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What if we don't run out of oil?
WND ^ | November 15, 2005 | Jerome Corsi

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.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: abiogenic; corsi; energy; oil; peakoil; thomasgold
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1 posted on 11/15/2005 7:05:20 AM PST by Dan Evans
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To: Dan Evans

I'm not worried about what happens if we don't run out. I'm worried about what happens if we do run out.


2 posted on 11/15/2005 7:09:05 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Brilliant
We'll never run out completely. The price will increase and slow consumption.
This article also doesn't mention the "seeps" theory...
3 posted on 11/15/2005 7:12:04 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Dan Evans
an anti-oil, anti-business attitude that feels our advanced capitalist society is "bad" or "wrong

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.

4 posted on 11/15/2005 7:12:44 AM PST by Dan Evans
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To: Dan Evans
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.

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.

5 posted on 11/15/2005 7:13:58 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Brilliant
You worry too much.

Things have a way of working themselves out. We are pretty good at that.

6 posted on 11/15/2005 7:14:28 AM PST by Frohickey
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To: Brilliant
Most of the "peak oil" and limited supply panic mongers know nothing about how oil is produced or where it comes from.

The truth is we will never run out of oil but we may reach a limit to how much we can pull out of the ground at any one time.

Oil is made by methane percolating up from the earths core, becoming trapped in rock formations and being compressed into oil over time. This is the current view of competent geologist, very simplified.

Just remember when driving around, NO DINOSAURS DIED TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE!
7 posted on 11/15/2005 7:15:16 AM PST by fireforeffect (A kind word and a 2x4, gets you more than just a kind word.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

At some point, though, the price may go up enough that it might as well be completely exhausted.


8 posted on 11/15/2005 7:15:32 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Brilliant

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.


9 posted on 11/15/2005 7:17:05 AM PST by RightCanuck
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To: Dan Evans
What if we don't run out of oil?

Then we're NOT DOOMED ????!!!!

10 posted on 11/15/2005 7:17:16 AM PST by OB1kNOb (We're gonna boogie oogie woogie til we just can't boogie no more..............)
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To: Dan Evans

DOn't worry. Al Gore will save us from our oil dependency.


11 posted on 11/15/2005 7:18:37 AM PST by MAD-AS-HELL (Put a mirror to the face of the republican party and all you'll see is a Donkey.)
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To: Dan Evans

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


12 posted on 11/15/2005 7:18:38 AM PST by reston
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To: Brilliant

Where ya goin' in your car today? Tomorrow? YOU should "worry" MORE about that.....and surviving.


13 posted on 11/15/2005 7:19:53 AM PST by goodnesswins (DEMS....40 yrs and $$$dollars for the War on Poverty, but NOT a $$ or minute for the WAR on Terror!)
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To: RightCanuck

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.


14 posted on 11/15/2005 7:22:33 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Brilliant
See post #3. We won't run out because as the price gradually increases, it makes other forms of energy economically viable. There are huge quantities of marginal "fossil" fuels that we either haven't developed the technology to recover (such as methane hydrates in the sea) or are not cost effective at current prices such as tar sands or shale oil). Not to mention synthetic fuels from coal. Then we can go to nuclear, geothermal, tidal, wind, solar, etc.

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.

15 posted on 11/15/2005 7:24:34 AM PST by Dan Evans
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To: fireforeffect

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.


16 posted on 11/15/2005 7:26:02 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Brilliant
Most of the oil extracted today was considered "impractical to extract" 25 years ago. And 25 years from now, I'd say most of the oil we now consider "impractical to extract" will be . . . well, practical to extract.

"Hubbert's Peak" is a canard, and I'm frankly amazed to see so many otherwise intelligent people accept it as the gospel truth.

17 posted on 11/15/2005 7:28:37 AM PST by Alberta's Child (What it all boils down to is that no one's really got it figured out just yet.)
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To: OB1kNOb
What if we don't run out of oil?

Then we're NOT DOOMED????!!!!

And it ISN'T Bush's fault?!?!?!

18 posted on 11/15/2005 7:29:00 AM PST by akorahil (Thank You and God bless all Veterans. Truly, the real heroes.)
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To: Dan Evans

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.


19 posted on 11/15/2005 7:29:21 AM PST by kabar
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To: Dan Evans
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.

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.

20 posted on 11/15/2005 7:29:29 AM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: Brilliant
At some point, though, the price may go up enough that it might as well be completely exhausted.

Because of taxes, Europeans pay about double for gasoline that Americans do, yet they continue to buy it. I suggest it is even easier for Americans to pay that much. If the price of gas were to be about five bucks a gallon, expect all kinds of new sources to be developed that aren't being touched today. And on the other side of the coin, expect a lot of innovation in energy conservation.

