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A World Without Oil: The Aftermath

Updated on June 24, 2016

Drilling for Oil

Imagine if this drill stopped drilling forever...
Imagine if this drill stopped drilling forever... | Source

Introduction

Oil, is quite simply the backbone of modern life. It’s in the food we eat, the houses we live in and in the cars we drive. It’s probably the most important commodity in the world; indeed this cheap, economic fuel makes our modern world possible. Over the last 150 years we have taken about a trillion barrels from the Earth, and most experts forecast that the equivalent of another trillion should still be there for us to extract.

But let’s conduct a little thought experiment; most of us are aware that we are living on borrowed time. We know that the oil will run dry someday in the future, we’re not entirely certain when, but most experts are confident that we will have to find an effective alternative fuel within the next 100 years or else. In our thought experiment, I want you to imagine that all of the remaining untapped oil reserves still in the Earth suddenly vanished overnight. What we would do? How would we cope?

The experiment begins; the oil disappears and almost immediately oil refineries around the world go into chaos mode, alarms go off deep underground; indicating a major problem.

From Prosperity to Poverty

The Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh is only prosperous because of its vast oil reserves. Saudi is the largest oil exporter in the world.
The Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh is only prosperous because of its vast oil reserves. Saudi is the largest oil exporter in the world. | Source

24 Hours Later

News reports around the world confirm beyond doubt that all of the oil reserves below ground across the globe have disappeared. The oil companies move quickly to stem the rising panic by informing people that there are 20 million barrels left in the refineries. Across the oceans, huge tankers carrying millions of barrels of oil are on the move, but not in the usual direction. In the wake of the crisis, Earth’s biggest oil exporters such as Russia and Saudi Arabia have recalled their boats.

This is a massive blow for the US, who is the biggest oil importer in the world. Each day, they produce more than 8 million barrels, but they actually consume double that amount. Now with the loss of imported oil, the deficit stands at 8 million and begins to grow.

People quickly digest the news and flood into gas/petrol stations in the hope that they can fill up their cars for the last time, but many reports state that anyone prepared to queue faces a wait of 2 hours at least. Very quickly, gas/petrol stations around the world run dry, in the last frantic moments, many hike up the prices to truly astronomical amounts, and some of those determined people who sat in the queue hand over vast sums of money.

Many countries around the world do have vast reserves of oil hidden away to deal with emergency situations similar to the one occurring now. The US has roughly 725 million barrels of crude oil hidden away in secret location across the country. In order to protect what’s left, the government takes dramatic steps, only allowing the most vital transports such as ambulances and fire trucks access to the oil. The age of planes, trains and ships comes to a shuddering halt; roads become quiet, tracks empty, the skies quieter and cleaner. Each day in the US alone, roughly 4 million people use aircraft for travel, but are now all stranded, forced to find alternative ways to get their destination. The loss of planes, trains and ships also spells disaster for the delivery of cargo, over 100,000 tonnes of cargo will lie stranded, probably never to be delivered.

The economic fallout is rapid; the growing, widespread panic forces the government to halt stock trading. The US government took similar steps after the 9/11 disaster due to the panic that erupted in its aftermath. All of a sudden, two trillion dollars of oil stock become worthless; more than 400,000 people directly employed by the oil industry lose their jobs, and are reduced to having to find their way home by any means necessary. The uncertain economic future also forces thousands of manufacturing plants to shut down immediately, which spark protests from the millions employed in the industry who also lose their jobs.

For the most part, we are largely ignorant of oil and just how important it really is. It’s one of the most powerful and versatile fuels on the planet, made from dead organic matter that has been slowly compressed and heated over millions of years. It’s in everything, from toothpaste, lipstick, polyester and even plastic, but now it’s all gone, and what was kept in reserve is dwindling rapidly. A huge chain reaction has now been set in motion, that is quickly crippling every part of our lives from hospitals, food and of course power. The crisis is only just beginning.

