As part of our Future for Nature season (which has been running on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the past few months) last Thursday I hosted an event about how much oil is left. Needless to say, it was very thought-provoking. Andy Fleet, from the mineralogy department, used to work in the petroloeum industry. He explained how oil is formed over millions of years and how it is found and extracted. For further information, he suggested visitors have a look at the website of The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) http://www.peakoil.net/ Here you'll discover the debate and discussion surrounding how much oil is left and whether we have reached a peak in oil production....or not. To give you an idea of the varying estimates, have a look at the graph below. This shows various predictions for when we will reach peak oil production, the majority of which suggest we have already reached the peak or will do so in the next ten years. There are a few estimates that suggest a continuing increase in oil production, but whatever the conclusion, one thing is for sure.....at some point, whether today or tomorrow, oil production will decline and we need to be ready with an alternative.
Graph sourced from The Oil Drum http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/11/13/225447/79