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The Race for BTUs

World powers are positioning themselves around where the mos
Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 9:57 PM
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The world's major central banks -- including the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the Federal Reserve -- appear to have finally won a major battle in the deflationary war that broke out five years ago in 2007. While the ultimate victor is yet to be determined, it now seems likely that a period of nominal growth could ensue for another two years, perhaps even longer.

This will not be high-quality growth. And little of the growth will be real.

Commodity prices will surely eat away at most, if not all, of any gains that may occur in global GDP. Additionally, while non-OECD growth actually has a chance of achieving some GDP gains in real terms, the prospects for the OECD are not as encouraging.

The Race for BTUs Has Begun

It’s important to put yourself in the minds of OECD policy makers. They are largely managing a retirement class that is moving out of the workforce and looking to draw upon its savings -- savings that are (mostly) in real estate, bonds, and equities. Given this demographic reality, growth in nominal terms is undoubtedly the new policy of the West.

While a 'nominal GDP targeting' approach has been officially rejected (so far), don't believe it. Reflationary policy aimed at sustaining asset prices at high levels will continue to be the policy going forward. 

While it’s unclear how long a post-credit bubble world can sustain such period of forced growth, what is perfectly clear is that oil is no longer available to fund such growth. For the seventh year since 2005, global oil production in 2011 failed to surpass 74 mbpd (million barrels per day) on an annual basis. But while the West is set to dote upon its retirement class for many years to come, the five billion people in the developing world are ready to undertake the next leg of their industrial growth. They are already using oil at the margin as their populations urbanize. But as the developing world comes on board as new users of petroleum, they still need growing resources of other energy to fund the new growth which now lies ahead of them.

This unchangeable fact sets the world on an inexorable path: a competitive race for BTUs.

When Oil Can't Take You There

It was not supposed to be this way.

Less than ten years ago, the universal assumption was that liquid BTUs would ferry the world through its next phase of growth. The central thesis underpinning these forecasts, of course, was a belief in the large size of the world's total resource base. Because this view was so widely shared by geologists, its soundness was not questioned. It’s critical to understand that within the industry itself, there was a nearly universal assumption that higher prices would make the next tranche of oil resources commercially economic -- and easily so.

For example, when ExxonMobil declared in early 2004 that they could bury the market in oil should prices ever move above $40 a barrel, they believed that forecast very strongly.

Let’s consider that the role of the petroleum geologist in this regard, whose task is to locate and make recoverable these resources. It was not then, nor would it be now, a very appealing prospect for that professional to consider that the next set of resources might be so expensive to develop that many economies and regions might not be able to afford them. You can see such perspectives in books that appeared 4-5 years ago, such as The Myth of the Oil Crisis, which correctly identified the vast oil resources still to be extracted, but missed the slow rate at which these resources would be developed. Indeed, if there is a single concept that trips up experts and laymen alike, it is the changing rate at which many natural resources have started to come to market in the past decade.

And because of this, we've seen a number of forecasts for significantly higher oil production coming from the media and the financial sector during the past few years.

Last autumn, for example, I chronicled the flurry of exuberant calls for US oil independence and showed that a 2 mbpd decrease in US oil consumption had been completely marginalized in favor of a 0.5 mbpd increase in order to deliver a positive headline that the US was becoming less dependent on foreign oil because of increased supply. In Selling the Oil Illusion, American Style, I noted that such an uptick in US triumphalism was likely to accompany high oil and gasoline prices, as a way for the US to tell itself a reassuring story while the pressure increases on politicians and policy makers.

Indeed, Dan Yergin’s There Will Be Oil in last year’s Wall Street Journal was the start, I think, of a campaign to pressure the government to open more lands for drilling in the United States. Since then, high gasoline prices have been all the rage on every blog, talk show, public news radio station, and in the media at large. However, not since those naive days of 2004-2005, when oil first crossed the $40 mark, have I seen such an outlier supply call than the one that came through Citigroup in just the past few weeks.

