When the oil runs out
Oil is the sinews of the modern life, providing the world with power. It supplies fuel for factories, heavy and light industries and generates electricity. Not only that, oil derivatives are used to make a diversity of products including clothes. Oil is also the raw material of many plastic products.
Unfortunately, this valuable substance which has been relatively recently introduced into man's life is going to be exhausted. This is a prediction based on up-to-date studies. People in the oil industry confirm this end and show their apprehension of the future. The Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) is sending warnings on this issue, and so do many other experts, for governments to make precautions before it is too late.
Demand continues to rise but oil reserves are becoming exhausted. Thus within the coming few years, the era of cheap unlimited energy is expected to come to a close. This phenomenon is known as 'peak oil production' or 'oil depletion'. In other words, peak oil indicates that we have consumed as much as half of the total oil reserves and that we are going down the curve.
Industry consultants IHS Energy recently reported that 85 percent of all the oil ever discovered is now in production, and only half the total produced last year was replaced by new field discoveries. Annual consumption has now exceeded new discoveries every year since the early 1980s. Overall worldwide oil discoveries have been declining steadily for the past 40 years.
Many measures should be put into play to avoid the problem of power shortage. People should conserve power. Most of us still waste fuel on a prodigious scale, and the savings we could make by more efficiency, and by just switching off, are immense.
Our hope lies on scientific research and probable solutions to find new sources of power, and improve available ones.
So far it seems that the only possible substitutes for our fossil-fuel dependency are solar power and nuclear energy. The efficient exploitation of nuclear energy depends on man's ability to harness it. Developing a way of running this highly sophisticated civilization on those resources is an enormous challenge. Whether we will be able to cope with it remains to be seen.