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Oil Production, Oil Price

Kenneth S. Deffeys, Hubbert’s Peak (blog)
… In 2005, world oil production stopped growing and oil prices shot up uncontrollably. My graph of production versus price is now two weeks old and the price is already off the top of the paper. This morning, West Texas Intermediate is $130 per barrel. In Econ 101, they taught us that increasing prices would enlarge the supply. The economists may have envisioned a large inventory of oil wells, temporarily shut down because of low oil prices.

… What happened? We hit “peak oil” – also called “Hubbert’s peak,” – a geological limitation to the oil supply in the ground. With no additional supplies, a bidding war began in 2005 over the remaining oil in the ground. This is not a news story that goes away after a month.

The news media are only partially addressing the story.

… Although there apparently has been some good news out of the oil patch recently, it may not be big enough, or soon enough, to solve our oil-supply problem. For instance, the government of Brazil, and their national oil company Petrobras, announced a major offshore discovery. Various numbers from 10 billion barrels to 30 billion barrels have been tossed around. Give it your wildest dreams and call it 30 billion barrels. That would postpone the world oil problem for just one year. Further, there are only a dozen drilling rigs in the world with the capacity to work in 6000 foot water depth and handle 20,000 feet of drill pipe. Before their discovery announcement, Petrobras signed contracts for additional drilling rigs. One published account said that 80 percent of all the deep-water drilling rigs in the world are now under contract to Petrobras. …

What do we do? First – admit that there is a problem . . . It’s the oil supply, stupid.

What do we do? First – admit that there is a problem. Several analysts are still in the initial denial stage: Jad Mouawad, Michael Lynch, Daniel Yergin, and ExxonMobil. You can cheer up a little by looking at They sell 273 different items indexed under “peak oil.” However, you may not want to carry a book bag that reads, “When you say ‘cannibal’ you make it sound like something bad.” During the upcoming presidential campaign, let the candidates know that peak oil is the issue of overwhelming importance. A modest tax write off for wind energy is too little and too late. It’s the oil supply, stupid.
(27 May 2008)

Peak Oil Media – 31 May 2008
Prof. Goose, The Oil Drum
The ELM (and the WSJ article yesterday) makes Yahoo Finance:

Henry Blodget and Aaron Task. Well worth watching!! Here’s a link to the article (from which this video comes, that links to TOD in the last sentence).

Under the fold, more videos from TOD’s own Rembrandt Koppelaar, Matt Simmons, Bob Hirsch, Amory Lovins, Randy Udall, Marvin Odum, and others…
(31 May 2008)
Recent video clips at the original.

KunstlerCast: Reactivating Small Cities
Duncan Crary, Global Public Media
A listener from Canada asks if small cities will be willing and able to absorb more people after peak oil makes big city life problematic. James Howard Kunstler believes that many small cities across North America are waiting to be reactivated. These places would benefit from having more people living in them. But in order to prepare for returning populations, they will need to return to a much smaller increment of development.
(22 May 2008)

KunstlerCast: Peak Oil New Zealand
Duncan Crary, Global Public Media
A listener from New Zealand asks James Howard Kunstler what peak oil holds in store for his island nation. The picture isn’t pretty: Kunstler says the Kiwis had better watch their backs. China, Japan and even Australia could all pose threats to New Zealandas they face shortages in the new energy future. At the end of the program, a cast of listeners sounds off. We hear from a black man in Queens who is not African-American, a former Long Island nanny, and an urban planner from Canada who asks Jim to lay off the planners.
(Info about program and theme music at
(29 May 2008)

Tennessee: So long to cheap oil

Chad D. Emerson, Knox News Sentinel
Several ominous transportation issues recently converged that foreshadow a major problem. It began with truckers grinding large sections of our national highways to a halt in protest of rising fuel prices. These same fuel increases forced several airlines to close or cut operations. Meanwhile, car manufacturers were reporting some of their worst numbers in a generation-again, with much of the blame focused on rising gas costs.

Even the average consumer has felt the effects. These days, almost everyone cringes as they drive by gas stations and see price increases on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Unfortunately, these rising costs are not short-term in nature but, instead, a permanent price correction driven by a rapidly decreasing worldwide supply of petroleum.

Often termed “Peak Oil,” this reality is centered on the fact that oil, like natural gas and coal, is a nonrenewable fuel source.

Unfortunately, experts from every sector of the energy economy are starting to realize that the world has already consumed the vast majority of cheap and easily available oil. Indeed, even top executives from several petroleum companies like Total and Shell are warning about this very real problem.

… Now, I suspect that some of you who are reading this might be somewhat skeptical. Maybe you’re thinking, “There’s no way that we are really running out of cheap oil.” Well, I’ll confess that was my exact same sentiment when I first began researching these issues several years ago. It sounded like another doom-and-gloom scenario that was more panic than reality. (Remember the overstated Y2K fears?)

Unfortunately, this skepticism is unfounded. Experts in almost every field are acknowledging that this is no longer a question of “if” but rather of “when” we will face the consequences of Peak Oil. And, be assured, this is not just the concern of a fringe element. In fact, a quick survey of the Internet reveals that entities ranging from specialty journals to mainstream media are sharply focusing on this problem.

Chad Emerson is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law and currently serves as associate professor of law at Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law in Montgomery, Ala. He also serves as the editor of Daily Sprawl (
(1 June 2008)

What happens when oil runs out?

Garret M. Ellison, The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS — The collapse of cities, a return to rail transportation, famine and a worldwide depression are but a few outcomes predicted by energy industry insiders and believers in the peak oil theory who gathered this weekend at Calvin College.

“We will have a different civilization, to be sure,” said David Goodstein, a vice provost and professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Goldstein wrote the book, “Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil.” He joined dozens of speakers at the International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change.

He was the kickoff speaker at the three-day event, which explored the double-pronged crises of peak oil and climate change by examining their effects on society, and offering sustainable solutions.

… “We will see the effects of the peak very soon. How soon — I don’t know,” Goldstein said.

“It’s possible that it’ll be off another five, 10, or even 20 years.

“But 20 years is nothing on the scale of human history,” he said. “Our children, or our grandchildren are in for some very difficult times.”

That could mean civil unrest and famine, as petrol-based fertilizers become prohibitively expensive, driving up the cost of food — and everything else.

“The haves and the have-nots are going to be fighting for diminishing reserves,” said Steven F. Crower, an energy investment banker based in Denver.
(1 June 2008)