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Thursday, March 25, 2010

'Oil reserves not enough; energy efficiency required'

Judicious use of oil resources and development of alternative energy is the need of the hour as fuel capacity to meet future demand is at tipping point, an Oxford University research paper has said.

The age of cheap oil has now ended as demand starts to outstrip supply. The current reserve estimates should be downgraded from 1,150-1,350 billion barrels to 850-900 billion barrels, the research said.

Smith School Low Carbon Mobility centre Head Oliver Inderwildi said, "There is not sufficient land to cater for both food and fuel demand... We have to make better use of the remaining resources by improving energy efficiency. Alternatives such as a hydrogen economy and electric transportation are not mature and will only play a major role in the medium to long term."

There is a need to accelerate development of alternative fuel resources in order to ensure energy security and reduce emissions, the research added.

Smith School Director Sir David King said, "We have to face up to a future of oil uncertainty much like the global economic uncertainty we have faced during the past two years. This challenge will have a longer term effect on our economies unless swift action is taken by governments and business.

The report also raises the worrying issue of additional demand for oil being met by non-conventional methods such as fuel extraction from Canada's tar sands.

However, these methods have a far higher carbon output than conventional drilling and are described as having a dual negative impact owing to the emissions produced during extraction as well as usage.

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