Even though crude oil is still extensively available in the Earth’s crust, it isn’t by any means an endless resource. At some point in time, it will be inevitably exhausted. The demand for crude oil has increased by exponentially over the past few decades. Nevertheless, the discovery of new oil reserves and investment in the oil industry has helped keep pace with the rising demand for oil. The central question is – how long will these oil reserves last?
The advancement of technology has made drilling for crude oil more proficient and effective. With some help of new drilling techniques, it is possible to draw 60% more oil, when contrasted with the old drilling techniques. An improved infrastructure and millions of investments have also made drilling of oil more efficient. At present, most transportation means are reliant on oil and numerous other industries require some type of petroleum by-product. Even though there are alternative energy resources, like wind and solar energy – We are still a long way from being completely independent of crude oil.
Over the past few years – there has been abundant debate and estimates of the remaining oil reserves. A great deal of factors needs to be taken into account before oil reserves/resources can be declared scarce. Some depleted oil wells can actually draw more crude if technology advances enough. In situations like these, it becomes impossible to make an accurate prediction of when the oil reserves will be totally exhausted; therefore any such predictions are completely false. Country specific statistics that are stating their proven oil reserves are also is not to be trusted – since they can’t accurately say how much oil they have left. Certain countries are obligated by law to report honest statistics, whilst others are prejudiced by economic and political conditions. Because of this – there is a possibility that oil statistics don’t tell the whole story.
Various economists and analysts believe that our search for alternative energy resources will gain momentum long before the world experiences an oil shortage. The high price of oil will most certainly be the stimulus for hastening the development of renewable energy sources. When oil prices are low, there is less incentive to search for alternative sources of energy. As a matter of fact, as oil prices skyrocket – alternative energy sources may prove to be more competitive. Then again, alternative energy sources will only become in demand when they can be exploited against the high price of petroleum.
For now, our oil reserves are fine, but we need to find an alternative energy solution before we choke our atmosphere with harmful CO2 gases.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This article was provided by food lover and tech enthusiast, ScribeZA, for the Oil Council’s LNG conference – which is take place later this year.