According to the World Resources Institute, world proven oil reserves were estimated at 1000 billion barrels in 1995. Since proven reserves are usually less than half the ultimately recoverable reserves, we will assume that about 2000 billion barrels of oil will be able to be recovered and used.
How long will the proven reserves last at our present rate of production (25.32 billion barrels per year)? If your starting point was 1997, when will the oil run out? (Assume that reserves were approximately the same in 1997 as 1995).
|Year||Consumption (million barrels per day)|
|1997||73.700 (projected in part)|
Since the rate of oil consumption is increasing, we need to readjust our estimate for how long our oil reserves will last.
What is the percentage increase from 1986 to 97?
What was the average annual growth rate in oil consumption for the period 1986-97?|
HINT: The average rate of increase is the value k in the formula t = (1/k)ln (N/N0).
It is important to note how a seemingly small rate of increase can lead to such a big change in oil consumption over a long period of time. The concept of doubling time can be applied to illustrate growth of consumption.
What is the doubling time for the increase in oil consumption you calculated above?
In 44 years, at an increase of 1.6% per year, the world would be consuming oil at a rate of 50.6 billion barrels annually by the year 2041.
Approximate the total amount of oil that would be consumed during this 44 year period.
How does this compare to the current estimate of total oil reserves?
|Shale oil is often suggested as a viable substitute for oil. Shale oil resources (the total oil in shale, not that which can be economically extracted) in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado have been estimated to exceed 2000 billion barrels - twice the world's proven oil reserves! Research the geology of oil shale and the limitations to mining oil shale. Consider the following: