Conventional oil production peaked in Texas in 1972, North America in 1985, the UK in 1999 and Norway in 2001, and all of those peaks were "sharp and sudden", he said.
To offset losses when output peaked, "unconventional oil" needed to be developed, including heavy oil, oil sands, coal and gas liquefaction, and enhanced oil recovery. Vehicle fuel efficiency would also need to be improved.
Hirsch, a senior energy programme adviser at research and engineering firm Science Applications International, told the Oil and Money conference in London yesterday that the effort required was similar to "the race for the moon", and consumers could not rely on oil firms alone to make the right decisions and investments.
"The character of this problem is so large and time-consuming and difficult that we've got to move away from business as usual and move to a crash programme."
"It's a finite resource; it's not going to go on forever," al-Husseini said. "Even 20 years is not that far down the line, so the prudent thing would be not to wait."
full story here