5 Days Later

In just five short days, the loss of oil has forced governments around the world to declare martial law to stem the rising anger and anarchy among the population. In the US, the National Guard is deployed widely across the country, patrolling the streets of Los Angeles and Washington vigorously. The stock markets remain firmly shut, and unemployment has risen swiftly up to an astonishing 30 per cent.

In less than a week, many of our most basic needs are suddenly out of reach. Food depot centres across the western world are now closed, sparking a major food crisis. Prior to the crisis, California for example sent out 1300 trucks from its depots every day, delivering fresh food all over the country to grocery outlets. Now the trucks sit idle without their precious oil.

All of the big cities are hit hard; on average it takes one football field of farmland to produce enough food for just one person a year. Oil enabled the easy distribution of food from far and wide, but now without it, feeding a city of millions like New York becomes impossible. The trip to the grocery store now takes hours rather than minutes, and each outlet has a team of armed guards manning the doors, deciding how many people can enter the store at once. Inside the store, almost all of the best quality food has now gone, what’s left are the ones that don’t normally make it to the shelf, the ones that carry imperfections or are slightly off. But people can no longer afford to be fussy, and must make do with whatever they can find. The prices of food just like gas/petrol sky-rocket, for example, in this new world a 5Ib bag of apples now costs nearly 12 dollars.

Roughly a quarter of all food consumed in the US is imported from elsewhere, and with no more ships bringing fresh supplies, the food stocks dwindle dramatically. On farms, the loss of oil is even more dramatic, over the last fifty years farming has become industrial, with many containing hundreds if not thousands of cows and other livestock. On average, a cow needs around 100Ibs of food a day, while a pig needs around 8Ib. In a bitter ironic twist, these animals raised to feed humans face starvation themselves.

The loss of oil causes power systems around the world to fail, plunging the world into darkness. Around the world, roughly 40% of electricity comes directly from coal burning power plants. In the US, Florida is hit hardest, as it mainly relies on electricity generated directly from burning oil. The major hospitals in cities such as Miami and Orlando are equipped with emergency backup generators, but even these rely heavily on diesel fuel processed from oil. In San Francisco law and order breaks out. In the middle of the night, looters emerge en masse. But as well as looking for food, they search for cooking oil that can be converted into fuel for diesel engine cars.

Martial Law

Martial law was declared in Egypt last year in the wake of the unrest that erupted. In a world without oil, scenes like this would be commonplace across the world.
Martial law was declared in Egypt last year in the wake of the unrest that erupted. In a world without oil, scenes like this would be commonplace across the world. | Source

Life in the Suburbs

Suburbs like this one in San Jose, California sprung up all over the country after World War II. In a world without oil, life in these places will become a lot less tranquil.
Suburbs like this one in San Jose, California sprung up all over the country after World War II. In a world without oil, life in these places will become a lot less tranquil. | Source

A New Way of 'Refuelling' Your Car

This electric car in London is getting a recharge. In a world without oil, cars like these will become more common.
This electric car in London is getting a recharge. In a world without oil, cars like these will become more common. | Source

1 Month Later

Governments around the world initiate a global shutdown, keeping only the most essential services operational. The emergency oil reserves are converted into diesel fuel for cargo trains that deliver coal to power plants, in an effort to restore power. The strategy works, and some basic electrical services are restored, but only in certain areas, as the electrical grids are no longer interconnected.

Florida is still in a state of blackout; the emergency fuel gets the trains running again, but instead of people they carry food. The US’ oil supply continues to dwindle; even the most optimistic forecasts estimate that the US only has 11 months worth of oil left. The gasoline or petrol powered car becomes obsolete; this is a total disaster for the US, as it is specifically built to serve cars. More than half of the population live in sprawling suburbs, and prior to the crisis had most of their food delivered straight to huge grocery outlets nearby. For the average American, the easy life has vanished, alternative measures must be found.

Out in the Midwest, farmers begin planting new crops to replace the usual fruit and vegetables. They select soya beans that contain oil which can be extracted and turned into diesel fuel. Corn is another crop that contains a fuel alternative and is grown extensively across millions of acres of land. The treasure yielded by this crop is ethanol which can be used to power gas/petrol powered cars.

