Daniel Eran Dilger
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You Know the Drill?

Us oil consumption
Daniel Eran Dilger
There’s a mantra being repeated in the US: “Drill here, drill now, get oil prices lower and then invest the money in alternative energy!” The problem: drilling in the US will have no meaningful impact on oil prices, and oil companies have no vested interest in changing anything.

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Investing in alternative energy is supposedly what the oil companies have been doing. They say they are. But in reality, they’re just looking for new places to drill, and as long as oil is priced high, they’ll profitably keep finding new ways to only nearly meet demand, never enabling oil prices to actually go down. Problematically, there’s also not enough new oil in the US to have any impact on oil prices, and not just immediately but well out into the future.

Do oil companies have any motivation to either lower prices or pursue alternative energy sources where they’d be exposed to competition? The US is addicted to oil. We don’t have enough to stay high at home, so we have to find shady dealers elsewhere. They have no interest in either lowering the price of each hit, or in weaning us off the dependance.

Drilling in the US sounds like an easy fix, but there’s not enough oil. Those who chant “drill drill!” as the solution are not looking at the reality that they might as well be demanding more crack on the corner. Just enough more to not have to make any changes in their lifestyle. And guess what? The dealers are raising the prices for the drug that we’ll have to pay any price to get.

It was a mistake to allow an oil-backed administration to disassemble promising alternative energy projects while parading around an impractical hydrogen plan as a diversion eight years ago, and it is a mistake to repeat those same failed strategies today with a new oil-backed administration that wants to provide massive tax breaks to its oil industry partners now reeling in insane profits on high oil prices.

Both sides are talking about change and alternative energy and using a variety of sources to diversify the nation’s energy needs, but only one side is profit-motivated to keep things exactly the way they are for another four years of the same.

Other articles on current events:

Imagine Steve Jobs for President
The Big Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac Attack
Osama Bin Laden’s Dream of US Economic Collapse
You Know the Drill?
Ten Striking Parallels Between Microsoft and John McCain
Obama’s Apple, McCain’s Microsoft: the Politics of Tech

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    12 years of the same.

    Palin succeeds McCain whether he’s still alive or not, and gets to run twice on her own name.

    It’s a horrible vision, but so was Cheney-Bush. If they can pull the same strings as in 2004, they’re in.

  • Zamfield

    Great article. And we definately don’t need the oil industries ideas about investment in alternative energy! Just look at how
    Chevron is retarding the Electric Vehicle industry by purchasing control of NiMh battery chemistry patents and suing the pants off anyone that tries to make vehicle sized cells!

    Just a great, great article, thank you!

  • jerome_from_munich

    Another political column, but this one is addressing the real problem. Whatever president is elected, this is the end of cheap oil.

    Note the word “cheap”. The world still has oils for a few decades (and coal for a few centuries). Fortunately, because the effects on the economy are already bad enough. Just this week another two US banks went poof… gone.

    I would not have too many hopes in alternative energy, though. There is no technology which can produce the energy our civilisation uses with renewable energy. Still: it helps a bit. But what would really help is saving. The US is the most wasteful country in the world as far as energy goes, which also means that they are going to suffer the most in coming years. 45% of the US oil consumption goes to public transportation and for that there are alternatives to gas-guzzlers, suv and pick-up trucks. For lowering that consumption the alternatives are available, they are even on sale at your local car dealer…

  • http://www.adviespraktijk.info Berend Schotanus

    Hey there, what’s wrong with high oil prices?

    High oil prices let consumers rethink whether they really want to travel with energy inefficient modes like SUV’s and airplanes. High oil prices make it worthwhile to access difficult oilreserves and keep supply running. High energy prices makes it profitable to invest in energy efficient cars (and other machines) and in alternative energy sources.

    If you think you’ll die from $50 for a full tank at the gaz station, think again. Here you pay double the price and you can still “enjoy” traffic congestion.

    Invading an oil rich country has worked out very counterproductive when it comes to oil prices. I wouldn’t expect too much from other government intervention as well. But you do have a great option: adapt to the new price level.

  • isserley

    @jerome
    yeah, using less gas & more insulation to the homes could save incredile amounts to US energy consumption, easily 20% within 5 years and saving money in the process. –
    Another module should be http://www.pickensplan.com/theplan/
    i.e. producing electricity through wind energy on a large scale in the great plains…
    — the not so great part od pickens plan is the natural gas part:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas_reserves
    reserves inthe US: 5500 bln m3
    – consumption 604 bln m3 per year
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_natural_gas_consumption

    –> so, if they double consumption, US reserves are depleted within 4 years
    –> and importing natural gas is much more of a hassle than oil

    Matt

  • awilensky

    A great blog for strategic info on why oil and distillates do what they do:

    http://blogs.opisnet.com/

    Everyone should remember that oil is a spot market and is always subject to sale on world market. Even if oil is found and refined here, the Pit (NYMEX,ICE) sets the price you buy it for.

  • brucehoult

    Why is it that the only alternatives are “massive tax breaks” or “a ban on new drilling”?

    How about just getting the government the heck out of it and let business people decide for themselves whether new drilling is likely to make sufficient profit in a real market to be worth doing? The you could dump all the conspiracy theories and the buying and selling of politicians.

  • alexcurylo

    Even if we grant that opening exploration has no impact on price speculation and that the estimate you give of available oil is correct, both of which in reality are highly debatable at best, this article still misses the point completely.
    That missed point is that the main benefits of domestic production aren’t about reducing the price at all. Domestic production is about keeping production jobs and resource revenue inside the country instead of shipping it outside the country. I do believe that there is no extant economic or security model under which that is not a good thing for the nation no matter where the price of oil goes, up down or sideways.

    Of course, buying Alberta tar sand oil and B.C. Peace district oil — hey, you guys can keep doing that all you want. We’re not those people that don’t like you that McCain was railing at, we like you just as much as we like your money. OK, maybe not that much, but more than most. Really!

    [If a subject is “really debatable,” there must be facts that could be used to prove things one way or another. I presented facts from the government showing that offshore drilling would have no impact for a decade, and then not enough to have any affect on prices.

    Does anyone have any facts to prove that the “drill! drill!’ promises will actually have any impact apart from a distraction of the American people while they are lined up to get screwed again?]

  • kent

    I agree Daniel. In fact, we should stop all drilling and all oil production. Producing oil has no significant impact on oil prices. Likewise, Apple should show leadership and stop making computers. Merely following a “manufacture here, manufacture now” mantra will do nothing to satisfy the world’s excessive addiction to computing. Until we address the underlying problem, that the “mechanization of the world, mostly by US made computers, is destroying our world”. Note that American’s use about 40% of the world’s computers while comprising only about 10% of the population. It is time we move to alternative sources of information that don’t destroy our world – Reader’s Digest, MacGuffey Readers, looking at the sky, etc.

