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What would be happen if we ran out of oil?

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What would happen if the earth runs out of oil?
Our dependence on the fossil fuels is undeniable, and its usage does not seem to diminish. In a world where oil supplies dwindle, it is important to take actions, sadly, there are not real incentives on the alternative fuels usage, which increases our dependence on fossil fuels, and makes every other source, less accessible. We have various aims in this essay. We intend to show a brief history of the fossil fuels usage; the main question, or, what would happen if we run out of oil?; and, the conclusion, or the alternatives to the use of oil. We intend to do an unbiased research and avoid any pamphlet-like tones about the usage of alternative fuels. We understand that this is a rather sensitive subject, and we shall tread carefully to avoid any misunderstanding.
INTRODUCTION
Oil is the modern world’s blood, it is the fuel that have ignited progress since the dawn of the 20thcentury. In 2009, the whole world production of oil was around 84 to 85 million barrels, and the countries consumed as much(Lamb 1). The only question we can ask is: How far will we go without exhausting the planet’s reserves? Oil is a non-renewable resource, and it is bound to be drained someday. Of course, this obeys to the natural cycles, and to production demands that follow a curve comprised by Output; rising; stabilizing, and declining in an unspecified period of years. This effect is called the Hubbert Curve, proposed by a Shell Company geologist, M.

Wait! What would be happen if we ran out of oil? paper is just an example!