While the US roads sit empty, the story in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is quite different. The roads are still packed with cars that are powered by ethanol extracted from sugar cane. In terms of bio fuel production, the Brazilians are decades ahead of the Americans and other western nations. However, hope remains eternal that the end of the modern world hasn’t arrived. Thousands of electric cars are still on the road and could pave the way for a better future. But back in the present, a more immediate and concerning challenge looms; the onset of winter in the northern hemisphere.

The Crops That Could Save Us?

Soya beans contain oil that can be processed into bio fuel that can be used in diesel powered cars.
Soya beans contain oil that can be processed into bio fuel that can be used in diesel powered cars. | Source
Corn, contains ethanol that could help revive the gasoline/petrol powered car in a world without oil. But would we be able to produce enough?
Corn, contains ethanol that could help revive the gasoline/petrol powered car in a world without oil. But would we be able to produce enough? | Source
Sugar cane is another crop that contains ethanol. Brazil is already growing sugar cane across million of acres turning it into bio fuel. In terms of bio fuel production, it's decades ahead of the US and Western Europe.
Sugar cane is another crop that contains ethanol. Brazil is already growing sugar cane across million of acres turning it into bio fuel. In terms of bio fuel production, it's decades ahead of the US and Western Europe. | Source

Desperate Measures

As well as having to survive a famine. People will have to survive a bitter northern hemisphere winter. The survivors would be those prepared to hunt and trap animals like Elk.
As well as having to survive a famine. People will have to survive a bitter northern hemisphere winter. The survivors would be those prepared to hunt and trap animals like Elk. | Source

5 Months Later

The US government announces the takeover of three of the biggest car manufacturers in the country. They intend to concentrate on producing electric trucks to help supplement the much needed food deliveries. Across the vast agricultural lands of the Earth, farmers take inspiration from Brazil and start planting sugar cane to speed up the production of ethanol.

However, in big cities across the US and indeed the rest of the world, food terminals begin to close, resulting in a fast spreading famine. People form crushing queues at train stations waiting for food deliveries. Instead of fresh produce, they must make do with powdered milk and rice. The essential services such as coal delivery and emergencies are still operational; surviving on the ever dwindling oil reserves, everything else is at a standstill. The US continues to dramatically reduce its oil consumption in order to stretch out the vital remaining reserves. But in just a few short months, there won’t be enough oil for any food deliveries at all.

While food continues to be brought in, rubbish/garbage is no longer collected and taken away. In fact, any rubbish clear up is a luxury afforded only to a few lucky people. The situation sounds bad in the North, but things are even worse in Saudi Arabia, which is in the midst of an economic disaster. 90 per cent of their income from exports came from oil, with all that gone the country collapses into ruin. Japan was one of the biggest importers in the world; roughly 60 per cent of all its nutritional needs came from overseas. With no ships docking at their ports, the entire population face starvation.

Back in the US, many people are no longer prepared to wait for the government to find a solution. Instead they take matters into their own hands and start converting garages and basements into makeshift laboratories, where they conduct experiments in producing their own bio fuel using scavenged chemicals such as methanol. This is a very dangerous experiment, but if it works it could provide escape from starving cities. However, this ingenuity only works on diesel cars and for a limited time.

Other alternative fuel sources also face similar hurdles; while the soya bean harvest was more than the double what it was in the previous year, it only produced half a billion gallons of bio fuel which is less than 1 per cent of the diesel North America used each year prior to the crisis. Furthermore, no more can be produced until the next harvest. Farmers continue to valiantly plant more corn to gain a higher yield of ethanol.

A world without oil forces governments around the world to make tough and brutal decisions. In this case, should they tell the farmers to plant crops for food or fuel? Hospitals are rapidly running out of supplies; everything from rubber gloves, gowns, medicine and lubricants all need oil in their manufacture. Without such necessaries, drug resistant infections become rampant. In the big cities, families are surviving literally by the skin of their teeth. But now matters take a turn for the worst. An electrical transformer fire which was mostly nothing more than a nuisance in a world with oil, becomes nightmarish. Abandoned vehicles block access, preventing emergency vehicles from dealing with the problem. The fire quickly spreads, before an explosion rocks the neighbourhood.

