Will We Ever Run Out of Crude Oil?

Asad Dossani
During the years 1999 and 2000, the price of Crude Oil more than doubled. At the time, the theory of peak oil was used to explain the rise in prices. According to this theory, crude oil production was in terminal decline. I remember hearing in the press that the world would run out of oil within fifty years.

At the time, I asked my economics teacher about this. He told me that the world would never run out of crude oil. That didn't make sense to me, so I asked him to elaborate.

He explained that prices will adjust to ensure that oil never runs out. If supply does indeed decline, the price will rise to a point where we'll switch to an alternative fuel that is cheaper. Higher prices would spur technological development. This could come in the form finding additional oil or developing other energy sources.

I was assured that I did not need to worry about crude oil running out. And if we did stop using oil, it would be because we switched to something better.

From early 2002 until the middle of 2008, crude oil began a sustained bull run. At its peak, it had increased to more than five times its 2002 level. Once again, the theory of peak oil become popular. As were predictions of oil reaching astronomical prices.

Today, we find ourselves with more crude oil than we know what to do with. In real terms, prices are around the same as they were 15 years ago.

Much of the decrease in price is due to US production of shale oil. Recently, US production has slowed down as producing shale oil is unprofitable at current prices. Shale oil is down, but not out. As soon as prices go up again, the supply will return.

When I first heard that the world would run out of crude oil, I calculated that I'd probably still be alive when it occurred. But no longer.

Will we ever run out of crude oil? No. Will we stop using crude oil and switch to something else? Maybe. Give it fifty years.

Do you think the world will stop using crude oil in the near future? Share your views in the Club or share your comments here.

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5 Responses to "Will We Ever Run Out of Crude Oil?"
cp divakaran
05 Nov, 2015
We will NEVER run out of crude oil. Why should we@ When we have discovered cleaner and cheaper energy (this will happen in the not-too-distant future) who wants,or needs, crude oil? It is" crude" anyway--Isn't it?Like 
A R Murali
04 Nov, 2015
Yes. We will run out of crude oil in another say 20 to 25 years. Oil prices will shoot up substantially. Air travel will be unaffordable to common people due to high cost of aviation fuel. only celebreties would be able to afford air travel. Another area which will be affected drastically is defence. Airforce, Navy and army use enormous quantities of fuel in their activities in any country. Alternative to fossil fuel must be found soon to avoid catastrophy in the defence activities. Like 
Rajeev Arora
03 Nov, 2015
Your comment 'we will probably stop using crude oil in 50 years' is more likely based on a linear projection or used as a way of saying 'for a long time'. This will happen much earlier than that (maybe by 2030) if projected on an exponential basis.Like 
Nilan Shah
03 Nov, 2015
It was lie we humans play. Remember, oil is controlled by few individuals or countries.. They knew there is plenty of oil around and to ensure that lot of money is made by few and to control the world. This was colonising with intelligence. Therefore, we see political upheavel in most countires which has plenty of oil. These are mostly Developing or under deveoped countries. Examples; Venenzula, Nigeria, Central Congo, Iraq and Iran soon after Obama.Like 
Amaarshettar M M
03 Nov, 2015
One day, we will run out of Crude Oil. That 'one day' may be slightly postponed by reducing use of crude oil and using alternative fuels. Naturally available sources like wind energy, solar-energy, geo-thermal energy etc cannot run out of stock, because their end is indefinite. Scientists are trying to use tidal energy. If they succeed in that, their will be no shortage of energy. Again, scientists are trying to develop 'energy' from the vehicles travelling on highways using 'hurdles' as generators. There is no end for nuclear energy, though it is coupled with some dangers. Finally we have to compromise something for energy' sake. Like 
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