Peak Oil News: Oil Companies Are Now Debunking 'Peak Oil' Alarmists

Monday, September 18, 2006

Oil Companies Are Now Debunking 'Peak Oil' Alarmists

The Huffington Post

By Raymond J. Learsy

"That argument known as peak-oil theory has provided intellectual backing for the boom in crude prices. . ." This quote comes a September 14 Wall Street Journal article that was entitled "Producers Move to Debunk Gloomy 'Peak Oil' Forecasts" and detailed efforts by Exxon Mobil and Aramco to counter peak oil advocates.

The piece appeared more than a year after the publication of my book, "Over a Barrel," the first chapter of which challenged the notion of oil as a scarce resource. And it was published barely a week after my post, "Massive Oil Find in Gulf of Mexico Brings Gloom to Peak Oil Pranksters" 9/08/06 (you always read it first on Huffington). That post, focusing on the important Gulf of Mexico find underlined the vast potential for new oil discoveries not only in the Gulf but across the planet. The giant Gulf find serves as a harbinger of significant oil discoveries to come, and it highlights why we should all be skeptical of the peak oil theorists.

What I forgot was the peak oil pranksters view their opinions as closer to theology than theory. My Huffington article was bombarded with barbed comments and understandably self serving challenges. It was as if I had questioned received wisdom and, possibly more significantly, a key link to ever higher prices.

The truth is, the peak oil alarmists have been around in one form or another since -- or even before -- the first U.S. oil well was drilled in the nineteenth century. In 1855 when people were making patent medicine from crude oil that bubbled to the surface in Pennsylvania an advertisement for Samuel Kier's Rock Oil cautioned buyers: "Hurry, before this wonderful product is depleted from Natures laboratory!"

And so it is today with the peak oil pundits. Their convoluted geological and too-often-opaque jargon tells us as much about current world oil reserves as predictions back then, that oil in Pennsylvania would run out. It did, but by the time that occurred there was more oil around than Samuel Kier ever imagined.

Two things, though, make me nervous. According to the Journal article, I find myself allied with Exxon Mobil and Aramco on an issue. They are attacking peak oil but not because the price of crude is at stratospheric levels (even with recent pullbacks). They want policy makers and consumers to be comfortable about using oil and planning for petroleum consumption in the future. They are obviously becoming frightened that the search for oil substitutes could be harmful to their prospects in the years ahead. And, indeed, they should be. It is high time we put these modern-day robber barons out of the gouging and climate change business.

To be clear, my argument with peak oil is that it has been used as an effective yet spurious tool to ratchet up oil prices and transfer literally trillions of dollars to the myriad players of the oil industry and their hangers on -- all at our expense. I'm not arguing for lower prices so that we can use more. Given the looming disaster of global warming, it is essential that the price of oil come down and our utization of oil decline. The money now pouring into Big Oil's coffers needs to be used for more productive and environmentally urgent purposes, rather than public relations and 'K Street' lobbying billions, that are deflecting our attention from such urgent issues as green house gasses, global warming and their impact on our future.

And here's another twist: The U.S. Department of Energy, our government's ambassadorial mission to the oil and gas industry has asked The National Petroleum Council, an oil and gas research group, to investigate peak oil claims. To head this study will be none other than the "Gipper" himself, the oil industry's own Lee Raymond, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon and the famous recipient of a $400 million plus retirement package. It was through his actions, by example and deed - serving as a beacon to others in his industry -- that we are now being held up at the gas pump to fatten their bottom line and make those payouts possible.

To paraphrase, "We're in good hands with the oil boys!"


At 10:24 AM, September 18, 2006, Blogger EWJ said...

So the author says he'd like to see oil be cheaper, and we use less of it. That would indeed be wonderful. It would also be wonderful if jelly donuts were good for you, but I don't see that happening either.

Why would the public use less oil if it cost less? If you think the world is a place where the masses do things for altruistic reasons, you've got another thing coming. Oil use won't drop significantly until the price forces it upon us. In theory that could happen with cheap oil I guess, if taxes on oil were extremely high to make it expensive to the end user. But that wouldn't provide any monetary relief to the customer.

I loved the part where he implies the recent oil field find in the Gulf of Mexico proves peak oil is a hoax. There will indeed be many new fields with new reserves found in the future. But the question is will those finds keep up with the depletion of the current fields? It's certainly possible they might for some time, thus pushing peak oil off into the more distant future. But in the end there is still only some much oil in the earth, and at some point we'll use half of it and production will start slowing down. You can debate about the date, but unless some replacement energy source takes over, you can't rationally debate that it will happen eventually.

At 7:30 PM, September 19, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





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