21 posted on 11/15/2005 7:32:47 AM PST by Dan Evans
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To: Dan Evans

Oil = Freedom


22 posted on 11/15/2005 7:34:39 AM PST by 38special (You're welcome.)
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To: Brilliant

A higher price will unlock motor fuels from other sources. Petroleum fuels might become scarce but liquid fuel will continue to be made. Too many people have a stake in continuing to sell the stuff.


23 posted on 11/15/2005 7:35:14 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Dan Evans
Given a big enough bag of money, a good chemical engineer can convert any type of hydrocarbon into any other type.

Known reserves of coal, shale oil, tar sands, natural gas, and other forms of hydrocarbons far exceed known reserves of conventional crude oil (by at least an order of magnitude).

Therefore, even if production of conventional crude oil were to "peak" (which may or may not be happening), then the result is added cost to convert other types of hydrocarbons into the forms that are useful for transportation, and other applications, which today are derived from conventional crude oil.

The Germans produced gasoline from coal during World War II, and the South Africans have developed that technology much further since that time. Tar sands in Alberta Canada are being converted to useful synthetic crude oil today, as are extra-heavy oil deposits from the Orinoco area in Venezuela. Gas liquefaction plants have been announced in the Mideast. All of these efforts are very expensive as compared to conventional crude oil, but they are becoming economically feasible at today's energy cost levels.


That is why the original article (published in March, 1998 in Scientific American) on "peak oil" is entitled "The End of Cheap Oil." You may find the article here: http://www.hubbertpeak.com/sciam983.htm

The world is not about to run out of hydrocarbons, but we are, and will be, facing higher costs to convert hydrocarbons into useful forms.
24 posted on 11/15/2005 7:35:51 AM PST by LOC1
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To: Brilliant; RightCanuck

I really don't think it matters which way this plays out. Think about it - If we are NOT running out of oil, things continue as-is, hopefully with continued improvements for economy and pollution...

If we ARE running out of oil, we will figure a way out of it, I'm confident. The Germans ran low on gasoline near the end of WWII, ground up chunks of pine trees with mechanisms on their trucks, and used the TURPENTINE to run them. Pine trees are definitely renewable.

Fuel from crops (corn/soybeans, etc.) is not a big industry now, but you know how people are - they cram for tests, fail to put stop signs in until someone is killed, don't fill the tank until it's empty, etc. If we are forced to cope - we'll cope.

OBTW - who will "own" the world's best fuel production facilities when we start using CROPS, Hmmmm? It won't be those desert countries, buddy boy. :-)


25 posted on 11/15/2005 7:38:47 AM PST by HeadOn (Don't talk to me about global warming unless you don't own a car.)
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To: Brilliant
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.

This is becoming the more and more reasoned theory. I have seen evidence of this theory in print now for over a decade. There is factual evidence of oil wells thought to be dry "filling up" with attainable oil again.

The problem with this, of course, is that if true - and I suspect it is - this would drive the environazis absolutely nuts!

26 posted on 11/15/2005 7:39:06 AM PST by Obadiah ( Deuteronomy 6:5)
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To: Frohickey

"Things have a way of working themselves out."

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "working themselves out." I remember when gas was 25 cents a gallon. And I'm not all that old, either.

It's funny how things "worked themselves out" in that instance.

I don't think the problem is going to solve itself. I'm thinking the cost of gas will be in excess of $5 a gallon at the end of the next ten years, possibly in excess of $10 a gallon if the Chinese and Russians build cars as fast as we have.


27 posted on 11/15/2005 7:40:36 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Dan Evans

It doesn't matter if we run out of oil.

We can convert to alcohol in a few years. E85 is already in motion.


28 posted on 11/15/2005 7:44:14 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: HeadOn

In the long run, biomass seems like the most promising alternative to oil. But we're a LONG way from producing fuel from biomass that would rival what we're getting from oil today. If we have to go that way, then better figure on riding your bicycle to work. You won't be able to afford the fuel to drive your car.


29 posted on 11/15/2005 7:44:50 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Brilliant
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.

We make assumptions all the time because we have to. We assume the sun will continue to shine and that rain will fall. But how smart would it be for you to waste a lot of money developing expensive alternatives to oil if it turns out that they will not compete with oil extraction?

Oh, I see. You were going to spend MY money.

30 posted on 11/15/2005 7:46:50 AM PST by Dan Evans
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To: Brilliant; Frohickey

What has been the inflation rate in the last 45 years?

Run the numbers yourself - from 1960 to now, at a rate of only 5%, the price from $.25 should be $2.25 now. Hey! I bought it for $2.17 last night! Not a bad deal!

