Skip to comments.There Will Be Oil (advocates of 'peak oil' have wrongly been predicting a crisis in energy supplies)
Posted on 09/19/2011 2:25:22 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Since the beginning of the 21st century, a fear has come to pervade the prospects for oil, fueling anxieties about the stability of global energy supplies. It has been stoked by rising prices and growing demand, especially as the people of China and other emerging economies have taken to the road.
This specter goes by the name of "peak oil."
Its advocates argue that the world is fast approaching (or has already reached) a point of maximum oil output. They warn that "an unprecedented crisis is just over the horizon." The result, it is said, will be "chaos," to say nothing of "war, starvation, economic recession, possibly even the extinction of homo sapiens."
The date of the predicted peak has moved over the years. It was once supposed to arrive by Thanksgiving 2005. Then the "unbridgeable supply demand gap" was expected "after 2007." Then it was to arrive in 2011. Now "there is a significant risk of a peak before 2020."
But there is another way to visualize the future availability of oil: as a "plateau."
In this view, the world has decades of further growth in production before flattening out into a plateauperhaps sometime around midcenturyat which time a more gradual decline will begin. And that decline may well come not from a scarcity of resources but from greater efficiency, which will slacken global demand.
Those sounding the alarm over oil argue that about half the world's oil resources already have been produced and that the point of decline is nearing. "It's quite a simple theory and one that any beer-drinker understands," said the geologist Colin Campbell, one of the leaders of the movement. "The glass starts full and ends empty, and the faster you drink it, the quicker it's gone."
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
” possibly even the extinction of homo sapiens”
I get the crisis part, but how do they figure this? There are plenty of people in the world totally or nearly so independent of the need for oil. Are you telling me the collapse of modern economies is going to hurt hunter-gatherers in Papua New Guinea?
Great! I can’t wait for $1.50 a gallon gas to come back soon.............../s
Too many facts, too much history, does not support the global warming agenda or statist control...and far too many instances of clear thinking and logic...This guy must be a Conservative or in the pay of the Koch Bros, Halliburton and BP!! LOL!
“Peak Oil” is no more about the price of gasoline, diesel and Jet-A than “Global Warming” is about temperature change. Both issues are used by those with agendas of worry and change, primarily to destroy our prosperity and our liberty.
Our great-great-grandparents didn’t worry about “peak whale”, because the higher price that was caused by dwindling supply was mitigated by adaption, innovation and changes in behavior. Whale oil for illuminating homes gave way to the use of oil made from coal and later from crude oil.
With respect to “peak oil”, nobody buys oil to burn in their car or airplane, they buy a technical product that is made by breaking down and reassembling a feedstock of hydrocarbons that presently is in the form of crude oil. However, should the price of crude climb higher than the hydrocarbons found in other sources such as coal or agricultural wastes, then those sources will be used. The only issue is cost. This does not mean that there cannot be supply disruptions when oil suddenly jumps in cost, as it has recently. However, there is abundant documentation, such as the Barna report (Office of the Secretary of Defense, Clean Fuel Initiative ), that show we are awash in convertible hydrocarbons. The only thing stopping their use is cost and government.
The truth is that we are awash in hydrocarbons that can be converted to usable fuels. And the economic truth about crude oil is that the ONLY thing that matters is the price of the finished fuel product at the pump. That price reflects how much people are willing to pay for it. At today’s price, we can afford to convert many sources of hydrocarbons into the fuels we need. It just happens that for the time being, crude oil is the most economically efficient feedstock. The instant that some other source is better, we will start making our fuels from it.
 Dr. Theodore K. Barna., OSD Clean Fuel Initiative http://www.westgov.org/wieb/meetings/boardsprg2005/briefing/ppt/congressionalbrief.pdf
Since the beginning of the 21st century, a fear has come to pervade the prospects for oil, fueling anxieties about the stability of global energy supplies
When I was in elementary school the Weekly Read had a story that said we would be out of oil in 30 years. That was in 1958.
Why would people that are dependent on oil become extinct without it for that matter. Many might die from the crisis caused by a new life without oil- but many would survive to build a new society. It would be nothing like what we have now but humans survived for a very long time without all the creature comforts we have today. I cannot imagine why anyone would think it would cause “the extinction of homo sapiens” and as you say there are many that are not now dependent on oil so the effect on them would be little to none.
