Category Archives: Peak Oil

Peak Oil Stress Centered in Southeast

Based on drive time to work and income it appears that the focus of peak oil stress is centered in the drill-baby-drill geography of the Southeast.

China & Peak Oil

More coverage of Peak Oil by the mainstream press (CNBC):

DOD and Peak Oil

This is the Energy Summary from the DOD’s 2010 Joint Operating Environment Report.  The possible supply crunch circa 2012 would be the equivalent of shutting down Saudi Arabia.

Energy Summary
To generate the energy required worldwide by the 2030s would require us to find an additional 1.4 MBD every year until then.

During the next twenty-five years, coal, oil, and natural gas will remain indispensable to meet energy requirements. The discovery rate for new petroleum and gas fields over the past two decades (with the possible exception of Brazil) provides little reason for optimism that future efforts will find major new fields.

At present, investment in oil production is only beginning to pick up, with the result that production could reach a prolonged plateau. By 2030, the world will require production of 118 MBD, but energy producers may only be producing 100 MBD unless there are major changes in current investment and drilling capacity.

By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD. {Equivalent to the output of Saudi Arabia}

Energy production and distribution infrastructure must see significant new investment if energy demand is to be satisfied at a cost compatible with economic growth and prosperity. Efficient hybrid, electric, and flex-fuel vehicles will likely dominate light-duty vehicle sales by 2035 and much of the growth in gasoline demand may be met through increases in biofuels production.

Renewed interest in nuclear power and green energy sources such as solar power, wind, or geothermal may blunt rising prices for fossil fuels should business interest become actual investment. However, capital costs in some power-generation and distribution sectors are also rising, reflecting global demand for alternative energy sources and hindering their ability to compete effectively with relatively cheap fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels will very likely remain the predominant energy source going forward.

On the Cusp of Collapse?

“The credit crisis exemplifies society’s difficulties in the timely management of risks outside our experience or immediate concerns, even when such risks are well signposted. We have passed or are close to passing the peak of global oil production. Our civilisation is structurally unstable to an energy withdrawal. There is a high probability that our integrated and globalised civilisation is on the cusp of a fast and near-term collapse.”

David Korowicz of Feasta and the Risk/Resilience Network has written an excellent essay on the impact of Peak Oil on our monetary system’s absolute need to grow.  He makes the case that in the context of our highly interconnected and complex systems of civilisation there will be not be anything like a gentle descent into a more resilient and renewable world.  This is a must read for anyone who has hopes of a sustainable future.

2011 Decline in World Oil Production?

The U.S. Department of Energy admits that “a chance exists that we may experience a decline” of world liquid fuels production between 2011 and 2015 “if the investment is not there”, according to an exclusive interview with Glen Sweetnam, main official expert on oil market in the Obama administration.

U.S. no Longer Controls the Price of Oil

More from Gregor on Peak Oil and the EIA and other U.S. analysts stuck hopelessly in the past.

Will the Meek Inherit the Earth?

Excellent summary of current thinking and theories of societal collapse from the New Scientist.  For my own take on the subject go here(How to Avoid) and here(Laws of Collapse).

IEA Predicts End of Cheap Oil

More confirmation of Peak Oil (see bold highlights) from the IEA (formerly in the denial camp).

Mar 09, 2010 (Dow Jones Commodities News Select via Comtex) — By Tom Barkley


WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The chief economist of the International Energy Agency said predicted Tuesday that the “era of cheap energy is over,” with oil supply unlikely to keep up with demand.

Fatih Birol told the National Association for Business Economics that China will be the main driver of global oil demand, which he sees increasing by about 1.5 million barrels a day this year.

China will account for a third of that gain, with the rest split by Middle Eastern oil producers and other developing countries.

However, he predicted that demand from the major industrialized countries comprising the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has peaked.

“They are not anymore the drivers of oil demand, unlike in the past,” he said.

Birol said he has “serious worries” about whether future supply can meet demand.

With investment down and production declining, even if global demand remains around 85 million barrels a day by 2030, about 45 million barrels a day worth of new oil would have to be found to compensate for falling output at existing fields, he said.

The Paris-based IEA is the energy watchdog for the major industrialized nations.

-By Tom Barkley, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9275;

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

03-09-10 1457ET

A Storyline of Global Collapse

In referring in my title here to “A Failed System” I do not of course mean that capitalism as a system is in any sense at an end. Rather I mean by “failed system” a global economic and social order that increasingly exhibits a fatal contradiction between reality and reason—to the point, in our time, where it threatens not only human welfare but also the continuation of most sentient forms of life on the planet. Three critical contradictions make up the contemporary world crisis emanating from capitalist development: (1) the current Great Financial Crisis and stagnation/depression; (2) the growing threat of planetary ecological collapse; and (3) the emergence of global imperial instability associated with shifting world hegemony and the struggle for resources

If you’re looking for the deep underlying narratives that can help bring clarity to the current unsettled state of our world, then this essay by John Foster is an excellent starting point.  Be forewarned that this is not an easy read and somewhat technical in it’s historical summary of economic theory, however if deeper understanding is your goal, reading this essay is well worth the effort.

Peak Oil goes Mainstream

Bank of America and Barclays Capital, two leading oil traders, have told clients to brace for crude above $100 (£64) a barrel by next year, before it pushes relentlessly higher over the decade. This is a stark contrast from recessions in the 1980s and 1990s, when it took years to work off excess drilling capacity built in the boom.

When the Bank of America and Barclay’s on board, Peak Oil has gone mainstream.  more