Several reports circulated in the last two weeks about “peak oil” – oil production in established fields now declining, not just because of OPEC constraints on production, but also because the quantity of oil available from these sources has passed peak production and will decline steadily. Some predicted that there was less than a decade of oil left.
Nonsense. According to most established analysts, there are some forty years of conventional oil supplies available from proven reserves, New fields are now coming on stream, including the new Kuharis field in Saudi Arabia, which contains about half the oil that has been pumped from the North Sea. New discoveries of conventional oil occur all the time, the most recent of which is in Uganda which, according to one observer, is almost as large as the Saudi oil fields. Then there is the oil sands – Alberta has the equivalent of 175 billion barrels of oil tied up in tar and there are other oil sands and oil shale operations globally.
From a fuel point of view, there is also a need to look at coal and gas. With new technologies liberating natural gas from shale, gas production has grown exponentially – up 48% in the US alone last year. Coal is also abundant.
So talk of peak oil is nonsense and some have recently argued that we will be entering a period of significantly lower energy costs until, that is, the climate change levies are applied.