sunsetIs this the beginning of the end of the oil age? Are we finally falling out of love with black gold?

The end may not be coming not because we are running out of it, but because demand is alowly decreasing through increased energy efficiency. It will not be sudden, but a death of a thousand cuts.

According to Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, consumption of oil in the developed world fell by 1.6 per cent last year, the largest drop since 1982. More importantly the decline is set to continue.

Mr Hayward’s prediction of weakening demand coincided with the publication of BP’s energy bible, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.  For the energy geeks amongst you, this showed that, for the first time, total energy demand in poorer countries, including China and India, exceeded that of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The West and in particular America is slowly falling out of love with oil, in part due to the recession and higher oil prices of a year ago. Take the American love of the automobile. Consumers are slowly buying more efficient vehicles or even driving less. The interesting thing from BP’s perspective is that it does not expect this to change once the American economy picks up.

Once you have down-graded from an SUV you are unlikely to upgrade again. “BP is unlikely to sell more gasoline to Americans than it sold in the first half of 2008. Energy efficiency means demand from OECD countries will continue to decline,” said Hayward.

According to BP there were 1.258 trillion barrels of proven oil reserves left in the ground, enough to supply the world for over 40 years at present production rates. “Our data confirms that the world has enough proved reserves . . . to meet the world’s needs for decades to come,” Mr Hayward said, adding that constraints on production were “human, not geological”.

One of the big issues will be fact that many climate experts believe the climate cannot cope with another 40 years of burning oil, especially unconventional oil like dirty tar sands.

Some believe the figures don’t match up. Will Whitehorn, who chairs a UK industry task force on peak oil and energy security, told the Times newspaper they were overoptimistic: there may be far less oil. “Many of the reserves figures are overstated,” he argues.

Over–stating reserves? Where have we had that one before?

Better ask Shell not BP on that one.


  • Seems to me like the decline in oil usage is much more related to the recession than a shift in our policies. I think the only way to really force oil out the door is with high prices, leading to a strong need for innovation.

  • Mighty strange people we do have without morals. I would be the one to say, a website posted on the internet making woophi, out of oil thefts, is as bizare as the thief of the united states who did the stealing, that has also destroyed this very country on top of it all, by not being obedient to the US Constitution laws. of ie “for the people”. Already, our country is dividing, and Montana and several other states will be no part of the rotten goverment tatic wars that believes, it can just walk into other countries, and steal what is not rightfully theirs. And steal from their own people at the same time. Yes, the US Goverment needs it house cleaned. People who steal, have not a soul, and without the soul of honesty, one cannot go to My Lords Heaven at all. End of Story. And those who think it does not exist, are those that are really wet behind the ears. Just as the black hole exists, so Does His Heaven.

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