    Daniel – with your brilliance and ability to move effortlessly between topics as diverse as computers and oil, you should lead the effort to not only stop ALL drilling for oil, but also stop all production of computers. Only when we do this, and when we retreat to small huts in Montana, made of sticks that fell naturally from trees (not lumber cut by chain saws wielded by mostly Caucasian men) and we eat only what we can find in the forest plantlife, will we be worthy of the name —- Democrats.

    [I see you’ve moved beyond spending 40 minutes to come up with a poop joke. Even so, your genius word replacement lacks much intellectual meat. Rather than trying to suggest that the only option to your dead-end strategies that don’t work is absurd buffoonery, maybe you should wake up and start looking at what reasonably intelligent people have to say. I think you’ve been listening to the echo in your head for far too long.]

  • Janus

    I actually thought Kent’s rant was kind of funny.

    I used to almost squeal with glee when my RSS reader said RoughlyDrafted had a shiny new article to read, because I knew it would be about Apple being awesome, Microsoft being sinister, and everyone else being pretty much clueless–all things that are nice and true.

    Not so much with the politics stuff. It’s a mess, stay away from it.

  • pantonality

    If we [the US] would have started drilling 10 years ago from various places in the country, we would have the oil and gas prices to show for it. There is absolutely no reason why we should as a country rely on other countries for oil when we are perfectly capable of drilling and refining it on our own. That is, assuming the red-tape-police [lobbyists], actually let a company build another refinery since it’s been 30 years since one has been built.

    I really enjoy your in-depth articles on Apple and how it affects Microsoft and vice-versa but stay away from politics.

    [Yes we could have torn up Alaska to find oil, but it would not have had any impact on oil prices today because it would have been an insignificant trickle on the world scene. If you have facts to prove otherwise, please feel free to present them.

    McCain and Palin have both represented that Alaska produces “20%” of America’s oil, but is this false.

    Even at the height of US oil production, we were still importing most of our oil.]

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    Gee, it’s like pressing space in your reader was hard labour…

    Kent’s missive meanwhileat least sounds like he’s a true environmentalist. Here’s a game I like to play with our own highly Messiahanic European ones: agree with the green worldview on the environment, mankind’s destructive role, and that the end is indeed nigh; then bang on about overopulation being the central issue and that we should all live in The Shire like Kent days – green campaigner will be about to whip out the party enrollment forms – then ask in just the same voice “so who do we kill?”

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    By the way: RDM keeps spinning a busy wheel when I post from mobile Safari in iPhone view. Trying in standard desktop mode now…

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    Works fine. Mobile mode needs attention.

  • TexasAg03

    It’s not just off-shore oil they are talking about. The idea is to drill here in places where we currently do not. There is much more to it than off-shore drilling; that is just one part.

  • TexasAg03

    For example:

    http://bit.ly/2kv0GO

    [That’s an interesting link on the Green River Formation. But it starts out by talking about Jordan, which is full of untapped oil shale yet imports 90% of its oil. Did the author not also grasp that Jordan is a tiny country with very limited needs?

    Regarding US supplies, there’s also a relatively new discovery in the Dakotas, which requires drilling at an angle because the oil is locked into very hard rock rather than the easier to obtain supplies we’ve already gone after. High oil prices are starting to make the remains of the US supply that are harder to tap now more feasible.

    But that’s the point: those supplies are not going to dramatically bring prices down because they are more expensive to find and get. So you can add a richer supply to fill your increasing needs, but if you’re not also taking efforts to diversify and lower your needs through conservation, it won’t have any impact on prices because the demand will continue to outstrip supply.]

  • danielmramos

    Is this website going to start slipping away from the technology market and Apple inc? I think you should write about things other than technology, but perhaps starting an alternative website specifically for those subjects would better serve your readers. Another idea is to place a non technology commentary tab at the top of this website.

  • HawkBlade

    Remember people, we HAD an alternative to oil, it was an Electric car from GM, the EV’s… they were so well done that they SHREDDED them, not crushed, not disassembled, SHREDDED!!! Talk about threat to the oil holders. Watch a little movie called Who Killed the Electric Car. Like most movies like this, watch but take it with a grain of salt.

    kent – don’t start with the whole Dem’s vs. Rep’s… right now they are nearly the same thing anymore. But that is a whole another rant all together.

  • MikeInSyracuse

    Dan-

    Oil prices dropped appreciably when the GOP began beating this drum because the producers *believed* we would do it. We hadn’t even drilled a single well and speculators began lowering their price targets on the belief US demand would fall due to domestic production. The mantra has been a success for that reason alone, since we have achieved savings with no investment whatsoever.

    Not that I suggest resting on our laurels; we need more domestic oil production and refining capacity, more nuclear power, and continued R & D into alternative energy. But I have no problem with “drill here, drill now.” It has had a chilling effect on the hyperinflationary crude oil price spiral, and that alone makes it a success.

    -Mike

    [When wild rumors affect a stock price, do you buy with the hope that additional rumors will continue to keep the price well above its actual valuation? Misinformation that temporarily manipulates the market isn’t the same thing as a solution. That’s why the market is now crashing. All of the lies that propped up bad loans are coming home to roost.]

  • StatJim

    Daniel has more insight in what happens in the Apple/Mac world than any “pundit” out there. I greatly enjoy and look forward to his articles. I also believe he has insight into national and international problems and I enjoy these articles too, even though theses articles may be uncomfortable to some.

    I wrote a post on Daniel’s “Ten Parallels” article about peak oil and why it is my #1 political issue. I won’t repeat it here. I read Kunstler’s “The Long Emergency” and I cannot find a counter to his arguments nor has anyone been able to argue convincingly to me that he is wrong. I recently read a Wired article about a proposed electric car grid and it makes a lot of sense. However, even if the entire car economy moved to this plan (it may happen to a high degree in Denmark and Israel) it will not touch the “peak oil” problem.

    Higher prices will make us more efficient, e.g., the average Britain has a higher standard of living (in terms of health care, education, etc.) than we do and they pay $10/gal. We consume 4x the amount of energy per capita than the average European and generally they have a higher standard of living. If you doubt this, travel extensively in Europe as I do and talk with the Europeans, but I digress.

    Yes, the market will take care of the problem in the short run, but increasingly Americans will be priced out of the energy market. Many Americans already live on the energy margins and this will increase. The question is not if, but when we will have $300/barrel oil. Conservation, alternative sources, and a worldwide recession will lengthen the time to $200, $300 … prices, but it will happen in the next decade or so.

    We need to move aggressively to alternatives and this will only work if the government has a strong role. Obama gets this somewhat, but McCain does not. We lost eight years with Bush and we cannot afford more lost years to address the world’s most pressing problem (yes, even greater than the related problem of climate change). I am not suggesting that alternatives, including nuclear, biomass, wind, and solar, can solve the problem, but they will lessen the blow.

