London, October 9 (ANI): A new report has warned that there is a significant risk that global production of conventional oil could "peak" and decline by the year 2020.
According to BBC News, the report has been issued by the UK Energy Research Centre.
The report's authors state that the 10 largest oil-producing fields in the world are all in decline, with governments exhibiting little concern about oil depletion.
As the report points out, the debate about peak oil is a polarised one.
On one side, there are those who say that global supplies have already reached their zenith, and we are unprepared for the crisis that will hit world economies in the years to come.
On the other, there are oil companies and many energy analysts who dismiss the notion that supplies are running out.
The report's authors admit it is hard to tell who is right, as the world lacks a reliable gauge with which to measure oil depletion.
There is little consensus about when the global oil production curve will hit its peak, or if it has already done so.
Modelling the curve takes into account proven reserves and varying estimates of oil stored in wells, shale and oil sands.
Some estimates suggest a production "plateau" instead of a simple decline.
Global market factors like the uptake of renewable energy sources strongly influence the oil production curve.
The resulting confusion both fuels the peak oil debate and creates substantial risk in relying on any particular set of numbers.
Part of the difficulty in estimating the amount of oil left is that those with the reserves are often unwilling to divulge what can be commercially very sensitive information.
Countries and companies are notoriously reticent about their oil reserves.
But the report suggests that the easy oil has already been found, and new reserves will become increasingly difficult and expensive to extract, and will not make up for the current major oil fields as they decline.
"More than two-thirds of current crude oil production capacity may need to be replaced by 2030, simply to keep production constant," it said. "At best, this is likely to prove extremely challenging," it added. (ANI)