The World is Running out of Crude Oil

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Oil leaking in the shape of the United StatesThe reality of the situation is that crude oil is a fossil fuel, something that cannot be recreated or regenerated, and the world is rapidly running out of this so-called precious resource. Even the Middle East (Saudi Arabia), stockpiling some of the largest crude oil reserves in the world, will eventually run out. Because of its deep integration in our society, businesses and individuals depend on oil. Carmakers, airplane manufacturers and various manufacturing and processing facilities thrive on the profits generated by oil-based equipment. What these companies are failing to realize is that there’s not much left. United States oil production peaked in the early 1970’s, and we are now completely out of crude oil, depending on other nations for our oil imports. Because of its limited availability, crude oil is bound to run out everywhere sooner or later. And that time is closer than we think.

Crude Oil Raises Economies up, Then Drops Them for Good

The oil boom raised the economies and lifestyles of nations ranging from Venezuela to Saudi Arabia. Sadly, the lifestyles, being solely dependent on a non-renewable resource, leave just as quickly as the resource arrived. The end result, however, is even worse – namely that the countries are left worse off than they were before the oil boom brought them a new infrastructure, better education and higher paying jobs. Once people adjust to this enhanced lifestyle it’s difficult to go back. Not only that, but society breaks down as a whole when the resource it has learned to depend on is now no longer available.

What Will the World Be like Without Oil?

What will happen when we suddenly are made aware of the truth – that oil is running out much faster than we’ve been made to believe? The fact is that if the industry does not make adjustments in time, in the form of an alternative energy source, to compensate for the lack of oil in the near future – our lifestyles will change dramatically. Picture barely being able to afford a tank of gas – public transit gets a huge boost as only the super wealthy can afford to drive in their cars. And don’t even think about flying anywhere. Sound like a nightmare? Sound too far-fetched to be true?  Think about it – it’s in the oil-producing nations’ interest to make their people believe that the oil situation is not as dire as it seems. Economies, industry and capital markets depend on it. We’ve got a lot more to say on this topic and will be bringing you more articles in the coming days.

Transitioning to a World Without Oil

Ever wonder if we could go without oil? This Ted Talk by Rob Hopkins discusses a unique solution to life without oil.

Public Transit Infographic: An Alternative Way to Get Around

If you want to be less reliant upon oil, then you can do your part now to help save the planet and conserve oil at the same time. Taking the bus or riding the metro might not be an option everywhere or all the time but if it is you should familiarize yourself with the routes and schedules and come to find the benefits of getting around the mass transit way.

Public Transit Infographic

To embed this on your website, simply copy and paste the code below:

Do We Really Need Oil?

But do we need to depend on oil? In 2013, the world went through an average of 90,354.27 gallons of oil per day. As ingrained as this natural resource is in our industry, there are plenty of renewable energy technologies based on wind power, solar energy, plants and more, that are ready to be used and advanced to the next level. Renewable energies are no longer thoughts of the future or mere speculation. They are here now and, if you know where to look, readily available. What’s more is that energy itself can be saved by adhering to a little common sense. Browse around the site, or explore our tips category, for advice on how to save energy.

What are your thoughts on the world running out of oil?

Alex loves nature and does his best to take care of the planet. He doesn't take for granted the serenity that can be found in the stillness of an ancient forest, or the majestic power of the ocean's large waves as they crash on an isolated island shoreline. He wants to raise awareness for how simple it can be to make a couple changes in your everyday life that can make a huge difference for the environment in the long term.

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22 Comments on "The World is Running out of Crude Oil"

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Phil
Phil

My school teachers and others were saying this when I was a kid, nearly 40 years ago… after pumping up and burning obscene amounts of oil every day since, the damn stuff is still here polluting the world. I recently read more vast untapped deposits are still being found, I’m sure it will run out one day but probably not in my lifetime and not in yours.

Nir Dravid
Nir Dravid

Oil is the lifeblood of the modern world, and the combustion engine its indomitable heart. In 2009, oil wells around the world pumped an estimated 84 to 85 million barrels out of the Earth, and countries consumed just as much [source: EIA]. At this rate, how long can we go on pumping fossil fuels out of the ground without exhausting our supplies? Naturally, we can’t tap and drain an entire planet’s worth of oil from a single well. Countless oil wells pox Earth’s surface: some active, some long drained. Each oil well follows a production bell curve, with output rising, stabilizing and then declining to nothing over a period of years.

On PolymerMIS.com, you will get alerts for Brent Crude oil prices SMS based or webmail based Everything you need to know to stay informed and react to changing market conditions.

Beth Allen
Beth Allen

Can someone tell me why we are running out of crude oil?

Sadie Cornelius
Admin
Sadie Cornelius

Beth, because crude oil is a fossil fuel, non-renewable resource in limited supply. So once it’s all used up, it’s gone!

