The Economic Times has an article "Double-digit oil price is history: R S Sharma" that gives a perspective on where we stand on oil supply and consumption and some comments on what we need to do:
Oilonomics has gone haywire. The rise in oil prices has now started to hurt. Crude oil price increased five-fold in five years (from $22 per barrel in 2003); doubling in just fourteen months (from $54 per barrel in January 2007 to $110 per barrel in March 2008). . . .
During the last quarter century, primary energy consumption increased by about 64% (oil by 31%; gas by a spectacular 97%), primarily driven by growing demand from the developing world. CRISIL in a recent report has pointed out that non-OECD countries, particularly China and other Asian countries, have been the largest contributors to the 3.2 million bpd incremental world oil demand over the period 2004-07. Most forecasts for the next quarter century project more than a 60% increase in energy demand, mainly from emerging consumption centres. India’s demand for primary energy in 2030 is projected to be four times what we are consuming today (423 million tonnes of oil equivalent).
On the supply side, the emerging scenario is even more complex. Oil and gas resources are concentrated in a few countries. OPEC has around 73% of the world’s proven oil reserves. One-third of the world’s oil production comes from just three countries: Saudi Arabia, the Russian Federation and the US. Half of the world’s oil production comes from the 100 largest fields, almost all more than 25 years old. Discoveries of new giant fields are becoming rarer. Out of 85 million bpd oil production today, only 15 million bpd come from new finds and day-by-day incremental demand is outstripping incremental supply. . . .
Against these hard facts, ‘Peak Oil’ theory has kept every one guessing. Have we reached the peak or not quite yet? We may not have a definite answer as of now, but its effect is quite visible on the dynamics of the oil market. Now, many oil geologists believe that 90% of the globe’s oil fields have already been tapped and many are already exhausted. . . . Reserve replacement ratios (RRR) for most, if not all, is less than one. . . .
I believe we do not have any options other than recognising the long-term devastating effects of flared-up oil prices. We need to bite the bullet and go for energy demand management with a vengeance. Increasing efficiency of transportation, residential, commercial, and industrial uses is a must. Further, we need to ease the pressure on oil and gas by expansion and diversification of other energy resources.