Oil to Run out 100 Years Before Replacement Found

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"The study's findings weren't very good for the oil-hungry world."

oil rig silhouette

The world will run out of oil around 100 years before replacement energy sources are available, if oil use and development of new fuels continue at the current pace, a U.S. study warns.

U.C. Davis researchers used the current share prices of oil and alternative energy companies to predict when replacement fuels will be ready to fill the gap left when oil runs dry.

The study's findings weren't very good for the oil-hungry world.

If the world's oil reserves were the 1.332 trillion barrels estimated in 2008 and oil consumption stood at 85.22M bpd and growing yearly at 1.3%, oil would be depleted by 2041, according to the study published by Environmental Science and Technology.

But by plugging current stock market prices into a complex equation, UCD Professor Debbie Niemeier and Researcher Nataliya Malyshkina calculated that a viable oil alternative would not be available before the middle of next century.

The researchers analyzed the share prices of 25 oil companies quoted on U.S., European and Australian stock exchanges, and of 44 alternative energy companies that produce fuels like ethanol or biodiesel, or are developing fuel cells, batteries and propulsion systems aimed at replacing gasoline and diesel in vehicles of the future.

What they found is that the market capitalization of traditional oil companies far outstripped that of the alternative energy companies. That indicated to them that investors believe oil is going to do well in the near future and occupy a larger share of the energy market than alternative energy, said Malyshkina.

Their calculations show there would not be a widely available replacement for oil-based fuels before 2140, which, even if the more optimistic date of 2054 for oil depletion were retained, would mean a gap of around 90 years when it might be difficult to run a vehicle.

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