World-wide, about half – the easy half - of the original oil Resource has been produced. Considerable exploration has taken place in all but the most inaccessible basins, and so the potential for huge new discoveries is extremely limited (Fig.1). Further, the average size of new fields decreases as a basin matures(US DoE, 1990), so we need to find larger and larger numbers of small fields as time goes on, and the cost of finding and producing a field increases as its size decreases (Fig.2). Much of the remaining resource is in very challenging and/or very environmentally sensitive areas such as the Arctic: this further drastically increases costs. Importantly, 90% of the remaining resource (actually, production, Cheney & Hawkes, 2007) is controlled by governments through "National" oil companies (Fig.3). These companies are often starved of capital and technical expertise, which can mean inefficient, costly and even lost production. There is also, of course, the possibility that conflict can deny access to oil from these and other areas.
- Position Statement