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Global Oil Depletion: An assessment of the evidence for near-term peak in global oil production


Citation Sorrell, S., Speirs, J., Bentley, R., Brandt, A. and Miller, R.. Global Oil Depletion: An assessment of the evidence for near-term peak in global oil production. UKERC. 2009.
Author(s) Sorrell, S., Speirs, J., Bentley, R., Brandt, A. and Miller, R..
Publisher UKERC
Download Global_Oil_Depletion_-_An_assessment_of_the_evidence_for_a_near-term_peak_in_global_oil_production.pdf document type
ISBN 1-903144-0-35
UKERC Report Number NA
Abstract

The report also focuses on the broadly ‘physical’ factors that may restrict the rate at which conventional oil can be produced, including the production profile of individual fields and the distribution of resources between different sizes of field. While these are invariably mediated by economic, technical and political factors, the extent to which increased investment can overcome these physical constraints is contested. Global oil supply is also influenced by a much wider range of economic, political and geopolitical factors (e.g. resource nationalism) and several of these may pose a significant challenge to energy security, even in the absence of ‘below-ground’ constraints. What is disputed, however, is whether physical depletion is also likely to constrain global production in the near-term, even if economic and political conditions prove more favourable.In practice, these ‘above ground’ and ‘below ground’ risks are interdependent and difficult to separate. Nevertheless, this report focuses primarily on the latter since they are the focus of the peak oil debate.

The report does not investigate the potential consequences of supply shortages or the feasibility of different approaches to mitigating such shortages, although both are priorities for future research.