Soaring oil prices, talk of peak oil… there is really nothing to worry about says a former oil man who claims that there is over twice as much oil in the ground as major producers say.

Although it is widely assumed that the world has reached a point where oil production has peaked this idea is based on “flawed thinking”, argues Richard Pike, a former oil industry man who is now chief executive of the British Royal Society of Chemistry.

Explaining why the published estimates of proven global reserves are less than half the true amount, Dr Pike argues that big oil producers go along with under-reporting of proven reserves to help maintain oil’s high price. “Part of the oil industry is perfectly familiar with the way oil reserves are underestimated, but the decision makers in both the companies and the countries are not exposed to the reasons why proven oil reserves are bigger than they are said to be,” he said.

Dr Pike’s assessment does not include unexplored oilfields, those yet to be discovered or those deemed too uneconomic to exploit.

So supposedly we are awash with the stuff. Tell that to the traders on Wall Street…

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