    Please read Kunstler’s The Long Emergency” and try to convince yourself that he is wrong. I did, and so far, I cannot come up with a solution since he seems to cover every angle. Will technology save us? Is the electric grid just the beginning of many possible solutions? I hope so, but the grid and other solutions still depend on fossil fuels to some extent, even in Denmark. Wind energy in Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser extent solar, is extensive, but again they depend on fossil fuels to manufacture and maintain these systems. I do believe we will be entering a new era of decentralization within the next quarter of a century. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it will be very disruptive.

    I am in my sixties and will not be affected by “peak oil” as much as most of you, but my children and grandchildren will feel the brunt of it. If you are ideologically inclined, as many of the comments seem to suggest, please look at our problems from a more balanced, practical view for we will not solve these problems behind barricades of rigid belief systems and infighting.

  • jdoc

    Daniel, I’m disappointed. Way off base here.

    -the energy/oil issue has been going on for the past 30 years, and gov’t (both sides) have done next to nothing about it. To blame Bush/Cheney is disingenuous at best. McCain has it right on this one- offer a sum to the private sector/person who can use ingenuity and innovation to come up with a solution; drill now; develop alternative energy policies in gov’t, but all0w the private sector (not just the oil companies) to provide input. Plenty of great minds out there, and plenty of great things have come from the small people (eg, Jobs and Woz- remember them?)
    -you’re out of touch with the majority of Americans. 80% agree that drilling is the right thing to do.
    -Just the mention of opening more of our land for drilling sent oil prices down, and when Bush officially opened the land, oil prices dropped again. The futures market has a lot to do with it.
    -Obama wants more government control- what a surprise- no efficiency; decisions made at a snails pace; etc, etc. OPEC needs a wake-up call, and idle threats of alternative energy policies aren’t going to cut it. They haven’t for the past 30 years, what makes you think they will now?

    [What “wake up call” is going to result from adding an insignificant slice to our supply twenty years from now while our demand grows?

    As other readers have noted, both sides have done a lot about energy. The problem is that recent Republicans have been owned by the oil industry.

    Also, remember that the majority of Americans also initially supported the Iraq occupation, but that’s because the administration lied about the facts. In a climate of lies, neither public opinion or markets can function properly. You’re seeing the results of both in the current energy/economic crisis.]

  • lehenbauer

    You drill now to have it later, and you are way understating the amount of production that will come on line downstream. Even if we got cheap reliable fusion tomorrow it would take years if not a couple decades to convert. Like it or not, energy will still come from fossil fuels for many years to come.

  • tundraboy

    John (Muir), I think you left your irony radar switched off today. Kent is actually bashing Daniel’s position by claiming that decrying America’s oil addiction and saying drilling offshore is not a solution is as silly as complaining about a “computer addiction”. Kent is probably as concerned about the environment as Bush and McCain are about being truthful and honest.

  • ericdano

    I think we should apply this to Daniel. “Write crap, write now, get hits and then invest the money in cosmetic surgery!”

    WTF has happened to your great tech blog?

    [You’re soaking in it! Nothing has changed apart from my writing about additional subjects because I have more time being incapacitated by what you derisively call “cosmetic surgery.”

    Does being a tool satisfy you intellectually, or can you just not help it when you get emotionally upset about facts that challenge your worldview? ]

  • tundraboy

    jdoc you are wrong. The much maligned Jimmy Carter tried to do something about the energy problem and Reagan dismantled everything including long term R&D which might be helping us now, who knows?

    Bush/Cheney deserve a lot of the blame because at a time when knowledgeable people like scientists and ecologists and economic forecasters were saying that cheap oil will end soon and fossil fuels are ruining the planet, they crafted an energy policy based on a secret panel of industry representatives consisting primarily of oil executives.

    So what if 80% of people approve of drilling oil? Was this an informed decision or one whipped up by a would-be presidents who is either a.) not honest enough to tell them that drilling would hardly make a difference or b.) is too stupid to realize that drilling would hardly make a difference.

    Let’s not be too enamored of the wisdom of markets. The current implosion in Wall Street should put to rest this notion that markets can accurately assess value and divine the future. If they did, then why were they churning out all these mortgage-backed securities that turned out to be worthless?

    And you think the the current mess in Wall Street would not have happened if there was less government regulation?

  • tundraboy

    If you listen enough to McCain, you’ll realize he is not a very bright person. No wonder he graduated fifth from the bottom at Annapolis. That is not even average, even if he partied and boozed the whole four years at Annapolis, if he was half way smart he would have been in the middle of the class not the bottom.

    We’ve had Stupid and Evil for Prez and Veep the past eight years. Look what that got us.

    Now Stupid and Stupid-and-Petty want their own gig. God help us.

    Okay, thats enough ranting for the day.

  • jdoc

    Tundraboy: Conspiracy theories will not fix the problem. There have been varying levels of government involvement and gaffes, both sides of the isle, on the energy issue for 30 years+. To deny this is just plain ignorant. The government needs a boost.

    To say such things about McCain is just as ignorant. I suggest you read his book- might give you some insight into his life.

    So basically you’re saying that 80% (or some derivative thereof) of the population are stupid? And you know better than them? More denial… You have no idea whether or not drilling will make a difference. You can listen to the pundits all day long, but only history will tell us for sure. Much of the cost will rely on demand (ie consumer perception of the market), and as has already been demonstrated, consumer and market opinions can have a dramatic effect.

    The “Wall Street Implosion” involves a sector (housing) which comprises 3% of the market. The ripple effect will broaden the damage a bit, but not much- as long as consumer confidence stays high. The GDP grew 3.3% last quarter (more than the 0.7% that it was projected to). The foundation remains strong. This is similar to the S&L mess that happened not too long ago- the markets recovered nicely, and they will again. But confidence abroad and domestically needs to recover first. Unfortunately, the media can only post gloom and doom, because that’s what sells. The American people are smarter than that though, and they’ll come through again. The subprime fiasco was ill-advised from the beginning, but greed got in the way. Not the first time this has ever happened, and probably not the last.

  • nelsonart

    jdoc is correct. I don’t have the time or, ironically, the energy to go into a full rebuttal. It’s painfully clear that economics needs to be taught in school. Even basic supply/demand seems to escape people’s grasp.

    Drill here, drill now is a simple idea. It has already worked without drilling a single barrel of oil. It didn’t take 10 years, but rather 10 minutes. If you’re interested in seeing the full power of market forces at work, watch what happens when we unleash all our American drive, innovation, and know-how seeking the best solution.

    Dan is at least sticking to his ideology. Obama, within one interview with O’reilly, changed course and is now for drilling, nuclear power, low capital gains taxes (not to exceed 20%), and the surge (“it succeed beyond our wildest dreams.”)

