(NaturalNews) The world will be faced with an oil shortage at least ten times sooner than official figures suggest, according to scientists from the Oil Depletion Analysis Center.
Oil giant BP recently released its Statistical Review of World Energy, concluding that "proven" oil reserves can keep industrial civilization supplied at current consumption rates for the next 40 years. Researchers from the depletion analysis center have challenged this conclusion, saying that production will actually peak within one to four years and steadily decline thereafter.
One problem with BP's analysis, the researchers say, is that it fails to take growing demand into account. While the world's human population currently consumes 85 million barrels of oil each day, this is projected to rise to 113 million per day by 2030.
"It's quite a simple theory and one that any beer drinker understands," said center head Colin Campbell, a former oil company chief geologist and vice president. "The glass starts full and ends empty and the faster you drink it the quicker it's gone."
In addition, BP's figures are based on data supplied by oil-producing countries and companies, which have a vested interest in painting a rosy picture.
"When I was the boss of an oil company I would never tell the truth," Campbell said. "It's not part of the game."
For example, recent information suggests that the top four oil producers (Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) have inflated their figures. Iran recently imposed domestic oil rationing.
Jeremy Leggett, another former oil executive, warned that governments and oil companies need to end their policy of denial. He recounted that when British oil reserves in the North Sea peaked in 1999, no one in official circles would admit it for two years.
"Not meeting demand is not an option," he said. "In fact, it is an act of treason."
The modern economy is so thoroughly founded on oil that production of everything from food to cars to plastics to renewable energy equipment depends on it. Just a 10 to 15 percent reduction in oil supplies could cripple oil-dependent economies around the world.