Sunday, June 06, 2004

Peak Oil

Is the world running out of cheap oil ?

Economists and Geologists seem to disagree.

I came across a DVD documentary called "The End of Suburbia" while surfing around on Google, it looked interesting so I ordered a copy, paid via PayPal - great, and expected it to arrive in the UK in a month or so - was being sent from the US.

I then forgot all about the subject and carried on with my business, family and hobbies, oblivious to the missile which had been aimed at my world-view and which was winging its way to be.

The DVD docm. arrived after about a week - fab, I had a free afternoon and popped it in the PC to watch.

... one DVD later ...

I was shell-shocked. It wasn't the environmental "cut back consumption to rein in pollution" which I'd been expecting.

It was far worse. We were heading for an endless series of recessions.

I started reading at
Then other (more scary places) like
Then I started buying the FT (London Financial Times) more regularly than normal for me (once a week). There were oil stories everywhere. But hardly a mention of how bad these guys thought things would be.

Why ?

Well, it _seems_ unlikely that major Oil and Motor companies, Power companies and Governments would know "the truth" about this and just pretend it wasn't happening.

I enjoy an episode of the X-files as much as anyone, but I find it difficult to believe in a conspiracy involving a wide range of people and organisations. People are just too prone to make mistakes, things leak out, lots of people would be buying up farms and building fences around them. Actually, come to think of it... :-)

So... it then seems likely that the Peak Oil people are wrong.

I bought online, download and read Kenneth Deffeyes book on Oil Production (it's on Amazon, search for "The Hubbert Peak", it's about 7 pounds inclusive if you download it and read PDF)

The FT the other day had a large article by Martin Wolf entitled "COMMENT: Oil is more vulnerable to politics than to geology.". The conclusion matched the title.
I emailed him (unfortunately an overlong question re. KD's book) to ask about Peak Oil. He replied quickly saying that the volume of oil produced was increasing year on year, therefore it was politics not geology which was limiting it.

I checked the EIA information...
There's LOADS of it.
But it seemed to me after reading here that although the volume of oil produced is indeed increasing, there is a drop in the volume of high quality 'sweet' crude.

This would imply that oil is going to get more expensive as the proportion of sweet crude continues to decrease.

Am I right ?


  1. Nice start, Mr. Excessive!

    You are the
    second blogger
    that I ran across to recommend this DVD.

  2. I think these things must be true as the volume of oil is finite and there must be a point at which oil starts becoming more scarse and the price rise. It is possible to artificially maintain the price of oil by gaining interests in counties that still have reserves however that will create a bubble that will eventually burst making the impact of the eventual end of the resource even greater.

    Surely only the immediate planned to decrease or remove our dependance on oil is the only way forward. A world without oil but with technology will be an interesting thing to consider.


  3. Thanks Martin ...

    It will certainly be interesting to find out how dependent on cheap oil is our advanced technology.

    Electricity supply might be a problem if Peak Gas kicks in as an issue. I wonder how tight the gas supply is in the UK ? Will we see more planned powercuts this winter, next winter, regularly by 2010 ?

    Without electricity most of our advanced technology will become interesting paperweights.

  4. We've got new copies of Matt Savinar's book "The Oil Age is Over" available now for quick shipping to UK and Europe.

  5. I can't believe you took at face value what the EIA said. They're run by the US Government and present a pack of lies based on what they'd LIKE production to be.

  6. Well I appreciate that EIA may be lying, but I think my point is that even if they aren't then there is still a peak on high quality - so called 'sweet' crude.

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