Resilience NYC Meetup Group Message Board › Two UK studies warn of upcoming oil shortages.

Two UK studies warn of upcoming oil shortages.

Dan M.
Group Organizer
Forest Hills, NY
Two recently released studies, from UK group Global Witness and the UK Energy Research Center, come to the same conclusion: oil supply shortages are coming. As Global Witness points out, acknowledging this would have created greater urgency around the upcoming Copenhagen climate change negotiations.


Governments fail to acknowledge imminent oil supply crunch, says UK’s Global Witness



There is an imminent oil supply crunch that governments have failed to acknowledge or act upon, the impacts of which will be felt throughout every aspect of modern society which is heavily reliant on oil, according to a new report published by campaign group Global Witness.

Governments have not taken on board the four underlying oil production factors which clearly show there is a problem. Heads in the Sand outlines these factors - declining output, declining discoveries, increasing demand and insufficient projects in the pipeline - which clearly show that the world is facing an imminent oil supply crunch. Some of these factors have been apparent for many years.

Governments and multi-lateral agencies have failed to recognise the imminence and scale of the global oil supply crunch, and most of them remain completely unprepared for its consequences. The report calls for governments to officially acknowledge the crunch and to shift urgently into safe sustainable energy alternatives.

"The world's governments have been asleep at the wheel. Their collective failure to recognise the imminent end of the oil age means we have lost a decade in which action could have been taken to develop alternatives and avert the worst outcomes of a dramatic drop off in the supply of oil," said Simon Taylor, Director of Global Witness. "Recognition of the oil supply crunch would have injected a sense of urgency and increased ambition for safer emissions reduction targets, both of which are sorely missing in the lead up to Copenhagen."

For most of the past decade, the International Energy Agency (IEA) held an over-confident view about future oil production. But starting in 2007 and most dramatically in 2008, its position began to shift, when it projected a near 50% decline in conventional oil production by 2020 and a significant potential gap between supply and demand by 2015. These factors should have rung alarm bells, yet the apparent lack of government response has been astonishing.

The report argues that it was a long-overdue breakthrough for the IEA to acknowledge the imminence of an oil supply crunch. But their suggested remedy of investment of over a billion dollars every day to 2030 is highly unlikely to bridge the supply-demand gap. Massive investment cannot change the underlying fundamentals which clearly indicate a need to move away from oil. Global Witness blames governments for not facing up to these factors and recommends that rather than spending increasingly large sums of money chasing increasingly hard to reach oil, the world should be investing in safe and sustainable alternatives.

"A world without enough oil is unlikely to be a peaceful place. Our near-total dependence on oil for food production and transport mean that decreasing availability of oil is likely to lead to food shortages and increased geopolitical tension. It threatens the nascent global governance reform agenda and could cause major international conflict over resources. The poorest will be pushed to the back of the queue and inequality will grow, which in turn will feed social unrest," said Charmian Gooch, Director of Global Witness.

Download the report here:


UK Energy Research Center Report Warns of Oil Shortages­­

A new report by a prominent energy research firm warns that the world's oil supply could start to dry up over the next 10 years. In a report unveiled at an International Energy Agency meeting in Paris, the UK Energy Research Center said petroleum production is likely to peak by the year 2020 leading to global shortages as supplies taper off.

The world's demand for oil is unsustainable. That's the warning from a new report delivered at the International Energy Agency's ministerial meeting in Paris. According to the U.K. Energy Research Centre, world oil production is likely to peak before 2030. The report's author, Steve Sorrell, says the global supply could start to dry up sooner. "The basic physical features of the resource mean that production will start to decline at some point and will continue to decline and no amount of investment is going to turn that process around," Sorrell said. "Ten years, 15 years, even 20 years is not far away."

...And some oil companies argue new fields discovered in Angola, Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico should be able to satisfy demand. Sorrell disagrees. "Even if you assume and make optimistic assumptions about the size of the resource, you assume that the investment takes place and these areas are open to access, the evidence still points to constraints within this period of time," he said.
(16 Oct 2009)

Download the report here:­

The report finds:

• Despite large uncertainties in the available data, sufficient information is available to allow the status and risk of global oil depletion to be adequately assessed. But the available methodologies can frequently lead to underestimates of resource size and overly pessimistic forecasts of future supply

• The rate of decline of production is accelerating. More than two thirds of existing capacity may need to be replaced by 2030 solely to prevent production from falling

• While large resources of conventional oil may be available, these are unlikely to be accessed quickly and may make little difference to the timing of the global peak

• A peak in conventional oil production before 2030 appears likely and there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020. Given the lead times required to both develop substitute fuels and improve energy efficiency, this risk needs to be given serious consideration

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