Fri Aug 7th, 2009 at 06:28:22 AM EST
According to an article in the [past Monday, August 03] Independent, three quarters of the world's oil fields are past their peak, and world oil production will peak around 2020. Source: Independent
The article is based on an interview with Dr Fatih Birol, of the International Energy Agency, and discusses the result of the IEA's latest study on petroleum reserves.
from the diaries with slight edit - Nomad
The main takeaway is that the existing fields are depleting far more rapidly than previously thought, an annual rate of 6.7%, as opposed to 3.7% they had estimated in 2007. The net impact is to bring the date at which total oil production begins to decline forward by around 10 years, perhaps as early as 2020.
As Dr Birol says:
"One day we will run out of oil, it is not today or tomorrow, but one day we will run out of oil and we have to leave oil before oil leaves us, and we have to prepare ourselves for that day,"
This issue will have profound geopolitical implications, with a transfer of power to the producer nations, and will act as a major brake on the world economy. Like global warming, this is not something that can be taken care of tomorrow, but requires urgent action.
And where is the low hanging fruit? The US transportation sector.
According to US Government statistics, The US consumes 20 million barrels of oil per day, of which 12 million are imported. The total world production of oil is 82 million barrels per day, so the US consumes almost exactly 25% of world production.
Of these 20 mm barrels per day, 9.3 mm are converted to gasoline, not liquid fuels, but gasoline, and this accounts for 45% of total oil consumption. If you add in diesel and kerosene for aircraft, transportation uses 70% of the total oil supplied to the US.
Obama's energy program needs to tackle the issue of gasoline use much more aggressively that it is doing currently.