Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Are We Witnessing the End of Peak Oil?

Energy
Are We Witnessing the End of Peak Oil?

Oil Change International

By Andy Rowell

Contrary to what most people believe, oil supply capacity is growing at such an unprecedented level that it might soon outpace consumption. This could lead to overproduction and a steep dip in oil prices.

That is the startling conclusion from Leonardo Maugeri, a former senior executive with Italian oil giant ENI, who is currently a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard.

Maugeri compiled a field-by-field analysis of most oil exploration and development projects in the world, including the burgeoning oil shale sector in the U.S. And his conclusions could have huge ramifications for the climate as well as global energy policies.

He concludes that global oil output capacity is likely to grow by nearly 20 percent by 2020. Contrary to the peak oil predictions that world oil production has peaked or will soon do so, Maugeri argues that output should grow from the current 93 million barrels per day to 110 million barrels per day by 2020, the biggest jump in any decade since the 1980s.

What’s more, the study points out that “this increase represents less than 40 percent of the new oil production under development globally: more than 60 percent of the new production will likely reach the market after 2020.”

This has huge implications for anyone worried about climate change or trying to steer the world towards a clean energy future.

The surge in oil growth is down to the rapid expansion of unconventional oil, including the tar sands and shale oil. It is therefore no surprise that these increases will be greatest in the U.S., Canada, Venezuela and Brazil. He believes that the U.S. could become the second largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia, but this will be only achieved through a massive increase in fracking.

If this happens, the U.S. will see dramatic increases in oil production. He argues that the Bakken and Three Forks fields in North Dakota and Montana “could become the equivalent of a Persian Gulf-producing country within the United States." The U.S. could conceivably produce up to 65 percent of its oil consumption needs domestically.

Simple supply and demand economics means that such a sharp increase in production could lead to a glut in oil prices, with North America largely self-sufficient in oil. But because of “the global nature of the market” this is “all but meaningless except in psychological terms.”

Lastly, Maugeri argues, that this oil boom must trigger environmental action. There has to be “enforcement of environmental regulation and major investment in emission-reducing technologies,” he argues.

But even with emission reducing technologies, the bottom line if all this oil is burnt—the climate will be in real trouble.

Even Maugeri, an ex-oil executive, warns that “Current climate policy conversations will certainly be influenced by the unexpected surge in oil production capacity. Policy makers will have to address the potential environmental and climate impacts of a substantial increase in oil supply."

And we know that this is highly unlikely to happen.

Visit EcoWatch's CLIMATE CHANGE and ENERGY pages for more related news on these topics.

 

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less
Monarch butterflies in Mexico's Oyamel forest in Michoacan, Mexico after migrating from Canada. Luis Acosta / AFP / Getty Images

By D. André Green II

One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.

Read More Show Less
The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on Sept. 17 introduced ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each intended to make people "laugh then think." Improbable Research / YouTube

The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch