We often hear the term “oil is a renewable resource”. However, what does this mean? It means that as compared to the amount of crude oil we need, we can produce more than enough to meet our future needs. In fact, it is quite unbelievable because in order for us to have the required amount of natural gas, coal, and crude oil, we would need to be burning more than ten billion barrels of oil each year! So is oil a renewable resource?
The truth is that we can easily say that natural gas, coal, and oil are not renewable fuels. All three of these fossil fuels are finite and will eventually run out. Although there is an exception to the first rule where we still have the right to mine and extract natural gas and coal from the earth, that still does not make them an energy source renewable one.
Another question you may ask is “What if drilling for oil and other fossil fuels is not a renewable resource?” For example, there is an important debate taking place between environmentalists and pro-fossil fuel interests. On one side of this argument is the pro-fossil fuel industry who claim that drilling for fossil fuels is necessary in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also argue that using coal and crude oil is the only way we can ensure economic sustainability in the long run. They claim that their industry provides jobs, while at the same time providing an essential service to the world.
The pro-carbon industry counter claims that the theory put forward by the pro-fossil fuel industry is that “peak oil” and nonpeak oil are two different phenomena. In fact they are related but not identical. Peak oil refers to the time at which we are experiencing the highest level of oil production. Nonpeak oil refers to the time when there is no more oil being produced. In other words, the theory is that peak oil and nonpeak oil will be interchanged in the future.
The argument over “is oil a renewable energy resource” has become especially heated over the past few years. This is because the price of crude oil has steadily risen above the cost of domestic oil production. This has pushed many developing countries such as Iraq, Nigeria and Egypt to look to alternative sources of energy. In the process these countries have dug up much of the older and non-renewable resources of the world. These include the remains of ancient mining operations, oil reserves in the North sea and tar sands. In some cases these countries have used these non-renewable energies to fuel their cars and trucks.
One of the most interesting new developments in this field is geothermal power. This is where heat from the earth is used to produce electricity. There is a great deal of controversy over whether or not using the heat from the earth can be a renewable resource. opponents of geothermal power claim that it is too expensive to install large generators needed to tap into this natural resource. However, proponents argue that it is far cheaper to install smaller units which use a form of geothermal energy known as active solar heating.
Coal has also become a more costly and problematic commodity in recent years. In response to this problem, the United States and Europe have been trying to increase the use of nonrenewable resources to meet their energy needs. Among the options being considered are natural gas and coal. Many people are also looking to develop technologies to extract petroleum from the ground which will provide an additional source of renewable energy.
As you can see the issue of “is crude oil a renewable resource?” is a complicated one. On one hand we need it to run our vehicles and homes. On the other we are constantly being told that we need to use more of these nonrenewable resources to be able to avoid the consequences of global warming.