'Significant risk' of peak oil in ten years' time: report

A report from the UK Energy Research Centre warns that there is a 'significant risk' that global oil production will peak in less than ten years time. It also says that there is a growing consensus that the age of cheap oil is coming to an end.

It also says that governments show no concern about global oil depletion, despite the fact that this resource provides a third of the world's energy.

According to the report's authors, the peaking of oil production is likely to have a huge impact on global economy for the modern industrial world is largely built on the availability of cheap oil.

'Just ten oil fields provide 20 per cent of the world's oil. They're old fields and many of these are past their peak,' says Jamie Speirs, one of the report's authors.

The report also dispels a few illusions that new discoveries offset depletion in existing oil fields by pointing out that a new discovery, such as the one announced recently in the Gulf of Mexico by BP, has the potential to delay the peak only by a matter of days or weeks.

More worrisome, the report concludes that few new giant fields are expected to be found. 'Discovery peaked in the early 60s. Since then, new oil fields have got smaller and smaller,' says Speirs.