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Peak Oil Matters

A fresh perspective on the concept of peak oil and the challenges we face


Archive for January, 2014









An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Gregor Macdonald+: continue reading…

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We need high oil prices to keep oil extraction up, but as we reach diminishing returns with respect to oil extraction, oil prices don’t rise high continue reading…









 An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Chris Martenson: continue reading…









At the risk of starting a cat fight where truth may too quickly become a casualty, why don’t we more forcefully challenge those who deny peak oil (and global warming) and who do so for reasons that generally ignore reality in favor of narrowly-defined interests? Those motivations will ultimately do nothing but promote more eventual harm by denying the truths to those who clearly need them the most….
Of course, we run the risk of getting bogged down in he said/she-said arguments that quickly devolve into the lowest forms of ‘debate’, but why let those types of offerings go unchallenged? They feed on themselves, and it is tiresome and time-consuming to have to rebut all the nonsense. But if we don’t, uninformed readers and listeners have no reason to at least consider the possibility that there may indeed be other facts out there that should at least be examined in order to make informed assessments, rather than accepting the words of the few. More information is rarely a bad thing, and giving everyone the opportunity to examine the facts and engage in rational discourse as a means of seeking common ground makes for a healthier and more productive society.

That’s from a post I wrote three years ago, and my attitude hasn’t wavered. The constant flow of articles and opinions give me yet more opportunities to bat down the nonsense passing as advice and learned observations about the world of energy supply.




The most significant characteristic of modern civilization is the sacrifice of the future for the present, and all the power of science has been prostituted to this purpose. [1]

There’s a fairly consistent pattern of denial which serves as the common thread running through  almost every written or spoken piece denouncing those of us who are urging greater awareness of our future oil supply challenges. The “myth/theory” of peak oil is consistently targeted by an assortment of disingenuous, pseudo-factual might-possibly-could perhaps arguments, as I’ll continue to point out—here and in future posts.

Just wondering: if it was indeed anywhere near as much of a nutty concept as the body of fact-free, Happy Talk cheerleaders insist, why do they keep at it? That they are unable to do so without some impressive contortions of facts and geological realities seems to be delivering a not-to-subtle message they probably do not intend.

Below is a sampling of the typical straight-from-the-buzzword-playbook typically found in the bag of Happy Talk team members. The next few posts in this series will take a closer look (including facts as a bonus contribution) at some of these sorry displays of pseudo-certainty, and why pointing out the nonsense is so important.




Oil production in Canada as well as the U.S. – long written off as a virtual resource wasteland – began to creep up, then roar. [2]

The fact is, governments have almost always thought their countries were about to run out of oil….[3]

The implications [of future production possibilities] are vast. [4]

In hindsight, you drive oil to $147 barrel and lo and behold, five years hence the world is swimming in oil. It really is that simple. [5]

But it’s now clear that a revolution has occurred: U.S. crude oil production is up 50 percent since 2008. [6]

North Dakota, the center of the now-famous Bakken Formation shale, has overtaken Alaska and California to become the second-largest oil-producing state in the country, outpaced only by Texas. (links in original) [7]

Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the WEC said that the chances of the world running out of oil were slim, citing the fact that global reserves of the engineering resource were 25 percent higher than in 1993 while production has increased by 20 percent. [8]

[T]here is little reason to fear that the oil will run out before an alternative can be found. [9]

‘[T]he unconventional oil and gas revolution has already had major impact in multiple dimensions. Its significance will continue to grow as it continues to unfold.’ [10]

Not only are oil companies looking for more places to drill, but they are trying to maximize the amount of recoverable oil per well [11]

The Arctic’s potential for oil and gas production is huge, massive, colossal even….The U.S. has six of the 18 major Arctic fields (not including Russia), which means it will be able to cash in on the huge potential….
Imagine the potential: If just one play could yield that much oil and gas, then more is sure to come in other areas….
The Arctic is just one of many plays America has the potential to see continued production from — the Gulf also has some promise. [12]

There are 89 billion barrels of oil still trapped inside America’s oil wells. That’s because the average oil well in America only gives up 30% of its black gold. This is oil that’s vital to fueling our economy and it’s just sitting down there.
To put this into perspective, if the U.S. could recover all its oil, our nation would rival Iraq and Iran as a top five holder of oil reserves in the world. [13]

One of the keys to unlocking all of the oil still trapped is to find the right technique to unlock it. [14]

A lasting lesson of the crisis years is the power of markets and their ability to adjust to disruptions, if government allows them to. The iconic images of the 1970s—gas lines and angry motorists—are trotted out whenever some new disruption happens. Yet those gas lines weren’t the result of markets. They were the largely self-inflicted result of government interference in markets with price controls and supply allocation. [15]

Keep in mind that this was just a sampler, but a good one. There’s lot more … unfortunately, as future posts in this series will discuss. But first, I’ll pick apart the comments above to shed a bit more light on the “geological gibberish” of peak oil. (Facts—the other side of the peak oil story—still suck….)

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New features will debut soon at that website:


This new column begins on February 3, 2014. It’s a slightly skewed look at life for those of us on the north side of 50.

            * THE TRETIAK AGENDA

A political thriller filled with unexpected plot twists and drawn from real world historical events, this eBook is scheduled for Publication tomorrow: January 28, 2014.

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            * LIFE WILL ANSWER

(The inspiration for the second blog at that website). This eBook is scheduled for Publication on February 12, 2014

Excerpts are being posted as of January 15th

Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas,
Envisioning Better Tomorrows

Peak Oil Matters is dedicated to informing others about the significance and impact of Peak Oil—while adding observations about politics, ideology, transportation, and smart growth.


[1]; As Things Fell Apart, Nobody Paid Much Attention by Jim Quinn – 11.19.10 [quoting William James]
[2]; The Welcome Death of Peak Oil by George Koch – 10.04.13
[3] & [4] Ibid
[5]; Recollecting the false messiah of peak oil by Izabella Kaminsky – 11.13.13
[6] & [7]; Congratulations, America. You’re (Almost) Energy Independent. Now what? by Daniel Yergin – November 2013
[8]; Global Energy Report Dismisses Fears Of Peak Oil (unattributed) – 10.23.13
[9]; EDITORIAL: No need to panic about ‘peak oil’ – 10.21.13
[10]; Awash in Misinformation: America’s Domestic Tight Oil ‘Bump’ by Daniel Davis (quoting Daniel Yergin) – 03.22.13
[11]; The U.S. Oil Boom Is far From Over: Part 1 by Callum Turcan, The Motley Fool – 10.23.13
[12]; The U.S. Oil Boom Is far From Over: Part 2 by Callum Turcan, The Motley Fool – 10.26.13
[13] & [14]; Peak Oil Is Dead Wrong by Matthew DiLallo – 10.12.13
[15]; Peak Oil Redux: World oil production is 50% higher today than in 1973 by Daniel Yergin – 10.14.13

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 An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Collin Eaton: continue reading…








Several months ago, I discussed the issue of “Capex compression.” When decreasing oil industry revenues cannot keep up with the increasing exploration and production costs of unconventional resources such as deep-water and shale fields, investments decline. Not exactly rocket science…. continue reading…









An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Gail Tverberg: continue reading…









At the risk of starting a cat fight where truth may too quickly become a casualty, why don’t we more forcefully challenge those who deny peak continue reading…









An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Chris Martenson: continue reading…









As I mentioned in the first post of this short series, we are once again being subjected to differing interpretations of the same set of facts. It does make planning and strategizing a bit more challenging…. continue reading…