Skip to comments.What if we don't run out of oil?
Posted on 11/15/2005 7:05:19 AM PST by Dan Evans
The debate over "Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil" has begun to take familiar lines. "Peak oil" adherents continue to insist that oil resources worldwide are depleting. This mantra is repeated almost like an article of faith.
Ever since M. King Hubbert drew his first "peak-production" curve, statements of this tenet are easy to find. Typically, the "Peak-Production" theory is articulated as so well established that further proof is not needed. "Peak production" statements abound in publication. Consider this example written by an energy consultant in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
Petroleum reserves are limited. Petroleum is not a renewable resource and production cannot continue to increase indefinitely. A day of reckoning will come sometime in the future. The point at which production can no longer keep up with increasing demand will mean a radical and painful readjustment globally to everyday life.
To counter this argument, Craig Smith and I have argued that proven worldwide reserves of oil are currently estimated by the Energy Information Administration at 1.28 trillion barrels, the largest amount every recorded in human history, despite worldwide consumption of oil doubling since the 1970s. Oil prices are currently declining suggesting ample worldwide supplies are available oil prices are not increasing as would be expected if chronic oil shortages were imminent.
In response to an article we published here about Brazil's offshore oil discoveries, one bulletin-board poster commented: "Corsi is pushing his abiotic oil agenda. He keeps repeating the canard that oil comes from dinosaurs. NOBODY BELIEVES THAT!" This prompted a response with a correction and an objection: "I suppose you meant to say 'the canard that oil does NOT come from dinosaurs and ancient flora debris'? That's the reason why we call oil a fossil fuel." Even better yet was this: "Who says that oil came from 'dinosaurs and ancient forests'? What a moron."
Interestingly, many critics seem ready to give up the "Fossil-Fuel" theory of oil's origin, as long as they can continue to advance the "Peak-Production" theory. Regardless where the oil comes from, this particular type of critic argues, we are still running out. This line of analysis misses a key point of the abiotic, deep-Earth theory of oil's origin. If oil is naturally produced within the Earth's mantle, oil may well be a renewable resource.
Then, there were some abusive ad hominem attacks, as expected in this heavily charged political environment in which differences have become polarized. Some posters argue that as a "discredited" co-author of "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry," nothing I write is credible, regardless of how well documented or argued. Here are a couple of examples. "This guy was also co-author of a smear book against John Kerry by the Swift Boat liars ... highly credible!" Or, again: "This man is an architect of the Kerry swift boat smear, so I am unconvinced of his ability or desire to maintain a dispassionate and analytic stance with respect to this topic." Evidently, there are still many who do not accept that John Kerry lost the presidential election of 2004, as there remain many who refuse to accept that Al Gore lost in 2000.
In the final analysis, many on the political Left appear to have gravitated to embrace "Peak-Oil" theories because the argument that we are running out of oil fits in with their overall pattern of leftist political beliefs. Spend any time on the peak-oil bulletin boards and you will find many comments from posters who appear happy at the prospect we may be running out of oil.
Underlying their enthusiasm for "peak oil" is an anti-oil, anti-business attitude that feels our advanced capitalist society is "bad" or "wrong," wasteful of the Earth's valuable natural resources in the pursuit of a materialistic, lazy lifestyle. Posters of this disposition simply want to dismiss any other theory without serious consideration. Here's how one poster summed up that attitude, "Ugh, more abiotic oil crap ..." The ellipsis typically was not followed up by rational argument. Evidently, the poster felt the "Peak-Oil" thesis was just too obvious or well-established to be in need of defense.
I'm not worried about what happens if we don't run out. I'm worried about what happens if we do run out.
If windmills and solar power were the only source of power we had, they would be under attack by the left because the left is empowered by denying the necessities of life to good people. It is the same tactic used by any extortionist thug.
We know it's naturally produced. The question is whether it's being produced fast enough for us to continue on as we are.
Personally, my theory is that it comes from outer space. The outer space idea and the deep-Earth idea may mean that if we drill deeper, we might find more, but who knows for sure? Unfortunately, we can't assume that everthing will work out, because if it does not, then there will be world wide famine. We can't feed this many people without oil.
Things have a way of working themselves out. We are pretty good at that.
At some point, though, the price may go up enough that it might as well be completely exhausted.
Honest advice for you; stop worrying, we won't be running out of oil for at least hundreds of years if ever. Go ahead and enjoy life.
Then we're NOT DOOMED ????!!!!
DOn't worry. Al Gore will save us from our oil dependency.
The world is not going to run out of oil, per the USGS.
America however is in danger by having to import foreign oil. A Startegy for Achieving Independence from Foreign Oil can be found at www.tsaugust.org
Where ya goin' in your car today? Tomorrow? YOU should "worry" MORE about that.....and surviving.
No way it's going to last "hundreds of years." I suspect 30, at most, before the price goes up so much that gasoline will be considered a luxury.
So why not do those things now? Because it will be much easier to do it with future technology than with current technology. This is one reason oil companies only explore enough to create a ten year supply of proven reserves.
No one knows exactly how oil is made, so it's a pretty dumb nut who bets the farm on the assumption that we will have oil forever, because it's being produced everyday. Remember that the Earth has been around for about 4 billion years. If it took 4 billion years to produce the oil we've consumed over the last 1-1/2 centuries, then it's going to be a long wait before new supplies become available.
"Hubbert's Peak" is a canard, and I'm frankly amazed to see so many otherwise intelligent people accept it as the gospel truth.
Then we're NOT DOOMED????!!!!
And it ISN'T Bush's fault?!?!?!
Oil=energy. If the supplies dwindle and costs rise, it will make alternative sources more attractive and economically feasible. We have been using oil for energy for less than 150 years. There is nothing to say that in the year 2100, we will still be wedded to its use.
Nevertheless, "Peak-Oil" makes more sense than the "Don't-worry-be-happy-the-oil-supply-is-infinite" crap that Corsi subjects us to while Big Oil continues to jack-up prices at the pump.