High oil prices don't mean we're running out of crude
Despite record-high crude oil prices and sticker-shock gasoline bills, the world faces no immediate shortage of oil, according to experts and an article published yesterday in the journal Science.
The Science report, "Never Cry Wolf: Why the Petroleum Age is Far From Over," portrays the world as awash in oil, with all major estimates putting proven reserves above the 1-trillion barrel mark. It was prepared by Leonardo Magugeri, a senior vice president at Italian energy company Eni.
"It is true that the world will not run out of oil for a long time," said Hatfield, who published a major 1997 study on the topic. It predicted world oil production would peak around 2010 and then begin a permanent decline.
Hatfield and some other geologists warn that the peak of oil production is the key date to keep in mind, not the date when oil runs out. When production begins to decline -- whether in 2010 or sometime later -- oil prices will skyrocket, causing economic upheaval, Hatfield contended, especially if the demand for oil continues to grow.