    Obama gets it. If France can enjoy nuclear power and dispose of waste safely and efficiently, we can certainly borrow a few ideas and go back to calling those things French Fries.

    Moderates will rule the day. Don’t take the above as criticism of Obama. If you change your mind for the better, you should be congratulated. He’s moving towards center, at least while running. In the meantime, thanks to Bush, we purchased a hybrid and enjoyed a wonderful tax credit.

    Ah… incentives. Who knew they could work.

    [The point is not that drilling can’t be part of the action needed. Nuclear power is another option to help, but as the source I cited points out, even if we built 40 plants on an emergency timetable, it would still only address 1-2% of our energy needs, another proverbial drop in the bucket.

    It’s not that I don’t understand supply and demand, it’s that simplistic chanting of “drill drill” is wrong headed because we don’t have enough oil to have any impact on prices within 20 years. The other side of the supply and demand curve is that WE CAN DEMAND LESS. Needing less oil can have a larger impact that producing slightly more. That’s supply and demand, too.

    Bush made no real effort to reduce unnecessary use of foreign oil, and instead promised he’d use his Bush/Bin Laden links to negotiate oil prices for America. Well he lied. We can’t take more of the same from an oil enamored administration.]

  • polybius

    I think you mean “dissemble” instead of “disassemble”. Your computer background is showing.

    [ha that’s a good word too. I meant take apart.]

  • stefn

    One hundred years from now, people will see us as simply, completely insane.

    “All you could think to do with oil was burn it!?”

  • gus2000

    Solving our energy crisis through drilling is like solving obesity by buying bigger clothes.

    To be clear, NO ONE IS OPPOSED TO DRILLING FOR OIL. We already drill for oil in thousands of places in the US, with hundreds of offshore platforms. No one is suggesting that this be stopped.

    The issue is that the Congress had previously banned drilling in specific environmentally-sensitive areas, and the “drill baby drill” crowd wanted to allow drilling anywhere without restriction. This is what the Democrats specifically oppose, and instead advocate drilling in the thousands of permissible areas first. The Democrats in Congress are actively attempting to increase the drillable areas while maintaining the most important protections; the GOP is opposing this effort, since it will still not permit drilling directly through a humpback whale or polar bear.

    I’m leaning toward T. Boone Pickens on this subject: we need the oil so drill, but it will never be enough and we need alternatives starting now.

  • geoffrobinson

    Obama must be really slipping in the polls. Two articles in a short amount of time.

    The fact of the matter is that I see no reason not to drill. Environmental impact won’t be that bad. It will decrease the amount of money put in outside hands. Good deal all around.

    Better than doing nothing at all. But drill combined with other efforts.

    [The question isn’t about whether drilling is right or wrong; even Obama supports additional drilling. The point is that drilling itself isn’t a solution because we don’t have enough oil and can’t get it out of the ground fast enough to have any impact on prices not just immediately, but even 20 years down the road. Think about that.

    Additionally, the point is also that: when you give yourself one option by selecting an administration beholden to oil interests, you will end up being played because their interests do not align with your own. It’s like buying into Microsoft without realizing Microsoft exists to make software expensive, because that’s how Microsoft makes its money.

    I find it particularly comical that conservative readers, rather than agreeing with me that a monopolized, anticompetitive energy market has been bad, are refusing to even look at the facts and would rather just delude themselves by giving oil companies more welfare and less responsibility and accountability. ]

  • nelsonart

    I don’t know too many conservatives that go along with corporate welfare for oil companies. If I were King, that would be a big UNDO and those funds would flow right back into the treasury.

    I think Obama’s strongest point, and one he doesn’t make, is that if gas does go back to $1.50 or even $2.50 / gallon, that will actually be a disincentive for Americans to cut back, buy a hybrid, invest in energy-saving products, etc. Without the market demand, companies will shift gears as well.

    The paradox of wanting low energy prices right now vs. long term energy independence. I fear we need $4 gas to keep us moving towards the latter.

  • gothgod

    Nice post!

    @John Muir: Overpopulation is only a problem of poor countries, in the rich part of the world population is shrinking. So all we have to do to stop overpopulation is to make everyone rich. Easy yes?

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    I may well have left my irony senso switched off when I read Kent’s specific rant. It’s always all that Eco-Hobbit imagery which makes me think of What Greens Really Want. The sad thing is I agree with most of their principles and the science. But I know such final solution fantasies have a long history here in Europe. One we sorely try to forget.

    Britain produces most or even all its oil by the way guys. We have rigs all over the North Sea and Scotland is a major refiner too with Grangemouth not all that far away from me, looking like a little piece of Texas.

    But oil PRICES do NOT change just because you use your own. The price is set worldwide in a free market – you know: those things we always whine about when they aren’t there – and so this little old Kuwait of the north pays $8.00 at the pump courtesy of global problems and our own government’s fetish for really screwing us over.

    Also: whoever said the standard of living was higher here than in the US? Bullshit. Hint: our millionaires go west when they need the most expert care. Who flies in the opposite direction? Add to that the egregious price of food, clothes, everything compared to America (caused by breathtakingly high taxes mentioned above), adjust for the LOWER wages, and watch FAIL come up on your calculator. Do have a nice day!

  • kisasi

    Dan, keep up the great articles and folks, please lets put down our silly left/right banners and get clear and focus on solutions and have a real debate about the facts.

  • MikeInSyracuse

    Dan-

    My responses to your comments are below

    “When wild rumors affect a stock price, do you buy with the hope that additional rumors will continue to keep the price well above its actual valuation?”

    I have not been brave enough to try this, but I do recognize that much of a stock’s performance is driven by its coverage in the business press and “analyst” firms. This is especially true for Apple. As a result, I do not invest in solid companies with no coverage because their stock is unlikely to appreciate significantly because no one will ever hear about them. Sure, it could go up eventually but it may not. Press and buzz drive the market for better or worse.

    [Yes they sure do. They’ve drive it right to the current speculative-piloted economic disaster. Markets can’t function in a climate of lies. That’s why we have the SEC.]

    “Misinformation that temporarily manipulates the market isn’t the same thing as a solution.”

    True, but “drill here, drill now” isn’t misinformation. If anything, it’s the opposite: it’s America waking up to the realization that we cannot afford to import our energy, we will need to produce it for ourselves. I also don’t believe the effect is temporary, because after $4/gallon gas I can’t imagine anyone wanting to drive a gas hog again. In fact, I have invested in GM based on that belief: the Volt is IMO an awesome concept that *may* be the leading edge of a major shift in US transportation. You can bet oil speculators will be watching the 2010 rollout of the Volt very carefully. If it takes off, crude oil is going to get a lot cheaper, I would wager.