King Hubbert. However, before the downfall, the production will reach a peak point, on which the production will be at its summit. After that, the companies will have to find more wells, or dig deeper in order to find oil. Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) estimates that 3.74 trillion barrels of oil remain in the Earth (Lamb 1).
In the same light, according to the CERA, the global oil production will hit a plateau in the middle of the 21st century. We must understand that the riches that come from oil, are bound to end, and countries should find the way to diversify, to prevent the eventual fall down. Likewise, the countries have ignored this fact and have trusted in oil as a never-ending source of income, which is understandable, but refers to a political short-sighted vision, that does not foresee what will come after their electoral periods. In this case, oil exploitation should increase the country’s well-being, instead of being used to strengthen those in the government. Also, there are many environmental factors to be considered when it comes to the use of oil. There are many offices, such as the EPA who protect the environment, and try to interfere with those practices who are perceived as harmful to the environment, but many times those regulations are not respected or enforced.
If the oil supply starts to dwindle, it is possible that the ethical practices involving extraction and usage of oil, are no longer respected, and previously protected drilling sites start to be exploited, hence, damaging the environment. What we are saying is that we and the governments need to prepare for what is about to come. Us, as regular citizens, can start using alternative energies as much as we can, but if governments do not make the accessible to the regular citizen, how can we make a substantial change? In this case, it is in the hands of the governments to take action and do something to lessen the fossil fuel dependence. Sadly, for many governments the consequences to look against are mainly economic instead of social and environmental. Nevertheless, those consequences are worth looking into. If a country like the U.S. is able to reduce its oil consumption, the prices would fluctuate, as the offer lowers. In the same way, by reducing the dependence on fossil fuels, the countries would not be in the hands of the global and fluctuating prices. In this way, to be self-sufficient, and relying only on the own supply to appease demands would be the best option, but in a country like the U.S., where the oil consumption is likely to rise, this is easier said than done (Feldstein 2)
HISTORY OF OIL USAGE IN THE U.S.
Modern History of Oil Usage. The oil well of Baku, a well who seeped for many centuries, to the point of even being part of religious ceremonies of Zoroastrian and Persian religions, was the first well in being exploited modernly. In the same way, the first scientific approximation to the modern usage and exploitation was done in 1739, by V.I. Veitbrecht, in an article called “About Oil” (Crane 9). In the article, he described the Baku wells and provided a plan for using the oil wells and gas fields. In the same way, in the 18th century, the distillation of oil from coal, and oil shales from bituminous sands in France was one of the first modern approximations to oil exploitation. In the 19th century, a Canadian, Abraham Gesner, was the first to develop the methods to distil kerosene from crude oil and bitumen. At that moment, the use of kerosene helped the environment, as it helped reducing the usage of whale oil for illumination, as the whale oil was more expensive. In an environmentalist note, this might have helped to save the whales, animals who were on the brink of extinction in the 19th century. In the same way, petroleum has played a major part in the economic, social, and political history of the U.S, and the world. (Hejny 2)Since the nineteenth century, the United States has been using petroleum as a source of energy production. Today, the U.S. face fourth energy crises, and the future of the country’s energy supply is uncertain, but we are sure that the world will run out of oil and need other major sources of energy. In this case, The U.S. has dangerously relied on oil to play a major role in the past, present, and future of its history. And the fuel has played a major role in the country’s way. In the same way, oil has become the impulse for most of this century’s innovations and production in the world. Processes such as farming; and manufacturing would not have occurred without oil. Machines run on oil, automobilesrun on oil, and without them, this fast modernization the world have suffered in the past 50 years, would not have occurred. In the good old days, where the drill sites in Texas yielded huge amounts of oil, it was only necessary to open a hole in the floor to get the black gold seeping, In those days, it was only necessary to spend the energy equivalent of one barrel to get a hundred, nowadays, the profit is only of a 3 to 20%, once it is converted into fuel.
In the dawn of the 20th, the world was partaking in a process of heavy industrialization, on which, petroleum was becoming one of the most important resources to be consumed. Oil was needed for the new internal combustion engines and was slowly replacing other sources of energy in residential and commercial areas (Hejny 2). Electricity, and oil, both helped to increase the demand for new energy resources, and in economy like the U.S.’s, that emphasizes the industrialization, and the transport services, oil was and still is much needed, to move the country. As we can see, the trend was not going to stop, and a country craving for energy, like the U.S. was going to need more, and more energy to fulfill its requirements. That is why around the year of 1948, the country became one of the biggest importers of oil in the world. Before 1948, the country’s supply was equal to its demand, but after World War II, the rapid industrialization process that followed, sent the demand for oil to the roof. By 1970, the U.S. was importing 3 times more oil than it had imported before 1948, which means that in 30 years the demand for oil tripled, and the dependency on fuel increased. In 1973, after an embargo to the U.S. by the OPEC, the oil prices went to approximately $20 to almost $50 per barrel. The embargo obeyed political reasons, and the country was forced to ration its oil usage. During that period, the Americans were forced to cut the oil usage, as the prices were too high for the country to affront them. The gas stations limited their sales, and people turned down their thermostats to cut the crisis. As we can see, oil can be used as a weapon when a country relies heavily on oil exports to supply its demand.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE RUN OUT OF OIL
We all have seen movies regarding the subject. Post-apocalyptic world on the brink of collapse because of the lack of oil, or water, or whatever resource we choose to name. The planet has a frail equilibrium, and to tilt it over too much, would mean to destroy a part of it. However, we do not mean to sound conservationist, or religious in our analysis, that is why we will show facts to do an unbiased analysis of what would happen if the world runs out of oil.
