News

Peak oil: what dwindling oil supplies means for the world


3 November 2010

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

One of the world's leading peak oil authorities will discuss the economic threat of dwindling oil supplies and explain that we have already reached the peak of the oil age in a special presentation at the University of Sydney next week.

Professor Kjell Aleklett, co-founder and president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO) and leader of the Global Energy Systems Group at Uppsala University Sweden is an internationally renowned peak oil expert who has advised the United States House of Representatives and the Australian Senate.

President of ASPO since 2003, he wrote the OECD report on future global oil production that served as a background document for the first International Transport Forum in Leipzig in 2008.

His recent 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 until 2030.

In his free public lecture for the Sydney Ideas series titled The Peak of the Oil Age: Declining world oil production will halt economic growth, he will warn of the dire consequences for world economies of overestimating world oil supplies.

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

While IEA forecasts predict steady growth in oil production until at least 2030, Professor Aleklett has found that they assumed unrealistically high rates of production from undeveloped oilfields. He believes we have likely already reached the age of peak oil production, meaning oil supplies around the world are in decline.

His research has determined that 2030 will deliver only 75 million barrels of oil per day, a considerable difference to IEA's prediction of 100 million barrels per day.

"Fifty years ago our knowledge of the world's oil reserves was quite limited," Professor Aleklett wrote in an article for the website Online Opinion. "But with today's technology our knowledge has grown and our prognoses of forthcoming production have become ever more certain.

"A decisive fact for our future is that over half of all the oil that was generated millions of years ago can be found in only a few hundred, giant oilfields. At the start when these fields were discovered, it seemed as though they would never end.

"During a 10-year period around 1960, 48 billion barrels of oil per year were found while annual global consumption was only eight billion barrels. Now the yearly consumption has risen to over 30 billion barrels but the finds per year have decreased."


Event details

What: The Peak of the Oil Age: Declining world oil production will halt economic growth - a lecture by Professor Kjell Aleklett for Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series, presented in association with ASPO Australia

When: 6 to 7.30pm, Friday 12 November

Where: Foyer, New Law Building, Camperdown Campus

Cost: Free, no registration required


Media enquiries: Katie Szittner, 9351 2261, katie.szittner@sydney.edu.au

Sarah Stock, 9114 0748, 0419 278 715, sarah.stock@sydney.edu.au