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Peak oil’s death has been greatly exaggerated

Andrew Leonard, Salon
Sad news from the world of Peak Oil-awareness. On July 3, the Oil Drum, a fabulous one-stop-shop for news, analysis and discussion of energy issues, announced it was shutting down after an informative eight-year run. As of July 31, there will be no more new content published at the Oil Drum…

I asked the Oil Drum whether the fracking-killed-the-Oil-Drum theory had any merit. Here is what “Joules Burn” told me (emphasis mine):…
(9 July 2013)

A place where the peak oil crowd gathered is no more

John Kingston, Platts
There used to be a website driven by a completely non-transparent metric that would rank the “importance” of various Twitter feeds similar in their areas of interest. It’s defunct now, and the name of it is forgotten.

It would look not only at the number of followers, but other things like how many followers your Twitter feed’s followers had, how often your Tweets were re-Tweeted, and so on.

The @PlattsOil feed consistently ranked second in the oil category, for whatever that was worth. It was always a harmless time-waster to check and see how we were doing. And how we were doing was that from our #2 perch we were always looking up at the Twitter feed of The Oil Drum, which was the primary website for a dialogue on Peak Oil.

And now The Oil Drum is closing up shop… editor Bart Anderson commented at Platts as follows:
Thank you for the respectful note, John. I’ve been an editor for one of the other peak oil sites (Energy Bulletin, now Resilience) and have worked with TOD and respected their work since they began. We also linked to Platts from time to time.

Another reason for the exhaustion at TOD was that almost all the work there was done on a volunteer basis. Can you imagine that dozens of professionals, many from the oil industry, devoted hundreds of hours to serve the public interest? And that they kept it up for years?

This is work that was *not* being done elsewhere, or at least was not being made public.

If you look at the archives, you will see consistently high quality of thought and knowledge in the articles. I tell people that being part of the peak oil movement is like being in an ongoing graduate seminar, with thought-provoking specialists in subject areas ranging from petroleum geology to ecology to grassroots political organizing.

The point of all this was *not* to win a bet about a certain level of oil production. No, it was to learn a way of thinking that was broad and deep. Except when some of the peak oil guys were grandstanding, the emphasis was not on specific predictions. As I’m sure you know, trying to make short-term predictions in the oil business is a fool’s game.

So we might look at the big production numbers and point out that peak oil thinkers predicted that conventional oil would be peaking, and oil companies would turn to unconventional sources and expensive new technologies with environmental risks. The Energy Returned on Energy Invested (EROEI) would decrease, and prices would stay high. Wouldn’t you say that this prediction has come to pass?

The more dire prediction would be that the jump in the supply of oil will lull people into complacency., so that society will depend even more on a source of energy that cannot be sustained. If this happens, the transition from cabon-based fuels will be even more traumatic.

In any case, if you’d like to talk to some of the peak oil people, please contact us.
(9 July 2013)

Bible holds lessons for future of energy

Editorial, Financial Times
The Genesis message about preparing for harsh times should be applied to fuel production…
(9 July 2013)
The FT Hunt for Crude series is currently available here. A few articles can be viewed before hitting a paywall.

Oil barrel drip via shutterstock. Reproduced at with permission.