Petroleum - Future of Petroleum Production - Peak Oil

Peak Oil

Peak Oil is the scientific projection that future petroleum production (whether for individual oil wells, entire oil fields, whole countries, or worldwide production) will eventually peak and then decline at a similar rate to the rate of increase before the peak as these reserves are exhausted. The peak of oil discoveries was in 1965, and oil production per year has surpassed oil discoveries every year since 1980.

Hubbert applied his theory to accurately predict the peak of U.S. oil production at a date between 1966 and 1970. This prediction was based on data available at the time of his publication in 1956. In the same paper, Hubbert predicts world peak oil in "half a century" after his publication, which would be 2006.

It is difficult to predict the oil peak in any given region, due to the lack of knowledge and/or transparency in accounting of global oil reserves. The scientist and researchers from Oxford University argue that official figures are inflated because OPEC members over-reported reserves in the 1980s when competing for global market share. Based on available production data, proponents have previously predicted the peak for the world to be in years 1989, 1995, or 1995–2000. Some of these predictions date from before the recession of the early 1980s, and the consequent reduction in global consumption, the effect of which was to delay the date of any peak by several years. Just as the 1971 U.S. peak in oil production was only clearly recognized after the fact, a peak in world production will be difficult to discern until production clearly drops off. The peak is also a moving target as it is now measured as "liquids", which includes synthetic fuels, instead of just conventional oil.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says production of conventional crude oil peaked in 2006. Since virtually all economic sectors rely heavily on petroleum, peak oil could lead to a "partial or complete failure of markets" - or, simply an orderly transition to 100 per cent renewable energy, within as short as a decade.

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Famous quotes containing the words peak and/or oil:

    In the mountains the shortest route is from peak to peak, but for that you must have long legs. Aphorisms should be peaks: and those to whom they are spoken should be big and tall of stature.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

    I bade, because the wick and oil are spent
    And frozen are the channels of the blood....
    William Butler Yeats (1865–1939)