Peak Oil is You

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Page added on October 30, 2019

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The oil age is coming to a close


The oil industry faces an uncertain future. The world is rapidly waking up to the severity and immediacy of the threat from climate change. At the same time, electric vehicles are getting cheap enough to compete with internal-combustion engines. Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects electrics to begin taking over in about a decade:


Meanwhile, concerns over groundwater pollution are leading to growing calls for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, the main source of increased U.S. production during the past decade.

This doesn’t mean the petroleum industry will die. Plastics, most of which are derived from oil, will continue to be important for a huge variety of consumer and industrial applications. And aircraft and ships will take longer to shift from oil-based fuels. But it does mean that consumption will shrink. Where a decade ago people talked fearfully of oil supplies running out, now some are predicting that demand for the black stuff will peak in just a few years:


Reduced demand for crude will send prices plunging, cutting into profits at oil extractors and refiners. Share prices of oil majors have drifted lower in recent years:


But the pain felt by these titans, and by smaller producers, will only be the beginning. Those companies lie at the center of a vast network of suppliers and oil-services companies, which all will feel the sting of reduced demand. And regions that depend heavily on oil-related industries will see their economies suffer.

Biggest and richest among these regions is Texas, which still produces more than a third of the country’s oil and has benefitted tremendously from the fracking boom. Houston has become a superstar city, attracting talented people from all over the globe to work on the advanced technologies that sustain the petroleum industry. Although the state has diversified its economy quite a lot since the 1980s, by some estimates 1 out of 8 jobs in Texas are supported by oil. A big structural contraction in the oil industry won’t destroy the Texas economy, but it would be a stiff headwind for decades. Jobs are already being lost as the industry retrenches, thanks to low prices.

Meanwhile, the nearby states of Oklahoma and Louisiana are just as exposed, as are many lightly populated states such as North Dakota and Wyoming.

Workers in the energy industry need to be prepared for this shift. For knowledge workers, such as geologists, chemists and software engineers, this means cultivating technical skills that can be useful in other fields such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, health care or finance. For managers, it means establishing a network of professional contacts outside the oil and gas industry. Transitioning out of the industry might mean relocating, but chances are that a city such as Houston will be able to leverage existing concentrations of human capital to lure in new industries. In two decades, Houston might be known as a biotechnology hub.

Lower-skilled workers and fracking boom towns, however, will have a much harder time landing on their feet. In contrast to the coal industry, which has shrunk over the years to only about 50,000 miners, the oil and gas industry employs more than 700,000 blue-collar workers. Just like manufacturing workers who lost their jobs to Chinese competition in the 2000s or construction workers laid off in the Great Recession, these workers are going to have difficulty finding new jobs for similar pay.

The problem will be compounded for those who live in the small towns and cities that grew up around oil-extraction sites. Americans have been less willing to move from place to place in search of work in recent decades, and big cities are no longer lands of opportunity for those without an advanced education. The decline of the oil industry may leave the country dotted with yet more decaying half-empty ghost towns, unable to pay for the upkeep on their infrastructure, afflicted with drugs and alcoholism and suicide.

Governments at the local, state and federal levels should work to prevent this unhappy future. People in decaying oil towns can be given vouchers to help them to move, perhaps to a nearby thriving college town. The government can offer financial incentives for companies to employ laid-off oil workers, perhaps in growing fields like solar energy. Former oil workers could even get vouchers to pay for them to go back to school.

The march of technology means oil’s days are numbered. And for the good of the planet, that transition has to happen as fast as possible. But it doesn’t mean the people who gave their lives to getting energy out of the ground should have to suffer.


21 Comments on "The oil age is coming to a close"

  1. ANAL REAPER on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 10:20 am 

    I can’t wait to rape and pillage when the collapse happens.


    YOU NIGGERS!!!!!

  2. Obviously on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 10:23 am 

    “And aircraft and ships will take longer to shift from oil-based fuels”

    Lol – really?

  3. Obviously on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 10:25 am 

    Taking bets on how fast Anal Reaper gets fed to the hogs.

  4. Richard Guenette on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 10:52 am 

    Instead of capitalism, why don’t people use bartering?

  5. dave thompson on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 11:03 am 

    When the age of oil ends industrial civilization ends. And so it goes.

  6. Cloggie on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 12:43 pm 

    “When the age of oil ends industrial civilization ends. And so it goes.”

    The stone age didn’t end because the world ran out of stones. Iron age, some story.

    Many Americans have great difficulty thinking out of the box.

    Make that: out of the oil-drum.

  7. Cloggie on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 12:53 pm 

    “Instead of capitalism, why don’t people use bartering?”

    Simple: say you produce screwdrivers and need a new television. If barter would rule, you are now obliged to find a television producer in need of screwdrivers.

    Good luck with that.

    However, I can very well imagine barter on a very large, continental scale.

    Say that the EU engages in the Chinese offer to organize the Eurasian economy around the Chinese New Silk Road project:

    The EU could say to China: listen, international trade is good, but only if it is balanced, read you buy roughly as much as from us as you buy from us. Our mutual economies have roughly equal side anyway.


    You can agree to accept each others currency and that a maximum amount of currency reserve exists on either side, say 3 trillion euro, before stringent measures kick in, namely a buying spree on the part of the party which just accumulated more than 3 trillion euro (or yuan equivalent). If one party out-competes the other, the former needs to increase its wage level in order to make it less competitive.

