One day, oil production will begin declining. The world’s drivers and transport operators and airlines, not to mention fertiliser, plastics and pharmaceutical manufacturers, will file their usual orders — only to be met by suppliers saying: “Um, sorry, we can only meet part of that order.”
Imagine the panic. Imagine the shock to markets. And imagine if that moment were to come not in 2130, or even 2030, but in 2013?
The economic uncertainty would eclipse the current recession, the potential for global conflict would shoot upwards, and some predict that we’d face the dark prospect of global oil apartheid, where rich countries might corner supplies — and poor countries would be left lurching, their very survival as states possibly at risk.
For years, those who have raised the spectre of “peak oil” have been derided as cranks and alarmists. But their ranks now include some remarkably conventional figures, and the statistics they use have the most respectable origins.
Often misunderstood, “peak oil” does not refer to oil running out. That won’t happen for a long time. Peak oil simply refers to the time at which overall production peaks and, most likely, demand begins to outstrip supply.
The world consumes 85-million barrels per day. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects demand to hit 105-million barrels per day by 2030. But it’s not clear how Continue reading