Tag Archives: oil reserves

A Second Measure of Progress

More good news from Matt Ridley:

In twentieth century oil has been the chief cause of anxiety. In 1914, the United States Bureau of Mines predicted that American oil reserves would last ten years. In 1939 the Department of the Interior said American oil would last thirteen years. Twelve years later it said the oil would last another thirteen years President Jimmy Carter announced in the 1970s that: “We could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade. In 1970, there were 550 billion barrels of oil reserves in the ground and between 1970 and 1990 the world used 6000 billion barrels of oil. So reserves should have been overdrawn by fifty billion barrels by 1990… Shale gas finds have recently doubled America’s gas resources to nearly three centuries’ worth.

Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist, pp. 237-38.