Oil Sands Past Present & Future

 Every day ninety million barrels of oil are consumed around the world — enough to fill a kilometer-square bathtub fourteen meters deep. Every day. Most is burned by cars and trucks, but a lot goes into ammonia for fertilizers and still more is used to make plastics — things that civilization has come to rely upon. The world's appetite for oil is growing annually by a million barrels/day, but new oil fields are increasingly hard to find.

At first blush, the concept of Peak Oil seems easy to understand: that point in time when worldwide oil production begins to decline. But as always, the devil is in the details. Will new technologies allow engineers to squeeze more from an old oil field? How will explosive growth in emerging economies like China and India drive up the price of oil and encourage more exploration? Conversely, will those higher prices hinder other countries' economies and drive demand down elsewhere? Will oil producers accurately report the amount of oil that remains underground, held in reserve? All of these questions help determine the moment when we'll finally be forced to admit that we live in a world where there is less and less oil to go around. The concept of Peak Oil seems easy to comprehend, but people still argue about whether the moment has arrived.

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