Oil and sundry

Researchers at Aberdeen University have published an estimate of how much crude-oil companies have extracted since the first commercial oil-wells were sunk in the nineteenth century.


Currently, estimates of oil extraction vary greatly, however John Jones at AberdeenUniversity’s School of Engineering claims to have a new way of calculating the extraction that is more accurate than previous estimates.


In 2008, chemists Istvan Lakatos and Julianna Lakatos-Szabo of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences calculated that less than 100 billion tonnes of crude oil have been produced since 1850 and that the average annual production rate is less than 700 million barrels per year.


Jones suggests that this figure underestimates how much oil has been used already.


In his new calculation he takes into account the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre’s (ODAC) estimate of 944 billion barrels and factors in the volume of the barrel and crude-oil density.


The result is a figure that is 35 per cent higher than those previously given.


With concerns about the future supply of oil, Jones said there needs to be further clarification to manage future oil projects.