Monday, December 5, 2011

Is Peak Oil Already Here?

The International Energy Agency is the leading international agency when it comes to forecasting the world’s future energy use. In the report World Energy Outlook the international institution presents its forecast. The first report in this series was presented in 1994. From 1994 IEA has presented a very positive outlook for future energy. In the first report from 1994 the World Oil production was expected on increase to 94 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2010. From 2002 to 2009 World Energy Outlook the forecast for oil production was expected to increase to 120-105 mb/d. In the 2008 World Energy Outlook Oil Production was expected to increase with 1% per year up until 2030. In 2010 a new analysis was presented. In this report the Peak in world production of oil was believed to have taken place in 2008 with a World Production of around 70 million barrels per day. This report suggests that Peak Oil may in fact already have taken place. If this analysis is correct it means that instead of having 20 years of additional growth in Oil Production ahead of us we may now be on the other end of Hubberts Peak. Peak Oil has been a highly debated subject for a long period of time. The future forecasts have often been described as very positive with future growth in production and reserves. Many of the researchers within the Peak Oil Movement have provided a more problematic analysis.

Oil is one of the most important commodities in today’s world. It has very energy content and is crucial for many areas like transportation, agriculture and the petrochemical industry. Research has also shown that there is a strong correlation between economical development and the access to cheap energy.

Peak Oil is only one of many complex problems that the world may face. If we have truly reached the Peak in world oil production or not can only history show. There are a number of other problems that also interact; the world population has recently reached 7 billion people and is expected to reach 10 billion in 2050. At the same time we also have a demographical development in many rich countries with low birth rates that will produce a situation when few young will have to support and aging population. Man Made Global Warming is another trend that may also interact with these problems with more severe weather and increased water shortages in some part of the world.

It’s my guess that we may have reached or is starting to reach a point when many of the resources that our current way of life depends upon will start to decline. I do not think that we have reached this point for all natural resources but it’s possible that we have started to reach this point for some of them. If this is correct we may face a future when an increasing world population will have to make do with less and less resources and that this problem will get increasingly worse over time.

Our political and economical system is today very focused on short term profits and growth. Economical growth and increased average life span has increased for a very long period of time. This is all that our political and economical institutions know and it’s also something that is deeply rooted in all of us from the stories that’s being told throughout our societies.

During the last year we have seen a series of events around throughout the world like Arabian Spring, a severe economical crisis for some of the countries within the European Union and The Occupy Wall Street Movement. It’s my belief that these developments are symptoms at least partly related to other underlying factors like Peak Oil, The Depletion of Renewable and Non Renewable Resources, The Increasing World Population, The Demographical Development and Global Warming and that these factors may continue to put an increasing press on our political and economical system.

Other Articles
Peak Oil and Our Mental Models - The WikiLeaks Cables and The Worlds Largest Oil Fields
The US Energy Information Administration - No Peak in World Oil Production in another 23 years
Peak Oil

1 comment:

  1. YES we have already reached Peak Water and YES i believe that we have already reached Peak Oil [that is, until Brazil hit 50b gal off shore]. Brazil should be advancing into the top three echelon with China and the US around the time that they host the Olympics.