It’s kind of a petroleum exploration counterpart of Moore’s Law. The ability to find new oil gets twice as good every decade. If some magic goggles existed that could spot every drillable oil pocket on the face of the earth, so much oil would result that the world as we know it could keep going on it for thousands, if not tens of thousands, of years. That’s more than enough time to come up with the holy grail of sustainable nuclear fusion.
You'll be surprised at the number of "hunter gatherers" that drive motorcycles and cars. If you doubt me, take a trip to Papua New Guinea.
They have been saying we are going to run out of oil soon since the 1920s, meanwhile they keep finding new deposits that supposedly rival the Saudis. I’ve heard industry people say there is enough oil and gas from all sources in the US and Canada to last 200 years.
There is also a “out in left field” theory that the planet produces oil plenty fast to keep us continuously supplied.
I don’t know enough about any of it, but I like that theory :)
I really think gasoline & diesel could be the optimum energy storage medium (including for solar, wind, and any other “green” energy), at least until we make some sort of massive sea-change breakthrough in electric energy storage or hydrogen extraction from water.
The Navy is actually developing a way to take excess reactor power on board their carriers, and pull CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into Jet Fuel. Not all that efficient, but they have the extra juice in normal situations, so may as well use it for something like that, I guess.
“You’ll be surprised at the number of ‘hunter gatherers’ that drive motorcycles and cars. If you doubt me, take a trip to Papua New Guinea.”
If you drive motorcycles and cars, then you are by definition not hunter-gatherers (hence the quotes). I actually know nothing about Papua New Guinea; I just plucked that out of the sky. Perhaps that island’s been globalized, or however they put it. But there are hunterer-gatherers somewhere, I’m sure of it.
Nothing stops a “hunter gatherer” from using his motorcycle to hunt and gather. One thing about living in Africa is that it helps you appreciate how the stone age and 21st Century can exist in close proximity.
Having said that, the total population of authentic “National Geographic” style tribes is very small. In many cases, they play dress up for photographers / documentary film makers.
Great post! :)
Phew! I didn't learn to read till 1959. Probably spared me a lot of angst. I can hear myself now asking Dad how we'd heat the house when the fuel oil was all gone.
Those sounding the alarm over oil argue that about half the world's oil resources already have been produced and that the point of decline is nearing. "It's quite a simple theory and one that any beer-drinker understands," said the geologist Colin Campbell, one of the leaders of the movement. "The glass starts full and ends empty, and the faster you drink it, the quicker it's gone."What a moronic theory. Perhaps Mr. Campbell should slow down on his beer consumption.
It first foolishly presumes that we've already discovered all of the oil in existence on the planet. I don't believe that for a moment. Beyond that, it requires further presumptions that:
1. There is no possibility of any advancement ever occurring in oil exploration technology.
2. There is no possibility of any advancement ever occurring in oil drilling/recovery technology.
I find those two presumptions ludicrous at best.
I don’t get the robotic me too speak.
It’s a plateau? Why? Is RDS holding back drilling offshore Brazil? Is BP holding off drilling in Falklands? Or in Russia?
Meaning, no one is holding back globally. So why is it a plateau. And what’s with the all liquids stuff? My car doesn’t run on butane or propane. It needs gasoline. What’s that chart look like when it’s calibrated in BTUs rather than in barrels, when some of those barrels don’t have the BTUs that a barrel of oil has?
What about the possibility that some quoted reserves are lies? You do know that the official reporting agencies take government numbers at face value, yes?
Want to bet your kids’ lives on Iran’s quoted reserves?
Go back someday and read carefully about why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Read specifically about Roosevelt’s oil embargo of them in August 1941. Think they would have started a war with the US if they could have just pumped oil outside Tokyo?
I couldn’t have said it better myself. If we really were close to running out of hydrocarbons... there would be no need for the global warming alarmists to be rambling on about the dangers of CO2. The “problem” would take care of itself in relatively short order. In relationship to geologic time it would be less than the blink of an eye.
All of these scare tactics are expounded by people with an agenda. Cheap energy is one of the primary drivers of prosperity everywhere in the world. Attacking the world’s sources of energy is primarily a political tool to shift the balance of power.
I am not sure it made a difference to me. I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA not sure if we ever turned on the heater and my Mom didn’t know how to drive so we walked everywhere.
