Hydrocarbon production is fixed mainly by past discovery. Key facts for conventional oil are:
U.S.A – Discovery peaked in the 1930s; production in 1971.
– The U.S. has now burnt between half and 3/4 of its original endowment.
U.K. – Discovery peaked in the early 1970s; production in 1999.
– The U.K. has burnt about half its original endowment.
World – Discovery peaked in the 1960s; to-day only 1 barrel of oil is found in new fields for every 3 barrels consumed.
– World production will peak 2010 to 2015; non-OPEC production will decline earlier.
– The World has burnt between a third and a half of its original endowment of conventional oil.
In total, over 50 countries are past their resource-limited conventional oil production peak, and are in production decline. The global regions of Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America (excluding tar sands) are all in production decline.
For conventional gas, depletion of the original endowment is less advanced. The World, in addition, contains large stores of non-conventional oil and gas. But the total production of all hydrocarbons (oil plus gas, both conventional and non-conventional) is likely to peak fairly soon, probably around 2015.
These limits to global hydrocarbon availability will have economic and political impacts of great consequence. This site gives independent information on the subject, and discusses issues that society will face