    [The misinformation is that “drill drill” will rapidly bring prices down. That is wrong. Moving drivers to renewable energy can help, but putting some people in a Volt isn’t going to suddenly make driving a Hummer affordable again for everyone who bought SUVs.]

    “That’s why the market is now crashing. All of the lies that propped up bad loans are coming home to roost.”

    Well, the bad loan problem is different from the energy problem. I was talking about oil, not Lehman Bros. et. al.

    [Yes, they are different, but both are markets that have been exploited by misinformation and are suffering because the lies have been revealed and the fantasy is falling apart.]

    back to energy:

    “I find it particularly comical that conservative readers, rather than agreeing with me that a monopolized, anticompetitive energy market has been bad, are refusing to even look at the facts and would rather just delude themselves by giving oil companies more welfare and less responsibility and accountability. ”

    Wow, your emotions have overwhelmed your reason. In what way is the energy market monopolized, and what conservative is against competition? I’ve never met one! Here in Syracuse I can choose from multiple electric suppliers and natural gas suppliers, though I don’t bother since rates are largely fixed by the New York State Public Service Commission so the prices from all of them are so close so as not to matter. But that’s not the energy suppliers’ fault! And utilities were made legalized monopolies decades ago in order to get them to invest in the electrification of rural America! I have never heard a leftist acknowledge the capital-intensive nature of the energy industry, whether we are talking about drilling for oil, building nuclear plants, mining uranium, building transmission line networks, laying pipelines, etc. Sure, they take in billions in revenue and profit but they spend billions too!

    [Perhaps “monopoly” would better be phrased “monoculture”. You’re right that there is competition on the retail end of the oil supply, but that doesn’t matter because prices are set by the oil producers. The problem isn’t that we can only buy one brand of oil, but that we can only buy oil-based cars and energy for the most part. We are dependent upon oil and have not made real efforts to diversify, so we’re getting slammed and have no options at this point. I can’t drive my motorcycle to a competing station and refuel with electricity, and if I want to go to LA, my “choices” are to burn oil in a rental car or burn oil in a plane. There is no high speed electric rail yet using locally produced energy. Once CAHSR is built, we’ll have that choice, and there will be less monoculture.]

    As far as oil goes, where is the monopoly? There are several oil companies in America and more still around the globe, but the commodity price of crude oil is largely controlled by OPEC which has nothing to do with being a “trust” or “monopoly” as far as US trade law is concerned.

    And who is giving “welfare” to the oil companies? Do you mean leases to drill for oil on government property? Or what?

    [Massive tax breaks? Why would one industry in a boom that is impacting the rest of the economy be handed back billions of its tax bill? Oh right, because oil would have elected the president.]

    And lack of accountability? How about government-run social programs for that one? New York State by itself spends billions on this stuff with miserable results. Our state government makes the managers at Lehman Brothers look like fiscal geniuses with the utmost integrity in protecting shareholders’ (taxpayers’) interests. The federal government has a track record in this area that is no better.

    Anyway, I disagree that “drill here, drill now” is misinformation analogous to the sub-prime lending crisis and that the energy market is a government-subsidized monopoly. But then I don’t believe in “peak oil,” anthropogenic global warming, that 9/11 was an inside job etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

    -Mike

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    @nelsonart
    I agree. The modern use of “conservative” certainly ain’t what it used to be. Historically it meant freaking out whenever government got on people’s faces instead of demanding it. Fundamentally it should have nothing to do at all with pandering to destructively empowered industries like oil. Where are the real conservatives now? Stranded in Ron Paul theme failure, stuck as independents, and – one hopes – biding their time, hiding their nature, waiting to get elected and take back over the party. Though I’m probably just dreaming of McCain 2000 again!

    @gothgod

  • http://johnsessays.blogspot.com John Muir

    @gothgod (no forward delete on iPod touch!)

    Hmm … is Africa “easy”, or say peace in the Middle East? It’s a funny kind of easy, I’ll say. Cheap fusion power seems trivial in comparison.

    Every so often on the BBC, there will be some environmentalist or another talk about ocerpopulation and go just that little bit too far. (Someone at the top of the Beeb just loves greens by the way. We get the exact opposite kind of media bias here as supposedly does America.) The party line is that overpopulation and overconsumption are the primary problems with the world. But you’re only meant to state it and quickly move on. Not suggest dark fantasies as to what to do about it.

    So, once in a while they mess up and say things like: “naturally, the total population of humans in the world should only really be about a million, based on other apes and predators” or “we were last truly in balance with our environment tens of thousands of years ago, when there were only thousands of human beings in Britain, not tens of millions”.

    I have not, however, yet heard them dare to take the next step which is to draw the route from the billions today to a million or less of their ideal tomorrow. Instead you’ll forever hear some BBC moderator concur “on that chilling thought, let’s move on to the next subject”. These days likely to be Palin or Putin: which should we back?

  • geoffrobinson

    I disagree that the energy market is a monopoly. The problem if anything is that the oil industry works very well so it is hard for a new paradigm to break in. That’s not a sinister plot. That’s just economic reality.

    If people were really interested in energy independence, we would nuke up. But, no. We don’t want nuclear power. Can’t drill. No nuclear power. Wind mills. As long as they don’t block the nice view of rich Kennedy’s off the coast.

    Those are the two feasible plans right now. And there is significant opposition to both.

  • MikeInSyracuse

    Hey Dan-

    This is shaping up to be a good discussion!

    RE: the role of the press and buzz in influencing markets, you wrote:

    “Yes they sure do. They’ve drive it right to the current speculative-piloted economic disaster. Markets can’t function in a climate of lies. That’s why we have the SEC.”

    Amen, as a conservative I do appreciate the role of the SEC because I recognize human propensity to lie, cheat etc. so I agree this is necessary.

    “The misinformation is that “drill drill” will rapidly bring prices down. That is wrong. Moving drivers to renewable energy can help, but putting some people in a Volt isn’t going to suddenly make driving a Hummer affordable again for everyone who bought SUVs.”

    Well, the “misinformation” as you call it (truth as I would call it, namely that we need to greatly increase domestic energy production) DID rapidly bring down the price oil and thus make Hummers/SUVs more affordable to drive. Not as low as it was before, but once voter outcry for drilling was acknowledged we got immediate price benefits. Again, I’m not saying it’s the total answer, but the fact is that just saying drill drill without even drilling anything brought down prices. If we started actually drilling they’d really drop. And again, I am not saying I want to stay petro – I’d love to own a Volt myself if I could afford it.

    “Perhaps “monopoly” would better be phrased “monoculture”. You’re right that there is competition on the retail end of the oil supply, but that doesn’t matter because prices are set by the oil producers. The problem isn’t that we can only buy one brand of oil, but that we can only buy oil-based cars and energy for the most part. We are dependent upon oil and have not made real efforts to diversify, so we’re getting slammed and have no options at this point. I can’t drive my motorcycle to a competing station and refuel with electricity, and if I want to go to LA, my “choices” are to burn oil in a rental car or burn oil in a plane. There is no high speed electric rail yet using locally produced energy. Once CAHSR is built, we’ll have that choice, and there will be less monoculture.”