Besides, we were more worried about hiding under our desks during a nuclear attack. ;=)
“If you drive motorcycles and cars, then you are by definition not hunter-gatherers (hence the quotes).”
No, hunter-gatherers are, by definition, people who make a living hunting and gathering. You don’t have to go to Africa or the Amazon to see them. Hunter-gatherers in Canada’s far north (and Alaska) use snowmobiles, ATVs and pickup trucks to get around.
While there's clearly a possibility that quoted reserves contain lies (and further that there are other errors in them), what does that have to do with any of the points I raised?
Do you really believe that we've already discovered all of the oil in existence? Do you really believe that we will never achieve any further advances in exploration or drilling technology?
The Japanese could not have pumped oil, or generated any substitutes, in the quantities they needed from any of the territories they controlled at the time.
The key is AT THE TIME. A working embargo would have crippled them for many years. They didn’t have the technology, then, to work around the embargo and no time to do it.
Given a decade or so they could have, barring economic collapse, etc., used China’s large coal deposits to create synthetic petroleum just like Germany did. That’s just one option.
What we are talking about here however is not a case of needing oil in a windows of months to a couple of years, but generations, and not in a small patch of the world but all of it.
The argument does not depend on Iranian or Saudi reserve reports. There are multi-Saudi-Arabia size reserves of recoverable petroleum in the US and Canada.
Here is what my crystal ball says.
I remember two dollar a barrel oil in the 1960s. Compare that to the current oil price. That increase in price made more reserves economic to explore for and to produce (think arctic and deep water and risky politically unstable areas), and it helps explain some of the rise in production in the chart you posted.
Are you ready for another big increase in the price of oil necessary to supply the world’s future oil needs? That might happen as known reserves of easy to get and produce oil are depleted. If the price of oil increases enough, other sources such as tar sands and oil shale will become major sources of oil. Fortunately, there is a lot of oil in those two additional sources to supply us for some time.
Although they are very large, they are not infinite. The large potential supply in those sources might stabilize the oil price for a while, albeit at a higher level. They are not cheap to produce. If the cost of production is high enough, demand will fall off.
Finally, I do not hold out much hope that enough new oil is being generated in the source rocks of the earth at anywhere near the rate needed to meet future world consumption.
1. Many of the world's oilfields don't have use the latest in oil extraction technology--as such, 1/3 to 1/2 of the oil in those oilfields have yet to be extracted out.
2. The unstable situations in Iran and Iraq has prevented the exploition of gigantic oilfields that could equal what we have in the Persian Gulf now!
3. There are many offshore oilfields that are yet to be touched--just that could triple the world's known supply of crude oil.
4. We've barely begun to exploit the oil in oil shale and oil tar sands--an amount estimated to be around 5 trillion barrels between the oil tar sands in Alberta, the oil shale in the Rocky Mountains, and the oil tar sands along the Orinocco River in Venezuela.
5. Improvements in coal-to-fuel technology could mean all that coal could be converted to petrol, diesel fuel, and kerosene.
6. Developments in using oil-laden algae grown in seawater could mean an unlimited supply of motor fuels within 20 years!
In short, the whole idea of peak oil is political baloney.
Why is there a plateau? Why isn’t it spectacularly rising from discoveries all over the world? Why is the plateau not calibrated in BTUs rather than barrels, and what is that in BTUs per capita as population rises?
Why would China sell coal reserves to Japan in 1941, when Japan was in the middle of massacres up and down the Chinese east coast?
What is the conversion efficiency of coal to petroleum and can it be done at 80 million barrels per day with all the fresh water in the world?
The Japanese wanted Indonesia’s oil to fuel their society and the US Navy would have prevented that. They would have enforced the embargo. No sovereign nation can allow another to dictate its policy via embargo, just as the US refused to allow the Arab oil embargo to dictate its policy towards Israel. So the Japanese had to react.
Worshiping at the altar of technology necessarily presumes that what we might call miracles will occur and they will occur on an as needed schedule.
Look, the bottom line here is an incredible number of lies are being told. Propane is being called equivalent to crude. In some articles “barrels of oil equivalent” are being used to lump a concept of *hydrocarbons* together and 1 barrel of volume containing room temperature natural gas has 1/1000th the BTUs that oil has.
There is no energy crisis. There IS an oil crisis. There is no answer to be found in conservation. The answer is in military suppression of competing consumption.