The Latest Big Call: North America as Oil Giant

Ed Morse leads an energy research team at Citigroup and is well known for accurately calling oil’s price in 2008. But Citigroup's recent call for a potential doubling of North America's liquid petroleum production over the next ten years seems little more than a dream-wish.

Once again, we turn to the Wall Street Journal, which has now shown a definite habit for providing free space to those who call for North American energy abundance and independence. Speaking of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, Mr. Morse writes:

….theoretically total oil production from the three countries could rise by 11.2 million barrels per day by 2020, or to 26.6 million barrels per day from around 15.4 million per day at the end of 2011.     

(Source)

What Mr. Morse fails to mention in his op-ed is that the rate at which Canada, US, and Mexico would have to produce this new oil to meet his prediction would require new oil development and production at a rate of growth seen in the boom-days decades ago, a rate that is simply no longer possible.

Yes, the United States doubled its production of crude oil in 30 years between 1940 and 1970. Yes, from 1970 to 2000, Mexico nearly quadrupled its production of oil. Yes, Canada doubled production from 1980 to 2010. But let’s consider the time span of those periods: They were all 30-year timeframes, not 10-year timeframes.

More important is that for the US and Mexico, the peak of oil production is now in the past. The US peaked in the early 1970’s, and Mexico peaked in the last decade as its singular giant, Cantarell, entered decline. Only Canada has been able to inch up production, but there, too, lies an overlooked barrier: Again, the rate at which Alberta Tar Sands oil is developed and then produced is much slower than conventional oil.

Mr. Morse and the team at Citigroup have made the same mistake that was more prevalent a decade ago. They have mistaken the size of the resource base for the actual flows that are now economically, and geologically, possible.

Rate-Limiting Realities

Have you tired yet of the word rate?

Enrolled members of PeakProsperity.com read my discussion of the two below charts earlier this year. The charts show two different forecasts, five years apart, of future oil production from Canada -- much of which has depended on growth from the Alberta Tar Sands. However, I am using them again in the face of the Citigroup claims so that a wider audience can see how limited the rate of the growth can be, as we face the next set of oil resources.

Recall, too, that it’s not just Citigroup; many Americans and US politicians believe that Canada is a petro-giant that will easily be able to increase oil production quickly to feed future US demand.

Moreover, lest the implication go unnoticed, Ed Morse’s team did indeed (rather foolishly in my opinion) not only call for a potential doubling of liquid petroleum production by 2020, but went on to claim that this would be enough supply to actually move the price of oil downwards, to $85 a barrel by that time:

Excess Canadian crude oil produced from oil sands is expanding at a rate of one million barrels a day every five years. The more that's produced, the less of a market there will be for oil from Venezuela and some other OPEC member countries with similar-quality oil, requiring them to either curtail production or lower prices. Even if oil prices rise in the medium term, we expect 2020 prices to be no more than $85 per barrel, compared with today's prevailing global price of $125.

It is quite incomprehensible that Citigroup could make such a call. I must be blunt: This is not serious forecasting, and there is no support in current trends -- or those of the past 5-8 years -- that would support such a price call.

Even CERA (Cambridge Energy Research Associates) has logged the explosion in the costs to bring on the marginal barrel of global supply, as has IEA Paris, and other energy teams such as Barclays.

Essentially, the Citigroup team is calling for a price of oil 8-10 years from now of $85 a barrel, which is essentially the price already needed today to bring on a marginal barrel of supply.

From Africa to Brazil, and from Russia to Canada, there is precisely nothing in the trends of the past 10 years that indicates finding and exploration costs for new oil are either set to fall or even level out. Geology and the cost of energy itself preclude such a possibility.

