Before I leave to visit my daughter next week (there will be no further scheduled posts until the week of April 4 at the earliest), I thought it was worth mentioning that a recently-issued report (here) strongly suggests we’ll reach Peak Oil in 2014, at least 5 or 6 years earlier than most other predictions. This report (written by a petroleum engineer and his colleagues from Kuwait University) has garnered a fair amount of attention in recent weeks. For those who enjoy more technical explanations, this may do the trick!

While some countries (including the United States) have recently experienced an uptick in oil production in recent months, the general trend by most indications continues to point to Peak Oil’s arrival much sooner than most experts thought as recently as 2 or 3 years ago. The surge in production thus appears temporary at best. A nice article (here) explains why that may be so.

Oil supplies close to half of the world’s energy, and almost all worldwide transportation is fueled by oil. When demand outstrips supply, whether that’s in 2014, 2020, or some date nearby, we’re going to face major upheavals in how we all conduct our lives. The naysayers who suggest we have zillions of barrels of oil still left in the ground do all of us a tremendous disservice by failing to explain that most of those reserves (if indeed they are correct in their estimates) are more difficult to locate, extract, refine, and produce. That means they cost a lot more, and if the price is prohibitively expensive, then it really won’t matter much how much is left in the ground. It will stay there, and while I’m no expert, I am confident that oil (or its cousins like the tar sands or oil shale) won’t do any of us much good buried underground.

My next series of posts will be devoted to a more detailed explanation of oil’s many roles in modern society. We would all be better served if we start thinking how much we rely on oil, how much of our lives will be impacted when the supply is not quite so readily-available or relatively inexpensive at it now is, and just how much will have to change—and how long such changes might take.

The sooner we start considering this, the sooner we can start taking action and seizing opportunities to prepare ourselves for changes that geology is going to impose on us—whether we like it or not.