The fear that we have reached peak oil seems to have abated in recent years as the US and other countries began extraction of shale oil. But that doesn’t mean we should think that this problem has gone away.
According to UPI.com, new research published by the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions A suggests that the shale gas reserves are just a false dawn and that oil production has reached a terminal tailspin, as supply increasingly struggles to keep up with demand.
Former BP Geologist and co-author of the new research paper, Dr Richard G Miller told students at the University College London that data from international energy agencies suggested that global oil production had most likely peaked in 2008.
"We are drawing down on our reserves, even though reserves are apparently climbing every year. Reserves are growing due to better technology in old fields, raising the amount we can recover—but production is still falling at 4.1 per cent every year," he said.
Co-authored with Dr Steve R. Sorrel of the University of Sussex, the new paper suggests that the use of shale oil will only heighten the issue of supply, as the oil is difficult to extract from these sources and is quickly exhausted.
The paper reports that it is time to "accept that conventional oil resources are at an advanced stage of depletion and that liquid fuels will become more expensive and increasingly scarce” concluding that “climate-friendly solutions to ‘peak oil’ are available, but they will not be easy” and “ appear unlikely to allow the majority of the world’s population to achieve the levels of mobility currently enjoyed in the West.
“Lower mobility, in turn, implies a very different direction for future economic development. In sum, adapting rapidly and peacefully to oil scarcity in a manner that does not destroy the global environment provides humanity with a formidable challenge.”