Winter has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and for the millions of people living in northern cities, the time has come to make a tough decision. Do they lie low and wait for winter to pass? Or do they flee south. For many, there is no decision, as temperatures plummet, people flee en masse, heading south; in what is the biggest mass migration in human history. In the US people from the north pour into the southern states and Mexico. While in Europe, people from Scandinavia, the Baltic, Russia and Britain pour into southern France and the Mediterranean countries. The refugees travel on foot; cars are abandoned, including the ones that were revived by cooking oil. The cold has turned the fuel thick and sludgy; consequently the fuel lines and engines have become blocked, rendering the cars totally useless. The northern cities transform into eerie ghostly islands poking out of the snow and ice. Amazingly, not all people flee south, some hardy travellers’ venture north seeking out isolated cabins in the wilderness where they can sit out the winter living off a stockpile of food that they bought with them. However, the stockpile is limited to basically what they can carry on their backs. So they have to resort to hunting and trapping animals. On average, an adult male human needs around 210,000 calories to see him through a winter, thus the regular acquisition of fresh meat is a necessity for survival.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A bleak picture for sure but one that is no unrealistic! Our society is not prepared for the scenario you paint and I do not doubt that it would be mass chaos if it should happen...but...there are ways to protect ourselves...I'll be interested in your next hub and what you have to say.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thanks billy, I must admit I found it quite hard to write this hub and the other which I'm currently finishing. It does paint a bleak picture, but hopefully some bright spark will figure out a true alternative fuel source before its too late. I'll have part two up in a few minutes. Thanks for popping by billy.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 5 years ago from Northern Germany

      To be frank, not very realistic.

      Please add to your story that "ALL" fossile fuels have to disappear immediately, not only oil. The story is incomplete without taking into account natural gas and coal.

      Especially the huge reserves of coal scratch on the story´s realism. Some 70 years ago a completely isolated economy with little oil reserves switched to coal hydrification: Nazi Germany during WWII.

      The process is quite old, nothing miraculous about it. Just take 100% energy stored in coal to produce 60% of energy in oil. The process is called Coal-to-Liquid CTL. German chemist Friedrich Bergius invented the process in 1913 and received a Nobel Price for Chemistry in 1931. http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/uses-of-coal/coal-to...

      This is not the only process for tranforming fossile fuels from one form to another. The little Chemistry story indicates that the future is never bleak. For every technical problem there will be created a solution.

      Production cost for CTL gas is high, too high to rival current oil prices, but the future will show.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Fair point Chris, the research I compiled made no mention of what would happen if all three disappeared simultaneously, nor the process you describe. It's quite interesting actually, perhaps if the scenario I highlighted did occur then we could carve out a better future by using this process to create more oil, and thus give us a little breathing space.

      But there will come a time when all three fossil fuels run out completely, then we will have to seek out alternative fuel sources. It seems that according to the research compiled that processed algae could be the ideal replacement for oil, but it sounds a little too good to be true for me. Thanks for popping by, and thanks for the info.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Very alarming picture there, until you realise that it couldn't happen like that. The oil is not going to suddenly disappear. It will go more gradually. Society will have a bit more time to prepare. At least I hope so.

    • theclevercat profile image

      Rachel Vega 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bleak, yes -- but another thoughtful hub from one of my favorite HP writers. Voted up and interesting. On my way to part two. Thanks, JK!

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Yep, this is the stuff of nightmares. The oil won't suddenly vanish, and thank god for that. I was more concerned with what we'll have to do when it vanishes and we haven't found an alternative fuel source. As you say though, we still have time on our side for now. But it is slowly running out. Thanks for popping by, my friend.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thanks theclevercat, really appreciate your kind words. I'm sure you will enjoy part 2.

