Peak Oil Stutters, Stammers, Blusters On
Oil reserves continue to grow year on year for a number of reasons. New technology has placed several large sources of oil within the reach:
- Increasingly large amounts of oil from "depleted wells" can suddenly be produced due to better extraction technologies.
- Much more oil under the deep sea is being discovered, and is becoming more economical to produce.
- Multiple large deposits of tight oil which were previously difficult or impossible to produce, are now producible using new technologies.
- As the price of oil remains inflated, the incentive to develop new technologies and new oil fields expands -- particularly in view of largely stagnant economic activity in other sectors.
- More efficient and economical methods of producing and substituting liquid fuels from unconventional sources such as natural gas, coal, biomass, kerogens, bitumens, and gas hydrates, expand the liquid fuel base
- Increasing substitution of natural gas in place of crude oil in chemicals, plastics, fuels, fabrics, and more create a de facto expansion of "oil reserves"
- The effect of mass production of highly efficient, economical, and safe, scalable new generations of nuclear power, will facilitate a massive and ecnomical substitution of CTL, GTL, BTL, etc. in place of petroleum.
As you can see below, the price of oil has been unbelievably stable over the past 50 years when measured in gold -- as opposed to the US dollar, which is constantly losing value.
The oil in the ground will run out some day. But as the discovery of proven reserves continues to significantly outpace the rate of extraction, the claims that we’re facing immediate shortages looks trashy. _What Peak Oil?Here is more from Leonardo Maugeri:
First, oil reserves are finite. This is incontrovertible. But even so, no one knows how finite they are. And since we don't know the total amount of oil resources existing underground, it's impossible to calculate the curve of future supply.
The inadequate data we rely on today are from the U.S. Geological Survey, and put the stock of conventional oil resources at least seven to eight trillion barrels. More than two trillion of these are currently deemed to be recoverable, while "proven" reserves are around 1.2 trillion barrels. (The world consumes around 30 billion barrels of oil per year.)
Unconventional oil resources (including ultra-heavy oils, tar sands, shale oils, etc.) may equal the amount of conventional ones, thus doubling the overall figure.
Yet, the concept of resources and reserves is dynamic. Throughout history, new exploration and the development of new technologies have allowed to discover new oil frontiers and to develop them. What's more, the U.S. Geological Survey's figures may well be underestimated. In spite of the one trillion barrels of oil that we have already consumed, the total available reserves continues to grow.
Second, new technologies allow us to extract much more oil than initially assumed. Today, we recover on average less than 35% of the oil contained in known fields, up from 20% in 1980. Even the most mature oil country, the United States, still holds huge volumes of unexploited oil underground. Although the country's proven oil reserves are now only 29 billion barrels, the National Petroleum Council (NPC) estimates that 1.124 trillion barrels are still left underground, of which 374 billion would be recoverable with current technologies. _WSJ
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