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Peak Oil Matters

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


Tag: high prices



U.S. crude oil production is falling because investments into shale oil production dried up as the price of crude oil fell below $60/bbl. Companies aren’t interested in putting new capital to work, and because these oil fields deplete, that means crude production is falling. Why is that significant? Because most of the world’s new oil production in the past 6 years has come from U.S. shale oil fields. It is hard to overstate the global importance of the new crude supply that came online in the U.S. since 2008

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It has been a main theme of mine—given the impact peak oil will eventually have on all of us—that small changes here and there, every now and then, by a few of us when we can spare the time, are not the optimal strategies for us to pursue. Conventional crude oil has been in many ways the most astonishing discovery in our history—all the more significant given how its many benefits have extended in so many directions.

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Our infrastructure (roads, bridges, train tracks, water and sewer pipes, power lines, etc.) does not exist in current form without the ready availability of inexpensive conventional crude oil. Our modern society with all of its technological marvels and the wide ranging conveniences was made possible and sustained in large part because we have had the boundless opportunities this fossil fuel resource provided.

But production of that finite resource peaked a decade ago.

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There are—almost always—at least two sides to any story of significance and potential impact upon others. The greater the impact and potential for a range of outcomes, the more certain one can be that there are more than a handful of factors, considerations, and perspectives to be accounted for if the issue at hand is to be both understood and resolved effectively.

Ignoring the “other side” of the issue may be effective if one prefers their narrative to remain unchallenged and to provide reassurance to fellow believers, but beyond that, it’s hard to understand what the benefit might be to those seeking information if what’s shared is inaccurate or purposely incomplete.

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If/when a petroleum shortage impacts it will concentrate minds wonderfully. But when it comes the window of opportunity could be brief and risky. If things deteriorate too far too fast there could easily be too much chaos for sense to prevail and for us to organize cooperative local alternative systems. [1]

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Remember, peaking in production, by definition, means that you have plenty of oil left. It has nothing to do with running out.…[T]he only people who ever use the phrase ‘running out of oil’ are people who either don’t understand Peak Oil, or people trying to mislead an audience about Peak Oil. Because again, if you can successfully mislead an audience and frame the argument as ‘No more oil’ vs ‘We still have oil’ – you again set yourself up for an easy debate victory. [1]

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Shortsighted as a strategy is … well, shortsighted. Too bad that’s not the worst that can be said about it. Good to know that in my unexpectedly long absence away from posting that not much has changed, price drops and production numbers notwithstanding….

Fossil fuel and utility interests, concerned about the rise of cheap clean energy, are financing attacks on pro-clean energy policies, in an effort to delay the growth of a market competitor….
[S]pecial interests tied to the fossil fuel and utility industries are spreading disinformation about the cost of clean energy. The Koch Brothers and their allies want to continue selling as much coal, oil, and gas as possible — and in their effort to rollback clean energy policies, are spreading falsehoods about the energy market.

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Daniel Yergin’s Pulitzer Prize (for his book The Quest) has earned him a fair amount of street cred, judging by how often his opinions are solicited on the state of fossil fuel supply and production. I haven’t read the book, but I’d be lying if I said that anyone worthy of a Pulitzer Prize doesn’t merit a measure of respect regardless of what one thinks of her or his opinions or ideologies. continue reading…









The economic effects of peak oil are as obvious as they are frightening. The most immediate effect is to increase oil prices, and this has its own effect of slowing the economy down. There was a period in which Saudi Arabia could modulate the world’s rate of oil production by turning up the flow, but even that is a thing of the past. Oil prices jump up and down in response to rumors and temporary conditions — the worldwide economic slowdown has tamped them down a bit over the past few years — but the overall pattern is a steady price increase, all other things being equal….
We should understand that peak oil has probably already occurred, and we will be spending the rest of our lives, and our children their own lives, dealing with the consequences.
But we avoid the long term relevancies. There was plenty of oil yesterday and there will be enough today to maintain a modest lifestyle, and we all hope that there won’t be another big oil shock very soon….How do we prepare? [1]

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If they don’t get it [doubtful], then they either need to learn some basics, or write about what they know.
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