October 23, 2010: PEAK OIL CONFIRMED!

October 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Climate Change

Official confirmation: the world has hit PEAK OIL.


One the one hand, Russia has officially passed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest producer of oil.  The announcement this week indicated that last year and this year saw a 1 percent rise in Russian oil output. Russia has long been considered as having one of the world’s largest reservoirs of the black gold.  However, buried in an official report from Russia’s Energy Ministry was this bombshell: “it is clear that the country has no more than 25 per cent of its resources remaining to be extracted.”  Furthermore, Russian Oil “production is expected to DROP 20% within the decade.”  Russia has hit Peak Oil. So has Saudi Arabia – a fact known to oil insiders for over a decade.

Peak Oil is the point at which production drops because underground reserves become depleted.  Demand for oil will now outstrip supply and prices will rise. Perhaps, alarmingly. We’ve known it would be coming in the foreseeable future.  The most pessimistic estimates suggested we would reach that point between 2013 and 2016.  Like many predictions involving peak oil and climate change those prediction of future doom were wildly optimistic.  It’s happening much quicker than anticipated.

The classical definition of Peak Oil is the point at which 50% of extractable oil is reached after which oil production slows down and gradually trickles out altogether.  But the admission by the Russian Energy Ministry that “no more that 25 per cent of its resources remain to be extracted” is clear confirmation that we reached Peak Oil many years ago. That information has been withheld from the public.  It goes a long way to explain certain recent foreign policies of western nations over the last decade, as well as the scramble to explore polar seas for the last vestiges of the black death.  Oil will quickly become too valuable to burn.  It is the source for too many other essential materials such as plastics.

Experts had been expecting a gradual decline in production once peak oil was reached and a long period of readjustment to a renewable energy economy.  However, the Energy Ministry announcement that a mere 25% of the Russian oil resource remains is an indication that the decline may be precipitous.

Oil is a fossil fuel which when burned releases vast amounts of CO2 gas into the atmosphere causing global warming and climate change. It has long been recognised that renewable energy development (solar electricity, solar heating, offshore and onshore wind) is urgently needed to avoid economic and social catastrophe as fossil fuels are depleted. We thought we had more time. 

We don’t.

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