Hi, new to the forums here please be gentle.
First a little background about me:
I hold a Masters Degree in Geology and a bachelors in Petroleum Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. I have worked for both major oil
company's and wildcat operation for over 15 years. I am now in a "consultant" role for a major independent out of Denver Colorado. I have drilled
for oil in 23 countries both onshore and off. If this doesn't make me an expert on this subject i don't know what would.
Besides the mild flaming this is an interesting thread. Both sides are partially right. Oil is running out. We will never tap it all because its just
not economically feasible to get at allot of the oil that is left. Even in fields that are considered good production fields recovery is still only
50% at best. We have come a long way in the past 20 years with drilling and well stimulation technology. Advances in directional drilling have allowed
us to recover oil and gas in previously un-recoverable fields. Advances in stimulation technology(I.E fracturing, CO2 and water injection,Etc.) have
allowed us to pull more oil from both new and existing fields. Computers have aided greatly in the mapping of fields and making it easier to find oil.
There have been great strides in seismic mapping technology which helps me find where oil and gas reserves are located. Making it much cheaper than
drilling ump-teen exploratory wells to find the pays. All of these things combined are what is responsible for our reserves steadily increasing when
logic would say they should be declining. Another factor in this equation is the price of oil. In the 80's the drilling and exploration industry went
through a massive slump. This was because oil was so cheap it just wasn't worth it to drill new wells. Now that oil is $100+ a barrel its worth it to
drill again. More exploration means increases in reserves. About half of or "new" reserves come from being able to wrest more of it from the rock.
1/4 comes from being able to recover oil from plays that were previously inaccessible either because of not being able to drill deep enough, or the
"pay zones" being so thin it wasn't worth it to drill for it. We can now drill horizontally right through these thin layers and recover way more
than we ever could with conventional drilling technology. The last 1/4 comes from truly "new" fields. So technically, if we didn't have all this
New Tech, we would actually be depleting our reserves not expanding them.
So to answer the OP. Yes, we will never completely run out of oil. new oil is constantly being produced.( it takes aprox. 20 million years for organic
material to be converted to oil and about 30 for it to crack into natural gas. All thou, there are some new studies that show in some cases oil can
form in as little as 10-15 million years and under much less pressure and heat than was previously thought. ) We will however run out of oil that is
monetarily worth drilling and completing wells for. This will not happen in our lifetimes, or our children's grand children's time for that matter.
With current and expected consumption rates i would estimate that will happen in 3-500 years. Personally i think it is absurd to think that we will
still be consuming oil at anywhere near our current pace in 300 years. So i believe it is a moot point. If anyone has any questions i have not
answered feel free to ask.
If i may be allowed to go off topic for a moment i would like to address all the people that say oil company's make way to much in profits and are
"gouging" us at the pumps. Oil company profits are in line with other industries profit vs expenditure. They have to spend a lot of money to find,
drill, and produce wells. The average well costs 2.5 million to drill and complete. 9 out of every 10 wells that are drilled are what is called a
"dry hole". So thats 22.5 million just find the one well that will produce. Running out of space but i will post more on this topic.