Anonymous
Anonymous

What technologies could we use in order to replace oil? The solutions are myriad, and some of them have a lot of potential, but are still years away from any commercial development. However, most are solar based. I don’t mean actual solar panels, either. Solar panels are great inventions, but for now they have very low efficiency (the dream is 20 percent right now, under stringent scientific controls). However, most renewable energy sources depend on the sun in some way. Wind and water energy, two sources that have proven very useful in past years, are both powered by heat from the sun (and some help from gravity, in the case of water). Scientists are also hoping that they can engineer some kind of energy source from algae or a similar type of growing plant-like organism which would produce natural energy and other benefits, such as insulation and cooling properties for buildings. Cities are experimenting with using the natural movement of people in subways and on streets to help generate power. Regulations are making bikes and walking more friendly options. When the oil runs out, I suspect we will be ready for it.

Anonymous
Anonymous

What many people do not realize is that oil is a natural resource like most other resources that are mined out of the ground. And like other mining resources, there are only finite deposits of it around the world. This does not mean that all the oil we have now is the only oil in existence! On the contrary, just as new mines for gold and diamonds were discovered around the world when those markets were at their height, so new oil stores are found from time to time. There are suspicions of more oil deposits or wells hiding in the Middle East. The reason so many oil companies are working on sea-based wells is because oil is often located on the bottom of the ocean (or underneath, rather). Of course, even these sources may not be the end of oil. Shale, for example, has been shown to contain a large amount of natural gas in some cases, and although the process to recover it is currently messy it is still a viable strategy for businesses. However, even with all these considerations, oil is still a finite resources and oil “mines” run dry just like every other type of mine.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I see the fading of oil as a natural resource as a good thing. I think what people have to realize is that businesses are very foresighted. Most strategic business decisions are made after very careful looks into both the future and the past. So companies are likely to anticipate all the problems with depleted oil supplies long before anyone else. They will start investing much more heavily in alternative sources of energy and methods of saving as much gasoline as possible (such as hybrid cars). They will begin marketing their findings to people to encourage them to buy products. In this particular case, the free market that created the gas crisis may also be responsible for informing us and saving us from it, as businesses start incorporating alternatives into their business models. Of course, government regulations and individual markets are still major factors, but the coming oil crunch will only encourage developments in independent energy research, and I see that as a good thing. I’m not saying that all corporations are trustworthy – but I am saying that when they work for their own good, we can often benefit, too, and the switch away from oil may prove this point.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Certain areas of the world do look like they may be about to produce less oil. Again, I am not sure if this means they are running out. However, areas such as the North Sea do seem to be running out of easily accessible crude oil. Now, they do have a large amount of additional oil. The difference is that this will be more difficult and more expensive to access.

Other areas may actually show an increase in the amount of accessible crude oil. This includes the USA. Yes, even the USA! In fact, the USA is likely to become a net oil exporting nation within the next ten to twenty years. This is due in large measure to the availability of fracking and other new oil exploration and extracting techniques. These new technologies will make previously inaccessible oil reserves available. Actually, there is a huge amount of oil trapped beneath the surface of the USA. By some estimates there is more oil here than there is in the fields of Saudi Arabia! That should give everyone something to think about.

I suppose the author can be forgiven for their stance. Maybe they simply got hold of incorrect data. en benefit, too, and the switch away from oil may prove this point.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Though this is an excellent article in many ways, I think that some more facts could be added. Just because oil production is down a bit from its highest point (which happened in the year 2005), this does not mean that the world is running out of crude.

Now, I totally understand where the author is coming from. I believe that the point to be made here is the fact that with diminishing oil, the world simply must turn to renewable energy ideas and methods. The main point is therefore not about oil at all, but about how we need to start developing some new energy sources before we run out of time.

Personally, I have heard this argument many times. Fine, if you want to argue that we should be developing alternative methods of energy production. But it would be much more honest if this was done in an honest and reasonable fashion. It is too bad that the author simply did not take the time to get the correct facts. Possibly they used a source which was incorrect?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Is the world really running out of crude oil? This is an intriguing question. I found a number of different resources and sources of information. Some of the statistics did seem to show that at least production was not going to increase. However, I am not sure that an even level of production means that we are running out of crude oil. After all, Saudi Arabia is notorious for claiming that they have an extra 2 or 3 million barrels per day of production which could easily be brought online within a few weeks or a month or two.

Finding other sources of energy is fine. In fact, we probably should be looking for new sources. On the other hand, I am also of the strong opinion that the USA should begin doing more offshore drilling and exploration. There is certainly a great deal of oil out there and all we need to do is go out and find it. The world is certainly not running out of crude oil at all. I think the author just wanted to believe something which would prove their opinion that the world needs to begin converting over to non oil sources of energy.

