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Page added on September 30, 2017

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Peak Oil? Not So Fast


One hundred and twenty years ago the famous American 19th-century novelist and humorist, Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, responded to speculation over his death with the immortal quip, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

So, it would seem with oil.

The rapid and incessant news of newer and greater technologies, coupled with commitments by governments from China to France to replace fossil burning vehicles with electronic vehicles, to seemingly endless improvements in battery life as well as automotive competitors readying to unveil an array of EV fleets from cars to trucks, leaves one with the impression that it’s game over for the internal combustion engine and – as a consequence – oil.

Though the future looks promising, the current and perhaps lasting reality is that global oil demand is, in fact, increasing to a near record levels with consumption now rising at 1.6 million barrels a day above last year or 25% higher than the 20-year average which normally sees growth of about 1.2 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Indeed, this past June, oil consumption touched an all-time record of 100 million barrels a day, if only briefly. This, in turn, may give us a better understanding of why oil prices have risen at least moderately this past month, even while the U.S. increases exports of light oil prompted in part to the tightening supplies in the face of hitherto unforeseen demand scenarios.

Beyond the impact lower oil and fuel prices have had on global demand since oil’s collapse nearly three years ago, the economics of traditional industries like oil and automotive aren’t easily altered or as some commentators have suggested, “disrupted”. If there are 1.2 billion vehicles on the road today, 99% of which are run on fossil fuels, what will things look like in say 20 years when that number of vehicles is set to increase to 2 billion autos? While oil remains relatively cheap and plentiful, the same cannot be said for lithium, cobalt, copper and platinum, all essential to the EV boom many anticipate.

Bold predictions about peak oil, peak demand and the shift to new modes of powering our vehicles remains a more distant but not improbable transformation as the reality of economics continues to hold sway.


7 Comments on "Peak Oil? Not So Fast"

  1. rockman on Sat, 30th Sep 2017 2:29 pm 

    “…what will things look like in say 20 years when that number of vehicles is set to increase to 2 billion autos?” One cannot project what the trend was in 2016 as far as 20 years into the future. But the 2016 new vehicle sales statistic, 84 million ICE’s vs 1.5 million EV’s, does not bode well for the near term.

  2. dave thompson on Sat, 30th Sep 2017 4:05 pm 

    The name “Gasbuddy” implies something along the line of; Keep moving folks noth’in to see here. We have everything under control the nay sayers be damned.

  3. Boat on Sat, 30th Sep 2017 9:22 pm 

    The increase in oil production is the only number that is important. In the future, there will be a month that supersedes any previous production. After that peak oil will never rise above that level.
    Electric cars, electric semis, wind, solar, climate change, nat gas etc are all nipping at the heels of oils market share. But oil demand is strong as the poor of the world fights to own the next 1st world lifestyle.

  4. Anonymous on Sat, 30th Sep 2017 11:08 pm 

    The Oil Drum shut down for a reason. And the peak oil bloggers have run off for a reason. They wanted to act all smarty smart and got spanked by events. And now they are no longer interested in amateur oil industry analysis (even though lots of interesting things going on) when it shows them in a bad light and when they don’t like the results (most of them were anti-FF, welcoming peak oil).

  5. Dredd on Sun, 1st Oct 2017 6:53 am 

    Be patient or you will become a patient.

    Establishment oil is slow to grasp reality.

    But it can happen (NASA Busts The Ghost).

    Oil-Qaeda will be busted too.

  6. Wm-scott on Sun, 1st Oct 2017 9:26 am 

    Peakoil oil is not a question of if, but of when. Just because unconventional oil has allowed us to live on borrowed time and money for awhile, you can’t run the world forever on a limited resources. The high cost of oil has been crushing us economically for years as it has drained the life blood from everything. It has been a slow economic death that could lead to a fatal heart attack when oil supplies some day peak for unconventional oil as well.

    Dread, on your website you focus on glacial melting and seem to miss the far greater threat of glacial surging. A global chain reaction glacial surging event triggered by one large glacier surging into the sea that in turn triggers another, which raises SL enough to trigger the next. Such an event could result in the full potential SL rise in as little as a month. This event has already happened once in human history at the end of the last Ice Age, triggered by a comet impact on the Canadian Ice Sheet. Fortunately total glacial ice volume is much smaller today and we are in no danger of repeating the Deluge. You also have the wrong map on your site for showing sea level rise, since the area east of the Rockies is at too high of an elevation to be flooded by a 240 foot rise in sea level. What you have is a map showing the Inland sea that once existed in North American.

  7. JamesTipper on Wed, 4th Oct 2017 7:42 am 

    Why are people so scared of basic math?

    Gee if there’s infinite oil, then why doesn’t Pennsylvania produce as much oil as it used to? My Pennzoil. Regulations? Pish posh. There is little oil there, none of good it, it’s been drilled out.

    The U.S. peaked in the 70’s and would have remained declining if we didn’t pull out the toxic sludge known as fracking.

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