The Peak of the Oil Age: Declining world oil production will halt economic growth

Co-presented with the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) Australia

Professor Kjell Aleklett
12 November, 2010

Professor Kjell Aleklett

Professor Aleklett heads the Global Energy Systems group at Uppsala University in Sweden. His crucial research, published in March, is a critical review of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) forecasts of steady growth in oil production at least till 2030.

In contrast, the Uppsala group has shown, using the same IEA data on existing reserves and expected future discoveries, that global oil production will fall, not rise. This is because the IEA has assumed unrealistically high rates of production from the oilfields remaining to be developed.

Current global oil production is around 85 million barrels per day. The IEA is forecasting over 100 mb/d by 2030. While the Uppsala group, from the same data, predict only 75 mb/d. Global oil production is very probably at its maximum now, and this implies we have reached the Peak of the Oil Age.

This forecast of impending oil shortages mirrors concerns expressed in many quarters, including by the US and German Defence Departments and studies for Lloyds of London.

Policy makers and investors can no longer assume that ever-increasing oil production will fuel their forecasts of continual economic growth.

Kjell Aleklett is Professor of Physics and leader of the Global Energy Systems Group at Uppsala University, Sweden. He holds a doctorate degree from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and worked as a post-doctoral staff scientist at the Natural Science Laboratory in Studsvik, Sweden from 1977 to 1985. In 1986 he was appointed associate professor at Uppsala University. He became full professor in 2000. In 1978-79 and again in 1983, he was invited to Lawrence Berkley Laboratory, University of California at Berkeley, to work with Nobel Prize winner Glenn T. Seaborg, on a collaboration that continued for 20 years.

Professor Aleklett’s interest in global energy issues began in 1994 and has since grown dramatically. He is cofounder of ASPO, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas and he organized the first ever International Workshop on Oil Depletion in May 2002 at Uppsala University. Since 2003 he has been president of ASPO International, a network of scientists and others, having an interest in determining the date and impact of the peak and decline of the world's production of oil and gas, due to resource

In 2005 he was asked to give testimony on Peak Oil before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. In 2007 he was asked to write a report for the OECD about future global oil production to serve as a background document for the first International Transport Forum in Leipzig, in May, 2008. In June 2009 he was asked to give another testimony and this time for a subcommittee in the Senate in Australia.

Professor Aleklett's visit to Australia is supported by ASPO Australia.