Today, demand stands at about 29 billion barrels of oil a year, and so does production. By 2020, demand may well be 45 billion barrels a year, by which time, we hope, oil companies will have upped production accordingly.

At some point, however, production simply won't be able to match demand. Oil is an exhaustible resource: The more you produce, the less remains in the ground, and the harder it is to bring up that remainder. We won't be "out of oil"; a vast amount will still be flowing — just not quickly enough to satisfy demand. And as any economist can tell you, when supply falls behind demand, bad things happen. (More...)

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