Demand for Oil May Pass Output by 2012

Experts see prolonged crisis as producers max out pumping ability
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Nov 19, 2007 10:07 AM CST
An oil rig is seen amid strong waves off the shore of Paraiso in the gulf state of Tabasco, Mexico, Monday Oct. 29, 2007.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Production limits, not supply, could prompt an oil crisis in less than a decade as efforts to reduce demand and introduce alternative fuels trail growth in the world’s oil needs, the Journal reports. Oil companies currently produce 85 million barrels daily; some experts say they'll hit a wall at 100 million barrels—far below projected world demands, and a recipe for shortages and skyrocketing prices.

Although reserves are plentiful and production has grown 2.3% annually since 1965, extracting oil has gotten tougher because of increased costs, limited access to oil fields, and geologic factors that limit production to avoid damaging supply. Not everyone agrees there’s a ceiling, though: Exxon, the IEA, and the US government believe production will climb as high as 120 million barrels a day by 2030.