As is well-known, hydrocarbons resources are finite. Once extracted they are put to use and cannot be replaced. So, what do governments do when faced with geological data that tells them their subsoil resources might reach a peak in only a few years or worse, that they have already began to decline? How can these resources best be used to transform positively the economy and society if they are only going to be producing benefits for a very few more years?
This question gives a new flavour to the traditional concerns that governments have about attracting scarce investment capital. Some of the very largest investors will look at the geology and say: not for us, thank you. Are there any lessons from countries around the world that might help to shape government policy in response to these pressures? There indeed many examples to draw from however, this paper will focus on the UK experience and the lessons that can be drawn from this experience.
In this respect, this paper attempts to summarise a few of these experiences and offer some summary recommendations to governments in Asia and Africa that may wish to consider the policy implications of this inevitable development.