Oil crisis 'to hit in four years'
By Mark Schliebs
* Report claim oil production to peak in four years
* Peak could lead to global recession
* Oil company says not to worry
A CRUSHING global recession could be just years away according to a new reports which claim world oil production is set to peak much faster than previously thought.
The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre in London and other scientists from around the world argue that oil production will peak in four years and then rapidly decline due to overwhelming demand.
Head scientist at the centre Colin Campbell told The Independent that the decline would have huge consequences on the way we lead our lives.
“It's quite a simple theory and one that any beer drinker understands,” Dr Campbell said.
“The glass starts full and ends empty and the faster you drink it the quicker it's gone.”
'No need to worry'
But oil companies are downplaying the scientists’ fears, pointing out that a report commissioned by a petroleum giant says depletion rates aren’t as large as was once thought.
The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2007, released yesterday, said that although consumption was rising more rapidly than production, it would be 40 years before it outstripped it.
BP Group chief executive Tony Hayward said the report was a true recount of the world’s oil usage and availability.
“I believe that decision-makers, businesses and members of the public will all benefit from the unbiased, carefully collected data to be found in this review,” Mr Hayward said.
“We at BP will continue to provide it as an essential starting point for analysis and discussion.”
Geologist Jeremy Leggett told The Independent that oil companies were choosing the facts they wanted to hear.
“It reminds me of the way no one would listen for years to scientists warning about global warming,” Mr Leggett said.
“We were predicting things pretty much exactly as they have played out. Then as now we were wondering what it would take to get people to listen.”
According to the BP report, the worldwide daily consumption of oil was nearly 83 million barrels in 2006, up 0.7 per cent from the previous year.
But production increased just 0.4 per cent over the same period, rising to 81.7 million barrels a day.
Curtin University’s Robert Kagi said that if oil companies were more careful in the way they extract oil, there would be more oil for consumers.
Professor Kagi said that many companies “vandalise” oil reserves by trying to pump it out too quickly to help profitability.
He said that the pressure of water being pumped into reserves to raise oil higher to the earth’s surface should be slowed.
“If you use a slower water drive, you get a greater recovery of oil,” Professor Kagi said.