The ownership of the largest deposits of oil, notably in the former U.S.S.R., e.g. Siberia and Kazakhstan and the Caspian region generally, in addition to the fields in the Middle East, will likely determine the future balance of world power. "The New World Order" as it is sometimes referred to. It is interesting that it is scientists from the former U.S.S.R. who throng highly among the ranks of "Hubbert detractors" - those who do not believe in an imminent "peak oil" scenario. There appears to be a conflict of opinion, and probably of interest too, between Western and Soviet oil experts, which revolves around different viewpoints as to the origin of petroleum. The western belief is, as we were all taught at school, that petroleum is a result of "cooking" plant and animal remains over millennia, and proof of its origin thus is taken to be the presence of the same type of organic molecules (porphyrins etc.) as are found in living plants and animals.
Soviet thinking, which goes back at least as far as the great Russian chemist Medeleyev (who invented the Periodic Table of the chemical Elements), is that petroleum is formed in the deep earth by geochemical processes - Mendeleyev thought by the action of water on iron carbides. The explanation for the presence of porphyrins etc. is that they are simply dissolved from higher strata by petroleum moving upward from the depths, and acting as an organic solvent. The essential difference between these schools of thinking is that, if the Russians are right, oil can be considered a limitless resource, while the western view readily accords with an imminent peak oil; i.e. a finite supply of oil. The Russians, however, are sufficiently convinced after more than 50 years of intensive research that their theory is correct and they have made enormous investments in developing "deep drilling" techniques (2 km and more down) with which to reach the petroleum deposits formed deep underground.
Either the Russians will secure their position more strongly in the new world order, or affordable oil will eventually run out - for everybody. This is particularly alarming in the context of world population. In 1900, there were less than 2 billion people on the planet (up from about 1 billion in 1800); now the figure is 6.4 billion, and the exponential curve in population growth that these numbers can be plotted upon is an exact parallel with that for oil production. Without the vast quantities of chemical fertilizers, which are made from oil and gas, we could not grow enough food to feed the rising population, nor even the current number, nor far less than that. Some predict that a "die off" will follow peak oil production, and that the world population will fall from 6.4 billion to perhaps as few as 500 million (the death of almost 5 billion people, or about 92% of the number now alive).
An analogy can be drawn with the growth of bacteria, which, so long as there is sufficient food available, follows a "sigmoid curve". There is an initial growth in population which multiplies rapidly (the rising upper of the sigmoid), and then levels off abruptly when the food supply becomes restricted relative to the new, far larger population. Then they begin to eat each other instead, and the number of bacteria remaining alive plummets.
It is hardly a comforting prospect.