How much oil is left exactly?

The figures are somewhat vague because it is generally agreed that we haven’t found all of the available oil. We will find more, but it is going to be harder to find and more expensive to get at it. Regardless, the current argument is tailored around when we will start to see oil reserves start to decrease.You might be shocked to learn many are pointing to…2007. This date comes from none other than Goldman Sachs, a prominent and respected company. It is based on the fact that 2005 represented a watershed year in exploration. Specifically, the year saw a massive drop off in the announcement of new oil production projects and locations. While the exact date is obviously unknown, it is clear that it is imminent.

 

Turning to hard numbers, it is estimated that there are about 1.27 million barrels of oil in current reserves across the world. While this may sound like a lot, it represents about 44 years of oil supply at current usage levels. The catch with this estimate, however, is the fact that the growth of India and China with their huge populations is going to increase demand substantially. Since nobody knows how fast the demand of emerging markets will be, it is difficult to determine the real number of years left. Guesstimates range from as low as 25 years to as high as 40. Yet another caveat to this figure, however, is future oil discoveries. While we will find more, nobody believes it will be a substantial amount.

While we clearly have enough oil to cover our energy needs for the next few decades at least, it is undeniable that it is a limited resource. With a resource of this value, we can expect military and political tension over the control of it.<p> </p>


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