But as I mentioned, it is not just economists who mistakenly project fast rates of development from the domain of stubborn, slow, physical reality of the world’s resources. The following two charts show the forecast of future production from CAPP -- The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The first chart is from 2006, and projects production through 2020:

Basically, in 2006 (which significantly raised the forecast from the year prior), the industry expected Canada to be producing 3.5 mbpd of oil by 2010; 3.75 mbpd by 2011; and 4 mbpd by 2012!

Now here is the second chart, from 2011, forecasting production out to 2025.

However, 2010 saw only 2.7 mbpd of annual production.

More revealing is that back in 2006 (the first chart), the industry expected Canada to be approaching 4 mbpd of production by 2011-2012. However, the latest data shows that the 2011 annual average only reached 2.9 mbpd, with recent months hitting 3 mbpd. In other words, the industry itself, on a five year time-frame, missed its forecast by nearly a million barrels. That is not a small miss for a country producing only 3 mbpd.

But given that this is the nature of new oil resources, we should only be surprised that analysts such as the team at Citigroup should have the bravado to call for future production growth at a rate totally unsupported by the nature of these resources. 

The Race for Resources

What the team at Citigroup and other so-inclined geologists and economists are correct about, however, is that human economies will undoubtedly go after the next layer of fossil fuels -- at least until the economics of such a quest beats us back towards some other set of alternatives.

So while North American oil production has virtually no chance to increase, as believed by the cornucopians, there is little doubt that in the quest to gain relief from permanently high oil prices, every possible BTU in North America will be accessed and utilized. More broadly, as the acceptance of the new era of high-priced oil finally (and I do mean finally) broadens out to the wider public, the scramble for solutions will also unfold.

What do I mean by permanently higher oil prices? Well, given that the cost of the marginal barrel has risen so much the past decade and that Asia continues to add to its demand in a relentless fashion, this price forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in Washington looks about right to me: (Annual Energy Outlook 2012):

The lower price path offered by EIA is now out of the question. Only a deflationary depression, sustained for more than several years, would allow for such low oil prices.

Because of geology, and because the non-OECD can afford even higher prices, the world faces a price path -- with large oscillations -- between the Reference case and the High Oil Price case. 

Transitioning to Other BTUs

In Part II: Promising Investments as the Race for BTUs Heats Up, I lay out the latest global energy data showing how the world is already trying to transition away from oil and slamming the door shut on the prospect for any new net growth in global oil production and supply.

Are we closer than ever before to a tipping point, a regime change in which acceptance of high oil prices will broaden out in society? Four years of extraordinary, emergency provision of new credit by Central Banks should be sufficient to create a two-to-four-year mini-boom dominated by the world digging up fresh BTUs as the realization finally sets in that no more oil is forthcoming.

Finally, I identify areas of investment that will play upon the coming scramble new energy resources.

Click here to read Part II of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required to access).

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11 Comments

Mark_BC's picture
Mark_BC
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
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Posts: 250
So does this mean the Coming

So does this mean the Coming Rout may be over and we are now on a fairly smooth upward exponential hyperinflationary trajectory? The CB's managed to plumb in all the necessary pipes supplying freshly printed confetti to all the TBTF's?

Dan Yergin’s There Will Be Oil in last year’s Wall Street Journal was the start, I think, of a campaign to pressure the government to open more lands for drilling in the United States

It seems that even this meme is another diversionary tactic to keep the public from realizing the sorry state of America's remaining oil resources -- to invent another innocent scapegoat to take the blame for high gasoline prices. It's those evil environmentalists preventing companies from drilling! Just relax the regulations and we'll have prosperity! The other day on The Oil Drum, ROCKMAN had this to say about that:

Consider that ExxonMobil plans to spend approximately $185 billion in capex over the next five years on the company's oil and gas properties across the globe. ExxonMobil could spend every penny of that capex drilling on the shales plays in Texas, La., OK and Miss. under the existing regs. They could lease every Deep Water GOM tract that’s currently open and drill a hundred $100 million exploratory wells out there under the existing regs. From my personal experience not once in 36 years have I been prevented from drilling any well I wanted by any regulation.

All they need are viable prospects to do any of this. The fact that they aren’t might be an indication of the future of oil/NG development in the US.

And a few days before that:

Most know I work for private company. We don’t have stock to promote. My owner has never been interested in the shale plays. He requires prospects with a potential of 5 to 1 or better. I began drilling and frac’ng fractured reservoirs over 25 years ago. I’ve been drilling horizontal wells for almost 20 years. My engineer partner and I can match the abilities of any active shale player out there to. We've been offered ridiculous sums to do just that which is why my owner had to put a great compenssation package in front of us. But great only if we succeed. We aren’t drilling the plays because we don’t have the ability or capex to do it. We don’t do it because my owner can make a better return in his other businesses. Again, I’m not saying we wouldn’t make a profit…just not a very attractive one.

Between this year and last I’ll probably not spend close to $100 million of my budgets. So why aren’t we out there drilling all those big conventional oil prospects? We would if we could find them.

I suppose if they opened up America's parks to development then that migh tprovide some relief for a few years. But if America can't survive on 90% of its land, how does it think it's going to survive once it's gobbled up the remaining 10%? And what if the dollar hyperinflates? Then America's available oil will be halved, sans imports.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
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Incontinence.

until the economics of such a quest beats us back towards some other set of alternatives.

My incontinence. My bad, sorry.

maxwellbach's picture
maxwellbach
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Counterpoint

I enjoy coming back to this site now & again to monitor some of the many intelligent conversations taking place here but I don't value them as much as I once did. This commentary is technically excellent but I feel it's just one side of a diversionary debate, the Citigroup/WSJ mendacity being the other. To persist with this debate is to fall into the trap which has been set by the corporatized oligarchy.

Peak Oil is not the issue. When, by government decree, ordinary citizens are prohibited from consuming oil of any quantity, there will be plenty of oil available for those authorised to access it; including our armed services and their owners. The resource base, flow rates and productivity will all be more than adequate for their needs - Peak Oil notwithstanding. If you think there will be a fair market for oil in the future, you're dreaming. There will be a two-stream market and almost everyone reading this column will be in the smaller of those two streams. This split will happen on a trans-national and intra-national basis.

I once heard the head of OPEC being interviewed on ABC radio in Australia. He made a comment (which I've subsequently read elsewhere) that "the Stone Age ended, not for a want of stones; that the Iron Age ended, not for want of iron; and that the Oil Age too will end - and not for want of oil."  We should pay heed to this warning.

I’m concerned that the conversation about Peak Oil, both here & elsewhere, is focused too much on the geological and economic dimensions of the matter with scant consideration of the political dimension. I worry that our brightest minds and most intelligent conversations are directed at the wrong aspects of the problem. In true systems dynamic style we’re pursuing “fixes that fail” because we seem unable or unwilling to tackle the systemic causes. I worry that we are indulging in highly technical debates as an end in themselves rather than confronting the moral and political catastrophe that is our modern warfare economy. When dealing with most problems in life, there is no substitute for intelligence, but in the search for truth and deep understanding, intelligence or cleverness for its own sake becomes an indulgence; an inwardly focused indulgence and in the case of Peak Oil, a dangerous distraction.

Look at the legislation passing thru governments around the world right now. The legal basis and operational machinery for corporatized tyranny are being uploaded as I write. The pace of legislative over-reach and cyber/social control is increasing exponentially. Once this is fully functional, Peak Oil will cease to be an issue. While we sit and analyse the actions of the corporatized oligarchy, they create new realities for us to get our heads around. And while we're distracted with all of that they get on with their agenda.

I suggest it’s time we stopped thinking so much about the science of Peak Oil and started thinking more about how the threat of Peak Everything is negatively transforming our society and what we're doing about it at a personal level. As a community we need to create for ourselves an entirely new epistemic framework and conceptual vocabulary which allows us to understand problems such as Peak Oil in terms not owned and controlled by a corporate elite. All transformational movements in history have managed to do this. For example; we need to stop thinking in concrete terms about the abstraction we call the “Market" - an abstraction which holds such a dominant place in out discourse and thinking that it’s become our God. We are in thrall of it in much the same way primitive peoples were in thrall of their stone idols. While we continue to worship the “Market" and other corporate memes the high priests of these memes - bureaucrats, financiers and industrialists - will continue to control us. We need to create a new consciousness about our ecological identity and revisit ideas such as natural law and moral teleology. We need to have new conversations about natural and human rights as well as physical, intellectual and spiritual abundance.

Intelligent conversations about the science of Peak Oil or about this or that scenario are essential and they don’t come much better than this article but when such conversations become an end in themselves, they risk lapsing into vanity and passivity. Let’s build on this work and expand our intellectual horizons beyond the material and ecomomic dimensions of this problem.

Maxwellbach

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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On the thoughts of Maxwellbach.

Thank you for your thoughts Maxwellbach.

It is my observation that us Indo-European societies stratify easily. This propensity is so inate it is sub-conscious and automatic.

This is not the default position of other peoples. The San have small family groups. The Bantu consider themselves to be someone elses property. The name Bantu means "belonging to ntu". (Or more precicely belonging to belonging to tu. A double possessive case.) To them this is a self evident condition of life.

However conditions change and other default social norms overwhelm our propensity to stratification. I have in mind the Sythians mentioned by Herodotus. They had a rudimentary aristocracy but their lives were primarly those of mounted nomadic warriers.

The nub of my thought is that the future is going to look very different to the present. Should we waste our energy on a class war if our destination is that of waring nomads?

All of these destinies can be subverted if we escape our finite planet. It is this inability to even consider escape that will determine our fate.

RJE's picture
RJE
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The King of Saudi Arabia

The King of Saudi Arabia also said, my father road a camel, I road in a Rolls Royce, and my grand kids will ride camels again (maybe a Bently or some such thing, and the quote may not be absolute). That is the essence of Peak Oil. Lets not forget that we have 7 Billion people, headed to 8 Billion before Peak Oil is really a concern. How we gonna feed 8 Billion people today, and what fuel will run our tractors? What fuel will fertilize our fields for better gross harvests? Looks like modified seeds will be the rage. This issue is not being taken seriously main stream, and as a result will be taken very seriously in the not to distant future.

BOB

RJE's picture
RJE
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PS: Oil/Natural Gas is the

PS: Oil/Natural Gas is the feed stock for fertilizers if this information escapes anyone, and is the reason for more food production. No fertilizer, less food. The list of things from medicines, to containers, etc... is endless that oil provides. The most incredible natural substance the earth has ever known, and we are just managing it so poorly.

BOB

ao's picture
ao
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excellent comments

maxwellbach wrote:

I enjoy coming back to this site now & again to monitor some of the many intelligent conversations taking place here but I don't value them as much as I once did. This commentary is technically excellent but I feel it's just one side of a diversionary debate, the Citigroup/WSJ mendacity being the other. To persist with this debate is to fall into the trap which has been set by the corporatized oligarchy.

Peak Oil is not the issue. When, by government decree, ordinary citizens are prohibited from consuming oil of any quantity, there will be plenty of oil available for those authorised to access it; including our armed services and their owners. The resource base, flow rates and productivity will all be more than adequate for their needs - Peak Oil notwithstanding. If you think there will be a fair market for oil in the future, you're dreaming. There will be a two-stream market and almost everyone reading this column will be in the smaller of those two streams. This split will happen on a trans-national and intra-national basis.

I once heard the head of OPEC being interviewed on ABC radio in Australia. He made a comment (which I've subsequently read elsewhere) that "the Stone Age ended, not for a want of stones; that the Iron Age ended, not for want of iron; and that the Oil Age too will end - and not for want of oil."  We should pay heed to this warning.

I’m concerned that the conversation about Peak Oil, both here & elsewhere, is focused too much on the geological and economic dimensions of the matter with scant consideration of the political dimension. I worry that our brightest minds and most intelligent conversations are directed at the wrong aspects of the problem. In true systems dynamic style we’re pursuing “fixes that fail” because we seem unable or unwilling to tackle the systemic causes. I worry that we are indulging in highly technical debates as an end in themselves rather than confronting the moral and political catastrophe that is our modern warfare economy. When dealing with most problems in life, there is no substitute for intelligence, but in the search for truth and deep understanding, intelligence or cleverness for its own sake becomes an indulgence; an inwardly focused indulgence and in the case of Peak Oil, a dangerous distraction.

Look at the legislation passing thru governments around the world right now. The legal basis and operational machinery for corporatized tyranny are being uploaded as I write. The pace of legislative over-reach and cyber/social control is increasing exponentially. Once this is fully functional, Peak Oil will cease to be an issue. While we sit and analyse the actions of the corporatized oligarchy, they create new realities for us to get our heads around. And while we're distracted with all of that they get on with their agenda.

I suggest it’s time we stopped thinking so much about the science of Peak Oil and started thinking more about how the threat of Peak Everything is negatively transforming our society and what we're doing about it at a personal level. As a community we need to create for ourselves an entirely new epistemic framework and conceptual vocabulary which allows us to understand problems such as Peak Oil in terms not owned and controlled by a corporate elite. All transformational movements in history have managed to do this. For example; we need to stop thinking in concrete terms about the abstraction we call the “Market" - an abstraction which holds such a dominant place in out discourse and thinking that it’s become our God. We are in thrall of it in much the same way primitive peoples were in thrall of their stone idols. While we continue to worship the “Market" and other corporate memes the high priests of these memes - bureaucrats, financiers and industrialists - will continue to control us. We need to create a new consciousness about our ecological identity and revisit ideas such as natural law and moral teleology. We need to have new conversations about natural and human rights as well as physical, intellectual and spiritual abundance.

Intelligent conversations about the science of Peak Oil or about this or that scenario are essential and they don’t come much better than this article but when such conversations become an end in themselves, they risk lapsing into vanity and passivity. Let’s build on this work and expand our intellectual horizons beyond the material and ecomomic dimensions of this problem.

Maxwellbach

Excellent comments!

One need only look at the end game and "reverse engineer" it to deduce the high probability events that will occur in the interim period.  We already have a two tier legal system and two tier financial system.  A two tier energy distribution system is a logical sequelae.

Plus the value of oil lies primarily in its ability to allow wealth extraction from each and every person on the planet.  When it runs too low to allow that wealth extraction to occur in an efficient and fluid fashion, we will move on to the next energy source (capable of synthesizing anything we get from oil now), which by that time, will have its bureaucratic and corporate control structure in place such that TPTB wealth extraction process can continue with minimal interruption and disturbance.  

Arthur Robey,

Great points as well.  FWIW, there's a very high probability that we already have the means to leave the planet ... and the solar system ... faster than most imagine.  It's just that you and I are not in a position to book passage.

robert essian,

What makes you think that TPTB want us all to be fed?  The manifesting plan is that we NOT all be fed.

Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 507
Peak Oil is the issue

maxwellbach wrote:
Peak Oil is not the issue. When, by government decree, ordinary citizens are prohibited from consuming oil of any quantity, there will be plenty of oil available for those authorised to access it; including our armed services and their owners. The resource base, flow rates and productivity will all be more than adequate for their needs - Peak Oil notwithstanding. If you think there will be a fair market for oil in the future, you're dreaming. There will be a two-stream market and almost everyone reading this column will be in the smaller of those two streams. This split will happen on a trans-national and intra-national basis.

