Oil and overproduction 3

Jon Flanders Jon_Flanders at compuserve.com
Sat Jan 11 20:29:39 MST 2003


One eighth of the world's reserves. More checking on Mark's facts.
Ghawar is worth knowing about, it seems.

Jon Flanders

Ghawar Is Dying
by Chip Haynes

"Ghawar is dying." Could those three simple words signal the beginning
of the end for the industrialized human civilization on Planet Earth? No
one in a position of knowledge or authority has uttered them publicly
yet, nor are they likely to for a few years to come. So we do have some
time--but not much. Then again, they may have been said quietly two
years ago and we would never know. Life's funny that way. Too bad this
isn't a laughing matter.

Some two hundred kilometers east of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is a stretch
of uninhabited and unremarkable desert in the Empty Quarter. This hot,
desolate landscape sits above the largest oil field in the world: the
Ghawar. It's a big chunk of nothing one hundred and fifty miles long and
twenty-five miles wide, but thousands of meters below its surface lie
seventy billion barrels of oil patiently waiting to be pumped out.
They've waited for millions of years. A few more won't matter. And after
that? After that, Ghawar will no longer be dying. It will be dead.
Nothing left but sand and sinkholes.

Before you sit back, all smug and comfy with that seventy billion barrel
figure, let me do a bit of quick math for you: that's only an 875 day
supply of oil for the world at the current rate of use. (And that rate
rises every year, just as the Ghawar's not unlimited oil reserves get
lower.) Admittedly, the Ghawar is not our only source of oil. (And
unless you happen to be Saudi, its not even your oil at all, now is it?)
Still, the Ghawar is The Big One, and when it goes, things will
change--forever. The only questions are: When will it happen, and how
will we know?

The when is easy, if vague: it could happen at any time from two years
ago to twenty years from now. But how will we know? That's a far more
difficult question to answer.

full http://www.newcolonist.com/ghawar.html


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