While the truth is we cannot definitively know, this is definitely an object of heated debate. No new fields have been found in Saudi Arabia since the 1970’s. More than half of their oil production is from Ghawar, which was discovered in 1948. As the amount of oil used increases, the oil will become harder to get, resulting in significantly decreased production and higher cost. The video below is from Matthew Simmons, who is an advocate for the ideology that they are indeed running out. He discusses the subject of Peak Oil in the video below.
Oil has been running out since the first drop was produced. Saudi Arabia has not, officially, passed its peak of production, the time when half its oil has been produced. Some analysts believe otherwise; see Twilight in the Desert by Matt Simmons – it suggests that Ghawar field and Saudi Arabia in general are past or very near their peaks. No way to prove it, because field-level data on production in Saudi Arabia have not been released since 1982. Likewise, reserve estimates must be taken with a grain of salt – they remain constant with few or no discoveries of new fields, and huge amounts of oil produced. It is not reasonable that the reserves would stay the same, but they are listed as the same largely for political reasons.
Generally, oil across the world is “running out.” It’s a finite resource, period. It would take millions of years for the earth to replace the oil we have used, are using, and will continue to use to power our human technology. That’s the main reason for the drive behind alternative fuels – because we really have no other choice! Oil will become less and less available as time goes on, quite literally.
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