The paper discusses the issue if oil as a major source of energy which more is being consumed than ids being produced. There are various factors attributing to more consumption than production which include the automotive industry production having increased in the recent years and thus high demand for gasoline.
The production is being hampered by the oil wells depleting its resources and the economic and political crises in the countries having this important commodity. For these reasons a peak of oil production is estimated to be experienced between now and the year 2040. When peak production is reached we cannot have any other upward trend it will be down hill then on. So what is to be done since energy needs will still be with us? Finding an alternative energy source is a good answer and that is what is addressed in this paper whether it is a reality or just another analogy developed to keep people hopeful.
The paper will address all the proposed alternative fuel sources and critically analyze their viability and how they can be dealt with if it comes they have to be adopted. It will also rationalize on a possible solution to avert the impending oil crisis.
Oil has been used as a major fuel to give energy in many sectors of industries in the world since its discovery. This has seen the evolution of industrialization pick up and the oil consumption grow to heights never predicted. This lack of prediction has led to the shortages never being addressed through the principle of conservation and the shortage is surely coming and the need are growing due to this industries. The last peak production was estimated to be in 1970 and materialized in 1971 when oil production reached a certain level then started going down hill. A lot of investment was done since then in oil discovery and though recognizable efforts have been seen like in 2000 when the US estimated 735 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in Arctic, including Greenland, Northern Canada and the Russian portion of the Barents Sea (David G. Victor, 2006). However very little exploration has been in the areas since then and the oil reserves are yet to be there or not. Many other areas have been said to have oil deposits like in the deep sea but very little has been done to tap into the oil wells if they exist or not. The only oil sources that have been fully exploited have been the old ones and the resource is getting depleted.
However the oil consumption has increased over the years due to dependency of oil in industries and also in the transport sector. Many industries we might think are run on new technology yes it is present but oil dependency to fuel this machinery has also increased so more consumption has been experienced.
The transport industry all over the world has been gasoline dependent also though we do have cities with electric subways as an alternative means of transport. However electric subways are not available everywhere and cannot be totally relied a s an alternative means transport incase of gasoline scarcity. The population growth over the years has also been a major contributing factor in oil consumption levels being high. This is because more vehicles have been produced and production of more goods not forgetting cooking gas and heating of the houses erected to cater for this huge population growth.
This has led to the prediction of the oil resource being depleted by the year 2040 or even before when it reaches its peak production. The topic of alternative oil sources has been developed due to this and it has to be addressed so that the future can be catered for. In (Joshua, 2000) the issue of an alternative source has to be addressed fast before a crisis is permanently with us and we have no way of dealing with it. The book shows the recent past of conservation of this resource not being advocated and thus the present situation of an inevitable shortage in the near future.
Scan of the present
Presently the oil supply is having gone down the issue of oil discovery is being addressed and the costs are being calculated to see how these discoveries can be converted to added supply. However the costs of exploration of oil are staggering like the instance of deep sea drilling is estimated to rise with 44% to $18 billion in 2011 from $12 billion 2006. However the oil companies are willing to boost the exploration to 9% to cater for the oil need and combat the coming shortage.
According to (DeGunther, 2009) the Middle East has reached its peak production or will do so in the near future and the present production has to be addressed. In the example of Kuwait it is said that the reserves are unchanged though it is producing a good amount of oil around 8 billion barrels I a span of ten years since no new discoveries have been made. This means there is an opportunity here to tap into these reserves but the country is facing a lot of problems making the exploration almost near to impossible.
Many of these Middle East countries are believed to have untapped reserves of oil but the political problems are a major constrain to the full exploration of these reserves. This calls for the intervention of the super powers to try and resolve these crises so that the oil crisis can be averted. Although caution has to be taken in approaching this issue since we do not want an Iraq situation I our hands again which did more damage than good in the oil market.
