We do not inherit the Earth from our parents,
we borrow it from our children.
Antoine de Saint – Expert
French novelist and aviator (1900 – 1944)
The Global Oil Crisis
Oil and natural gas are the most commonly used fuels for the generation of energy. However, both will be completely depleted by the middle of this century.
Most of the luxuries of modern life are dependent on the availability of oil. Almost all transport, including cars, aircraft, trains, buses, is reliant on oil. Food production is dependent on farming machinery and fertilizers, both again requiring oil. Even the production of plastics, clothing and building materials can be founded on this cheap and abundant fossil fuel. No other energy source can match it. But there’s just one problem. It’s a non-renewable energy source and there’s not a lot of “new” oil left. Oil is rapidly reaching its “Used By” date.
In the last 50 years, oil consumption has increased by about 7 times. Why? Worldwide population growth, technological advances, industrial expansion, increased living standards, the list goes on. Oil production WILL NOT meet demand in the near future. Over half the world’s oil has already been consumed and this was the easiest half to acquire. In 2002, the world used three times as much oil as was discovered. Estimations are that the world’s oil production will peak sometime before 2020 and oil reserves will be completely depleted by 2040. This is reality!
The era of cheap and plentiful oil is rushing to a halt, and the oil crisis will be upon us well before the oil is gone. The crisis begins when supply falls short of demand. Costs will soar until demand is reduced to meet supply. Oil production will also become more costly as remaining reserves incur higher exploration costs and access is required to more challenging geographical locations.
The last crisis was in 1973 when oil hit today’s equivalent of $75US per barrel. Some would argue that the next and final oil crisis has already begun, with oil already having soared towards $150US per barrel following events in the Middle East, market speculation and the ever-increasing demand from China.
Natural gas is a favorable alternative energy source to oil, in that it produces very little in the way of pollutants. It is used primarily for heating and the generation of electricity, but it is also the foundation beneath many plastics and chemicals, including nitrogen fertilizer – a critical product to the agricultural industry.
Like oil, natural gas use is rapidly increasing while reserves are concurrently declining. And like oil, a high proportion of natural gas is found in the Middle East (36%), and also in the former Soviet Union (39%).
On May 21, 2003, Alan Greenspan said, “I’m quite surprised how little attention the natural gas problem has been getting, because it is a very serious problem.”
It is forecast that natural gas will also be completely depleted by the middle of this century.
We must conserve what is left, and urgently find sustainable energy alternatives.