Environment


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Peak Oil talk by Dr Roger Bentley

Dr. Roger Bentley’s talk on 25th April rang alarm bells about the economic impacts of the expected decline in global oil production in the near future but at least the prospect of continuing high prices should add weight to calls to reduce its use on environmental grounds.

Dr. Bentley’s analysis, which was primarily concerned with conventional liquid oil supplies as opposed to gas or shale oils, did cast doubt on the economic and energy costs of using these alternative sources to provide liquid fuels. Globally most oil had been discovered before 1980, since which time we have been using more than has been found. For conventional oils UK production peaked in about 1999 and global production seems to have hit a ceiling in about 2005. Production from conventional and unconventional sources is expected to peak before 2030.

The talk also demonstrated the complexity of this subject. Differences between Proved and Probable reserves, unextractable reserves, false data submitted by suppliers, the costs and effects of injecting water and chemicals into oil wells to increase recovery, changes in demand, and the differences in reserves in different countries - all add to uncertainty of forecasting but the general picture was pretty clear.

Dr. Bentley has been a member of a Reading University group studying peak oil since 1994 and has published a number of papers on the topic. He was a Co-ordinator of the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC), and a past Secretary of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO) . Over the years they have tried to persuade governments to take more action but with little success. His presentation can be seen as Powerpoint slides or as PDF.

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