However the issue of alternative fuel sources has to be looked into as we are addressing the exploration of new oil reserves’ that are untapped all over the world. In (Joshua, 2000) it proposed that vegetable oil be used as an alternative fuel source. The book predicts the overshooting of the oil consumption to supply before 2040.at some time before 2025 the book adds the oil fossils will become depleted and the oil reserves already stored up will be the ones used and an oil crisis will be inevitable. The book suggests use of vegetable oil which has its advantage since it is environmentally friendly and vegetable readily available or can be made to be available since they grow very fast.
The idea does sound like a good one but let us be realistic. To convert the vegetable oil to be fuel will have bigger costs that will require high tech equipment which will still have to be run by oil by oil also. The oil consumption in this venture will also be costly and this is the same oil will be having a shortage of. The storage facility of this kind of fuel will also need specialized equipment which will also be very costly. The fuel is said to environmentally friendly but in the real sense it will deplete the vegetables and affect the ecosystem.
Biodiesel is the other fuel source that has been advocated for in (Demirba%u015F, 2008). The biodiesel is environmentally friendly also and will be a source of fuel that will be highly recommended and agreed upon. The only problem is the changing of the machinery and automotives to be biodiesel compatible which will prove to be very expensive and the storage will be an added cost. Bio fuels also are dependent on capturing the energy from the sun and they have a poor capturing density which will be a major problem if adopted and shortages will be a daily routine crippling many industries.
Biodiesel as am alternative source will create a lot of problems since depending on solar has its disadvantages. For instance not all season s will solar energy be practical like in the winter and in places likes in the poles where the sun is son rare occasions. This would mean in such times we would lack a power source which is really needed in order to heat the houses and basically for survival otherwise people would freeze to death.
Another fuel source alternative is electricity which be used in battery chargeable cars. This will create something that will be friendly to the ecosystem since no emissions from combustion of fuels. The only problem is the production of electricity to do this feat will be massive and it will need the oil to run in most cases. This would mean electricity needs would go up and this will be a major problem since the current electricity production is barely enough to cater for all the needs and an additional massive consumption will be near to impossible. Not forgetting the technology to back this major feat will be advanced and since it will be limited to particular place it will be very expensive and might exclude many nations who lack the capacity to execute it.
In (Feigon, 2003) it is proposed that alternative sources of fuel developed to reduce cases of emission into the atmosphere. This can be achieved by use of power fuelled cars using electricity. The cars would have to be developed and though electricity would still use oil in its production we can use geothermal production. This would mean cities have automotives as the major mode of transport being clean and environmentally friendly not forgetting the plus on conserving the o-zone layer. The fueling stations would have plug in chargers for the vehicles and I have to admit the idea does sound grand and I hope the day will come when we can realize this. A world with no cars which need gasoline what it would do to the environment and the general health of the people is amazing.
There is also the proposition of us e of nuclear reactors as a source of energy. The production of energy fro this source will be massive since it has already supplied 16 % of the world’s electricity in the last one year. This is a huge supply and if the nuclear reactors plants under construction are finished the energy production from them will be very helpful. However a big but is present in this source due to its adverse effects of these nuclear reactors. They will cause major health concern and the effects to the environment will be devastating if extreme caution is not taken. Also the nuclear reactor plants are only in a few places namely US which controls 20% and the 80% is controlled by the France. This if adopted as the alternative energy source will create a worldwide monopoly which will affect many economies world wide.
The last alternative fuel proposed is ethanol based produced from plants it is similar to the vegetable oil and will be costly to cater or. This would mean that it will introduce more costs and also will be oil dependent on its production and it’s the same oil we do not have. The ethanol has too many costs that resulting to its adaptation will have a limiting factor on many third world countries that barely afford the oil as a source of energy and will not afford the ethanol based fuel. The ethanol based fuel also is dependent on food crops like corn and sugarcane and its use might lead to a global food crisis and this will another altogether. Not forgetting the effects on the environment since the use of these plants will create an imbalance due their increased demand which will make them be prioritized and will automatically exclude many crops.