Bought a loaf of bread for $.45 lately? No? Well, at that SAME 5%, it should be about $.45 now.

So, Frohickey and Adam Smith are both right. Things DO often have a way of working out.


31 posted on 11/15/2005 7:52:20 AM PST by HeadOn (Don't talk to me about global warming unless you don't own a car.)
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To: Brilliant
"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."

Word-for-word exactly what various "experts" were saying, oh, 30 years ago...

32 posted on 11/15/2005 7:52:34 AM PST by Redbob
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To: Dan Evans

No oil for democrats 8)


33 posted on 11/15/2005 7:55:16 AM PST by Liberty Valance (T for Texas and T for Tennessee)
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To: Brilliant

I remember when gas was 25 cents a gallon. And at that time you could buy a loaf of bread or a pack of cigarettes for 25 cents. In constant dollars gas isn't that much more expensive. I also remember filling my tank up 1998 for 99 cents a gallon.


34 posted on 11/15/2005 7:55:49 AM PST by Dan Evans
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To: Brilliant

Well, I don't know how much Engineering YOU have, but I'm a Mechanical Engineer, and I just happen to know a little bit about engines. There are many on the horizon that could be pretty happy running on soybeans. All we have to have is a reason to develop them, which, like I said, we don't have right now.

Retrofit my Monte Carlo SS with one of those, and I'm good to go.


35 posted on 11/15/2005 7:56:03 AM PST by HeadOn (Don't talk to me about global warming unless you don't own a car.)
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To: Redbob

I was going through some ancient copies of Scientific American and came across an article about coal resources. The experts said that our coal reserves would be exhausted in 100 years. The article was written about 1860.


36 posted on 11/15/2005 7:59:17 AM PST by Dan Evans
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To: Obadiah
Actually, the problem with this theory is the RATE of alleged oil production.

Specific example, the giant East Texas oil field continues to produce oil, but at a rate far, far below it's peak in the 1930's. The continued production might, or might not, be the result of abiotic, deep earth origin of crude oil. But the result is only a minuscule portion of the previously available production.

The same thing can be said of perhaps the most famous oil field of all, Spindle Top in Beaumont, Texas. Production from that field declined to a tiny fraction of it's once prolific amount in a few short years after it was discovered. It does continue to produce tiny amounts today, but in no way can be considered to have "filled-up."
37 posted on 11/15/2005 7:59:21 AM PST by LOC1
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To: Alberta's Child

The demise of the oil based economy does not depend on the specific conclusions of the peak oil theorists. The demand for oil is skyrocketing world wide.

Some people may think that new oil is being made every day. Personally, I don't. Most of the oil fields in Texas are nearing exhaustion. For some reason, nature has decided not to replace the oil we removed from those fields.

But irrespective, unless the world is making several million barrels every day, and putting it where we can get it, then the supply of available oil is going down. You can poo-poo it, but the fact is that it's oil that makes our economy go. Without it, we'd starve. And everytime the price goes up, our economic welfare goes down.

In general, the price is going up, not down. Even in the 90's, when oil was at about $15 a barrel, it was pretty clear that it was going to have to go up. Oil companies were losing their shirts. It was not sustainable. Now, it's sustainable for a while, but only at much greater cost.

There is a lot of oil in the world, but we are using it at a break-neck pace, and with globalization, it's a mistake to assume that there are vast new areas of exploration that we have not already tapped.


38 posted on 11/15/2005 8:07:06 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Obadiah
This is becoming the more and more reasoned theory. I have seen evidence of this theory in print now for over a decade. There is factual evidence of oil wells thought to be dry "filling up" with attainable oil again.

This repeatedly comes up on threads and has been repeatedly shot down by people that actually know what they're talking about; people have got it in their heads that oil fields all over the world are rapidly re-filling; this is not the case. There's a tiny handful of fields that may be re-filling that are connected to other fields that haven't been tapped. On the other hand, there are THOUSANDS of oil fields that are basically played out and are not refilling.

And there are very, very, very few petroleum geologists that do not believe oil is a fossil fuel; there are people on FR under the mis-impression that most geologists now accept Gold's theories about the abiotic generation of petroleum, and most completely dismiss it.

39 posted on 11/15/2005 8:08:50 AM PST by Strategerist
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To: HeadOn

Sure, soybeans can produce a fuel. But it would be a whole lot more expensive than gasoline, even at current prices.


40 posted on 11/15/2005 8:09:15 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: HeadOn

I am not that old, but I distincly remember buying Twinkies as a kid for 9 cents. The fruit pies were 13 cents. Not sure what you buy them for today, but I'd be willing to bet they exceed the inflation rate.


