Steep decline in oil production brings risk of war and unrest, says new study
- Output peaked in 2006 and will fall 7% a year
- Decline in gas, coal and uranium also predicted
World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.
The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected. The report which predicts that production will now fall by 7% a year, comes after oil prices set new records almost every day last week, on Friday hitting more than $90 (44) a barrel.
"The world soon will not be able to produce all the oil it needs as demand is rising while supply is falling. This is a huge problem for the world economy," said Hans-Josef Fell, EWG's founder and the German MP behind the country's successful support system for renewable energy.
The report's author, Joerg Schindler, said its most alarming finding was the steep decline in oil production after its peak, which he says is now behind us.
The results are in contrast to projections from the International Energy Agency, which says there is little reason to worry about oil supplies at the moment.
However, the EWG study relies more on actual oil production data which, it says, are more reliable than estimates of reserves still in the ground. The group says official industry estimates put global reserves at about 1.255 gigabarrels - equivalent to 42 years' supply at current consumption rates. But it thinks the figure is only about two thirds of that.
Global oil production is currently about 81m barrels a day - EWG expects that to fall to 39m by 2030. It also predicts significant falls in gas, coal and uranium production as those energy sources are used up.
Britain's oil production peaked in 1999 and has already dropped by half to about 1.6 million barrels a day.
The report presents a bleak view of the future unless a radically different approach is adopted. It quotes the British energy economist David Fleming as saying: "Anticipated supply shortages could lead easily to disturbing scenes of mass unrest as witnessed in Burma this month. For government, industry and the wider public, just muddling through is not an option any more as this situation could spin out of control and turn into a complete meltdown of society."
Mr Schindler comes to a similar conclusion. "The world is at the beginning of a structural change of its economic system. This change will be triggered by declining fossil fuel supplies and will influence almost all aspects of our daily life."
Jeremy Leggett, one of Britain's leading environmentalists and the author of Half Gone, a book about "peak oil" - defined as the moment when maximum production is reached, said that both the UK government and the energy industry were in "institutionalised denial" and that action should have been taken sooner.
"When I was an adviser to government, I proposed that we set up a taskforce to look at how fast the UK could mobilise alternative energy technologies in extremis, come the peak," he said. "Other industry advisers supported that. But the government prefers to sleep on without even doing a contingency study. For those of us who know that premature peak oil is a clear and present danger, it is impossible to understand such complacency."
Mr Fell said that the world had to move quickly towards the massive deployment of renewable energy and to a dramatic increase in energy efficiency, both as a way to combat climate change and to ensure that the lights stayed on. "If we did all this we may not have an energy crisis."
He accused the British government of hypocrisy. "Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have talked a lot about climate change but have not brought in proper policies to drive up the use of renewables," he said. "This is why they are left talking about nuclear and carbon capture and storage. "
Yesterday, a spokesman for the Department of Business and Enterprise said: "Over the next few years global oil production and refining capacity is expected to increase faster than demand. The world's oil resources are sufficient to sustain economic growth for the foreseeable future. The challenge will be to bring these resources to market in a way that ensures sustainable, timely, reliable and affordable supplies of energy."
The German policy, which guarantees above-market payments to producers of renewable power, is being adopted in many countries - but not Britain, where renewables generate about 4% of the country's electricity and 2% of its overall energy needs.
A barrel of oil still a barrel yesterday, today and tomorrow only thing change is Death of the Dollar, like or not when we just print 100 $ piece of paper that worth 4.4 cents only. Tell me now who the fool. The one that sale or the one that buy.
I feel pity for OPEC and other oil producing country, they can only sell oil in US dollars: (((( Oil at USD$95.00 still less then 4.4 cents the cost of printing a USD$100.00 bill. Until we bring back gold stranded to our dollar, we are just robbing other of their wealth with them knowing it.
Good luck!! It is not unexpected how little the mainstream, corporate press has covered the ongoing collapse of the USA fiat dollar
"Inna lmubadireena kanoo ikhwaana shayateen" meaning those who waste planet earth's natural resources are the brothers and sisters of Satans.
To Imran, why did the pharaoh of Egypt believe prophet Joseph explanation of his bad dream? It's simple it's because it's a scientific explanation...it makes sense!!! Please read the Quran with an open mind !!!
Peace to all,
Romesh , some of what you said is true but you need to remember that your people in India along with the people of Australia "have lots of camels" too not just us Arabs that you seem to hate for some odd reason??? Also you said that "the PetroSheiks love wars..." How can you say that when you see that they are not joining the war against Iraq... ? You can't prove it!!!...You need to talk with evidence not on the basis of emotions & bias like some of us in this planet do. We should all know that these political leaders are nothing but puppets of the US, Israel, GBR, multinational corporations, lobby groups, the IMF, the World bank & the G8 countries behind the scene elites & super powerful families. Of course all govs try to maximise their gains in peace & war... We also need to know that oil prices are controlled by the USA; OPEC "controls" the output only. Very good point Lars Brovajck we shall all moan & mourn America's dying spirit. It's very sad & worrisome that the world has never had a role model nation state. It seems to me that history is bound to keep repeating itself over & over again. And yes, this situation does benefit certain groups, multinationals & governments out there including those doom & gloom Christian freaks in the US (no offence is meant to peaceful Christians) that keep voting for Bush for the simple reason that their leaders have successfully convinced them that: If Armageddon is unavoidable why worry about oil depletion, pollution, climate change & world War III. To them the rupture is inevitable & by believing in the ideology of the likes of (pseudo-religious leaders) such as Jerry Farwell & Pat Robertson they think they are saved. To them, these men have already booked for them their tickets to heaven anyways.
Zainon, yes Allah is the provider but that does mean we shall keep destroying planet earth & not worry about His punishment.. Have you read this verse from the Quran yet:
Insha'Allah. The Almighty has the final say.
In reality you don't know what the morrow will bring.
Pharoah was shamed into being asked to make the sun rise from the west. And he was made to look foolish indeed.
Why should we follow false pharoahs of doom?
So when you tell me something will happen by 2030 why should I believe you?
Yes, Iraq War is a good racket; and PetroSheikhs love this racket.
After the Iraq war, there will be no oil wars where major powers like US are involved; If US cannot win this war, how can anybody else win any oil war. So, Iraq war will be the last oil war by the major powers. From now on, oil wars will be local (and probably civil wars). One needs lot of oil to wage wars and manufacture ammuniton; major powers will have no control on foreign oil anymore and hence will not be able to wage wars far off. Oh, yes, they will wage wars, but in their own neighbourhoods (e.g., various european countries fighting among each other using horses and donkeys).
You wrote "It's amazing how some people say as a matter of fact that the world will not be able to produce all the oil (or water or grains) it needs... Providence is for Allah, not us, to measure.".
Well, so far nobody has been able to prevent famines in the history of the world. May be "GOD" wanted famines to happen?