Peak Oil and the Nature of Oil Exploration
What is peak oil?
Oil or petroleum is a non-renewable resource. Experts in oil exploration and developers of the concept of peak oil say that there is a very predictable cycle for oil. As soon as oil reserves are discovered, extracting from the earth, refining crude oil and usage of the refined oil takes only a short time. This is compared to the millions of years that it took to develop these reserves to what we know today.
Peak oil therefore is defined as the potential result of the extraction of oil to meet demands. Year after year, peak oil may differ since there are newer and more efficient energy resources that are being discovered. Peak oil may also be affected by social, political and various economic factors this is why the price of oil is closely followed compared to other commodities.
The theory of peak oil states that pretty soon, Earth’s supply of oil will dwindle. There can only be very little time to consider changing the way we use oil for different purposes which is why it is predicted that there can only be 40 years of uninterrupted oil use until all the wells dry up for good. BP, one of the popular names in oil exploration and distribution of oil and oil products, announced that we have plenty of oil left. A message announced in the company’s Statistical Review of World Energy published in 2008 mentions that the world has as much as 1.2138 billion barrels of oil in reserves. This number is for oil that has been pumped from the ground and is located in reserves. This data has been studied and compiled along with other statistical data submitted by other nations as well as various oil regulating bodies like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
How much oil is really left to use?
Should the number from BP is true, then we have about 40 years of uninterrupted oil source. In a recent study of how much oil we really consume, approximately 89 million barrels of oil and oil products are being used every day all around the world. To compute, it takes more or less 32 billion of barrels of oil used in a year.
What is the future of oil exploration?
Taking note of these numbers, it is clear that there would be a grim future for oil exploration. The dwindling oil reserves along with the development of new and more practical alternatives to the use of oil will nevertheless make matters worse for oil producers everywhere.
1) Oil production and peak oil is dependent on many factors. Although there are ample oil reserves and fuel resources, rates of development of oil production are constantly changing. Production is still dependent on the policies of OPEC. Decisions of OPEC and other similar oil production control groups will clearly affect oil exploration in the future.
2) ASPO is the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas. It has been developed in 2000 when Colin J. Campbell was asked to give a talk about the depletion of oil in Germany. Since then, the association has been active in the study and the support of oil exploration and peak oil. Campbell further described what the term peak oil really means and it was thus used to refer to the maximum rate of the production of oil in any area under consideration, recognizing that it is a finite natural resource subject to depletion.
3) A number of natural gas discoveries were reported in Australia. Since 2009 up to 2013, there were 21 discoveries yielding up to 10 trillion cubic feet of resources added to peak oil. These discoveries included Chevron Corporation‘s success in the Exmouth Plateau in the Carnarvon Basin and the Effin -1 exploration in the upper Mungaroo sands. These discoveries are owned by international oil companies and products are destined for international export and use.
4) The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) reported that their oil production still continues to grow and that although oil sands are their primary resource, conventional crude oil has been high compared to the previous years, this has been aided by the research and access into previously unreachable areas by companies such as Terrapro Group. This could only mean that there is greater energy security in North America. The association also eyes the potential for exports of their oil and oil products beyond the region; this is through the addition of oil pipelines which can help move their oil to the market.
5) Oil production in cold regions like the poles are also eyed by several countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Russia and the US. These countries realize the huge potential of oil in this region and attempts to agree on a joint treaty that will prepare them for their oil exploration projects. The countries also understand that the area is already very vulnerable and that oil spills and accidents could lead to detrimental effects on the environment. The treaty also prepares for any emergencies and accidents as a result of this project.
6) In the Middle East, where oil and various oil products are their primary products, a conference called Peak Oil Challenges and Opportunities for the GCC Countries in Doha, Qatar was held. It highlighted the various oil explorations all around the world with a special focus on the production of liquefied petroleum natural gas in Qatar. Leaders reveal that demand for natural gas will surely continue for years to come but will be significant in new markets. Leaders of the forum were certain that the production of shale gas in the US is not a threat at all to the Middle East but instead they are like brothers who simply cannot compete and fight with each other.
Peak oil is a determinant factor in oil production as well as a reality that someday, oil and all other petroleum products will cease to exist. Even when there is still a great future for oil exploration and there are still trillions of oil reserves left, the reality is that everyone needs to make smart decisions as soon as possible. There are cleaner, safer and more efficient fuel choices; let us make oil enough to last till generations to come.