Category Archives: Peak oil

Zakaria: Why oil prices will stay high

CNN’s Fareed Zakaria has this telling article on high oil prices and why they will stay this high. His explanation: global politics.

Nothing about the fact that the age of cheap oil is over (says the IEA) and we now have moved to "extreme" and expensive oil.  

Read the comments to see why we need more energy literacy and education and less dumb ideology.

Geopolitical Implications of “Peak Everything”

From competition among hunter-gatherers for wild game to imperialist wars over precious minerals, resource wars have been fought throughout history; today, however, the competition appears set to enter a new—and perhaps unprecedented—phase.”

The Post-Carbon Institute publishes another brilliant analysis by Richard Heinberg on the geo-political implications of the world’s resource descent.

Nations need increasing amounts of energy and raw materials to produce economic growth, but the costs of supplying new increments of energy and materials are burgeoning. In many cases, lower-quality resources with high extraction costs are all that remain. Securing access to these resources often requires military expenditures as well. Meanwhile the struggle for the control of resources is re-aligning political power balances throughout the world.

This game of resource “musical chairs” could well bring about conflict and privation on a scale never seen before in world history. Only a decisive policy shift toward resource conservation, climate change mitigation, and economic cooperation seems likely to produce a different outcome.”

Burning Oil to Keep Cool: The Hidden Energy Crisis in Saudi Arabia

"On the current trajectory, Saudi Arabia’s domestic energy consumption could limit its exports of oil within a decade. This would have a severe effect on government spending, over 80% of which is dependent on oil revenues.1 Ultimately, it may reduce Saudi Arabia’s spare production capacity, causing greater volatility in the world oil markets."  

Fascinating new report by Chatham House – read about implications for peak oil and future geopolitical developments in the Middle East

There Will Be Oil – Versus – Peak Oil Now

On the Market Oracle blog, Energy analyst Andrew McKillop explains why Daniel Yergin and other oil optimists are wrong to dismiss the peak oil reality.

Claiming there is an oil limit on the economy and why peak oil is inevitable is usually talked down by saying its an unsure theory at best, and controversial, fear mongering or defeatist at worst. The totally simple numbers which prove it are however not Einstein-type mathematics and are not impossible to understand – - only by the badly intentioned or plain stupid.”

The Oil That Comes in from the Cold

Thanks to soaring oil prices and new technology, oil producers in the hot sands of Arabia, the torrid Niger delta or the humid plains of the Orinoco are facing new competition from rivals in the frozen North.”  

Good article in IPS on the new oil exploration under the Arctic ocean and the environmental and climate risks of this extreme oil. Unfortunately, the article misses two important angles of this development: the energy needed to exploit this new exploration (“net energy”) and the tough economics of this “extreme energy” production.

Why Oil Prices Are Killing the Economy

On the ChrisMartenson blog, Gregor Macdonald writes another convincing piece on the direct causal relationship between high oil prices and economic depression in the West.  

Why are none of our European leaders and their economic advisers getting it? Because it contradicts their fundamentalist belief in eternal economic growth. Better to remain in denial and hope that a miracle will save the Euro.

What Peak Oil Looks Like or "the Twilight of Illusion"

"our civilization has entered what John Kenneth Galbraith called “the twilight of illusion,” the point at which the end of a historical process would be clearly visible if everybody wasn’t so busy finding reasons to look somewhere else."  

This brilliant essay by John Michael Greer – although gloomy – is refreshing compared to all the "sound and fury" we keep hearing these days from our so-called political and economic leaders.

Here are a few remarkable extracts but the piece should absolutely be read in its entirety.

The point that has to be grasped just now, it seems to me, is that this is what peak oil looks like. Get past the fantasies of sudden collapse on the one hand, and the fantasies of limitless progress on the other, and what you get is what we’re getting—a long ragged slope of rising energy prices, economic contraction, and political failure, punctuated with a crisis here, a local or regional catastrophe there, a war somewhere else—all against a backdrop of disintegrating infrastructure, declining living standards, decreasing access to health care and similar services, and the like, which of course has been happening here in the United States for some years already.”

Politicians and the talking heads of the media will have nothing to gain from admitting the reality and pace of our national decline, and there will be a certain wry amusement to be had in watching them scramble for reasons to insist that things are actually getting better and a little patience or a change of government will bring good times back again.“

“If the industrial economy, as I’ve suggested, was basically an arbitrage scheme profiting off the difference in cost between energy from fossil fuels and energy from human laborers, the rising cost of fossil fuels and other inputs needed to run an industrial economy will sooner or later collide with the declining cost of labor in an impoverished and overcrowded society. As we get closer to that point, it seems to me that we may begin to see the entire industrial project unravel, as the profits needed to make industrialism make sense dry up. If that’s the unspoken subtext behind the widening spiral of economic dysfunction that seems to be gripping so much of the industrial world today, then what we’ve seen so far of what peak oil looks like may be a prologue to a series of wrenching economic transformations that will leave few lives untouched.”

Oil Majors Rediscover Their Exploring Mojo

"After a decade marked by fears of declining resources, oil majors have substantially increased their exploration efforts – with increasingly impressive results." (source: Rigzone News).

Is this for real or wishful thinking? And how many extra days/months/years do these new great finds represent?


Five Misconceptions About Peak Oil

Energy expert Robert Rapier does an excellent job highlighting some of the problems with "peak oil" but admits resource depletion will lead us into the "Long Recession". Worth reading.

Although Rapier calls himself an optimist, here is how he views our predicament:
"I think of peak oil as supply struggling to keep up with demand, which will keep prices at recession-inducing levels. I think that we will probably eek out a bit more global production, but I will be surprised if the world gets past 90 million barrels per day. I believe that shale gas and oil sands production will continue to rise, and global carbon emissions will continue their upward march."


Time to Worry: World Oil Production Finishes Six Years of No Growth

"As oil prices rose ever higher in the last decade, the optimists kept predicting rising production capacity and plummeting prices. Looks like they got it wrong."

Excellent article in Scitizen: despite higher oil prices and much improved technology, world oil production has not grown in the last six years.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69 other followers