Global Peak Oil In 10 Years – IEA Sounds Alarm

In an interview with the UK’s The Independent, Dr Fatih Birol, the chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA), sounded an alarm that global oil production is likely to peak in around 10 years; far earlier than most governments had foreseen. The International Energy Agency is an intergovernmental organisation which acts as energy policy advisor to 28 member countries, including Australia.
According to the first detailed assessment of hundreds of oil fields around the world representing 75% of global reserves,  the biggest fields have already peaked a and the rate of decline in oil production is now running at close to double calculations of a couple of years ago.
The IEA believes the decline in oil production in existing fields is now around 6.7 per cent a year compared to the 3.7 per cent decline estimate of 2007.
Dr. Birol stated in the interview that even if demand for oil were to remain steady,  the equivalent of four Saudi Arabias would need to be discovered to maintain production – an unlikely development. 
The shortage of easily accessed oil is fueling fears other methods of oil extraction will increase, such as those used in Canada’s tar sands operations. This not only means an environmental disaster for such areas through the stripping large swathes of forest and poisoning the land, but extraction of oil from tar sands is extremely water and energy intensive, meaning even more generation of greenhouse gas emissions.
Dr. Birol warns that governments are not prepared for the rapidly approaching oil crunch and environmental groups believe the situation should create an even higher sense of urgency within governments to switch to clean and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. With some forecasting oil to skyrocket to hundreds of dollars a barrel, renewable energy will not only provide a greener and cleaner option, but a cheaper one.
While governments may be somewhat oblivious to the looming oil crisis, and one unlike others there will no rebound from, executives in the oil industry aren’t – a survey run last year found only 23 percent believed that oil will still be the cheapest source of energy 25 years from now; representing a massive 48 percent drop over the previous survey.