Well, the first problem is that prices have been suppressed for decades due to the cheap oil the Saudis have been sitting on. They have made it largely uneconomic to pursue most other sources on a serious basis until about 5-6 years ago. They have been actively helped by US government policy that has suppressed US petroleum development.
These days demand has grown to a degree that even the Saudis can’t keep other sources off line.
The Japanese held most of Chinas coal resources throughout WWII. Of course the Chinese would let them do what they wanted - these parts of China were under the Japanese direct or indirect control for 20 years. Thats a big reason the Japanese wanted China in the first place - not to make synthetic oil of course, but because Japan was resource-poor.
More generally, we don’t need miracles. We have very well understood, proven technologies to apply to these problems.
The problems have been cost, chronic undercutting by lower cost producers, and government policy.
I don’t see an “incredible number of lies”. You just need to get the unpacked figures and go to the sources, not newspaper stories. The newspaper stuff is written by idiots for idiots. This is not worth getting paranoid about.
I believe we reached “peak oil” back in 1980.
And, of course, we are certainly not at a plateau.
Petroleum production is increasing rapidly. Look at the chart.
That’s not petroleum. That’s all liquids. Look up what NGL means.
sorry there buyaya, I got distracted and hit post before I was done.
CERA are oil industry consultants. The industry works by persuading people to give them money with which to explore, and then sell the “discovered” leases as fast as they can before failed production appears.
The graph is all liquids. It includes NGLs (Natural Gas Liquids, which are propane and butane and ethane) and those don’t create gasoline. More important, they lump in “biofuels”, which one thinks at first glance is biodiesel, but it’s not, primarily. It’s ethanol.
Your car won’t run on ethanol. Your car will run on 15% ethanol (if you’re a risk taker) or more likely 10% ethanol. The rest is gasoline.
It’s not about gallons or barrels. It’s about BTUs. British Thermal Units. Or Joules. It’s about energy content. A barrel (42 gallons) of crude has 5.6 million BTUs in it. A barrel of room temperature natural gas has 5.6 THOUSAND BTUs in it, and if you cryocool it and turn it into liquid it’s still only 60% of crude’s energy content.
Gasoline is 18,400 BTUs/lb. Ethanol is only 9750 BTUs/lb.
It’s all deception and lies. CERA can’t permit any aura of “improbable” to be conveyed to possible drilling investors.
You want to draw that graph, draw it in BTUs. You need double the ethanol amount to equal a barrel of crude.
The US didn’t produce 10 mbpd of oil this year. It produced about 5.6 mbpd and it’s had to ramp up hugely the number of drill rigs to do that. This is down from 9+ mbpd back in the early 80s. We are sprinting up (drilling frantically) in the US just to offset the down escalator (old field production decline (5+%/yr).
As for worshipping at the altar of horizontal frack drilling, it’s not new. It’s been around for 20 years. It hasn’t been used because of the crushing reality not spoken of by hypesters trying to attract money, namely:
Horizontals Die Vertically.
You drill horizontal, you fracture the surrounding rock to free what is in its pores, you flow the oil, and YOU ARE THEN DONE. It’s not a gravity drainage methodology. You drill, you get production, and when it goes empty, it does so with a vertical avalanche on the production graph.
The average Bakken well is doing a MAXIMUM of 1200 or 1500 barrels a day, it holds that for a year or two and then it CRASHES. The production falls vertically. You are at 50 barrels a day in 3-4 years. They have to drill frantically to get field production up and then after just a few years as the crashes start, they can’t drill fast enough. The field production will fall.
Contrast this with Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, where wells have produced big numbers for decades. Horizontals die vertically. They aren’t the miracle. They aren’t anything but deception.
RE: I believe we reached peak oil back in 1980
So what do we have today? Unpeak Oil? :)
Contrast this with Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, where wells have produced big numbers for decades. Horizontals die vertically. They arent the miracle. They arent anything but deception.
Horizontal wells in tight shale formations like Bakken are a way to get production at economic rates, recover the cost of the well, and make a profit. Vertical wells in the same formation, even fractured vertical wells, would not access the same amount of formation and would not recover the same amount of production.
Scroll down the following link to see some production plots for Bakken. Link Note how oil production from Bakken went way up after the introduction of horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing. Horizontal wells are not a "deception." They are an economic way of producing such fields.
