Is the supply of oil endless?

The argument is often made that drilling for oil in the US will reduce our dependence on foreign oil lowering the cost of gas, fuel etc.

How long will that last for?

What should we do when the oil supply ends?

What is foresight and how is the cognitive capabilities of humans different from, say, an acorn?

13 Responses to “Is the supply of oil endless?”

  1. pegminer Says:

    I have actually heard one denier claim that it was–he thought it was being produced geologically just as fast as we were using it.

    Many Americans are simply deluded about how much oil is out there. They think that if all the bad environmentalists would just let them drill everywhere from the Acadia National Seashore to the Florida Keys and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Yellowstone National Park, etc.,etc., then the US would have all the cheap oil that we would ever need. This belief is a testament to the poor education that many Americans have.

    Do people realize that there are many, many countries that are more lax about environmental standards than the US? I assume that almost everyone realizes that, but people don’t make the connection that oil production is going down in those places also. In fact, if you look at all the countries that have ever produced oil, the great majority of them had greater production in the past than they do now. Why don’t they all just start drilling and pumping like crazy? Because the oil’s not there, that’s why. There are no Ghawars hiding in the world. The are large oilfields left to be found, that’s for sure, but they’re not big enough to solve our problems. The US oil production peaked in 1970–before the production in Alaska came online–even that was not enough to raise US production to 1970 levels.

    I love how one answer claims that the US has enough oil on our shores to supply the country for 200-500 years, that is simply a delusion. Drill all you want baby, from California to the New York Island and the continental shelves too, and you’re not going to find enough oil to supply the US for 20 years, much less 200. The only thing you’ll end up doing is increasing our oil dependence and fouling our coastlines, for maybe a 10 cent decrease in the cost of a gallon of gas.

  2. There's An App For That Says:

    Give us an alternative.

    Not endless, but the US has a 200-500 year supply on our own shores. But for some strange reason, we’re not allowed to drill for it. As soon as an oil field is found, it’s suddenly a protected environment or national park and can’t be touched.

    We wanted nuclear energy but too many movies, and other means fueling superstitions took that away from us.

    Now we have wind power, not always reliable. And solar, whose components are made from oil. And electric cars. But, in a brilliant stroke of genius, these things need rare earth metals only available in politically unstable countries, or countries of questionable alliance to the USA. At the same time, we have reserves of these metals too. But again, for some strange reason, we’re not allowed to mine our own resources.

  3. Rabin Says:

    Give us an alternative.

    Not endless, but the US has a 200-500 year supply on our own shores. But for some strange reason, we’re not allowed to drill for it. As soon as an oil field is found, it’s suddenly a protected environment or national park and can’t be touched.

    We wanted nuclear energy but too many movies, and other means fueling superstitions took that away from us.

    Now we have wind power, not always reliable. And solar, whose components are made from oil. And electric cars. But, in a brilliant stroke of genius, these things need rare earth metals only available in politically unstable countries, or countries of questionable alliance to the USA. At the same time, we have reserves of these metals too. But again, for some strange reason, we’re not allowed to mine our own resources.

  4. akanksha_1695 Says:

    i suppore so !!

  5. Hey Dook Says:

    No. Oil reserves are not endless. With google any open-minded person can learn in a few minutes that the U.S. has only a few years of domestic oil left, if it were to stop imports, more if it goes full bore with deepwater offshore drilling, like maybe a decade or two, and somewhat more still if you include exotic toxic expensive stuff like shale, etc. But nothing close to 200-500 years. What is not endless, but much more abundant, is the supply of Americans who cannot do grade school arithmetic.

  6. DJ Says:

    @DOOK. Again youre getting yourself confused. Only a few years of domestic oil left? Wow, prove that please.

    Fortunately here in the Southwest dams were built in the Colorado River in the 1930s before the environmentalists had the control they have today. There is absolutely no possible way those same dams would be allowed to be built today. The Colorado provides a decent percentage of electricty to us.

  7. Ottawa Mike Says:

    "Is the supply of oil endless?"

    No, of course not.

    "How long will that last for?"

    That’s a fairly difficult question to answer and depends on a lot of factors. I will say though that some who I would call alarmists feel it’s going to run out very soon while other equally alarming statements are it’s going to last forever. I am somewhere in the middle in that it is going to run out eventually and we will need to switch to alternative energy sources. That process has already started and we need to keep it going.

    "What should we do when the oil supply ends?"

    I’m going to assume that is more of a sarcastic comment than a question.

    Edit: By the way, in answering you how much is left question, there are many opinions on the matter and like global warming, there are "sides". Sometimes it’s difficult to filter that information out. My source seems to be reasonable although I am not up on subject enough to know: http://bx.businessweek.com/oil-and-gas/view?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.scientificamerican.com%2Farticle.cfm%3Fid%3Dsqueezing-more-oil-edit-this

    Edit2: Actually, I had forgotten about the concept of oil not created from decayed plant material. If it is created deep in the mantle, there may be a very large supply of oil left. The following is a peer-reviewed study on this concept: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n8/abs/ngeo591.html

  8. Peter Says:

    No and neither is the suns energy.

  9. Dana1981 Says:

    No. We reached peak oil production in the USA decades ago, and may have already reached peak global oil production.

    What we should do is transition away from oil as soon as possible so the remaining reserves last as long as possible. Otherwise the transition will be forced upon us, and the economic impact will be far greater.

  10. Liz Says:

    I dont know about endless but the earth does continually create more

  11. Mr.357 Says:

    We have not recognized an alternative source of energy that is affordable, let alone any where near the low cost of oil. Hopefully we will find a source and be able to utilize it before we run out of oil.

  12. Vince Says:

    All the easy oil in the United States has already been found. Oil was first discovered in NW Pennsylvania in 1859. Ever since then, we’ve been pumping out as much oil as we can find. The US was the world’s largest oil exporter in the 1950s.

    For over a century after we first discovered it, we’ve been pumping enough oil out of American soil to meet our needs. But that all stopped in 1970 when we produced over 10 million barrels of oil a day. Since then, we’ve never been able to produce as much. Now, we only produce 6 million barrels a day. But we use 20 million barrels a day. And as more of the world needs more oil with only a limited supply to go around, the price will only go up. Don’t be surprised if gasoline costs $15 a gallon by 2020.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6976

  13. dave Tremor Says:

    The supply of oil is not unlimited. There is only so much on earth and oil is not a renewable source. The oil will run out sooner or later. The best move is to have less dependence of oil and gradually shifting to other renewable sources such as wind, solar, thermal etc.