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Expert calls depletion of oil reserves an “urban myth”

The world’s thirst for oil will long have abated before deposits run out, strategy development director of oil and gas company MOL, László Varró told weekly Figyelő in an interview.

The legend is over a hundred years old, Varró said. He pointed out that the available stock of oil in every case corresponds with the quantities that make businesses sense to explore and extract. Accordingly available supplies continue to vary, mainly determined by the oil prices at the given time.

Steeply rising oil prices over the past years have also contributed to the advancement of technology, but even the most state-of-the-art equipment of today is only capable of extracting just one third of the total oil that is underground. But if the coming years bring further improvements in technologies and the extractable amount is raised by just a few percentage points, then extractable oil quantities can be raised without the need for further exploration. Varró supported his line of thought citing the fact that oil reserves have continued to grow ever since 1980.

At the same time, he expects a peak and then a lapse in oil consumption, but not because supplies are running out. Instead, the advancement of technologies, cars consuming less fuel and stricter environmental regulations will be the drivers of the trend. In summation: a lapse in demand.

“The stone age didn’t end because people ran out of stones,” he said.