You mention Ghawar in Saudi Arabia. Comparing Ghawar and Bakken is an apples and oranges comparison. Ghawar is a high porosity (~35%), permeable limestone formation some 170 miles long by 19 miles wide. Widely spaced wells in such huge, permeable formations can produce at high rates for years.
That is not the case in tight formations like the Bakken. One figure given for the average permeability of the best horizontal zone (the middle zone) of the Bakken is 0.04 millidarcies. Average Ghawar permeability is given as 617 millidarcies or 0.617 darcies, some 15,000 times more permeable than the Bakken. Ghawar also has some "super" permeable zones that offer very little resistance to oil flow through the reservoir rock (i.e., permeabilities of tens of darcies).
The best way to produce a tight formation like the Bakken is to open up more rock face to the well. They do that by drilling long horizontal wells that they then fracture. The cracks of the fractures open a lot of formation to the well, and slow flow of oil (or gas) from the formation into the fractures will continue for a while until the shale close to the fractures is drained. Wells in such tight formations would generally have steep declines in production once the areas near the fractures are drained. Tight formations do not flow easily.
If folks do not recognize the difference in production characteristics between the Bakken and reservoirs like Ghawar, then they haven't sought good technical advice. My sympathies.
“No, hunter-gatherers are, by definition, people who make a living hunting and gathering.”
Don’t be cute. The term doesn’t apply to people who trade their kill within the context of capitalist economies. The term refers to a pre-civlized, pre-agriculural division of labor, wherein people subsist by foraging.
“You dont have to go to Africa or the Amazon to see them. Hunter-gatherers in Canadas far north (and Alaska) use snowmobiles, ATVs and pickup trucks to get around”
That no doubt describes hunters, but I’d be surprised if they do much gathering. Even if they did, they wouldn’t be hunter-gatherers. Just because you hunt and gather does not mean you’re a hunter-gatherer, which isn’t something I’d think I’d need to explain.
You, sir, understand. I am familiar with porosity and permeability. I am also very much aware that Ghawar and Bakken are different animals.
Which Is Precisely My Point. X billion barrels of reserves hyped from the Bakken is NOT equivalent to X billion barrels of reserves in Ghawar. All oil is not created equal, even beyond the absurd equating of a barrel of ethanol with a barrel of crude.
A Bakken well will NOT flow long. It is days of output at 10s of thousands of barrels/day that ramp up the return on investment. If you have to drill (pay to rent on the rig and fund the personnel), collect 2 years of decent flow, and then have to drill again, the Ghawar well crushes the comparative economics. Yes, it’s apples and oranges. It’s apples and oranges in a world where oranges trump apples.
With which you agreed, I know. My annoyance is the hype of the lease traffickers. They don’t lay these things out for . . . no, not the customer. The customers faces caveat emptor. I mean the public. I mean the state’s government. The state’s government which may project flow rates for royalty revenue and run up long term spending plans for its people. The hypesters are tiptoeing on fraud when they tell state oil agencies things like “up to 2 million barrels per day”. They are never going to get there, and if they did, the drillers would be earning an ROI of 0.000001%.
I’ll put up $1 USD in genuine Federal Reserve paper on a bet that that field never exceeds 700K bpd. Alyeska will have shut down by then.
“Go back someday and read carefully about why the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Read specifically about Roosevelts oil embargo of them in August 1941. Think they would have started a war with the US if they could have just pumped oil outside Tokyo?”
This is one of the worst arguments I’ve seen on one of these threads in a long time. That was an entirely artificial and temporary situation. What could it possibly, in a million billion years, have anything to do with peak oil?
Today we have environmental alarmism, that says the climate will go bad if you don’t do what the left wants.
The trouble is that the left doesn’t even want what the left wants. It’s hard to figure out what these retards are doing.
“Are you ready for another big increase in the price of oil necessary to supply the worlds future oil needs?”
You’ve fallen into precisely the trap of the same people who falsely predicted peak oil every single decade since they started to worry about it back in the ‘20s. Every time known supplies shrink prices go up, yes. But this does not doom the industry, or hasn’t yet. If you knew anything about economics you’d know higher prices are an incentive to both more efficiently exploit known sources and to look for new sources.