Many people say that we have around 50 years of oil, some say that a century. What is clear is that oil is not forever. New technologies and fewer limitations have made less clear how much oil the world has. Scientific advances have made new discoveries on what can be used to generate oil, and what not. For instance, the new discoveries of shale oil, have diminished the prices of oil and steadied the supply. The many reward oil has have fuelled creativity, and innovation. In the same way, many of the discoveries regarding oil have not been made on purely scientific grounds but have been driven by political, strategic, and military means and wishes. For instance, when the probes found oil in the North Sea, and Alaska, researchers were not really sure on how to proceed and exploit it, they did not even expected to recover the full amount oil, but a fraction of it. As we can see, money incentives innovation, and if that money means innovation in many areas different from the oil and its engineering, even better (Fraser 1). In the case of the North Sea explorers, the discovery yielded far more oil that the scientific had expected, thus, maintain the industry far longer, and the innovations made that instead of recovering a 30% of the oil, they are now recovering 70% of the oil they mined. In this case, the demand has been appeased, and prices have not gone up yet. We said this to show that the oil supply is not going to end anytime soon, and the production will still last for many decades. However, many researchers have stated that it is possible that the next discoveries regarding oil, are not going to mean that we will see oil the way we see, or use it today. As the professor Rhodes said
“For a global civilization that is based almost entirely on a plentiful supply of cheap, crude oil, this is going to present some considerable challenges. If we look over a 40 year period, from 1965 to 2005, we see that by the end of it, humanity was using two and a half times as much oil, twice as much coal and three times as much natural gas, as at the start, and overall, around three times as much energy” (Rhodes 1).
The 33% of the energy we use today comes from oil, the other 30% comes from coal, and it is catching up with oil pretty fast. Unlike the U.S., coal is still used in developing countries such as China and India. The third place is occupied by natural gas with a 24%; the fourth place comes from nuclear and hydroelectric sources with the 5-6% each. The rest comes from renewable sources and amounts only to a 2% of the grand total. As we can see, we are still dependent upon fossil fuels for 87%. If we are so dependent upon fossil fuels is quite naïve, or ingenuous to think that we can simply substitute oil for another energy source. To practically replace oil, a substance with a high content of energy, that can be easily refined into liquid, we would have to find a substance that yields the same, or bigger amount of energy, that has a lower cost, and can be renewable. As we can see, that is not an easy task. Besides, it is not only fuel.We use oil to create food, materials, construction materials, clothes, computers, communication devices, and pharmaceutical products. If we changed our daily supply of oil, it could have a shattering effect on our daily economy, and even in our civilization. (Rhodes 2).
That is why, one of the biggest concerns of our civilization is about how much oil is left. The whole world produces around 30 billion barrels per year. However, to believe only in the quantity of oil, would be like stepping on a wet stone. The amount of oil is not the sole issue, another issue is the quality. Many of the petroleum remaining in the world is of the heavy kind, which means that it might not be liquid at all, or it is contained in bituminous sands, which means that a complex process would need to get rid of the impurities in order to be used accordingly. In the same way, to transfer the oil, and turn it into usable materials requires a rather extensive process. In a strict sense, as we can see, and many of the researchers note is that we have used all the good oil left, and what we have is of poorer quality. For instance, shale oil, a new material used by the U.S. is not even liquid, as it needs to be heated to look like something close to oil. In the same way, oil is needed to create fertilizers to grow food. Picture a crop field, in order to grow the food in the field we need oil to create fertilizers; oil to move the machinery necessary to harvest it; and later oil to move the ships and planes that transport the crop around the world.
In the same way, if we keep on extracting and using oil, we will be eroding our soils, and consuming portions of the earth that could otherwise yield benefits. According to professor Rhodes, we have consumed around one-third of our soil in the past 50 years, many of it has been destroyed using unsustainable agricultural practices (Rhodes 3). These practices have slowly but surely destroyed our future possibilities of harvesting crops in a more natural way instead of requiring more and more of chemical fertilizers that destroy our soils. Likewise, unethical practices such as burning and destroying forests and jungles to access to natural resources, for instance, the rainforests in Brazil, and Venezuela are being destroyed by unscrupulous and unethical companies that destroy the soil in order to harvest resources.
CONCLUSION
In a strict sense, we will never run out of oil in the way we think of. There will be oil in 10 years, even in 50, and perhaps in 300. What we consider that will happen is that the more obvious sources of oil will have been drained by then, and the extraction will be harder, and harder every time. Some wells might even dry up, and the apparent riches many nations had will slowly dwindle to the point of disappearing. With harder extraction methods, the costs will eventually come up. This means, we hope, that using different energy sources will be viable, and even cheaper. The laws of offer and demand compel us to believe that. For instance, if the costs of gasoline go up, people will start to find a way to buy less gasoline. They might even invest in a hybrid car, or even using public transportation. Of course, the consumer trends are hard to foresee, but we can think that oil and oil related products will become luxury good, and those willing to buy them will have to pay the price implicit in buying luxury goods. If we cannot curb the demand, we will have to limit the offer. But in a personal note, we expect that limiting the oil usage will improve the usage of natural sources of energy.

Works CitedCrane, E.R. “A True History Y of Oil and Gas Development.” Spectrum 2000 Mindware. CANADIAN WELL LOGGING SOCIETY. Web. <https://www.spec2000.net/freepubs/TrueHistory.pdf>.
Fraser, D. “What Happens If We Run out of Oil?” BBC, Business and Economy sec. Print.
Hejny, S. “Past, Present, & Future of Petroleum.” (2003). Stanford University Press. Web. <http://web.stanford.edu/class/e297a/Past, Present and Future of Petroleum.pdf>.
Lamb, Robert. “When Will We Run out of Oil, and What Happens Then?” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks.com. Web. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/run-out-of-oil.htm>.
Rhodes, C. “What Happens When the Oil Runs Out?” Electronics and Power (2013): 125. Web. 24 Apr. 2015. <http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/What-Happens-When-the-Oil-Runs-Out.html>.

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