Maxwellbach,

If someone invents a device that defies our current understanding of the laws of physics, or someone discovers a way to obey physics and harness energy from a currently unknown source, I will humbly apologize for my following questions/comments. Until then ...

I strongly disagree with you about Peak Oil not being an issue. Our current population (7 billion) cannot exist without the machines that plant/harvest/process/transport the food that we eat. I agree that governments will procure as much as they need, but they will purchase it from the market at market price. The commoners will have to pay more for petroleum products to compete with the government, and then will be asked to pay more taxes as well. The government may begin a rationing program for the commoners, but they'll exclude themselves from participating.

maxwellbach wrote:
I once heard the head of OPEC being interviewed on ABC radio in Australia. He made a comment (which I've subsequently read elsewhere) that "the Stone Age ended, not for a want of stones; that the Iron Age ended, not for want of iron; and that the Oil Age too will end - and not for want of oil." We should pay heed to this warning.

I'm not sure if you say that we shouldn't be concerned because there will be something to supercede petroleum before petroleum becomes scarce, or if human population will decrease to the point that diminishing supplies will be adequate. There will always be oil in the ground. The problem concerns economical extraction. If the energy returned on energy invested isn't sufficient to warrant the expense of drilling, the oil will remain below ground.

maxwellbach wrote:
I’m concerned that the conversation about Peak Oil, both here & elsewhere, is focused too much on the geological and economic dimensions of the matter with scant consideration of the political dimension. I worry that our brightest minds and most intelligent conversations are directed at the wrong aspects of the problem. In true systems dynamic style we’re pursuing “fixes that fail” because we seem unable or unwilling to tackle the systemic causes. I worry that we are indulging in highly technical debates as an end in themselves rather than confronting the moral and political catastrophe that is our modern warfare economy. When dealing with most problems in life, there is no substitute for intelligence, but in the search for truth and deep understanding, intelligence or cleverness for its own sake becomes an indulgence; an inwardly focused indulgence and in the case of Peak Oil, a dangerous distraction.

I get the impression that you think Peak Oil is a problem with a political solution. If we stop the modern warfare economy, we'll delay the effects and increase the impacts of peak oil on humans. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the military industrial complex. I wrote in "Ron Paul" for president in 2008 and I plan to do the same in 2012. I expect the same overall effectiveness. So, what do you propose that we do to combat the political system?

maxwellbach wrote:
Look at the legislation passing thru governments around the world right now. The legal basis and operational machinery for corporatized tyranny are being uploaded as I write. The pace of legislative over-reach and cyber/social control is increasing exponentially. Once this is fully functional, Peak Oil will cease to be an issue. While we sit and analyse the actions of the corporatized oligarchy, they create new realities for us to get our heads around. And while we're distracted with all of that they get on with their agenda.

I agree that it is despiccable. Most people want to believe that their governments are truthful and concerned about their citizens. Here's where we disagree, Peak Oil will exacerbate the misery felt by us commoners. Governments will find a scapegoat to blame. Will it be greedy speculators, recalcitrant exporters like Iran, the wacko environmentalists, or ??? I guarantee the government won't blame themselves.

maxwellbach wrote:
I suggest it’s time we stopped thinking so much about the science of Peak Oil and started thinking more about how the threat of Peak Everything is negatively transforming our society and what we're doing about it at a personal level. As a community we need to create for ourselves an entirely new epistemic framework and conceptual vocabulary which allows us to understand problems such as Peak Oil in terms not owned and controlled by a corporate elite. All transformational movements in history have managed to do this. For example; we need to stop thinking in concrete terms about the abstraction we call the “Market" - an abstraction which holds such a dominant place in out discourse and thinking that it’s become our God. We are in thrall of it in much the same way primitive peoples were in thrall of their stone idols. While we continue to worship the “Market" and other corporate memes the high priests of these memes - bureaucrats, financiers and industrialists - will continue to control us.

There are plenty of threads on this site that consider the various aspects of Peak Everything. Do you have examples of "epistemic framework and conceptual vocabulary" that transformational movements have used?

The "market" is a varied and nebulous term. Whichever market you position yourself in determines the price for whatever commodity that you wish to sell or purchase. If you are buying and the market price is too high, you can choose not to consume. If you are selling and the price is too low, you can choose not to divest. Bureaucrats, financiers, and industrialists may temporarily influence the price, but cannot hold back the tide forever.

maxwellbach wrote:
We need to create a new consciousness about our ecological identity and revisit ideas such as natural law and moral teleology. We need to have new conversations about natural and human rights as well as physical, intellectual and spiritual abundance.

These are higher order ideals that can only be considered when the lower order needs have been fulfilled. When Peak Oil manifests itself, the abundance we currently enjoy will be replaced with scarcity. Savagery will replace civilization and you'll have to duck human lefts while you worry about human rights.

maxwellbach wrote:
Intelligent conversations about the science of Peak Oil or about this or that scenario are essential and they don’t come much better than this article but when such conversations become an end in themselves, they risk lapsing into vanity and passivity. Let’s build on this work and expand our intellectual horizons beyond the material and ecomomic dimensions of this problem. Maxwellbach

I'm constantly amazed that otherwise intelligent individuals in the general population have little or no knowledge of Peak Oil. Many people I talk with haven't even heard the term, let alone the ramifications it will impose upon society. Until it is a buzz word in Joe Sixpack's vocabulary, politicians will avoid discussing or dealing with it. The last US president who acknowledged the problem was Jimmy Carter. He has been unfairly painted as a weak, sweater donner. It wasn't the image that America wanted and we voted in a rugged movie star to replace him. No candidate wants to repeat Carter's mistake. Do you really think we can afford to exclusively focus on the Zen of Peak Oil at this time?

Grover

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RJE
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ao, I always thought it was

ao, I always thought it was the generosity of the people that feed people not our government. They may print (there's that word again) the food stamp coupons but it is each of us who feed those who are hungry.

I always cringe a bit when I read similar statements that it is the Fed this, Government that. For instance: The dollar is backed by the full faith and credit of the US Government. When it should read: The dollar is backed by the full faith and credit of the citizens of the United States.

I am highly confident that in the end of whatever journey we are on it will be the consensus of the people that will prevail not the governments. Even the elite will step aside when the people determine what path we will take. After all, you are only as good as the soldiers, and the people of the United States, the greatest collection of survivors during past famines, and holocausts coming together, and melding our differences and creating all that we have will somehow manage to bring that forward when a crisis is determined and follow leaders, and casting the bullshit artists aside in route. BOB

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ao
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robert essian wrote: ao, I

robert essian wrote:

ao, I always thought it was the generosity of the people that feed people not our government. They may print (there's that word again) the food stamp coupons but it is each of us who feed those who are hungry.

Bob,

By and large, the generosity of people feeding people is not a common occurrence except in the case of charitable provision.  Feeding people occurs mostly as a consequence of the business of agriculture and related food production and distribution businesses.  But governments establish policies which can result in people being fed or not being fed.  The Ukrainian Holodomor is the classic example of this situation but in the past century we've seen examples in Communist China, Cambodia, North Korea, and many other areas.  And with regards to food stamps, we don't feed others because of our generosity.  We food others because our government takes tax revenue from us to do so.  And while taxes are considered voluntarily, try not paying them and see how voluntary they are.

With regards to the consensus of the people prevailing, that is wishful thinking.  For example, the American people were against the bailouts by a factor of 100:1, one of the largest pluralities ever seen in American politics, but nothing was done.  Read xraymike79's post #1586 and you'll find out why.  The America that you and I were raised in, that you imagine exists, no longer does. 

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