    In this arrangement, Europe and China can agree to provide order to this planet together, as they are more than strong enough to do so.

    I think the Chinese would go along with that.

    They even suggest it with their map, linked to above.

  8. Cloggie on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 1:10 pm 

    No more fighting for that rare charging station… 10 minute charging is coming!

    “Charge your electric car in just TEN MINUTES: Engineers develop new fast-charging technique that will allow drivers to add 200 miles to the range of their vehicles in the time it takes to get a cup of coffee and use the toilet”

  9. supremacist muzzies jerk on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 1:22 pm 

    Muzzie FGM NASTY is dead in ny. This is in America
    Consider the long term damage it does to society having 7th century supremacist muzzies animals around

    Muzzie akbar sayeed caused whitey supertrad John Bradley to commit suicide. Why put any muzzie in position of authority at all

  10. Cloggie on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 1:23 pm 

    The early adopters of the electric car, enabling the end of the oil age.

  11. supremacist muzzies jerk on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 1:47 pm 

    Cloggie on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 1:10 pm
    Supertard why dont you talk about wind anymore. I was just kidding when I said it’s wind of your tail end.

    But the problem won’t electric cars is less severe without getting rid of the equivalent of gas stations. Have fresh batteries ready to install. Make cars that makes it easy to swap batteries. Pay for charge not for owning the battery

  12. dave thompson on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 4:25 pm 

    Electric cars only exist because of FF inputs. No FF inputs, no electric cars.

  13. Bloomer on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 4:38 pm 

    If electric cars are going to run off of power generation by coal or natural gas plants, stick a fork in humanity, we are done.

  14. Antius on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 5:01 pm 

    A short time back I visited Prague. So far as I could tell, most of the journeys in that city were powered by electricity. There was a modest amount of car traffic in the city, but most people got where they needed to go using trams and underground trains. These are electric vehicles, drawing power directly from the grid. Batteries not included (or needed). Transport was cheap; for the equivalent of US$4, you can ride the entire transport system for up to 24 hours.

    These are amongst the most energy-efficient transport modes known to man. I am sure Cloggie can confirm this, if he can drag himself away from his Brexit obsession for 10 minutes.

    By comparison, electric cars like the Tesla are an expensive and energy intensive joke, that few people will be able to afford. They are an impediment to large-scale electric transport, which will ultimately rely on large grid-connected vehicles, especially trams.

  15. makati1 on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 5:35 pm 

    Electric trams were common in the US in the 1940s and 50s but were demolished by the big car and oil companies in the 60s. Some of the old rails are still embedded in the asphalt and concrete roads today. Electric trains replaced the coal steamers.

    Electric cars are a sick techie joke, as Antius said. Not going to be more than a fad for the wealthy. Ask the EV owners in the blacked out parts of California how “convenient” they are. LOL

  16. Antius on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 6:30 pm 

    Here are the real electric cars that ordinary people might be able to afford in the real world.

    They aren’t popular at the moment of course. Who wants to sit in a small bullet shaped carbon fibre shell, two feet from the ground with some twat bearing down on you at 50mph in a Darth Vader SUV weighing several tonnes? They could run over you and not even notice.

    The car needs to die for the velomobile to be born. And that includes electric cars, which are really just an expensive way of trying to sustain the unsustainable. They are a failure of lateral thinking.

  17. Cloggie on Thu, 31st Oct 2019 10:05 pm 

    Expect Volkswagen to lead the e-market by 2025With 50 models and with a big margin and bring cars below 20k and battery cost reduced to 2k:

  18. Davy on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 4:53 am 

    “Expect Volkswagen to lead the e-market by 2025With 50 models and with a big margin and bring cars below 20k and battery cost reduced to 2k:”

    That’s a bold prediction cloggo. You might want to consider the German Auto industry is falling apart and that might push out your overly optimistic assumptions.

  19. full woke supremacist muzzies jerk maximum newspeak double rainbow all the way across the sky so intense on Fri, 1st Nov 2019 10:36 pm 

    The oil age is coming to a close

    O_RLY? wait until supertard big muzzie beard #2 shows up

  20. Cloggie on Sat, 2nd Nov 2019 8:00 am 

    The picture that says it all. Fatal design flaw Boeing Max 737:

    Boeing in a last minute effort to bring down fuel consumption in relation to the Airbus 320-neo, replaced the engine with new, larger ones. It was no longer possible to simply hang them below the wings, because the engines would have scratched the tarmac, so they were mounted BEFORE the wing, changing the flight characteristics dramatically, introducing the necessity to change the computer controls. That in itself would not have been fatal but the plane went through a certification process, treating the plane design as if it was a 737, a hardly altered plane. The certification procedure was correspondingly lax.

    Boeing btw still has a back-log of 4400 737 planes. Profits came down with 20% to “merely” 20 billion. But the reputation damage is considerable.

  21. full woke supremacist muzzies jerk maximum newspeak double rainbow all the way across the sky so intense on Sat, 2nd Nov 2019 8:27 am 

    Supertard Chistine Douglass-Williams said muzzies changed France permanently
    We are all changed to accept love and fear muzzies. All the kinetic ability is worth very little and never to be employed. Its use is not chance occurrence. Its time they shut down national defense and up jizya payments.

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