Thursday, July 24

The End of Oil/Life as You Know It

I've been reading a lot about "peak oil" lately. And it scares the crap out of me.

I don't know why this issue gets so little attention (even with $140 a barrel oil already driving global inflation and food shortages). As far as I can tell, there is a very credible case to be made that we reached peak oil in 2005 or so and that--no matter how high prices go--production will plateau for a while and then decline. As demand is growing fast, the price of oil will skyrocket ($140 a barrel is just a teaser of what's to come). Given that the global economy is completely oil dependent, the global economy will collapse not just within our lifetime but maybe within the next 10 to 20 years. Leading to resource wars (more than we have already), despotism and chaos.

Here's some references.

That's some gloomy shit. I'd love for someone to tell me that this is just fringe, alarmist nonsense but I really don't think it is. But doomsayers have certainly been wrong before.


There's an article in today's New York Times that casually mentions an estimate of global (proven) oil reserves of 1.24 trillion barrels (new discoveries are slowing and likely to add up to much less than existing proven reserves). If you do the math, at today's daily usage, that's 39 years of oil (which still isn't that long). But the key to peak oil theory is that the oil that's left will be much harder to extract to the rate of production will steadily decline. So the crunch will hit well before 39 years from now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep. It is scary stuff. I "discovered" peak oil about 3 years ago. Havnt been the same since.


10:49 PM  
Blogger the venerable me said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

add me to the list of people who are seriously worried about peak oil. and i don't understand why it gets so little play, either, especially in comparison to global warming, when it seems to be a much more immediate problem.

you know who knows about it? investment bankers, aka "evil speculators". that's why they've all piled in to oil futures.

global depression is a-coming, and soon. plan accordingly. it's one reason i booked my big overseas trip for next year - if nothing else, the age of cheap international travel is coming to an end.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

my favourite line from those articles: "IEA officials told the Guardian that crude oil could hit $159 a barrel by 2030".

From an article written last year. Want to bet it won't hit that price later this year?

11:51 PM  

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