We're not running out of oil

The article "Renewables and Conservation Are Finding a Place in the Sun," Aug. 27, is accompanied by a chart asking: "When do we run out of oil?" The answer given: "Oil consumption is growing at 2 percent a year. At that rate, US domestic petroleum resources would run out by 2007." The source is the Natural Resources Defense Council. The information is wrong.First, petroleum demand is down 3.9 percent for the first eight months of this year compared with last year. And 1990 demand was down 1.9 percent from 1989. Second, the US is not running out of oil. And neither is the world. New discoveries are made and thus additions made to proved resources every year. The potential for future reserve additions is also important, but the oil industry must be permitted to explore Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas if these resources are to be found and produced. New domestic oil and natural-gas resources alone cannot supply our needs. Conservation that makes economic sense and continued research and development of alternative energy sources also are needed. All three are important to our future energy security. Arthur E. F. Wiese Jr., Washington American Petroleum Institute

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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