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Former BP geologist: peak oil is here and it will ‘break economies’

December 30, 2013

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By Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

A former British Petroleum (BP) geologist has warned that the age of cheap oil is long gone, bringing with it the danger of “continuous recession” and increased risk of conflict and hunger.

At a lecture on ‘Geohazards’ earlier this month as part of the postgraduate Natural Hazards for Insurers course  at University College London (UCL), Dr. Richard G. Miller, who worked  for BP from 1985 before retiring in 2008, said that official data from  the International Energy  Agency (IEA), US Energy Information Administration (EIA), International  Monetary Fund (IMF), among other sources, showed that conventional oil  had most likely peaked around 2008.

Dr. Miller critiqued the  official industry line that global reserves will last 53 years at  current rates of consumption, pointing out that “peaking is the result  of declining production rates, not declining reserves.” Despite new  discoveries and increasing reliance on unconventional oil and gas, 37  countries are already post-peak, and global oil production is declining  at about 4.1% per year, or 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) per year:
“We  need new production equal to a new Saudi Arabia every 3 to 4 years to  maintain and grow supply… New discoveries have not matched consumption  since 1986. We are drawing down on our reserves, even though reserves  are apparently climbing every year. Reserves are growing due to better  technology in old fields, raising the amount we can recover – but  production is still falling at 4.1% p.a. [per annum].”

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