    • pramodgokhale profile image

      pramodgokhale 5 years ago from Pune( India)

      I am in total agreement with you,and consumption should be regulated and searching alternative fuels is a necessary way ,but substitutes for oil are not adquate and not as efficient like oil,Bio fuels and renewable energies can partly make up the shortfall. Hydrocarbons are powerful elements and no other fuel can match them

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi pramodgokhale, thanks for the info on hydrocarbons, I shall look into it; who knows, perhaps they can provide the answer to the inevitable oil shortage crisis. Thanks for popping by.

    • AnimalWrites profile image

      AnimalWrites 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Let's hope they pull their fingers out before it gets to this stage, but the oil companies are rich and have a lot of clout, and are probably blocking developments of alternatives. And the US will have to start drilling their own oil fields again, instead of draining those of the rest of the world first. Interesting hub, voted up!

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Yep, think you're right, the oil companies have too much to lose, and as the reserves deplete further. The pressure will fall on the likes of the US and Europe to find whatever oil they can.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 5 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      A brilliant article! A grim look at the future... Realistic to the core!

      Sharing this one

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you rahul, really appreciate it :)

    • profile image

      baron 666 4 years ago

      This article taking things so lightly its ridiculous.

      They will never tell us how much oil left, we will learn it last day when food trucks doesn't arrive at markets. Government won't help you because it is not possible to feed %90 of population without oil. They have already dissolved and prepared huge salt mines as oil depots. They will choose few million people and live underground for 2-3 years and when they came out human population would be what it should be.

      And the thing is when oil wells stop pumping it will not be because they run dry, there will be oil down there maybe even more than we spend last 200 years, but it will be so down deep, to pump 1 unit of oil we will need more energy than 1 unit of oil can produce and it will be pointless.

      There will be one rule in future that i am sure of.

      "Never produce food using finite sources of energy"

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      This was really excellent. I've watched some very good documentaries on this subject and I do think one of your commenters, Chris57, is not aware of the facts. Many scientists are coming out -- reputable scientists who stake their reputations on this -- are coming out to speak and be recorded on video about the truth. All of the solutions put forward today -- and many of them are only conceptual -- will not help us sufficiently for more than about a month. We use these resources as though there is no tomorrow. We are so dependent on oil for everything. Oil, natural gas, coal -- they are all becoming depleted.

      Another great hub you've done here.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thank you Pamela, we are truly nearing a crisis point when it comes to fossil fuels. Most scientists seem to be thinking that seaweed and algae are ultimately going to be our replacement for oil, but it seems so far away. Apparently, you can also get ethanol from crops such as soya beans, but there's no way we'd be able to grow enough to satisfy a bloated human population.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 4 years ago from Northern Germany

      Pamela - what facts am i not be aware of?

      The whole thing is driven by commercial aspects. If oil and natural gas prices are high enough, alternative methods for drilling, for exploitation, for processing will be developed. Don´t underestimate technological progress. Just remember the issue of the city of New York in the 1850ties: Greatest worry was that traffic would be totally clogged by horse manure from coaches... Sounds silly today. What will future generations think of our bleak future discussions of today?

      That said, i am not in favour of irresponsible use of fossile fuels, but i think technological progress does not only pose problems for mankind but also holds solutions. I live in a county in Germany that produces more renewable energy (from wind turbines) than it consumes. That is technology at its best.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      CHRIS57, I didn't mean to offend you. I'm sorry if I did offend you. It was a year ago that I watched four different programs/documentaries with scientists being interviewed and a storyline on each -- not just interviews. So I cannot recall everything, but I do remember they laid out all of the various alternatives known to date and in two of the programs each of the alternatives' pros, cons and limitations were explained. For example, it costs more money to produce and harvest the crops of ethanol than it is worth. The wind turbines, the ethanol, soybeans and all else my memory bank isn't recalling at this moment were said -- on each documentary by scientists who were not being paid to make the film (as many ARE) that it would not nearly suffice. The figures were given in comparison. I do remember that. The figures for the amount of consumption per day per country is astronomical in comparison to the amount all of the combined alternatives could produce IF countries were already behind the eight ball on everything.

