A world without oil
(for the full story click on the title of this post)
Scientists challenge major review of global reserves and warn that supplies will start to run out in four years' time
By Daniel Howden
Published: 14 June 2007
Scientists have criticised a major review of the world's remaining oil reserves, warning that the end of oil is coming sooner than governments and oil companies are prepared to admit.
BP's Statistical Review of World Energy, published yesterday, appears to show that the world still has enough "proven" reserves to provide 40 years of consumption at current rates. The assessment, based on officially reported figures, has once again pushed back the estimate of when the world will run dry.
However, scientists led by the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, say that global production of oil is set to peak in the next four years before entering a steepening decline which will have massive consequences for the world economy and the way that we live our lives.
According to "peak oil" theory our consumption of oil will catch, then outstrip our discovery of new reserves and we will begin to deplete known reserves.
The importance of black gold
* A reduction of as little as 10 to 15 per cent could cripple oil-dependent industrial economies. In the 1970s, a reduction of just 5 per cent caused a price increase of more than 400 per cent.
* Most farming equipment is either built in oil-powered plants or uses diesel as fuel. Nearly all pesticides and many fertilisers are made from oil.
* Most plastics, used in everything from computers and mobile phones to pipelines, clothing and carpets, are made from oil-based substances.
* Manufacturing requires huge amounts of fossil fuels. The construction of a single car in the US requires, on average, at least 20 barrels of oil.
* Most renewable energy equipment requires large amounts of oil to produce.
* Metal production - particularly aluminium - cosmetics, hair dye, ink and many common painkillers all rely on oil.