Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Significant Risk' Of Oil Production Peaking In Ten Years, Report Finds

Date:
October 8, 2009
Source:
UK Energy Research Centre
Summary:
A new report argues that conventional oil production is likely to peak before 2030, with a significant risk of a peak before 2020. The report concludes that the UK Government is not alone in being unprepared for such an event -- despite oil supplying a third of the world's energy.

Offshore oil rig at sunset.
Credit: iStockphoto/Kristian Stensψnes

A new report, launched by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), argues that conventional oil production is likely to peak before 2030, with a significant risk of a peak before 2020. The report concludes that the UK Government is not alone in being unprepared for such an event - despite oil supplying a third of the world's energy.

The report finds that we are entering an era of slow and expensive oil as resources get harder to find, extract and produce. Major new discoveries, such as those announced recently in the Gulf of Mexico, will only delay the peak by a matter of days or weeks. Simply maintaining global production at today's level would need the equivalent of a new Saudi Arabia every three years.

According to the report's chief author, Steve Sorrell, senior researcher at UKERC, "In our view, forecasts which delay a peak in conventional oil production until after 2030 are at best optimistic and at worst implausible. And given the world's overwhelming dependence upon oil and the time required to develop alternatives, 2030 isn't far away. The concern is that rising oil prices will encourage the rapid development of carbon-intensive alternatives which will make it difficult or impossible to prevent dangerous climate change."

The report defends more optimistic estimates of the size of oil resources but notes that much of this is in smaller less accessible fields which may only be produced relatively slowly and at high cost. It also highlights the accelerating decline in production from existing fields; more than two thirds of current crude oil production capacity may need to be replaced by 2030 to prevent production from falling.

Steve Sorrell: "It makes no sense to provide precise forecasts of when a peak in oil production will occur. The data is unreliable, there are multiple factors to consider and a ‘bumpy plateau' seems more likely than a sharp peak. But we can say that the window is narrowing rapidly. The effects of global oil depletion will depend greatly on the response from governments and on the scale of investment in new energy technologies."

UKERC's report is the first study to take an independent, thorough and systematic review of the evidence and arguments in the ‘peak oil' debate. It addresses the following question: What evidence is there to support the proposition that the global supply of ‘conventional oil' will be constrained by physical depletion before 2030?


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by UK Energy Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

UK Energy Research Centre. "'Significant Risk' Of Oil Production Peaking In Ten Years, Report Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091007223743.htm>.
UK Energy Research Centre. (2009, October 8). 'Significant Risk' Of Oil Production Peaking In Ten Years, Report Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091007223743.htm
UK Energy Research Centre. "'Significant Risk' Of Oil Production Peaking In Ten Years, Report Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091007223743.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins