Friday, September 15, 2006

Peak-a-boo oil!

Whatever the disagreements I may have had with the little shaver previously, James Waterton has a percipacious article on Peak Oil up at Samizdata.
However, of late Peak Oil's slip is showing to such an extent that even an organisation like the ABC cannot deny it is distinctly iffy. I would go further; it's demonstrably false. Mark Nolan, ExxonMobil Australia's Chief Executive controversially stated earlier this week that

According to the US Geological Survey, the earth currently has more than three trillion barrels of conventional recoverable oil resources. So far, we have produced one trillion of that.

When an oil company representative talks like that, one tends to believe him - oil companies have a natural interest in maintaining a perception of scarcity to maintain upward pressure on the price of crude.

This is, of course, excellent news for our current way of life.
Considering the pace of development of alternative energy sources, the famous quote from former Saudi oil minister Sheikh Zaki Yamani that "the Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil." is looking more prophetic than ever. Peak Oil chaos? Stuff and nonsense.

I would say that this assessment is probably correct but, as I have pointed out before, I think that the pace of change will be driven by other factors. No, not global warming; it seems unlikely that there is much that we can do about that at present.

It is politics. We need to wean ourselves off the oil as fast as possible in order to negate the stranglehold that the dictators in the Middle East have over us. Then we can gently let their economies fall apart and watch as the Middle East either struggles towards its own Enlightenment—an event that has not happened simply because, with the oil money flowing in, it has not needed to—or collapses into an African-style irrelevance.

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