Development of the remaining untapped oil reserves will push world production to its ultimate peak as early as 2020, before a long, slow decline begins near mid-century, according to petroleum geologists, speaking at their annual conference.

“The peak in world oil production is not imminent, but is nevertheless foreseeable,” said Richard Nehring, an independent petroleum geologist who addressed the annual American Association of Petroleum Geologists convention. “Ultimately, world oil production decline will be inescapable in the latter half of the 21st century.”

“We’re using up resources at a rapid pace,” Nehring noted. “World oil production will reach a peak plateau within 15 to 25 years primarily because current world oil consumption is using up the world’s oil resources at a rapid rate.”

To meet expected demand, production needs to rachet up by at least 5 million barrels daily, experts said. They noted that while it took 140 years to consume the world’s first trillion barrels of oil, the next trillion will be used within 30 years.