Well, according to BP we’ll have enough to party with over the next four decades.  As per this chart on the Economist website, BP (possibly in its Statistical Review) states that we should have enough oil to meet our needs for the next 42 years. The Economist chart isn’t very clear though as to how this magic figure was arrived at.

So I searched a bit. Seems that the estimates are based on current production rates, and assuming current consumption rates.

I think that this is rather naive. I seriously doubt that consumption is going to remain constant at today’s rates. One of the assumptions I think that has been made here, is that more fuel efficient technology will let us generate more energy, drive more cars for the same amount of fuel. However given the immediate costs of clean technology and the sorry state of the global finance and the auto industry, I don’t think we can count on this factor. Also globally oil discoveries have been declining and in some cases new discoveries have only served to replace depleted sources. I guess that effectively rules out hitting an oil jackpot (though this is still probable but not very likely). So end result –  consumption is going to grow over the next 50 years and production is probably not going to keep up.

What does this mean for the mythical peak oil point ? When that will occur is anybody’s guess, but the fact that it may occur as early as 2020 should certainly make the case for going green and clean and intensifying research into alternative fuels.

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