      No, the days will come when there will be a completely new way of having to deal day-to-day with life. I certainly don't know when that will be. It could be in our grandchildren's lifetimes. It will not be the end of the world. It may even have some up-sides to it.

      If I come across the titles of those programs we watched, I will try to remember to come back here and post them. The scientists in each film had impressive backgrounds, many of which at the time I looked up online to confirm their backgrounds. There were many press releases about them throughout the years that were accessible. Some were heads of departments in different countries -- just trying to get the truth out.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 4 years ago from Northern Germany

      Pamela - we seem to be on the same track, all discussion and pundit expertise leads to the topic of cost effectiveness for fossile fuel alternatives.

      For today wind energy is in the lead with only double cost. Far off with some 700% of cost compared to coal is solar power, photovoltaik. That is why the US initiative failed. You need very long term thinking to take solar all the way, and long term thinking is not what the US is good at.

      With ethanol or "making energy out of food" there is not only a cost issue but also an ethic issue with many people on this planet not get enough to eat. However alcohol is still very close to being competitive.

      But that is today. Tomorrow is what? Higher cost for fossiles and lower cost for alternatives due to technological progress?

    • Nathan Orf profile image

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      There is one little glich in your argument that oil is running out... natural gas, shale and other non-conventional sources of oil. As traditional sources come closer to running dry, we are getting more of our oil from non-conventional sources. Apart from the implications this has for the state of the global environment, it is not likely that we have to worry about oil supplies or usage anytime in the near future. Otherwise, nice hub, as usual.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thanks Nathan.

    • Martinblade1 profile image

      Martinblade1 4 years ago from Earth

      As someone who desires to be a mechanical engineer specializing in cars this issue is one that I've thought about a lot lately. And it's one that I don't think we'll find a silver bullet solution to. The solution will be a fusion of different methods much like our transportation system is a fusion now.

      In an ironic way, the rising cost of oil creates a very good simulation of what happens when the finite resource does ultimately run out. In response to this, people do look for better solutions to transportation without finite oil, as costs rise. Currently though gas prices are down from the highs they were at a few years ago.

      The way I see it is thus, natural gas will be a bridge to either electric or renewable fuel. To be honest though the battery has serious problems that will take time to solve so I'm betting on renewables as the easier and cheaper solution. That doesn't necessarily mean it's the best solution though.

      That is simply the abbreviated version of it though, a more detailed solution is deserving of a hub, not a comment.

      Good article though, certainly something we should think about, even if we were using sustainable fuels right now instead of oil.

    • JKenny profile image
      Author

      James Kenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Thanks Marrtinblade, really appreciate it.

    • wmac profile image

      Wayne McLaughlin 2 years ago from Chicago metropolitan area

      PEAK OIL THEORY – Beginning in 1885 with a warning by the State Geologist of Pennsylvania that oil was a temporary phenomenon, we have been repeatedly warned that we are running out of oil. In 1920 the director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines warned that in the next two to five years, oil production will start to decline. Similar concerns were expressed at the end of World War II. Again in the 1970’s a former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission told us that “we are living in the twilight age of Petroleum”. An eminent earth scientist, Marion King Hubert predicted that children born in 1965 would see all the world’s oil used up in the lifetimes.

      Hubert’s theory was embraced by retired geologist, Colin Campbell, a veteran of most of the major oil companies who wrote in 1996 that oil production would peak in 2000. Advocates of ‘Peak Oil’ maintain that we have used a trillion barrels of oil, have a trillion left which at the present rate of usage will last 40 years. Others in the industry are of the opinion that we have three trillion barrels left.

      Oil by Tom Bower says that, “Exxon Mobil disagreed. Based on its ‘global science toolkit” and an online database with over 100 terabytes of data, five times more than the Library of Congress, Exxon calculated that 15 trillion barrels of energy equivalent remained to be extracted.” This database has allowed Exxon to lower their exploration cost from $2.75/barrel in 1980 to 44 cents in 2004.”

