Peak Oil News: Investigative journalist reports peak oil by 2020

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Investigative journalist reports peak oil by 2020

ABC Canberra

By Ross Solly and Nicholas Kittel

The end of oil is nigh... but not if you believe politicians or oil companies.

Experts predict that oil production is about to peak, plateau and then fall, creating a demand that will be greater than supply that will result in oil shocks and economic consequences that will affect all.

Investigative journalist and author David Strahan decided to explore the end of oil and its ramifications in his latest book: The Last Oil Shock - A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum. (This book is not yet available on Amazon.com.)

Mr. Strahan explained that peak oil does not necessarily mean an immediate end to oil production but it is running out.

"It's not about getting to the bottom of the last barrel of oil on the planet, far from it, that's not going to happen for generations... it's about reaching a level of global production that we can't get higher than... so it's not running out in that sense it's reaching a peak and going into decline," he said.

However, these thoughts may leave one with a false sense of security as Mr. Strahan believes this could all happen sooner rather than later.

"I think the sensible forecasts range from between around about now to around about 2020... I say between about 2010 and 2015 and I'd be absolutely astonished if it hadn't happened by 2020.

And the CEO of the world's forth-largest oil and gas company, Paris-based Total SA, agrees. Thierry Desmarest recently told the World Gas Conference in Amsterdam that he believes oil production will peak by around 2020 (Bloomberg).

In researching his book Mr. Strahan said he had come across many obstacles, including being denied a visa for Saudi Arabia and poor, false or misleading data provided by oil producing countries, governments, industry bodies and oil companies.

Mr. Strahan said that one of the most interesting and frightening pieces of information that he uncovered through his research was that the world, potentially, has 25 per cent less oil than we actually estimate we have left.

"The big, key five Middle Eastern OPEC countries - the Saudi, Iraq, Iran, Abu Dhabi and so forth... they, in the early 1980s, all increased their declared reserves massively - they either doubled or, in some cases, tripled their declared reserves... they all just decided that they had twice or three times as much oil as they'd previously declared. Most observers think those increases are bogus and therefore the world's total reserves are much smaller, about 25 per cent smaller, than the official figures."


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