Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

World oil reserves at 'tipping point'

Date:
March 26, 2010
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
The world's capacity to meet projected future oil demand is at a tipping point, according to new research.

Oil rig. Capacity to meet projected future oil demand is at tipping point, according to new research.
Credit: iStockphoto

The world's capacity to meet projected future oil demand is at a tipping point, according to research by the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University.

There is a need to accelerate the development of alternative energy fuel resources in order to ensure energy security and reduce emissions, says a paper just published in the journal Energy Policy.

The age of cheap oil has now ended as demand starts to outstrip supply as we head towards the middle of the decade, says the report. It goes on to suggest that the current oil reserve estimates should be downgraded from between 1150-1350 billion barrels to between 850-900 billion barrels, based on recent research. But how can potential oil shortages be mitigated?

Dr Oliver Inderwildi, Head of the Low Carbon Mobility centre at the Smith School, said: 'The common belief that alternative fuels such as biofuels could mitigate oil supply shortages and eventually replace fossil fuels is pie in the sky. There is not sufficient land to cater for both food and fuel demand. Instead of relying on those silver bullet solutions, we have to make better use of the remaining resources by improving energy efficiency. Alternatives such as a hydrogen economy and electric transportation are not mature and will only play a major role in the medium to long term.'

Nick Owen, from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, added: 'Significant oil supply challenges will be compounded in the near future by rising demand and strengthening environmental policy. Mitigating the oil crunch without using lower grade resources such as tar sands is the key to maintaining energy stability and a low carbon future.'

The Smith School paper also highlights that in the past, political and financial objectives have led to misreporting of oil reserves, which has led to contradictory estimates of oil reserve data available in the public domain.

Sir David King, Director of the Smith School, commented: 'We have to face up to a future of oil uncertainty much like the global economic uncertainty we have faced during the past two years. This challenge will have a longer term effect on our economies unless swift action is taken by governments and business. We all recognise that oil is a finite resource. We need to look at other low carbon alternatives and make the necessary funding available for research, development and deployment today if we are to mitigate the tipping point.'

The report also raises the worrying issue that additional demand for oil could be met by non-conventional methods, such as the extraction of oil from Canada's tar sands. However, these methods have a far higher carbon output than conventional drilling, and have been described as having a double impact on emissions owing to the emissions produced during extraction as well as during usage.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Owen et al. The status of conventional world oil reserves--Hype or cause for concern? Energy Policy, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2010.02.026

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "World oil reserves at 'tipping point'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324225511.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2010, March 26). World oil reserves at 'tipping point'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324225511.htm
University of Oxford. "World oil reserves at 'tipping point'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100324225511.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

Raw: SpaceX Rocket Carries 3-D Printer to Space

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A SpaceX Rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a custom-built 3-D printer into space. NASA envisions astronauts one day using the printer to make their own spare parts. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. 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