Kathy Faust
Kathy Faust

I’m quite sure someone is going to have some foul names for me over this comment, but I’m beyond caring. The fact is I wish we would run out of crude oil. Seriously. Maybe then people would actually try to use something else. It seems that we only change when we are forced to and this is no exception. We keep complaining about using oil an the prices of oil, yet we keep buying it. So…what? We just sit around complaining for the rest of our lives? We keep feeding the oil companies money and they keep complaining because their profits are only in the billions. They are worried about running out of oil. They are worried about making as much money as they can before the world actually does something about it. And then there is the hype about running out of oil.

Here’s what really happened. The electric car was developed years ago. It worked. People loved it. They were ready to make it the newest car on the market. It would have put a huge dent in the amount of oil we consume. The oil companies killed the idea. Why? Because they hadn’t made enough money yet. Listen, the more we talk about the oil shortage, the higher the prices will go …round and round.

Anonymous
Anonymous

This is an interesting article which is certainly designed to make one think about our current oil situation specifically and our energy situation generally. Of course, the USA is one of the biggest consumers of oil and energy in the world. However, I have read several places that this is actually starting to change. There is a huge increase in the number of people entering the middle class all over the world. This is especially true in places like India and China, which have huge populations who are now experiencing some real prosperity.

It also occurs to me that as people start to achieve more and more success, their priorities begin to change. No longer is the goal just mere survival. Now the goal is to thrive and to begin to live better. This means that we are about to see a huge tidal wave like increase in the number of consumers who will start to demand better clothes, homes, cars and more. This is also going to lead to a vast increase in the demand for energy, including (maybe especially) oil.

Yet, if the author’s contention is true, we must search for alternative means to satisfy this huge and growing demand. Whatever side you fall on this topic, it is clear that something needs to be done now in order to solve this.

Although I was not aware of this information beforehand, I was able to locate a source which states that sometime between 2010 and 2020 the world supply of oil and gas will fall below the level required to meet international demand. This is certainly interesting information. I wonder how the specifics of all this shake out? I mean, will this be more due to an increased demand with a relatively constant supply, or will the supply actually begin dropping. I am also not sure if any of that would really matter. Essentially, if we are running out of oil, does it really matter exactly how it all shakes out?

Still I am very curious. I have also heard that there are certain areas which are increasing their oil supply. Perhaps production is another story altogether, but I was under the impression that areas like the Bakken in the USA are going to lead to big increases in the supply of usable oil. Perhaps it will take a long time to bring them online. Or maybe I just heard incorrectly? And we need to do it fast!

The implications of running out of oil are actually pretty severe. There are some who already have suggested that the recent wars waged in Iraq and (to a much lesser extent) Afghanistan were simply about securing a future supply of oil for our country to access. If this is true, then may we expect even more of this? That is certainly a frightening implication, and not one that I am happy to face. Yet, I think face it we must. We need to start working together to find solutions to this.

Anonymous
Anonymous

This article focused on some aspects of crude oil production and business. The author focused on some of the more negative aspects of this industry, including the fact that oil is a diminishing resource. The article continues by theorizing that all of the economies built by oil are in for a rough time in the very near future.

Unless you were born yesterday, we all know that oil is a non renewable resource. It also only seems reasonable to believe that the world supply is running out. According to the author, this is true everywhere, even in the middle east.

While I can personally see the logic in this article, I disagree with the author strongly. After doing a lot of research into this subject, I can confidently say that while certain areas are experiencing declines in production, this is very rarely the same thing as reserves, or as running out of oil.

Actually, production data shows that the supply of oil is likely to remain relatively consistent and steady through about the year 2030. So, the supply of oil at least is not going to decline. This does not certainly seem to indicate that the world is running out of oil.

Additionally, one of the most exciting developments in the oil industry actually is happening in one of the least likely places, the United States. Many people would be very surprised to hear that the reserves of the USA are actually rapidly increasing. In fact, due to some recent technologies, the USA is now positioned to potentially become the largest holder of oil reserves in the world. They may even outpace Saudi Arabia and the rest of the OPEC countries.

This is due primarily to an area called the Bakken. The Bakken is a huge oil field located in the Dakotas, Montana and extending into Canada. While the Bakken is actually a series of old oil fields, having been discovered in the early part of the 20th century, new technology has given this area a huge boost.

The reserves within the Bakken were always well established. It was just thought that it would be too difficult to get to them and actually take the oil from under the ground. New methods have changed all this. It is now very affordable to access all of this oil. Some areas of the Bakken are currently producing oil and there is a very real shortage of workers. This could spell opportunity for a number of people who are interested in entering the oil industry (or just finding work).

