Oil giant rejects peak oil view
By Dan Piller
Exxon Mobil on Tuesday lined up solidly against “peak oil” adherents, saying the estimated 4 trillion barrels of crude oil available for production will be more than enough to satisfy the estimated 60 percent increase in world demand for crude oil through 2030.
Such a view runs contrary to the peak oil argument, which warns that the world is near the peak production and any decline will weigh heavily in increased costs and geopolitical friction as demand continues to climb, particularly in China, India, Russia and the developing world.
“We are comfortable that the technology exists to produce sufficient oil through 2030,” Exxon Mobil planning manager Jaime Spellings said.
Fossil fuels will continue to make up 80 percent or more of fuels for transportation and utility use, Spellings said. Increased efficiency in automobiles, particularly the expected widespread use of hybrid automobiles and changed behaviors by consumers, will make the United States and other developed countries at least 40 percent more fuel efficient than at present.
“We think that economic output will grow faster than energy demand,” Spellings said. He added that although Exxon Mobil doesn’t predict crude-oil or gasoline prices, he said, “We feel that the current high prices for crude oil don’t reflect production costs,” and therefore, presumably, should ease.
Alternative fuels such as corn-based ethanol will account for no more than 2 percent of U.S. fuel usage by 2030, Spellings said. He said that at least 21 percent of the annual U.S. corn crop would be needed to produce that 3 percent of total gasoline use estimated for 2012.
Other estimates provided by Exxon Mobil
Global oil resources:
1984: 1.8 trillion barrels
1994: 2.2 trillion barrels
2005: 3.1 trillion barrels
Percentage of high-efficiency-technology car sales:
2005: 2 percent
2010: 3 percent
2020: 10 percent
2030: 30 percent
Daily fuel supply and demand in 2030:
Crude & condensate: 82 million barrels
Oil sands: 5 million barrels
Natural gas liquids: 8 million barrels
Biofuels: 1 million barrels
SOURCE: Exxon Mobil