A Beginner's guide to The oil crisis

Published: Wednesday 31 December 2008


How much oil are we left with? Do soaring oil prices indicate that we have crossed the peak and that the present stock can sustain us only for another couple of decades? How much oil is undiscovered yet?

Ask experts in the oil business, and they will explain in terms of reserve-production ratio or the Hubbert curve. Does this sound like Greek or Latin? Log on to www.wolfatthedoor.org.uk. Paul Thompson who runs the website says there is a lot of misinformation around about peak oil. "The facts are littered with jargon. Every statistic seems to be defined differently by different authors and even a term such as 'oil' has a multitude of meanings."

Thompson is no expert. But in the website he has managed to decipher the jargon and present it in a simple manner.

In Thompson's words, the website is "a beginner's guide" to understand the crisis. It starts with the basics: what is oil, how it is explored, recovered and measured. The website has a lot of detail on OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). Much of Thompson's data comes from the Statistical Review of World Energy by the British Petroleum and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas. He uses the data after carefully considering their biases and weaknesses. But then Thompson becomes a cassandra of doom. He believes the end of oil reserves would most certainly throw the world into chaos. He is not too convinced about the efficiency of alternate energy sources and says these energy sources can be "important aids in the effort to avoid disaster", but oil will be difficult to replace. To Thompson modern civilization has been all about using fossil fuels.

But the site is useful if you are willing to overlook its apocalyptic predictions. It contains links to a lot of other literature on peak oil.

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