It takes at least 10 million years, specific geological processes and a mass extinction of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures to create crude oil — making it the definition of a nonrenewable resource. But it’s impossible to tell exactly how much oil we have left on the earth, since we can’t look into the Earth’s mantle to see just how much is left.
Dinosaurs have nothing to do with oil; virtually all of it comes from plants.
Reasonable estimates of reserves, including both proved and unproved but probable, are straightforward to make, although methods vary. They use knowledge of the geology of a basin, the mathematical distribution of existing fields, and other approaches to make estimates of undiscovered reserves. Thus it’s pretty well agreed that something like 1 trillion barrels remain unproduced on earth. Whether the value is actually 800 billon or 1200 billion results in the debate about the timing of peak oil, but there is little doubt that the peak of oil production wiil arrive sometime between now and 2030.
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