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Global oil depetion is around the corner
-- Scientific American paper

The following is extracted from Our Energy Future, the newsletter of the American Association for Fuel Cells, issue 12, Summer 1998.

"Everything has changed except our way of thinking"
-- A quote from Albert Einstein, regarding the atomic bomb, but which also applies to both oil depletion and climate change in our time.

(The following is excerpted from Scientific American, March 1998, pp 78-83. The authors are Colin J. Campbell and Jean H. Laherrere, acknowledged experts in the field of oil depletion.)

According to most accounts world oil reserves marched steadily upward over the past 20 byears. Such grwoth is an illusion. About 80 percent of the oil produced today flows from fields that were discovered before 1973. The great majority of these are declining.

In the 1990's, oil companbies discovered sevenb Gbo (billion barrels of oil) a year. Last year they drained more than three times that much,

The next oil crunch will not be so temporary (as the ones in the 1970s). Our analysis f the discovery and production of oil ... around the world suggests that within the next decade, supply will not be able to keep up with demand.

This conclusion contradicts the picture one gets from the oil industry ...Unfortunately, [their] appraisal makes three critical errors. First, it relies on distorted estimates of reserves. A second mistake is that production will remain constant. Third and most important, conventional wisdom erroneously assumes the last bucket of oil can be pumped out of the ground as easily and quickly as ... oil gushing from wells today.

From an economic perspective, when the wold runs ... out of oil is thus not directly relevant. What matters is when production begins to taper off. Beyond that point, prices will rise dramatically unless demand declines commensurately.

Using several different techniques to estimate the current reserves of conventional oil and the amount still left to be discovered, we conclude that the decline will begin before 2010.

Barring global recession, it seems most likely that world production ... will peak during the first decade of the next century.

The solution, according to the Association:

"Whether we are trying to solve the problem of globl oil depletion or global climate change, the answers are the same: renewable energy, hydrogen, fuel cells and conservation.

"Analysts at the American Hydrogen Association have estimated that it would take a site of only 5,600 square miles (75 miles on a siode) to meet all of America's energy needs..."

Source: Our Energy Future, the newsletter of the American Association for Fuel Cells, issue 12, Summer 1998.

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