Saturday, 17 July 2010

What is Peak Oil?

The first thing to understand is that Peak Oil is not about oil supplies running out. Instead, it's about when the rate at which oil is supplied reaches an all-time high, and starts to decline. This is influenced by a range of factors including geology, the technology used to extract the oil, and above-ground factors such as natural disasters, politics and war.

At a basic level, when an oil reservoir is discovered the oil production from it increases over time at first, as more wells are drilled and more advanced technology is used to extract the oil. Eventually a peak is reached, sometimes followed by a plateau for a few years. After this an irreversible decline sets in, as the reservoir depletes, although a small amount of production may continue for many years. Within a country, oil reservoirs are discovered over time, so the production peaks are spread out, but the cumulative production will still reach a peak and then decline. The same is true for the world as a whole.

I'm not going to go any further into the background here, as I'd just be re-hashing what has been written many times before. There's some links at the end if you want to read more about the science behind it all. The important thing is that the peak is probably pretty soon, if it hasn't happened already, and that the implications are serious and demand immediate action to tackle them. These include effects on transportation, food supply, heating, electricity generation, and are compounded by the fact that all minerals reach a peak in supply at some point, including gas, coal and uranium as well.

This aim of blog is to bring the latest relevant news on Peak Oil to you, along with comment and analysis where appropriate. Hopefully this will be useful, and encourage you to find out more and take whatever action you can.


For more information:
The Oil Drum
Energy Bulletin
Oil Depletion Analysis Centre

No comments:

Post a Comment