Fears of dwindling oil supply unfounded
• Oil supplies are not running out according to Dr Leonardo Maugeri
• Dr Maugeri argues oil reserves estimates will continue to increase
• Previous estimates based on incorrect data according to Dr Maugeri
"The amount of oil remaining is a matter for scientific debate. What is no longer a matter for debate is, with the costs of climate change, we cannot afford to burn all the oil we already know exists" - Duncan McLaren, chief executive Friends of the Earth Scotland
Story in full CLAIMS that the world’s oil reserves are running low and a loss of petrol supplies is imminent have been laid to rest in a new report.
According to Dr Leonardo Maugeri, the world is not running out of oil, and the reality is that there are abundant supplies for years to come.
In his report Oil: Never Cry Wolf - Why the Petroleum Age Is Far From Over, he says that rather than being fixed, oil reserves are often larger than first thought because of increasing knowledge about specific deposits and advances in technology for recovering the oil. In addition, estimates of proven world oil reserves have been increasing since the 1940s, a trend he says is likely to continue.
Dr Maugeri says that proven reserves exceed one trillion barrels, while yearly consumption is about 28 billion barrels. But he points out that, overall, the world retains more than three trillion barrels of recoverable oil resources.
In a report published in the journal Science, Dr Maugeri says that the current model of oil pessimists is derived from a 1956 text by KM Hubbert, a work he dismisses as based on out-of-date information.
The best estimates in 1942 indicated that the Kern River field in California had just 54 million barrels of remaining oil. By 1986, the field had produced 736 million barrels, and estimates put the remaining reserves at 970 million barrels.
In a more modern example, Dr Maugeri cites the most recently discovered oil frontier in the world, Kazakhstan, and its major finding, the massive Kashagan oilfield. For decades, geological surveys had only indicated the possibility of hydrocarbon deposits there.
Dr Maugeri said: "There are many other oilfields yet to be explored in this area that have a geological structure similar to that of Kashagan.
"Thanks to new exploration, drilling and recovery technology, the worldwide finding and development cost per barrel of oil equivalent has dramatically declined over the last 20 years, from an average of about $21 in 1979-81 to under $6 in 1997-99. At the same time, the recovery rate from world oilfields has increased from about 22 per cent in 1980 to 35 per cent today."
However, Duncan McLaren, the chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "The amount of oil remaining is a matter for scientific debate. What is no longer a matter for debate is, with the costs of climate change, we cannot afford to burn all the oil we already know exists."
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