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Page added on June 27, 2013

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Peak Oil: Energy Independence

General Ideas

An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Jen Alic.

Overall, Americans are being misled about the nature of their dependency. Too much focus on removing the ‘foreign’ element in the foreign oil dependence equation is skewing the larger picture: Independence can only be achieved by tackling dependency on oil itself, not on the origins of oil.

For all the euphoria about the United States being poised to become the world’s leading oil producer in just a few years, the occasional harshness of reality suggests it might be wise to ponder at least a few considerations.

The tight oil/tar sands prospects sound good, play well to an audience eager for some signs that future energy woes have now been consigned to the trash heaps, and are an appealing story for the media to sell. Who doesn’t want good news about our energy future, given that any semblance of prosperity going forward will happen only if we first have supplies in place to make it all happen?

Any legitimate authority studying energy supplies and coming down on the side of “Problems Ahead” would love to be wrong! Who wants major transitions in lifestyles–especially if they’re forced upon us all? Not an appealing story to tell.

But if we are going to properly prepare ourselves for the future—personally, economically, politically, and commercially—we need to have the correct information.

And so for all that hype about our “vast” unconventional fossil fuel resources just waiting to be unleashed on consumers everywhere, we need to recognize that those supplies will be available to us only if oil prices remain high—which creates its own set of problems. Furthermore, unconventional resources and the Magic Technology Fairy are unfortunately subject to the same laws of physics as every other resource. Unconventional resources cost more to extract and refine; they are more difficult to access; they are generally of inferior quality; the wells drilled have an annoying habit of depleting quite rapidly, and drilling wells in the first instance isn’t cheap … and guess who pays?

Planning for a very long future extending well beyond your lifetime and mine requires a bit of foresight, understanding, and more than a bit of reflection to take into account facts and reality. If that future is assumed to be one fueled by the same energy sources we’ve relied upon for a century or two, we’re going to be creating a whole new set of problems for ourselves and our children.

Probably not the wisest strategy….We still have choices.

Peak Oil Matters by Rich Turcotte

3 Comments on "Peak Oil: Energy Independence"

  1. ronpatterson on Thu, 27th Jun 2013 12:22 pm 

    Quote: “our “vast” unconventional fossil fuel resources just waiting to be unleashed on consumers everywhere, we need to recognize that those supplies will be available to us only if oil prices remain high”…

    No, that is simply not so. Those “vast” unconventional resources are a mirage and will not be available to us even if prices remain do high. Those vast reserves of kerogen out west will never be economical and that tight oil in the Bakken is already starting to play out. I expect the Bakken to peak within 12 months or less and that will throw cold water on all those other tight oil plays that are not nearly as prolific as the Bakken.

  2. GregT on Thu, 27th Jun 2013 5:42 pm 

    “We still have choices.”

    Yes we do, and all of them are unpleasant.

    We can keep doing what we are doing now and face likely human extinction within one human lifetime. (which appears to be the choice we are making). We can end BAU and modern industrial society today, and cull our population by several billion people, or we can plan for a low energy future by using remaining fossil fuel reserves to build out alternate energy infrastructure. Which will also result in billions of human deaths.

    Maybe we should have made the right choices when our scientists started warning us four decades ago.

    Nah, no profit in that.

  3. Plantagenet on Thu, 27th Jun 2013 6:48 pm 

    Obama pledged to make the USA energy independent. Lets give him a chance to make good on his pledge. So far we’ve found a 100 year supply of NG by drilling and fracking shales… no matter what happens we’re set in the USA for another century of fossil fuel use.

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