With demand for home heating oil increasing last month because of the unseasonably low temperatures and warnings that the trend may continue for the years ahead, stories and discussions have been surfacing again about the sustainability of oil as an energy source.
If some stories are to be believed then the world is heading for a catastrophic energy crunch created by the perfect storm of increased global demand for oil and major oil fields past their peak production.
Crude oil is, of course, used to create home heating oil. As with the majority of energy sources, availability isn’t infinite and it will run out one day and that is why there is interest in renewable energy sources. But when will that day be and should our heating oil customers really be worried about their oil supplies running out?
The reason why some are worried about dwindling oil supplies is because two of the major areas that have supplied the majority of oil for the last few decades, Russia and the Middle East, are reportedly beginning to run dry. But, according to a 75 page Harvard University report, there is no reason to panic yet, actually predicting a 20 per cent increase in global oil production by 2020.
South America has numerous untapped crude oil deposits in countries such as Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, whilst oil sands and oil shale deposits in countries such as Angola and Canada are able to be exploited due to the technological revolution that is transforming the way oil is found and extracted.
As American author Robert Bryce says, “The world runs on oil, period. No other substance can compete when it comes to energy density, flexibility, ease of handling, ease of transportation. If oil didn’t exist we would have to invent it.”… the evidence so far suggests that this scenario isn’t something we will have to be worrying about yet and households will still be using home heating oil for many years to come.