For years, the experts have been warning of the
dangers of oil depletion. They have been accused of crying wolf.
This time, the wolf really is at the door.
The Real Danger
Everyday in the news, we hear of the threat of climate change.
There are international conferences, television documentaries, books
galore. Leaders meet regularly to discuss the issues and define
programs. Yet, while climate change is undoubtedly a serious problem,
the most dangerous aspects are not likely to threaten us for several
decades and even then will be ambiguous in their results, bringing
hazards for many, benefits for some, and little effect for a few.
But there is a danger whose consequences will be far more destructive
and which will hit us much sooner. It is a danger that will affect
everybody, rich or poor, wherever they live in the world. It will
require enormous financial and scientific strides to defeat, strides
which the worlds governments show few signs of taking. It
is a danger which, quite feasibly, could lead to the end of our
industrial civilisation. It is the danger of peak oil.
I recently asked a question on a website about the financial dangers
of peak oil and one reply ended with this:
I remember being told twenty years ago that there was only twenty
years of oil left. We are now being told again that we have twenty
years of oil left. I wonder if we will be told the same thing
in another twenty years!
This is typical of the level of misinformation around about peak
oil. Few people seem to be aware of it and many of those who are
consider it a problem for the far future. I suspect that most people
asked about how long oil will last would place the time
hundreds of years in the future. If you dont already know,
ask yourself this question:
Using the known amount of available oil and the present
rate of consumption, how long would it be before all that oil is
This is known as the R/P ratio in the oil business (the first
bit of jargon). It may surprise you to know that in the BP Statistical
Review for 2007 (using data from 2005), the length of time is
40.5 years. So, any person under the age of about thirty or forty
would be likely to have to face a world without any oil.
The reality is not so simple as this but unfortunately the situation
is far worse. Peak oil is not about when we run out of oil but,
rather, when the production of cheap oil starts to decline. And,
as we shall see, that is much closer than we think.
I am not an oil expert. All my knowledge of peak oil comes from
books, websites and by studying the statistics. Up to the end of
the last century, I was as ignorant of this crisis as the average
person still is. Consequently, there is nothing on this site that
the ordinary uninformed person cannot understand since I am also
an ordinary person who was uninformed. The facts of peak oil are
littered with oil jargon (see Jargon)
and endless tables of figures. Every statistic seems to be defined
differently by different authors and even a term such as oil
has a multitude of meanings. It is no wonder that the ordinary man
or woman in the street is not aware of the problem.
The bulk of the statistics I am using in this site are from two
sites: the BP Statistical Review and the ASPO News (The Association
for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas). I use these because the sets
of statistics are easily available to download from the respective
websites whilst much data is difficult to find and/or expensive.
Neither set of oil figures can be relied on for total accuracy but,
since the inaccuracy tends towards the optimistic (certainly in
the BP figures), it will bring home to you the trouble we are in.
If things seem bad with these figures, think how bad it really is.
I recommend that you go to the websites (if you can) and download
the relevant statistics. Do not rely on my interpretations –
check them out for yourselves. The data is all there. We just need
to be woken up to what is written within.
As I point out, I do not work in the oil business so I cannot
guarantee that every word I write is correct, but I have tried
to check as much as possible. That is the advantage of using downloadable
you can check much of the interpretation for yourself. But
if you dont trust what I say, I urge to to get onto the
Internet and check things out for yourself. The questions of
the general public brought global warming to the headlines, only
a similar thing will wake the world up to the danger that awaits
Wolf Thoughts (blog)
Paul Thompson is the creator of
The Reader's Guide
to Wuthering Heights
The Reader's Guide
to the Day of the Triffids
Notes on Site Usage
Where you see a text break like the one above (a blue line with
a triangle/arrow in the centre), clicking on the triangle will take
you to the top of the page.
Where you see a link with a thumbnail such as the line below, it
indicates a larger image of the thumbnail chart is available by
clicking on the yellow link (or the graphic).
|This website was designed on a Macintosh but checked on my
PC. As far as I can tell, it should work okay on all systems
and browsers. I have found that the best browser (for both Macs
and PCs) is Mozilla Firefox. I would advise you to download
it and use it as your default browser. Click the logo on the
right to go to the Firefox
|Wolf at the Door is hosted by oneandone.co.uk. Click the logo
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