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World oil peaks next decade consequences for renewable energy

Fleay, B.J. (1999) World oil peaks next decade consequences for renewable energy. In: O'Mara, K., Jennings, P., Ho, G., Anda, M. and Mathew, K., (eds.) Renewable energy: Technology and policies for sustainable development. Proceedings of the World Energy Congress, Perth, Australia, February 2009. Institute for Environmental Science, Murdoch University and Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy, Perth, Western Australia, pp. 273-282.

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Abstract

US oil production in the lower 48 states peaked in 1970 allowing the Middle East producers to use oil as a political weapon in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. We had the 1970's oil crises. There was never an oil shortage and several large discoveries in Alaska, the North Sea, Mexico and elsewhere were waiting in the sidelines. By 1973 the world had consumed only one eighth of its oil endowment, some 250 billion barrels. The crises were about, politics and power.

The industrialised countries reacted by minimising their use of cheap Middle East oil, by developing more expensive oil in the rest of the world, by substituting gas and coal for oil and by pursuing energy efficiency. Interest in renewable energy and energy efficiency blossomed.

Economic growth slowed and a huge oil supply excess developed by the early 1980's. Consumption declined by 10% between 1979 and 1986 and high oil prices collapsed. Oil consumption has since reached the highest levels ever despite, halving in the former Soviet Union. The supply excess was nearly all back in production by the mid 1990's and another 600 billion barrels has been consumed. We are about three years away from consuming half the world's endowment of cheap-to-produce conventional oil and from the peaking of non-Middle East production. This time there are no Alaskas or North Seas waiting in the sidelines.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: Institute for Science and Technology Policy
Publisher: Institute for Environmental Science, Murdoch University and Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy
Copyright: © 1999 Institute for Environmental Science, Murdoch University and Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Renewable Energy
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/24364
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