Peak Oil: It’s Dead — Again?

Peak Oil: It’s Dead — Again?

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I’m confused.

“The IEA says Peak Oil is Dead. That’s Bad News for Climate Policy,” blares a Time magazine headline.

But there’s just one problem.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said no such thing.

“New oil sources, many of them unlocked by new technology—the Canadian oil sands, tight oil in North Dakota and Texas, ultra-deep water oil in the Atlantic—has helped keep the supply of oil growing, even as greater efficiency measures and other social shifts have helped blunt demand in rich countries like the U.S. Oil isn’t likely to be cheap—a barrel of Brent crude is $102 – and getting it out of the ground isn’t going to get any easier. But it’s increasingly likely that we will have more than enough oil in the future to keep the global economy growing and stave off any Mel Gibson-esque apocalypses,” says Time magazine.

“Indeed, a new assessment released yesterday by the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the surge of supply from North America—most of it from new unconventional sources—will transform the global supply of oil and help ease tight markets. Between now and 2018, the IEA projects that global oil production capacity will grow by 8.4 million barrels a day—significantly faster than demand. Oil isn’t likely to peak any time soon.”

The only thing this article does well is confuse what peak oil really is.

As we’ve reported, peak oil refers to the flow rates. It refers to the fact that the “easy to get to” oil is gone. It’s the “hard to reach” expensive oil that we now have to go after. Hydraulic fracturing – like I said – is more expensive than traditional drilling techniques.

Even my old friend – and former colleague, Chris Nelder will tell you this.

There has always been a lot of confusion about this point. Peak oil was never about “running out of oil.” The only people who characterized it that way either didn’t know what they were talking about or were trying to confuse the issue. Peak oil has always referred to the production rate of oil — it’s about finding the point where that production rate peaks.

It’d be nice if Time actually checked its facts before running with these bogus stories hell-bent on confusing reality.

While Time magazine circulates inaccuracies, we’ve been profiting from peak oil.


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