Finite resources

Alex Orr (Letters, 12 October) claims that “the North Sea could still contain more than £1 trillion worth of oil and gas and with significant unharvested reserves it is possible that as many as 24 billion barrels can still be extracted, according to industry body Oil and Gas UK”.

On checking the industry body’s website, its 2012 review states that: “Of the 64 possible new fields, approximately half have recoverable reserves of less than 20 million barrels. Only 13 have reserves in excess of 100 million barrels.” The 24 million number is quoted as the extreme in a range starting at 15 billion barrels of oil equivalent. These numbers include oil and gas not yet discovered. This is not a scenario from which to build a healthy wealth fund. Production of North Sea oil and gas will continue for many more years and technology will help in the better identification of oil reserves and aid its production.

But this will not reverse the inevitable decline: a finite resource will become exhausted.

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Peter Jenkins

Union Street

Edinburgh