News of the WeekOIL RESOURCES

Splitting the Difference Between Oil Pessimists and Optimists

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Science  20 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5956, pp. 1048
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5956.1048

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World production of conventional oil is likely to peak before 2030 and could reach its limits before 2020, a major report from a new voice in the debate over oil depletion warns. The report from the UK Energy Research Centre steers a middle course between oil pessimists—many of whom think production has already topped out—and optimists, who hold that oil supply will continue to meet demand well beyond 2030. In view of the daunting task of weaning the world's transportation off oil, the risk of a peak before 2030 "needs to be given serious consideration," the report says.