The FINITE nature of petroleum

Since the topic of oil and its scarcity is brought up often and few people talk specifics, here is a list of oil reserves from "Oil and Gas Journal" as of 1994. Projections from other sources vary slightly but the overall picture should be clear.

There will always be those who claim that projections can never be trusted, but thinking people should take a serious look at the data below. For brevity, only North America and the Middle East are shown in detail by nation, since they are the regions central to the debate about U.S. energy independence.

 Region/Nation          Estimated Crude Oil Reserves
                           (billions of barrels)

 North America                     79.0
     Canada                         5.1
     Mexico                        50.9
     United States                 23.0

 Middle East                      662.9
     Bahrain                        0.1
     Iran                          92.9
     Iraq                         100.0
     Kuwait                        96.5
     Oman                           4.7
     Qatar                          3.7
     Saudi Arabia                 261.2
     United Arab Emirates          98.1
     Other                          5.7

 Central/South America             74.1
 Western Europe                    16.9
 Eastern Europe/Russia             58.9
 Africa                            62.0
 Far East/Oceania                  44.6

 WORLD TOTAL                     1000.0

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the world consumes roughly 87 million barrels of oil per day as of 2008, which calculates to only 30-40 years of petroleum left in the ground at current consumption rates. Despite conservation efforts, those rates will rise as the world population grows by 75+ million annually. At the same time, the remaining oil (from unconventional sources) will keep rising in price.

By 2008, the U.S. was consuming over 21 million barrels of oil per day or 7.6 BILLION barrels a year; a figure that will also rise as our population grows. Basic math shows why America's domestic reserves would not last even five years if we were on our own. And with the spectre of economic growth and increased petroleum usage in developing nations, the U.S. will be engaged in ever-increasing competition for this finite resource.

The Global Hubbert Peak (probable oil scenarios)

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