    I agree that we are heavily petroleum-based, and this reflects the capital-intensive nature of energy. If we were totally electrified, we’d need lots of nuclear plants and it would be hard to find a non-electric alternative as the nation’s capital would have been spent in building an electric infrastructure. This goes to show how careful we need to be in choosing investments in this area since changing the infrastructure is super-costly. I really hope the high-speed rail in California is successful, as I’d like to see a similar service in the Northeast. I love the way Europe does trains, but demographics here (combined with what at least used to be cheap petroleum) has made this unprofitable in the USA.

    RE: oil subsidization:

    “Massive tax breaks? Why would one industry in a boom that is impacting the rest of the economy be handed back billions of its tax bill? Oh right, because oil would have elected the president.”

    What tax breaks are we talking about? America right now has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, so who is getting the breaks? Our corporate tax rate is widely seen as hindering our prospects for growth and thus ultimately weakening our currency, so in what way are the oil companies escaping this noose? See

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/22917.html

    -Mike

  • Joe-Dokes

    The world uses approximately one cubic mile oil per year. This is a tremendous amount of energy. To say that we are addicted to it, is a bit of a fallacy. If we are addicted to anything, it is the fact that we are addicted to a standard of living that has been a great benefit.

    Europeans have driven cars that get approximately double the gas mileage of American vehicles. In addition their higher population densities make mass transit more feasible. Finally, the jet stream brings warm air to Europe, which helps Europe have a much milder climate than much of the US. Thus, while Europeans may act all smug about their energy consumption the reality is that the use less for a number of reasons, many of which are beyond their control.

    Many argue that the amount of reserves available in the US will not meet our current or future consumption needs. As a result we should look for alternatives. Duh!! Sure, but to ignore the resources available at home can make that transition smoother. For example, let’s say that opening the Artic, and Off Shore would increase US oil production by 1 million barrels a day for twenty years. At a 100.00 barrel this would keep 730 Billion Dollars. This money would stay in America, providing American Jobs and American fuel. This is 730 Billion dollars that would NOT go to fund Madrasas. This is 730 that would help our trade deficit. This is 730 billion that would increase the coffers of the US and state governments.

    Thus, while drilling would only have a marginal effect on the world oil market, it would greatly benefit the US. Further, as others have pointed out, markets work with knowledge, and the price is based upon scarcity. When you make a commodity artificially more scarce you can’t help but drive up the price. Thus, ANY increase in supply must lead to an decrease in price, (if demand remains constant.)

    Further, many in the markets are now surprised that oil is below $100.00 a barrel. I find this perplexing. Perhaps because they never bothered to take a basic economics class. I remember, reading arguments that oil would hit $200.00 a barrel and demand would still outstrip supply. This as though people’s behavior wouldn’t change. Low and behold, gasoline consumption in the US is down 5% this year, after a 2% decrease the year before. And Gasoline consumption is down in Europe as well.

    Even with oil below $100.00 per barrel I think that the average American is more likely to buy a car that gets better mileage. Thus, the days of buy cars that get less than 20MPG on the highway are largely over. Many pundits like to argue that during the 1970 energy crisis, the US did not make the changes necessary to keep us from having another crisis. I argue that not only did we make changes, the changes were significant enough that we were able to afford gas at close to 3 times the 1999 price before we really began to change our behavior. For example, as a percentage of GDP, we are able to produce twice many goods and services while using less energy. Thus, the US has made great strides towards being more energy efficient.

    My main problem with the energy debate, is it is like the debate I have with my wife over dieting. She being the typical american is always looking for THE ANSWER. As a result she doesn’t realize that the answer is a million little answers. The answer to our energy issue is not a single one. It is a million. Is it thin film solar cells? Sure, but that is just part of it. Is it Solar in the desert that heats sodium? Sure, but that is just part of it. Tidal energy? Probably Wind? You, bet. Coal? If we can sequester the carbon? Natural gas for transport (T Boone Pickens) sure but don’t let that bastard continue to rent seek. Nuclear? Yea, but bury it deep. Energy efficiency? You bet and lots of it.

    The reality is that NOT ONE of the above is going to solve more than 5% of our energy issue but combined we’ll see some real shifts in how energy is made, and how much pollution is a result. So Dan’s right, building 40 new nuclear plants will not solve our energy issues, but building 40 new plants, giving incentives to millions for roof top solar panels, creating tidal farms that harvest electricity from the tides, switching diesel to electric trains, switching from diesel to CNG to power our trucks, will actually result in REAL drops in BOTH our energy dependences as well as our dependence on foreign oil.

    So my mantra is..

    Drill NOW
    Build NOW (you fill in the blank solar, wind, nuke, tidal)
    Conserve NOW
    Be Efficient NOW
    Recycle NOW

    We can do all of these, in some ways we have too.

    Regards

    Joe Dokes

  • kent

    Oil is a resource created for man to use. So are iron, gold, water, air and our bodies and minds. Oil is not bad. In fact, it is very good. It is a very useful part of creation that we should all be thankful we have been given. It is a part of every Mac and every Dell. It is a part of almost all the products we use every day. Oil is one of the most vital products to our daily existence. So we need to disabuse ourselves of the notion of “alternatives”. There are no alternatives that have the amazing attributes of oil.

    Of course there are other sources of energy and they should be used based on their ability to deliver value and meet our needs. But oil is special. And it is plentiful. And if used properly, it is not harmful. Oil is good. And amazingly, the known reserves of oil now are vastly greater than they were 20 years ago. More and more of it is discovered every day.

    Even now as we debate this, the Chinese are planning to drill in the Gulf not to far from Florida, where US companies are banned from drilling by our Democrat Congress. The Russians are moving quickly to claim the vast energy resources of the Arctic not far from ANWR, which our brilliant leaders have made off limits. And of course the shale oil in the Rockies was put off limits just six weeks ago, again by the Democrats in Congress. Add to that the majority of the Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelf and most of our known reserves are off limits. Of course, much of the clean coal in Utah was put off limits by Bill Clinton when he declared the huge Utah coal reserve “a national preserve”. And nuclear – off limits. So, the people who insist on alternatives only want alternatives that are fuzzy, dreamy alternatives that cost nothing to produce and create no impact. Only alternatives that don’t actually exist are OK to todays picky but fashionable environmentalist. Now you might say, a thinking rational person knows that no energy source capable of meeting our needs can be produced without environmental tradeoffs. And there are no alternatives capable of meeting our growing needs. But these are thoughts of adults – not the adolescent mentality that we hear most often on this – as typified by Daniel’s original post.

