Yesterday there was a letter in the Independent claiming that oil would never run out. We don’t agree with that at Cyber Associates, and the International Energy Agency has been quite concerned about it too. Anthony Day’s response was published today. Here’s the full text:
As long as we are not concerned about emissions, it would be nice to believe that oil could go on forever. However, John Halstead (5th August) repeats the fallacy that as long as the price is high enough more oil will always be available. It is not the price of oil – or any other energy source – that matters, it is the energy cost of producing it or the Energy Return on Investment (EROI). In the early days the energy in one barrel of oil was enough to produce about 400 barrels. Today, with oil coming from remote and hostile locations, the ratio has fallen from 400:1 to nearer 30:1. The yield from Canadian tar sands is down to 4:1. As things get more difficult we will eventually reach 1:1. There is then no point in producing the energy, whether a barrel is worth $10 or $10,000; the net yield is nil.
We will solve this imminent crisis not by building barrages, wind farms or other false hopes, but by cutting waste, improving energy efficiency and urgently researching viable renewables.