Will We Ever Know How Much Oil Is Left?

For as long as my father can remember, he claims people have been crying and screaming about peak oil production. He doesn’t seem to believe oil is anything but an infinite resource. I disagree. Unfortunately, neither I nor he nor anyone else on this planet seems to actually know how much oil is truly left in the ground. If we did know, we’d probably have more stable gas prices.

But do we really want to spend what could be limited time trying to figure it out? Or should we just assume we’re on the fast track to emptying our oil reserves?

AutoblogGreen came across two contrary articles on the topic of oil reserves; one from the Sydney Morning Herald, and another from gas conglomerate Shell. The Morning Herald claims that it is an “open secret” among members of the OPEC cartel that their oil reserve numbers are inflated. Unfortunately, in some of the closed societies found in the Middle East, we often have little choice but to take their word for it. However, the Morning Herald says OPEC might be exaggerating its oil reserves by as much as a third… and nobody really seems to mind. Just another reason we need to get away from oil. How do we trust suppliers who in all likelihood have been lying to us for decades? And even now, researchers from some Middle East Oil Companies are starting to say that peak oil could come as soon as 2014.

OPEC isn’t the only problem. We get lots of the black stuff from Venezuela too, and they aren’t exactly buddy-buddy with America right now. Plus, some companies are starting to count tar sands and the like as reclaimable oil, despite it still not being cost effective to do so.

And then there is Shell, who claims to have found a large “oil pay” almost five miles below sea level in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, I know off-shore drilling is bad. Oil is bad. But, personally, I’d rather have my oil coming from my side of the planet, where it might be easier to keep these companies honest. And I know, most environmentalists don’t want to drill for oil in Alaska, and I understand why… but we may have to if we don’t get the ball rolling on alternative fuels. Hybrids are just a band-aid. Most of us are still going to be using gas for the foreseeable future, and if OPEC suddenly says “Sorry guys, all gone”, or the Kuwaitis are right and Peak Oil comes around 2014… well then what?

Feels more and more like we are between a rock and a hard place, and nobody is in a particular rush to get out. Maybe it is better to just not know for now.

Source: AutoBlogGreen | Sydney Morning Herald | Shell


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.