Amy Goodman Hosts Peak Oil Debate

by | Apr 29, 2006 | Stress Blog | 3 comments


AMY GOODMAN: And what makes you think it’s happening now?

JULIAN DARLEY: Well, history has shown — the most dramatic example being that of the U.S., which its own oil production peaked in 1970 — history shows that this happens to all nations. Now, when it happened to the U.S., it was able to import yet more oil. It was already an oil importer in 1970. It was able to yet import yet more oil. Now it imports approximately 60% and rising. So when this happens to a nation, it turns to other oil-producing nations. The trouble is when it happens to the world, and the world is roughly halfway through its conventional oil, there are no other planets to turn to to import from. So then, you get this phenomenon of global oil peak. There’s no one else to import from, so the decline begins to happen.

And it does look as if we’re about halfway through the conventional oil reserve of some two-and-a-bit trillion barrels. We’ve used a bit more than a trillion now. And so it’s absolutely inevitable that it will happen. There are corroborating data from various other sources which suggest it’s happening around about now. And there’s some more technical data — we can go into them if you’d like. So, it’s not just the fact that production figures suggest we’re about halfway through, there’s lots of other corroborating data, as well.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Lynch, your response?

MICHAEL LYNCH: Actually, I think the problem here is that Julian and a lot of the people making these arguments are not that familiar with the technical terms in the oil industry. The estimates that there’s about two trillion barrels of oil resource are actually done by some very simplistic models, which have not always failed, but almost always failed on both the national and a global level. The oil conventional oil resource base, the oil in place, is about eight to ten trillion barrels. And right now, most estimates are that about 40% of that will be recovered, in other words, about three, three-and-a-half trillion. But the amount we’ll recover will grow over time. So we’re not — we’re really not even close to halfway through the conventional oil resource base.

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