by Michael dEstries
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bransonWhile theories differ on when the world will experience the hard hitting times of peak oil, Virgin boss Richard Branson is boldly predicting that will happen in the next five years.

In the foreward to a new report being released shortly, Branson urges UK leaders to be proactive rather than reactive to peak oil. “The next five years will see us face another crunch – the oil crunch. This time, we do have the chance to prepare. The challenge is to use that time well,” Branson will say. “Our message to government and businesses is clear: act,” he says in a foreword to a new report on the crisis. “Don’t let the oil crunch catch us out in the way that the credit crunch did.”

According to one consultant, the current worldwide recession has only delayed the inevitable. “The next major supply constraint, along with spiking oil prices, will not occur until recession-hit demand grows to the point that it removes the current excess oil stocks and the large spare capacity held by Opec,” said Chris Skrebowski. “However, once these are removed, possibly as early as 2012-13 and no later than 2014-15, oil prices are likely to spike, imperiling economic growth and causing economic dislocation.”

The full report, due out to tomorrow, should be an interesting read. The only question is whether governments will take heed of the warnings to start making transitions from oil today. Either way, you may want to invest in a hybrid/electric vehicle before 2015.

via UK Guardian

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • posconvex

    Any discussion about oil prices over the next decade must include an attempt to quantify emerging economy demand as an important driver at the margin. Here is a simple thought experiment using Chinese demand to give some idea of the magnitude of the supply issues we face:
    - China moves from 3 bbls/person/year to the South Korean per capita consumption level of 17 bbls/person/year
    - Transition takes 30 years
    - No peak in global production

    In next 10 years we must find 44 million BOPD. If you superimpose peak production on top of this demand profile using the following parameters oil prices would increase approximately 250% in real terms over next 10 years:
    - Oil demand elasticity of -0.3
    - Current production 84 million BOPD, current price US$ 80
    - Peak production 100 million BOPD
    - Post peak decline rate of 3-4%

    If you want to try the model for yourself using your own assumptions it can be found at: http://www.petrocapita.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128&Itemid=86