    The adults will continue to meet the energy needs you have, which you whiners are incapable of meeting yourselves. They are doing it now as you can’t take care of your own needs. For the adults in the audience, we will thank the one who provided us with petroleum – it is a wonderful natural resource that has made our life longer, more comfortable, more fun and has the potential to continue doing so. Thank you for this blessing.

  • DeerInHeadlights

    I guess you can’t expect much from someone who thinks carbon is a poisonous substance that is causing the planet to boil.

  • harrywolf

    Dan, you have written another great article and the debate that has followed is a good one.
    Less complaints every time about ‘politics’ – soon someone will notice that this site is called ‘roughlydrafted’ not Macmania’. Cool.

    Joe Dokes – you have the most open perspective and I like it a lot.
    Can we add ‘Keep gas prices high with a 25% tax’ that goes directly to all of the other parts of the Mantra?
    I can imagine the outcry as the tax magically disappears into the general fund, but the idea is a good one.

    We NEED high oil prices IF we can use the cash to build all the alternatives.
    Oil is great – Oil plus electricity is WAY better.

    The most important point here is Dan’s assertion of the existence of a climate of lies and deceit. He’s right, and if you are unaware of this climate, then you will get twisted up trying to hold on to old paradigms – left and right, conservative and liberal, etc.

    Drill all you want – it wont change a damn thing. Keep buying our Canadian oil – it wont change a thing.

    It really is time to build some alternative transport methods and cut consumption of energy in the USA and Canada by 50%.

    BTW, Canada has the same issues as the US, but as we are 10% of the size, nobody seems to mind that Canada is, per capita, worse than the USA in energy use and waste.

  • harrywolf

    Oh and you wont have to live in a house made of twigs because we have ALREADY built a lot of nice houses here in North America that just dont need as much energy as we insist on pouring into them.

    All those nice houses just need more insulation and less heat and only one small hybrid car in the garage.
    Live in the basement in summer and turn off the aircon.

    Would that be SO bad?

  • http://caixaalta72pt.wordpress.com João Gomes

    @kent

    What the heck?? This last post of yours, in which you derisively treat us as children, has to be the most backwards-thinking, self-destruction-prone comment I’ve read on this subject for a loooong time. Sir, do you realize how wrong you are on so many accounts?

    For the record, I’m atheist, and a skeptical one at that, and I believe in science above all other things. But even if I didn’t, and decided to make the “Lord gave us [insert your favourite energy source]” speech, I’d certainly turn my attention on, say, equally natural but *renewable* sources of energy. From an historical standpoint, many civilizations did that exactly, to great success. Look at the egyptians, for instance: they adored the Sun-god, and, indeed, He provided them with everything they needed, at least according to their standard of living. I gave their example, but preety much every civilization, including ours until we finally hit the industrial revolution, relied heavily on renewable sources of energy. After that turning point, for comparison, just adjust the scenario for a whole new and improved standard of living and a seemingly inescapable dependence on fossil fuels, and what do you get? A recipe for disaster.

    And don’t even get me started on whether peak oil is true or false, or if true, when will it happen. It doesn’t matter if/when it will happen. The real trouble is that it WILL happen, period (yes, I really mean that… theoretically, even if all goes nice and well I can only reach between 70 and 90 years of age, and it’d still bother me if we were to run out of oil in, say, 2200, because of a little thing called ethics). As will happen the subsequent and irreversible depletion of global oil stocks. It doesn’t take a science degree to get that. And I’m not even going into global warming. Right now, I don’t care so much about arguing over pressing issues like that as I do about dismantling your over-the-top speech, just because of its sheer absurdity.

    Lavoisier postulated the following: In nature, nothing is wasted, everything is transformed. This is true for organic matter (that’s carbon-based chemicals, for you), iron, gold, air, you name it. The only thing which your little apparently uninformed mind doesn’t seem to grasp is that oil, that magical substance you oh-so-much love, takes EONS to be formed on our also beloved planet. While you could, conceivably, melt iron and reshape it, or even try some Verne-esque fantasy of earth-core mining, you can’t just “unburn” oil… You would have to wait millennia for the Earth to grind through enough organic matter just to get but a few barrels of oil. Unless, of course, you believe the earth is like a beach ball filled by God himself with oil, which it obviously isn’t (still, to God’s credit, the little marine creatures and plants which eventually turned into oil were, according to the Bible, created by Him, so, in a sense, yes, He did create oil).

    There are, of course, many other sources of fuel, but the problem resides on the concept itself: fuel (n. – material such as coal, gas, or oil that is burned to produce heat or power.). *Burned*, poof, turned into other useless (or harmful, which to some people seems to be still up for discussion) substances via combustion. Oh, and by the way, you mentioned Dells and Apples… Yes, oil is indeed an amazingly versatile substance. Yet, we insist on *burning* the damned thing when we do have some nice alternatives to it as a fuel, instead of saving it as the precious substance it really is, so we could keep making Tupperware cases, and laptop enclosures, and pacemakers, and mini-skirts, and…

    There’s a name for your state of delusional optimism: it is called denial. No, wait: you suffer from a whole ‘nother different ailment; it is called… [drumroll, please] selfishness! Coz’ according to you, when mankind finally ran out of oil, you’d be pushing up daisies, as everyone in this forum certainly would, too. And, of course, if your optimist view was to turn out even half-true, that would extend to our grandsons, our great-grandsons, and maybe, who knows, a few more generations down the road (until the end of the world? Eternity? Yeah, right…). Still, that wouldn’t make it even the least bit less selfish. Unless… Do you own stock from any oil company whatsoever? Oops, if you did that would make it even more selfish. If it actually happens *before* we die, then I guess we’re probably screwed and, guess what, we will pass away earlier than we would have wished.

    Now, let’s turn, again, to the sun (I promise you, we aren’t actually kids as you said we were, so we are wise enough not to look straight at it, so don’t worry about our eyes, really). Yeah, that large fiery ball in the centre of the solar system (or is it the other way around? Whatever, God did the whole shebang anyway, firmament and all, so there). That humongous energy factory, and the one and true reason why we are even breathing, let alone have a standard of living to talk about. Being the optimist that you are, you would at least expect that mankind could concoct quite a few ways to turn a sizeable amount of the energy provided daily by that star into electricity, and keep our civilization going, right?

    Yes, of course, it may seem that I’m just speculating because I’m not providing any links on the latest research projects on that front (mostly because it’s 5 AM in Lisbon and I’m too tired to do so, sorry), but then again, you’re also not backing up your assessment that oil will keep flowing for centuries to come. Oh, by the way, may I remind you that it was that very energy that made oil reserves possible in the first place? Oh, yes, who could tell…

    This is like life itself: we know it will, one day, end up, so we spend our whole lives trying to delay that very end as much as we can. As a species, we also know that one day, the Sun will go bust and our planet as will know it, will follow the same destiny (hey, maybe we can make an escape just in time… ;) ). If you prefer to believe in the christian ideal of the Apocalypse, well, you’re not really in to a surprise, actually… So why do we selfishly pursue that longevity as individuals and not as a species? Ah… I’ll leave that answer to each and everyone of you.

