The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.
The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation's latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.
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The world has used less than half of the planet's conventionally extracted oil, but the remaining resources will be more difficult and expensive to get out of the ground, slowing production and increasing prices of crude.
With exploitation of the world's reserves running at more than 80m barrels a day, even major new discoveries such as the oil fields recently found in the Gulf of Mexico by BP would only delay a peak by a few days or weeks, the report said as reported by The Guardian.
The report, from the Peak Oil group, warns that the problem of declining availability of oil will hit the UK earlier than generally expected - possibly within the next five years and as early as 2011. [Also reported in The Guardian]
We don't have any plans in place to deal with peak oil: in Canada, we import the oil we use, and export the oil we produce (leaving most of us feeling WTF?). We peak out, everything falls apart. Our government is in denial, our corporate heads seem to be suffering a complete meltdown,and the general public just doesn't want to know. Any wonder why I'm a bit despairing of our future?
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