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Switching from oil to gas will only be a short term option as the world’s supply of gas is likely to peak within 20 years. What is of greatest concern is not when the oil or gas peaks occur, but how the world will manage with ever decreasing amounts of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons. In the accompanying figure, it can be seen that the decline is predicted to vary from between 2% and 7% per year.

Even at the lowest rate of decline, the mismatch between demand and supply is such that it is important to start now to switch from oil to other energy sources preferably renewable as soon as possible. Such a change in energy source will help to limit climate change.

Figure 2 below shows the predictions of the various oil production models. These are summarised in the graph which shows not only the predicted date of the oil peak but the subsequent rate of decline in millions of barrels of oil per day.

Figure 2: Summary of various oil production models

(Source ERC, UK)

Further reading Global oil depletion – an assessment of the evidence for a near-term peak in global oil production, UK Energy Research Centre report August 2009



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