41 posted on 11/15/2005 8:11:05 AM PST by Obadiah ( Deuteronomy 6:5)
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To: Dan Evans

The critics of Peak Oil usually do not mention that the world peak has not yet arrived and there would be no effects of Peak Oil at this time. Sometime in the coming decade we will roll over the peak and then there will be effects. Some adherents of Peak Oil also do not mention that the peak is not yet here and seem to think that the effects are already being felt. Neither group seems to get the point.


42 posted on 11/15/2005 8:11:46 AM PST by RightWhale (Repeal the law of the excluded middle)
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To: Dan Evans

Compared to the 99 cents a gallon in 1999, prices have gone up big time in constant value. The price index has not doubled since then, yet the price of gasoline has more than doubled.

The thing to keep in mind, though, is that the price of oil was unusually low in 1999. Oil companies were losing money. Anytime you have an industry losing money, you know that the price is ultimately going to go up. Companies in that industry are going to shut down capacity because it's not profitable, and as they do, the price will rise.


43 posted on 11/15/2005 8:15:16 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Strategerist
...that oil fields all over the world are rapidly re-filling...

No, perhaps not rapidly refilling, but perhaps refilling nonetheless. As I said, it's a theory. It has been neither conclusively substantiated, nor conclusively disproved. Regardless, there are enough feasible energy alternatives. They WILL become cost effective either way. We ain't gonna be without electricity in 50, 100, or 200 years from now.

44 posted on 11/15/2005 8:18:24 AM PST by Obadiah ( Deuteronomy 6:5)
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To: Obadiah
This is becoming the more and more reasoned theory. I have seen evidence of this theory in print now for over a decade. There is factual evidence of oil wells thought to be dry "filling up" with attainable oil again.

I've heard Corsi on Coast To Coast AM before, but I'd never associated him with the Swift Vets before. His explanations of this stuff sounds reasonable, and the evidence is there, as you said... Tapped out fields being 'recharged' somehow. Corsi doesn't argue that we shouldn't look at alternatives to oil for our energy needs, as there are obvious problems with burning too much oil, pollution concerns being the most obvious. Rather, he argues that we shouldn't be panicking because of fear-mongering related to "peak oil" theories.

If oil is, in fact a renewable abiotic resource, then much of the fear-mondering related to "peak oil" is nothing but yet another scam that is hurting our economy. Of course, since we don't fully understand the processes or time scales involved in abiotic oil generation, we will have to be careful not to extract more than the earth can produce and renew. We'll find a happy medium somewhere, between oil and alternative energy production that will allow things to continue longer than many people think. Cheap energy is a good thing IMO.

45 posted on 11/15/2005 8:19:20 AM PST by zeugma (Warning: Self-referential object does not reference itself.)
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To: Redbob

Yes, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. Just because we discovered vast amounts of oil before doesn't mean we'll find vast amounts of oil now.

Keep in mind how we found that oil. After the oil shock of the 70's, US oil companies went world wide in their search for oil that was not controlled by OPEC. They found it. However, now that that oil is already in the pipeline, where are they going to go next?

The only place that has not yet been explored is Antartica. From what I've read, it would take about $80 a barrel to justify that, if you could accomplish it at all from a political standpoint.


46 posted on 11/15/2005 8:19:41 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Dan Evans
"Peak oil" adherents continue to insist that oil resources worldwide are depleting.

This nonsense can be traced back to the end of WWI when the oil companies began spreading the story about the oil supply being depleted in order to drive up the price at the pump.

It's an effective strategy that has worked every time they oil companies drag it out - which tends to be about every 20 years or so.

Draw your own conclusions.
47 posted on 11/15/2005 8:20:51 AM PST by DustyMoment (FloriDUH - proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
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To: Brilliant
The demand for oil is skyrocketing world wide.

This is incorrect. The demand for Energy is skyrocketing world wide. It just happens that currently crude oil is the cheapest, most efficient form available.

48 posted on 11/15/2005 8:21:21 AM PST by GallopingGhost
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To: zeugma; Obadiah
Rather, he argues that we shouldn't be panicking because of fear-mongering related to "peak oil" theories....We'll find a happy medium somewhere, between oil and alternative energy production that will allow things to continue longer than many people think.

BINGO!

49 posted on 11/15/2005 8:23:01 AM PST by HeadOn (Don't talk to me about global warming unless you don't own a car.)
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To: Brilliant
I'm worried about what happens if we do run out.

Me too. But the mass of people prefer to keep their eyes closed.

50 posted on 11/15/2005 8:23:09 AM PST by neutrino (Globalization “is the economic treason that dare not speak its name.” (173))
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