    • profile image

      SanXuary 23 months ago

      The solution is called ethanol fuel. Every car after you reprogram its computer board can already run on it. For a few hundred dollars it can be done already but where are you going to get the fuel? Every plant absorbs carbon and burning it is a 1 for 1 exchange. We just keep pumping it into the air to keep the big money cartels in power.

    • profile image

      wmac 23 months ago

      Joule Unlimited just opened their first full scale plant producing gasoline and other hydrocarbons from sunlight, water and carbon dioxide - no feedstock needed. Anticipated retail price - $1.20/gallon. The only energy problem is created by the myth of man made global warming.

    • profile image

      SanXuary 23 months ago

      I am certain that there is a consequence of burning this amount of carbon into the air. That's a lot of carbon in the last 100 years. If its some other reason then you our going to have to believe in more then global warming. How about a polar shift or something.

    • profile image

      wmac 23 months ago

      The one thing that is certain is that the physics of the carbon dioxide molecule makes it impossible for it to perform the actions attributed to it. This is a total scam perpetrated by; (1) a few people who have made huge amounts of money from it and (2) people who by virtue of their education, wealth, and/or celebrity status who have egos huge enought to think that they should tell the rest of us how to live.

      And they know it's a lie!

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 18 months ago

      Chris:

      I just ran across your Hub. I have written many hubs on oil and gas issues.

      You made one error. I have never heard anyone say we would run out of oil in 100 years. I have heard we would reach peak oil production in 100 years. That is very different. However, that prediction is not solid or certain. New discoveries in North Dakota and Texas have increased the supply of domestic oil and lowered our dependence on imported oil, ever though we are using more oil each year.

      Everyone learned in science class that oil and natural gas were finite resources. We were also told that oil cam from dinosaurs dying in the prehistoric ages. That was not true.

      The fact that gasoline prices are down would indicate there is an ample supply of oil. Furthermore, Natural gas hydrates, frozen bubbles of oil on the ocean floor offer tremendous energy potential.

      We may someday significantly reduce our use of oil as a fuel source, however, the components of oil that are a part of virtually everything you own will continue for many centuries.

      Three years ago, the 100 year mark was being offered by some. Having worked for an oil and gas trade association, I can say that is not the consensus among the industry.

      Your Hub was well written and I would ecommend that if you are still writing Hubs that you update this one with more recent data. When I first started my PR position and the oil and gas association, I read an old book that said we had a 40-year supply of oil. I do not remember how old book was, but it was written before offshore drilling started. If we can expand that drilling, there is even less doubt about running out of oil.

    • profile image

      Wayne McLaughlin 18 months ago

      PEAK OIL THEORY – Beginning in 1885 with a warning by the State Geologist of Pennsylvania that oil was a temporary phenomenon, we have been repeatedly warned that we are running out of oil. In 1920 the director of the U.S. Bureau of Mines warned that in the next two to five years, oil production will start to decline. Similar concerns were expressed at the end of World War II. Again in the 1970’s a former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission told us that “we are living in the twilight age of Petroleum”. An eminent earth scientist, Marion King Hubert predicted that children born in 1965 would see all the world’s oil used up in the lifetimes.

      Hubert’s theory was embraced by retired geologist, Colin Campbell, a veteran of most of the major oil companies who wrote in 1996 that oil production would peak in 2000. Advocates of ‘Peak Oil’ maintain that we have used a trillion barrels of oil, have a trillion left which at the present rate of usage will last 40 years. Others in the industry are of the opinion that we have three trillion barrels left.

      "Oil" by Tom Bower says that, “Exxon Mobil disagreed. Based on its ‘global science toolkit” and an online database with over 100 terabytes of data, five times more than the Library of Congress, Exxon calculated that 15 trillion barrels of energy equivalent remained to be extracted.” This database has allowed Exxon to lower their exploration cost from $2.75/barrel in 1980 to 44 cents in 2004.”

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