Oil Landscape

Published on February 11th, 2011 | by Christopher DeMorro

24

U.S Believes Saudi Arabia Running Out of Oil

Nobody knows how much untapped oil is left, and even the data on “known” sources is sketchy. The U.S. thinks that Saudi Arabia may not have as much oil left as they’d like us to think.

The report comes from those recently released Wikileaks documents, which among other things include information on what the U.S. thinks of key allies and enemies. Saudi Arabia is a long-standing U.S. “ally” and the third largest exporter of oil to America. Saudi Arabia may even sit on one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The problem is that Saudi society is not nearly as open as America’s, and the data is very susceptible to tampering and does not go through any sort of external verification. In fact, since the OPEC countries have started reporting their oil reserves, the countries have consisntely declared finding more and more oil, despite pumping it out of the ground at an astonishing rate.

Now it could be that Saudi Arabia sits on top of the Pacific Ocean of oil, but at the rate they are pumping it out of the ground (12.5 million barrels of oil per-day), it only makes sense to me that these oil reserves should, I don’t know, start to be depleted? Aprominent geologist named Sadad al-Husseini says that the Saudi’s will have difficulty hitting that target in the coming months, and they could hit peak oil production as soon as…wait for it…2012. Bum bum bummmm….

Does that mean gas will be unaffordable right away? Probably not. But with China and India both having booming economies, and the east Asian car market increasing exponentially, we could start having problems. And with the recent instability in the Middle East, it’s not a matter of if, but when the Saudi ruling family is overthrown. So getting off of oil is as much about the environment as it is about national security.

More cars + Less oil = Doomsday? It sure is a fun time to be alive.

Source: Yahoo!

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMI’s. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.



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About the Author

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



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  • http://Web Hayes

    This article is propaganda. Wikileaks is a joke and these claims have no validity. I come to this website because I’m interesting in electric cars and hybrid vehicles, but the over the top doomerism is ridiculous. I laughed when I saw another article based on some information that has been known for years. The man who supposedly made the claims in 2007 has already denied this article and admitted that Saudi Arabia has upped in oil reserves massively with new technology.

    • http://Web Dean

      Okay…stick your head back in the sand. A few questions for you:

      If Saudi Arabia has so much oil left, why are they now drilling offshore?

      Even better: Why is Saudi Arabia now looking at alternative energy? http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-01-oil-giant-saudi-arabia-alternative.html

      I’m glad there’s people like you around who’ll take the other side of my peak oil short bet…

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  • http://Web Robert

    are there alternatives to engine oil cause we know about fuel but what about the oil that lubricates the internals? Even Full synthetic is not fully synthetic.

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/joborras/ Jo Borras

      Electric motors often have very little contact area, and most of the ones I’ve seen can get away with little or no oil.

  • http://Web Hayes

    Doomers have no imagination. Even if their is a peak any time soon things will work themselves out. $5 or $6 gas will send people out in a hurry to buy an electric car or fuel efficient hybrid. As for Saudi Arabia, people will believe what they want to believe. This story is not new and Wikleaks is not credible at all. Nobody knows how much oil they have or how much oil there is still left in the ground in the world. Hell, this is the issue that I think will sneak up and send Obama packing next year. If he doesn’t come up with some real answers soon he will go down in history as a one termer. We have a ton of oil we aren’t using.

    • http://Web dan

      Umm, world oil production plateaued out in May 2005. IF production could be ramped up, what’s the hold up? Annual global new oil finds have not exceeded annual oil production for at least 20 years. If the Saudis or any other member of OPEC wanted to truly ally fears about the remaining size of their reserves, all they would have to do is be transparent with their data. Here’s some quality data/opinion
      http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7465

      BTW, the world could not ramp up production of electric/hev cars fast enough to make a dent in the car oil demand.

      • http://Web hayes

        Once again Dan, guys like you have no imagination. That is why you use the other resources like natural gas to be a part of the energy mix. People like you continue to make wrong and embarrassing predictions time and time again. Whether it is electric cars, natural gas vehicles, fuels cell cars, or a mixture of all them, everything will work itself out. Innovation is a powerful thing and it will proven this time and many times down the road.

