Transition Sunderland

What is Peak Oil?

Peak oil is a theoretical term which means we have used, or are getting very close to using up half of the oil in the world. Considering the first oil well in America started production in 1859 over 156 years ago we might consider that there is little to concern ourselves with today. We’d be wrong!

In the early years of oil exploration vast oil fields were discovered, as technology advanced it was relatively easy and cheap to obtain oil, but today we are entering the age of Extreme Energy. Some of the existing conventional oil fields have past their peak, others are approaching it, oil that was once easy to reach now requires more energy to find less oil in more extreme places, such as deeper sea beds, (remember Piper Alpha?) and Arctic wilderness.


In1859 world human population is conservatively estimated to have been below 2 billion people, today in 2016 it is approaching 7.5 billion people. The vast majority of which are chasing the lifestyles led by the industrial growth societies, China, India, South America and many more countries too numerous to mention are using up oil in a race to catch up with the apparent affluence of the West. Almost everything we do depends on the availability of cheap oil. Just imagine how difficult life would be without our regular supply of cheap oil. Peak Oil says we need to start preparing now for this eventuality.

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