What Would A World Without Oil Be Like?


Oil is by far the most essential commodity that man has ever known. Our dependence on it has reach such an extent that life without oil just about unimaginable. Not only is it required to get our engines pounding, but its use directly relates to what man terms as a necessity for daily survival. From food, to cosmetics, to plastic and practically everything that man uses to get on with his life is directly or indirectly dependent on oil. This trillion dollar market however will eventually come to an end someday and the question really is, “what would a world without oil be like?”

The ‘World Energy Forum’, a non-profit organization affiliated with the United Nations met in October 2014 to discuss this very topic, how much oil is left? The world has been exploiting this resource for a hundred and fifty years now and the multinational oil company British Petroleum, in a recent update, provided an intriguing update to its global oil reserves estimates in the company’s yearly review of energy statistics. It raised its reserve estimate by 1.1% to 1,687.9 billion barrels – just enough oil to last the world 53.3 years at the current production rates. According to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, there are 1.3 trillion barrels of proven oil reserve left in the world’s major oil fields, which at present rates of consumption should last 40 years. Now considering the world is tilting its dependence on other resources, the time span we have to consume oil will be pushed further. Having said that, oil being a non-renewable source, will vanish from the ground beneath our feet at one point.

What’s interesting is how this planet will cope without this mammoth resource. Let us jump into a hypothetical situation, I say hypothetical now but it soon may well be a reality. Let us assume that one day we woke up and all the oil in our reserves has just vanished, completely, with no trace, gone!! Now as I mentioned, it has been exploited for 150 years and this very fact has spurred industrialization and if we don’t have it, it’s simple enough to say that man will be pushed back 150 years. That means that man has to do exactly what people used to do 150 years ago to survive.

Without flights, trains, ships, trucks that bring in your food, cars and so on, man’s convenience will be handicapped. Some cities bank on oil to produce electricity, for example San Francisco, so complete darkness is what man stares at.

Imports and exports are history, food is insufficient on this basis, the most expensive cars and bikes lie under a carpet of snow or dust. The role of man has adversely changed. Where does one look to make things better? Where does one go to escape death that has crept on to the city over night? Anarchy prevails, law and orders a thing of the past. Man stoops down to the scraps he once discarded with pride, in search for a resource.
With no food, famine has struck the world. High raised cities become abandoned concrete jungles, people flee to the rural to start all over again from scrap, to farm for survival, and simplicity has been forced upon man. Money is irrelevant in this age and the Bata system returns with a smile. Man looks at other means of resources, one being ethanol that is extracted from corn as a substitute to oil. Crop lands will grow corn and only corn now, but a huge dilemma faces man yet again, food or fuel?? Bolivia, the largest producer of lithium, the chief component in batteries, and non-dependent of oil, turns into an overnight superpower.

Slowly man picks himself up to face this make over; people grow their own crops in their front yards, penthouses turned into green houses and vacant plots to crop lands. Years will pass before a man see a plane in the sky again, transportation turns to electricity to get their wheels spinning and countries start to ship yet again using bio fuels.

Decades pass and the skies are a lot clearer than they ever were; the effect of global warming has been totally reversed. Probably it was a phase in which the earth chose, the phase where it can heal itself from the contamination, it took away our oil and restored its balance.

If oil were to vanish tomorrow with no explanation, everything said here may come true or may not, but people have foreseen this, and our preparations to evolve have already started. We still have around 50 years, more or less, who knows exactly and maybe when the time comes when there is no oil, we might not be as reliant on it as we are now.