    • http://Web Dean

      Okay, let’s say oil goes up to $200/barrel and gas $5-$6 per gallon. You say the solution is to move to electric cars & hybrids. How much oil is used to manufacture an electric car? Any idea? Think of all the plastics and resins, as well as the energy to produce the steel. There’s seven gallons of oil in each tire alone…

      Forget Wikileaks, people have been screaming about peak oil for years.

      “Nobody knows how much oil they have or how much oil there is still left in the ground in the world.”

      That is correct, but there are plenty of clues, and they point to less reserves, not more.

      “We have a ton of oil we aren’t using.”

      Really?! Show me some proof of all this excess capacity…

  • http://Web Marc P.

    Whenever we run out, whether it is in 2012 or in 2100, we have to come to terms with the fact that all of the western world’s prosperity, all the economic growth we now see is based on the availability of cheap energy, that is, cheap oil. We are going to run out, whether sooner or later. We’ve become so accustomed to the stuff and to the way of life that it gives us, that to just think that’s it’s all coming to an end is ludicrous… but it isn’t and it will. It’s not doomsday, it’s just plain mathematics. No matter how much oil we haven’t found, it’s not an infinite supply. It will end one day. There is x amount of oil available, we’re using this much per day and usage is going up, way up (other way of saying “exponentially”). You don’t have to be a doomsdayer to say we’re running towards a cliff. You just have to master grade 2 level addition and subtraction. It’s not rocket science.

    Whether it is next year or next century is largely irrelevant (other than for the amount of CO2 that goes into the atmosphere), because when the day comes, we won’t be ready since there will be plenty of “Hayes” who just keep saying… “this is propaganda” and “ridiculous”. “We’ve always had enough and done it this way so it’s impossible / ridiculous that it’s going to stop.” There is absolutely no logic or intelligence in such an argument, but it is the conviction of the vast majority that don’t see past the next 5 to 10 years.

    Wake up, people, cheap oil is going to end sooner or later. It’s going to have an impact. Just think of everything in our daily lives that depend on cheap oil and then think of the alternatives. Learn to think past your next BBQ or trip to Disneyland.

    • http://Web Dean

      Excellent reply, Marc…

      People like Hayes will be dragged kicking and screaming into the peak oil era.

      Reminds me of Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief, which in this case applies to coming to grips with the changing of behavior and lifestyle that will be required with peak oil and the end of cheap energy:

      1. Denial
      2. Anger
      3. Bargaining
      4.Depression
      5.Acceptance

      Most people, Hayes included, are at stage one…

    • http://Web Tim Cleland

      I agree that we’re going to eventually run out, but it’s not going to happen over night. What will happen is that as the reserves dwindle, prices will go up and other sources of energy will quickly become much more economically competitive. Furthermore, as companies start to need more crude oil for use in manufacturing lighter plastics, carbon fibers, etc. it will eventually become ludicrously expensive to burn crude oil for energy. That’s when wind, solar, wave, natural gas, nuclear, etc. will all start to gain a larger portion of the energy market.

  • http://Web hayes

    I should have known better than to comment on this story. Some people just want to be miserable and be doom and gloomers. There have been apocalyptic predictions since the begginning of time and they will continue on sites just like this one. I believe alternative energy is a huge part of our future energy solutions, but I hate to break it to you guys but so is oil.

    • http://Web Marc P.

      I should have know better than to expect an intelligent comment from someone who is in denial. “It just can’t happen cuz it would be apocalyptic and apocalyptic predictions have been made in the past and have not come true, so this one must also be false… it has to be.” Wow, I like your logic. Please review your grade 2 math book. We’re not talking about an alien invasions here, or Mayan predictions. It’s a simple inevitability.

      For the sake or discussion, let’s say ALL the oil (found or not) in the world equals 100 units. We’re using about two units a year (or more), but our use is going up. We’re going to run out at some point, but because of people like you, most of us don’t even want to think about it or even think it’s possible, NOT because it’s not logic, but because we’re so used to the stuff and we depend on it for so much of our daily lives. We’re emotionally tied to it and we don’t want to consider that a world without it is even possible (even if this is plainly evident and inevitable at some point).

