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Peak Oil is You


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Page added on April 30, 2007

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Apocalypse later … maybe

Commentary: Once-strident commodities letter more subdued about oil


…There was a time when I could rely on Outstanding Investments for a resounding apocalyptical quote. How about this, from two years ago: “… For every SIX barrels of oil currently consumed, only one new barrel is discovered. And that number is getting worse there were only 13 major oil finds (over 500 million barrels in reserves) in 2000, six in 2001 and two in 2002. There hasn’t been any major oil discovery since then! And when the reality of higher prices hits with full force and I think it’s coming very, very soon no one is going to find it more difficult to swallow than the spoiled, overconsuming United States. The crisis is truly devastating in scope and could end life as we know it in the United States.”


Recently, however, Outstanding Investments has been much more subdued and micro-focused. I presume this is due to personnel changes, always an issue with corporately owned investment letters (and a problem in evaluating their long-run records, as it is with mutual funds). Where have you gone, former editor Justin Litle?


Nevertheless, if you dig deeply, you find that Outstanding Investing is still implicitly committed to a fairly dramatic macro view.


In a recent hotline, Outstanding Investments emphatically endorsed the “peak oil” hypothesis: “World oil production “peaked” in 2006 … the world is now entering a phase of irreversible decline in conventional oil production … there will be a 35% decline in available conventional oil within a mere 13 years from now. As you can imagine, the world will change profoundly.”


But, Outstanding Investments was careful to say, the world will not end: “Declining oil production does not mean “we are running out of oil.” The world is not running out of oil. No, please do not buy into that line of false reasoning. What is happening is that, going forward, there may be less oil and it will be immensely more valuable.”


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