If you have never heard of the word fracking, then is something you need to become more familiar with. This is the new technology that is making the oil in areas like the Bakken more accessible now. It is a method of simply getting into hard to reach places and drawing out the oil. It does require some expensive equipment (but so does drilling) and there are significant water requirements if I remember correctly.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Are you stupid? How long have we been out?

Global warming!! For real? Now the fools are blaming the hard winter on global warming. Two years ago they were saying the mild winters were the proof. Make up your minds.

I think the global warming is due to all the bullshit lies coming out your ass! I mean your fingers that typed this on your computer that was made from oil. I bet you don’t drive a car. I bet you don’t wipe your ass with paper cut from a tree with a gas engine saw. I bet you don’t eat food that was trucked to a store with a gas engine. I bet you don’t have a tv in your house made from oil. I bet you don’t brush your lying teeth with a tooth brush made from oil.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Why is it that ignoramuses like you always make complete fools of yourself with your demeaning, uneducated rants? How is that going to help accomplish anything? Do you see the article calling oil companies and consumers ass faces? No – because what good does it do?

And your argument is ridiculous – just because we live in an oil-based society with goods created from oil-based processes doesn’t mean we have to stay that way. On the contrary – it shows us how much work we have left to do to change – how our infrastructure is mired in old, environmentally damaging ways.

As an analogy – during the Nazi regime, as a German, would you have supported the Nazis simply because everything around you was created by and for the Nazis? I know this is an extreme example, but it’s partially to illustrate how ridiculous your argument is.

Finally – global warming, more accurately named climate change – doesn’t have to do with everything getting hotter – it has to do with changes in climate as a result of the impact we’ve made on our planet? The result? Massive displacement of people – ie. climate refugees.

You want some facts?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the twelve warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850). Warming is most pronounced in higher northern latitudes, and land areas have warmed faster than oceans.

And I hope you don’t have kids, or are planning to (not just because you’re a self-proclaimed @ss face, but because here’s what they may face in the coming decades):

* Towards 2050, around 150 million people around the world may be forced to leave home as a result of climate change. Some 75 million of these climate refugees will come from the Asia Pacific region, and this number could rise to 150 million by 2100.
* Some 26 million people have been forced to leave their homes as a direct result of climate change and a million more are added to this figure every year due to climate-related circumstances. Insular communities such as Vanatu, Tuvalu and the Gulf of Bengal have been forced to flee from the rising sea level.
* It is calculated that the number of people affected by climate-related humanitarian crisis will rise by 54% to 375 million by 2015. This would threaten to overwhelm the global capacity for response.
* Disasters have a disproportionate impact on poor communities in developing countries. For example, while only 11% of those exposed to hazards live in developing countries, 53% of disaster mortality occurs in those countries.
* Climate change could reduce the GDP of vulnerable countries by one fifth by 2030 if we do not take urgent measures.
* Climate change has caused an average of 150,000 deaths per year, due to different illnesses, since the 1970s, with half of all cases occurring in Asia.
* The rise in temperatures will make it impossible to work at the same rate on hot summer days without severe consequences to health, causing serious damage to laborers paid by the hour and to the economy in general. Tropical cities such as Delhi could suffer a 30% decline in labor productivity.
* Developing countries are expected to bear between 75-80% of the costs of harmful climate change though they are least responsible for causing the crisis.
* Climate impacts already cost countries an estimated 1-12% of GDP each year and this could rise to 19% by 2030.

Source of facts: Corresponsables.com Climate Facts and Figures

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, this a response to “get real”: Well the thing is that yeah get real and face reality…oil is running out…wait you think that oil will last forever? It won’t and it’s running out….FAST!!

The increasing demand for oil is going up year by year. With the factor of overpopulation played into that, oil is going to run out soon. Especially at the rate we’re using up the oil. So get real. Oil is going to run out.

I feel that people should begin learning to live without oil right now. That way it will be easier to cope when oil is really gonna be gone. I mean oil is a fossil fuel and it will run out sooner or later. So we should face this truth and conserve our oil and learn to live without it on more eco-friendly ways.

Peace out everyone =)

Anonymous
Anonymous

Alarmists!! We are not out of oil you just want everyone to freak out. Quit stirring things up! I am all for conservation, but I am getting tired of the radicals.

Anonymous
Anonymous

You are so stupid. Open your eyes.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I think from now on global warming and the environment will force people into accepting radical solutions to stop destroying this beautiful and rare planet. Keep up with the good work!!!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I suspect there’s going to be a lot of support for developing the only significant energy resource America still possesses.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey, surfed into your blog after doing some searches on Freecycle and I like it. Are you guys still posting? Saw the last post was over a month ago.

Cheers,

Ben

treehugger
treehugger

Hi Ben,

Yes, thanks for your support. We’re doing our best to write articles in our spare time. The environment is a huge priority, and we’re going to spend much of 2009 dedicating more resources to Earth’s Friends.

Stay tuned! 🙂

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