      Whether you want to admit it or not, your basic argument is this: Since we’ve been living in prosperity for about 150 years thanks to cheap oil and technology, it’s impossible that oil, technology and other sources of energy won’t let us keep on living in this state or prosperity and constant progress forever.

      It’s completely illogical and has no intelligence or merit whatsoever, but you believe it because you can’t fathom what might happen if you’re not right (oh, admit it, at least part of you is scared you’re not right…).

      Of course, there are new technologies and they will go some way to answering our needs, but the sheer amount and scale of energy we will need to replace oil and all other fossil based fuels (that will inevitably run out some day) is gargantuesque. Things probably won’t change in a year or two, but we’re not used to thinking long term. We’re just worried about our next camping/fishing/disneyworld trip or the next new car or house we’ll buy.

      Anyway, if it makes you sleep better thinking all is well and nothing will change… be my guest.

  • http://Web Ron Willison

    Mr. Hayes probably believes America has two wars going on at the same time because of the terrorist boogieman too. Maybe he might find the time to search this term. PETRO-DOLLARS. wikileaks is no joke.Hayes. Follow that search up with “EXPONENTIAL COMPONENT” And if you can really squeeze in the time. Try “POPULATION GROWTH” Meanwhile BP will be drilling in 5 or 10 thousand feet of water. And Hayes you are to be commended on your interest in Electric Cars. Its just too bad our GOVT didn’t have the same interest this past 50 years. So have a nice day. I really do hate raining on peoples parades. Unfortunately mother Earth is fed up with humanity’s wasteful ways.

  • http://Web Jem Thomas

    Rather than getting hot under the collar about this issue why don’t we spend our time promoting the use of Diesel vehicles in the USA.

    If the fleet mix was the same as in the EU then Saudi Arabia would become irrelevant.

    That change is entirely possible in 5 years, all it needs is some political will and some good marketing. The technology already exists and is owned by US companies the large part.

    It seems people people prefer to argue than think laterally and make the argument irrelevant.

  • http://Web douglas prince

    ahh…ahhh…ahhhHHHHHH….
    WE ALL GONNA DIE! SAVE ME, JOHN CUSACK!
    hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/joborras/ Jo Borras

      HA! Awesome.

      • http://Web Dean

        Yeah, that peak oil thing is the product of the doomer’s imagination…

        Breaking News:

        North Sea on-year output takes a dive

        North Sea oil output will fall by 8.6% in March from a year earlier, illustrating the gradual drop in supply from the home of the Brent benchmark used to value two thirds of the world’s oil.

        http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article244864.ece

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  • http://Web Max

    Yes, I agree with this article. Oil will not last forever. Although I am not sure about Saudi Arabia, I just read that our south mexican neighbours have begun trouble with oil extraction. The main reserve has now past its peak production and they are investing heavily trying to keep with the extraction. Obviously, this has increased the costs of extraction and mexicans are paying more and more for the gas. So my guess is that sooner rather than latter, the same will happen to all reserves around the world. And we are far far from an alternative technology. But what will replace oil for other uses?

  • JOE HANLON

    ENTHUSIASM! GOOD TO SEE INTEREST AND DIFFERENT VIEWS based on perception gleaned from media misinformation which we all know is special interest driven in its bias skewed view of what information they feel we need to know about and this is just normal human behaviour but that said we all have to be cognisent of these truth’s and be vigilant in what we choose to beleive and always question the motives of all parties involved in such vast wealth distribution and the power it grants them in areas that affect the balance of life in ways not considered important when viewed by the untrained eye. In 1968 I was in 6th grade and this was a time that we still practiced “Duck and cover drills in school and remember sonic booms rattling our windows 10 to 15 times a week, and as was our civics educations still important back then we were given a flyer called the Weekly Reader and we learned all about worldly news and in one issue I can remember being told about Suadi Arabia’s vast oil supplies and with anticipated increased production they would supply the world with oil for an estimated 45-50 years. Well 45 years will be up in the year 2013 and I remember wondering how smart you had to be to estimate something like that so many years before it happens. How can this be a surprise on any level to anybody.? mmmmmm?

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