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Page added on April 26, 2012

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Robert Rapier Discussing Peak Oil, Speculators, Oil Shale, and Alternative Fuels

I am traveling some over the next two weeks, and did not have a chance to record my weekly video segment this week. However, last Friday I was a guest on Alan Colmes’ show on Fox News Radio, so I will share that this week instead. I had been a guest on his show last month to discuss whether President Obama bears responsibility for high gas prices.

As I said then, gas prices are outside the control of a sitting U.S. president. As an aside, gas prices appear to have peaked for now and are on the way down. Does anyone who blamed Obama for higher prices think he is responsible for bringing them back down? That is in fact a dangerous issue to campaign on, because if gasoline prices fall between now and the election — and you have made a big deal out of how they are the President’s responsibility — guess what? President Obama now takes credit for falling gas prices.

Anyway, I am drifting off topic here. On his show, Alan and I discussed my new book Power Plays. Some of the topics we discussed were:

  • What peak oil means
  • The role of speculators in the oil market
  • Why I am skeptical that we will address rising carbon emissions
  • Whether methane hydrates are a viable alternative energy source
  • The difference between our oil shale resource and oil reserves
  • Which alternative fuels are promising

R Squared



4 Comments on "Robert Rapier Discussing Peak Oil, Speculators, Oil Shale, and Alternative Fuels"

  1. SOS on Thu, 26th Apr 2012 11:17 pm 

    High gas prices are indeed the result of anti energy policies that aim to crucify oil, gas and coal. By artificially restricting supply, as the federal government under obamas leadership is doing through regulation, taxes and prohibiting development on federal lands energy prices are much higher than need be, including gasoline. The keystone pipeline ia a good example of policy restriction and how the president does indeed control the price.

    Right now the federal governemt is working feverishly to stop oil development on private lands, something they have done very well on federally owned lands. One of their main tools is of course the EPA that just announced they aim to crucify oil, gas and coal.

    The big thing right now is natural gas. There is more natural gas than we know what to do with. Storage in the United States, well over 1 trillion CFeet, will be full this fall.

    Natural gas prices are at all time lows. There is a major conversion occuring in private industry and even Europe is working on converting all fleet carriers to LNG.

    In addition all new power plant permits are based on natural gas as the primary fuel or the secondary fuel at solar installations. This should be a lesson for everyone that beleives the eruopeans are setting a good example.

    There seems to be no limit to NG supplies and drilling continues in order to maintain the leases.

    This author doesnt speak about any of that. His purpose is political. His points are carefully manufactured to direct the focus away from the fact that energy shortages are politically motivated. We have vast reserves of energy in the USA that politics are preventing us from developing.

    There are no physical restraints anymore to abudnat fossil fuels, only political restraints.

  2. BillT on Fri, 27th Apr 2012 1:10 am 

    SOS, you oil company propaganda and political ideology don’t resonate with the people here. It is so ridiculous that you are just laughed at. Give it up. There is no 2 party system in the Us and your vote is meaningless to change anything. When there is a limited supply of anything, the price goes up. Oil recovery is limited in so many ways that it now has passed it’s peak and is contracting everywhere. It has nothing to do with government. It does have to do with EROEI.

  3. solarity on Fri, 27th Apr 2012 4:59 am 

    A review of any oil publication shows that crude production has leveled off which may be ‘peak oil.’ Supplies will probably remain near this plateau for
    several more years and then begin to decline. Anyone who believes that petroleum availability will drastically drop (ie fall off a cliff) in the near future, does not understand Hubbert.
    Hubbert theorized that production level over time follows a Gaussian curve. (But it does not! It actually follows a Poisson, meaning the pre-peak curve will be steeper than post-peak decline).

    But let’s use Hubbert’s curve and start at 1850. If we are now at or near peak, we will continue to be above the one standard deviation level for about
    40 more years. This means oil will be plentiful, but subject to some manner of rationing, caused by ubiquitous demand. I believe the best form
    of allocation is the free-market–meaning open speculation on commodities.

    The dim future speculators are gaming on IS in-fact being caused by government intrusion (or lack thereof).
    If the government had done and were doing everything possible in every way to develop every energy resource available, our energy future would be much brighter, and prices would be
    lower as a result.

    Are gasoline prices outside the control of a sitting U.S. president? Rapier correctly states that administration policies “will have an effect on energy availability a few years from now.” So prices today are based on what happened a few years ago, when the government ignored energy and the
    economy, and focused instead on… health care??

  4. BillT on Fri, 27th Apr 2012 9:00 am 

    solarity, did Hubble know about the financial disaster hanging over the world today? No. You can be sure that if the world financial system even hiccups, oil exports will drop drastically. And if it fails altogether, oil could stop flowing the next day. Our entire world economy is built on the easy transfer of payments between buyer and seller even if they are half way around the world. That is on the brink of disappearing.

    Do you keep cash on hand? Do you have something you can trade for a can of beans besides paper money? What happens if the internet goes down some day or night and never comes back up? Not possible? Really? Solar flare, cyber attack, etc. There are many ways such a delicate system can be destroyed.