Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Fossil Fuel Age Is Being Extended Another 60 Years

“The fossil fuel age will be extended for decades,” said Ivan Sandrea, president of the Energy Intelligence Group, a research publisher. “Unconventional oil and gas are at the beginning of a technological cycle that can last 60 years. They are really in their infancy.” _NYT
Unconventional energy resources are putting the lie to peak oil doomers and global scarcity enthusiasts. New technologies for drilling oil & gas deep offshore, high in the arctic, and horizontally into tight shale and rock, are creating another global oil & gas boom cycle that will last decades. Throw in all the oil sands, heavy oils, and oil shale kerogens, and you are talking about real energy resources.
Now add all the methane hydrates, all the coal, all the new biomass resources, and the potential of a nuclear renaissance in modular reactors, molten salt reactors, fast integral reactors, LENR, and small scale fusion -- and we are talking about a lot of very versatile energy.

Large numbers of leftists and greens have become addicted to a philosophy of global scarcity, doom, and collapse. The doomers of peak oil and the carbon hysterics of climate doom have taken over the media, the academy, and many of the world's governments and inter-governmental institutions. Hundreds of billions of dollars are squandered yearly on this philosophy of doom -- to the point that it threatens to become self-fulfilling. Pessimism becomes a habit, an addiction. The doomers, the greens, the dieoff.orgiasts have invested themselves so deeply in doom, that they are unable to pull themselves out of the quagmire. And so they are trying to pull all the rest of us in with them.

There are a number of solutions to this problem of contagious top-down indoctrination into doom philosophy. But if the Obama economic depression goes on for much longer, many people around the world will began to grow desperate and call for scapegoat sacrifices. Should that process begin, it will signal the beginning of a rush to societal suicide. At that point, you would need to be located within a zone of relative sanity and safety.

On the other hand, all of the powerfully placed doomers, energy starvationists, and dieoff.orgiasts may be pushed aside by a wave of prosperity so powerful that they cannot hold it back. That would mean that Barack Obama is no longer in the White House, and that the global economic powerhouse was being unleashed once again, freed from self-destructive, suicidal policies of the lefty-Luddites.

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Blogger Ruby said...

Peak oil doesn't mean the end of fossil fuel resources, particularly oil. It means the end of "cheap" oil.

The first half of the reserves are easy to get to, the last half are harder, take more technology and energy to extract and process, which means higher costs, financially and to the environment.

The results are empirical for every region that has past its peak.

I do enjoy your blog!

9:36 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks for the comment, Ruby.

I try to keep reminding myself that the key issue is "useful energy." Oil just happens to be a particularly useful form of energy at this point in time.

In my mind, the question is not whether accessible oil will grow more expensive in time -- even adjusting for the shrinking dollar. Rather, I wonder whether the growing move away from petro-fuels will begin before or after energy expense causes a significant global economic slowdown.

If a prolonged economic depression is caused by high energy prices, it will most likely be due to political interventions rather than technological or geological developments, in my opinion.

The possible alternatives to oil -- as energy -- are numerous and immense.

9:31 AM  

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