The trend in booming industries is for prices to start out high and be competed down. Which makes perfect sense. Since when do producers go all in for something people can already get cheaply? Higher prices are a signal to buy into oil, not a warning sign to get out. Unless you truly think there’s no more left to find, in which case it’s a bad signal. But that’s never been the case before, despite 80+ years of false predictions.
The sheeperal left wants only one thing - to feel good about themselves as “good people”.
The evil left wants communism and uses the sheeperal left to further that cause.
“Thats a big reason the Japanese wanted China in the first place - not to make synthetic oil of course, but because Japan was resource-poor.”
That’s also a big clue as to how stupid Japan was, since it could get those resources without going to war by participating in this little thing I like to call trade. They made incredible advances in all realms of civilization by aping the West, only they forgot the economic part. But who wants to rise to world power for being rich when you can have all that fun raping China? I know who: anyone who doesn’t want to be nuked.
In the US we reached peak oil about 1973, when even the wells in Texas could not keep up with demand. Texas went to 100% allowables then. When the US could no longer supply the rest of the world against an oil embargo, that is when OPEC raised its prices.
The US has been extensively explored and most of the big structures that could significantly boost oil production have already been drilled, with the exception of some big structures in Alaska and the deep Gulf.
The rest of the world has not been so extensively explored. As exploration increased around the world in response to higher prices and soaring demand, it resulted in more exploration and more discoveries. Production outside the US went up, but the US hasn't raised its production above the 1973 peak even at today's prices. That's because we ran out of good prospects or weren't allowed to drill in some prospective places.
Also, the price of oil is/was not high enough to justify developing oil shale, of which the US has plenty. If we went ahead and developed the oil shale, OPEC could drive the price of oil down and bankrupt those companies who developed the oil shale. At least, that is so as long as there is excess production capacity in the world.
As the world continues to drill its best prospects, they will eventually run out of such prospects and find themselves in the same position as the US. The price of oil will rise since supply won't meet demand. We will increase production from tar sands and other expensive prospects. IIRC, tar sands are more economic than oil shale, so tar sands are probably the next big source after production from conventional liquid reservoirs starts declining. How soon the world will get in this situation, I don't know.
If you knew anything about economics youd know higher prices are an incentive to both more efficiently exploit known sources and to look for new sources.
LOL. I used to work in oil field development and bidding economics for a major. If the oil price goes up, it makes more marginal fields and risky prospects economic. The supply goes up in response to the higher price. Once conventional reservoirs cannot supply world demand, price will go up and prospects and source types that are not economic at today's prices will be developed.
You are welcome to your definition of “hunter-gatherer” — and knowing what it is, makes it possible for me to understand your substantive points.
That said, “hunter-gatherers&rdquo (by my definition); exist even today, commingled with farmers, industrial workers, and postindustrial symbol manipulators. Agriculture didn't end hunting and gathering as means of a livelihood; nor did industrialization end agriculture. Farmers used to use pointed sticks and sharp rocks to do their work. Just because today's farmers prefer combines and pickup trucks, does not mean that they are no longer farmers. The same applies to hunter-gatherers in the North, who use snowmobiles, ATVs, and pickup trucks. Some of them still use dog teams and canoes to get around — but, both groups still live off the avails of hunting and gathering.
Hunter-gatherers traded with their neighbours, or even further afield. Take the Tlingit, along the coast of Alaska, for instance. They traded far and wide in their canoes. Their contact with western civilization came later than it did for aboriginals in the south. When it did, the Tlingit traded with the Russians, British, and Americans and continued to trade with the Haida and Athabascans.
The point is oil is not everywhere. You can’t drill just anywhere and get oil. There are places it does not exist. If you agree with that, then you agree it is finite, by definition.
The geology is such that millions of years of Japanese earthquakes have cracked any caprock they might ever have had. When caprock cracks, any oil under it fractionates over those millions of years and escapes. It’s also likely why NPR-A tested recently in western Alaska to have a tiny portion of the previous estimate. Too many millions of years in which an earthquake can occur and crack caprocks, and Alaska does have quakes.
Once you accept that there are places where there is no oil, then you have accepted that it is finite. When you have accepted that, then you have accepted there will be a point where frantic drilling can not increase production further.
And you accept that the next step after militarily securing supply is militarily reducing competing consumption. The east coast of China needs to be depopulated if American lifestyles are to improve, or even maintain.
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