Worst case scenario
I would think the worst case scenario is if the oil fossils get depleted and the only energy sources we adopt the nuclear power. The production will be wide if more plants are established and might actually cater for all the energy needs but the effects will be massive. The health effects will e massive. Causalities of nuclear reaction effects will be on the increase and this is usually carried on to the generations to come and mutation in babies will be a norm. The fact that the nuclear power is monopolized mainly by two countries the economic implications will be massive. Exploitation will be inevitable and levying of exorbitant prices will be seen. Many nations especially third world countries will be plunged into darkness, industries will fail since they will not afford these energy sources and its spill over effects will be felt all through the world.
I would propose the nuclear rector plants to continue being used but with extreme caution. People working in this industry to be thoroughly trained on the risks involved and all the safety precaution measures established in the plants to ensure the workers are safe. Incase of contamination the person to be well compensated and then secluded to ensure no further contamination and an insurance policy would be a good answer on the issue of compensation.
On the issue of exploitation by the super powers the world organizations should sit down a draft a binding document that will prevent this from happening and any deviation form this should be punishable. Also resources should be deployed to other parts of the world to establish the plants so that each continent in the very least has such a plant to serve as an alternative energy source.
Best case scenario.
I would think of the best case scenario is a bio friendly source adopted and developed before the crisis materializes fully such that it will be used while the oil reserves are still being conserved. The environmentally friendly fuel source as discussed will be expensive but so will be the shortage. This means that funds have to be set as soon as now when we still have the oil to develop this alternative oil source before the crisis is here with us. If this adopted as soon as now the source will be fully evolved by the time the crisis hits us and we will be able to live with the oil shortage without adversely affecting the world economy as such.
Also the untapped reserves of oil are explored meaning extra funds being pumped now into the project which I would suggest to involve all the nations so that ideas can be exchanged and all can be beneficiaries.
The countries should sit down convene a meeting and lay out a strategy plan on how to do this. The results will be people will be prepared to cope with the coming oil crisis and will be able to live with the oil shortage or completely avert it. So my best case scenario is establishing a way to avert the oil crisis completely or by the time it happens a well laid plan is there to be followed to combat it or an alternative source has already been established to serve the people.
The collaboration of all nations and political problems kept aside to solve the oil crisis is an idea that will go far to come up with a well laid out plan to combat this problem. The only way to deal with the crisis that is coming is by togetherness and all parties accepting it is a common problem that has to be addressed as soon as possible.
Also adoption of various methods so that we have a variety of sources of energy will a thing I would recommend. This will avert the problem like the one we are currently facing since all our energy sources are majored on oil and that is we have a predicament in our hands. By adopting more than one source we will ensure incase one source fails to deliver we have a fall back plan. Instead of us depending on one thing like the ethanol and then the plants cannot be produced anymore and we are back to square one on the drawing board. Or the instance of adopting nuclear power and it turns fatal and we have no alternative but to continue with it since we have no other source. This would mean a tragedy of our own creation and we have no way of alleviating it. That is the best case scenario should involve multiple fuel sources so that we are not faced with such a tragic decision.
In conclusion I have to admit the oil shortage is almost inevitable unless something is done fast. Though the urgency for action is present we must approach this with utmost care due to the after effects of any source we adopt. This is in terms of health, economic constraints and also the fact that we do not want to create a situation where energy sources are controlled by one or two countries to avert a global crisis like wars and terrorism acts.
Multiple sources have to be adopted but have to be adopted now to help on their development and hopefully their perfection. Since most of these methods to be realized we need oil we must developed them now when we have oil and not when the oil is almost depleted. By doing this we will create reserves fro the alternative sources and they be used together with the oil to practice the principle of conservation.
The oil wells all over the world have not al been discovered and their discovery should be given first hand priority. Geologists should study and give conclusive evidence that of all the untouched oil reserves and mining taken o right on. No stone should be left unturned in other words and this should be done to avert the oil crisis at hand.
All these feats will need a lot of money to be done and so a global fund should be established so that the money is channeled to oil exploration. This would mean that all nations worldwide would be part of this and thus would be rightful beneficiaries.
The issue of alternative fuel sources has been deemed as a myth but I believe it is achievable with cooperation from all the nations especially those with the resources. After all the technology is available or can be developed so that this is not a dream anymore but a reality.