    P.S. – I’m very into politics, and absolutely love the way Daniel is using his *personal* (not tech, not political) blog to stir things up a bit. And I’d also love to share my thoughts, politically and economically wise, with you, but don’t honestly think my knowledge is up to snuff with yours yet, so I refrained to actually post something substantial on that front. It just bugs me when some people patronise others in such a crude fashion (pun intended)… I’m deeply sorry for the snarky remarks of my very own devise, but I guess it serves you well, and may even make up for some fun reading (I’ll let you, the other commenters and Dan be the judges). By the way, after all this, I know it may bother you to know that I’m but 23, and do many times feel like I’m an adolescent myself, but I won’t hide that out of fear of being considered an irreverent, whiny child. My bad, at least I still have some ideals and try, as much as I can, live daily by them (I don’t have a car and use mass transportation instead, at home we separate our garbage for recycling and only use energy-saving lightbulbs which we only turn on when needed, etc.). Anyway, it also felt like this thread was lacking in more philosophical angles on this pressing subject. ;)

    Finally, Dan, keep up the good work and enjoy your freedom of speech, after all, there’s more in life besides tech and you should comment on whichever subject you feel comfortable about, hits be damned. People should be mature enough to accept that not everyone has to think alike, and to know that that fact alone is what makes life such a fun and interesting experience. Also, when your views bother them, I suppose they can either ignore or, if they feel such a great urge to comment, just gloss over your political articles in a mildly respectful way. By the way, Dan, you could however label your articles’ respective categories more prominently, as that’s more of a practical, communication design issue than an ideological or editorial one, that could save you the hassle of having your comment area littered with whining (no, I’m not really talking about people like kent, who at least introduces some quirky rants and a fair and healthy dose of controversy, I’m pointing my finger at the “STFU about politics and give me my daily Apple news fix!” crowd instead ;) ).

  • http://caixaalta72pt.wordpress.com João Gomes

    In my closing thoughts about the Apocalipse I should, of course, have mentioned “delaying the extinction of mankind until the very end of the Sun and the Earth”, but I guess it slipped me, duh… Something which we don’t seem really keen on ensuring nowadays, hence our selfishness towards our offspring. ;)

  • Dan Kurt

    Re: The Graph at the beginning U S Oil Consumption 2005 – 2030.

    This a mere projection not known facts. The next 27 years are unknown. Plot a similar graph of the future development of electronic component production. You would laugh at the graph as such a projection has little or no likelihood of playing out. So with the graph you presented. Remember the saying from General Semantics ( a branch of logic ): The Map is not the Territory. This projection is merely that, a map that may or may not accurately project the future. It probably is not an accurate projection.

    [When you say “this is a projection and not known facts,” and you’re talking about the US Energy Information Administration, it makes it sound like you would rather believe what you want to think that what the facts show. There’s no doubt we might find more oil and new ways to extract oil that are too expensive right now. Neither will have enough impact to make oil prices go down, not now and not in the near future.

    We spent the last 8 years following a oil-backed administration promoting regulation free economics, and the result is high oil prices, a tanking economy, and massive debt.]

    No one and no government bureau can know the future and project what will happen if men are released from Governmental control to explore different avenues to find oil or oil equivalents. Release men to use their talents to find the needed oil. What does the USA have to lose?

    As to the alternative view:

    1) Oil is probably abiotic in origin and exists in as the Russians have shown below basement rock. ( Finding oil below basement falsifies the Fossil origin of Petroleum theory. ) The Russians have been deep drilling for decades and are swimming in Oil. ( Many Western experts doubt the Russian claims, however. )

    2) Virtually all of the explorations by Western oil companies, oil geologists, government experts, academics, and the usual “expert laymen” base their plans to find oil on the premise that oil is a fossil fuel and will be found relatively near the surface and be trapped in sedimentary formations. Given this approach, the belief is that the only oil to be found is limited as most of the “easy to find oil” has been found.
    This belief, has been falsified, by the Russians producing oil from deep formations well below the regime of sedimentary rock.

    3) Educate yourself. Google Abiotic Oil and Russian deep drilling for oil. ( Both sides of the argument can be seen there. ) Read the popular book: Black Gold Stranglehold, Jerome Corsi and Craig Smith, ISBN-10: 1581824890. Read the more scientific book: The Deep Hot Biosphere : The Myth of Fossil Fuels by Thomas Gold, ISBN-10: 0387952535.

    Let technology try and see what can be done.

    Dan Kurt

  • kent

    Joao,

    I treat as children those who use energy they decry, then demand that other people invent and make readily available “alternatives” that fit their childish worldview, even while continuing to use the form of energy they claim is evil and destructive. That is childish.

    Please name me a natural resource vital to human existence that man has completely used. The people on this thread who speak of the end of oil are ignorant of the actual amount of oil that is available to us.

    One other thing – anyone who uses oil and who opposes the exploration for it in the US (ANWR, offshore) is an “environmental imperialist”. Why do these hypocrites readily use oil the production o which has an environmental impact wherever it is produced, but do everything possible to fight the production of oil, supposedly for environmental reasons, in the US. This is of course the height of hyprocrisy. IF the US is to be a significant user it has an obligation to produce where it can unless it sees itself as “better” than Middle Eastern countries which we leave to deal with environmental impact.
    Of course, in reality, there is very little environmental impact (no more than thousands of acres of windmills). The real reason for opposition to drilling is not scientific – it is religious. The opponents are zealous believers in “earth worship” and a part of this is a visceral hatred of the US capitalism, which is deemed the source of all evil, a view of the US as Satan.

    A final point – the oil companies have no obligation to develop alternative forms of energy and more than Apple has an obligation to develop an abacus, to satisfy anti-computing people. The oil companies have an obligation to be profitable to their shareholders. Most of their competitors are “state owned” entitities that are subsidized by their governments. This is the case in Mexico, Venezuela, Russia. These state companies have one focus – increasing drilling and oil production and revenues. The American oil companies can invest in alternative forms if those have a reasonable chance of contributing to the profit goal. Most alternatives require heavy government subsidy to even be produced. So, to those in this discussion thread who oppose oil, go develop your own alternatives if it is such a great idea. You will be richly rewarded. And let the oil companies focus on their job – delivering oil to their customers at market prices. By your thinking, if you just let them do this, they will be out of business like buggy whip makers, in just a few years. I think I will take a different path – I will buy some Exxon stock instead. They will keep making money – the children will keep buying their oill