Peak oil

A Response To: Where Have All the Peak Oilers Gone?

Dancing on the grave of peak oil clearly annoys somebody.

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PeakOil
thinkprogress

Yesterday, I put up an item in which I mused, "Where Have All the Peak Oilers Gone?" I noted the recent strange laconism of prominent peak oilers such as Colin Campbell, Jean Laherrère, Kenneth Deffeyes, and Daniel Goodstein. All of these gentlemen declared that global oil production had essentially peaked before 2010 and the long downhill slide of industrial civilization was about to begin.

This morning I received an email from an interlocutor who styled himself as "somebody" who asked me:

How can you say that peak oil is dead, when oil's sell price is one third of the price needed to sustain current production level? That's silly. Many oil companies are going broke, oil exporting countries will be broke soon. You just don't understand the subject. But when you don't understand it, you shouldn't write articles about it.
Peak oil happened in 2015, instead of 2005-2007 probably only because of coal boom in China. But that coal boom has now ended.
Before making a fool of yourself again, please get to know the subject first.

My response was:

Dear Somebody: Well, I guess you told me! As the mirage of peak oil continues to recede, I await future emails from you confidently asserting that peak oil occurred in 2020, in 2025, in 2030, etc.

Regards,

Ronald Bailey

Actually, it seems to me that it is peak oilers who should stop writing about a subject that they have so clearly failed to understand.

Bonus link: Go here to enjoy reading some deep thinking on the topic of peak oil back in 2007 by the progressive intellectuals over at ThinkProgress.

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  1. Peak derp killed peak oil?

    1. Aren’t they the same?

      1. Varieties of the same phenomenon. Like Fascism and Communism are both varieties of socialism.

    2. There will never be peak derp

  2. Peak Oilers was in the early ’80s.

    1. Nope. 1993 was Peak Oilers,12-4 under Pardee.

      1. Until they blew the biggest lead in playoff history. Pretty much killed off the run and shoot too.

      2. I believe he was referring to those silly Cunucks with the ice skates and curved bits of wood.

    2. They were going strong and indoctrinating the next generation in my debate club of early 2000’s.

    3. That’s right! Edmonton won 4 Stanley Cups and have been sliding ever since!

      1. We’re talking about a real sport. Not that Canuck crap.

        1. You know, the sport related to rugby where players can pick up and run the ball, then get points for running it past the opponent’s end line for a touchdown?

          That was invented at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

  3. How can you say that peak oil is dead, when oil’s sell price is one third of the price needed to sustain current production level?

    Explain to me why my understanding of economics is so poor!

    1. This is exactly the type of person who spouts concern about sustainability without understanding a thing about it. Which is about 99% of the people who use that word.

    2. How can you say that peak oil is dead, when oil’s sell price is one third of the price needed to sustain current production level?

      I just can’t even . . . .

      1. Seconded.

      2. I believe the appropriate response is:

        IKR

    3. Yeah, supply and demand: how does it fucking work?

  4. Certain wells not being profitable today simply means that those wells and their resources will be available in the future. It could almost be seen as a forced savings plan. You aren’t allowed to touch these resources until you’ve used up the easy to get stuff.

    As part of big oil, I’m not particularly happy that oil prices have dropped, but this is a case where my loss is everybody else’s gain. Though, things will eventually bounce back. Just got to hold out until then (or in the great running from a bear analogy, just got to hold out longer than the other guys).

    1. It really is everyone else’s gain, and that what the cap and trade assholes don’t get.

      My wife is taking the 2 older kids back east this weekend, and leaving me with the 18th month old. I have 3 days of no obligations. We can go wherever and do whatever.

      Because plane tickets are so cheap now, flying somewhere for a day is actually an option.

      I’m sure other people have noticed the drop in fares too. If Vegas were an appropriate place for an 18 month old, I’d snap up the 49 dollar fare in a second.

      1. they do have daycare…just sayin’

      2. leaving me with the 18th month old. I have 3 days of no obligations.

        Umm . . . .

        1. Additional obligations. I always have him with me. It’s the other 2 assholes that are the problem.

          1. Ugh I can’t fathom that kind of life. I have no dependents just a job and that’s all the obligation I need. And you still have time and energy to pwn Shriek.

            1. That neither requires much time or energy.

              1. PM’s bet with Shriek was a cut above. Props to you PM. I’m sure Reason Magazine is $20 richer thanks to you.

                1. You’re assuming that shitweasel actually made good on his bet. He probably didn’t. Hopefully he hung himself in despair over being pwned by someone who wasn’t a “financial genius/ classical liberal” like himself.

                  1. I was being a little tounge-in-cheek there.

        2. They aren’t really obligations until they cross the two year threshold.

          1. Don’t turn this into an abortion thread.

      3. Never too young to learn blackjack.

      4. Never too young to learn blackjack.

        1. See, even the squirrels agree with me

          1. Sir, you’re going to have to leave this establishment, we’ve got video of your baby counting cards.

      5. I have seen strollers in Vegas at 2 am.

        1. That’s the classy part of town.

    2. As someone who’s invested in Big Oil, I’m not happy either.

    3. My step brother works in the fracking section and yeah he’s been worried about layoffs. I feel bad and hope he doesn’t lose his job, but $1.60 for gas is hard to hate.

      1. A common joke in my office is that we are the only group of people who gather for a meeting and share sad stories about how little we filled up our tank for.

        1. Reminds of a hospital board meeting I went to.

          Volumes were down, revenue was in the crapper, etc.

          One board member said “It looks like we are suffering from an unfortunate outbreak of good health.”

  5. So there are Peak Oilers, but they just prefer to remain anonymous? I can see why.

  6. How can you say that peak oil is dead, when oil’s sell price is one third of the price needed to sustain current production level?

    Did he just move the goal posts and claim Peak Oil has nothing to do with supply in the ground, but profitability?

    1. I…think? his assertion might be that any reduction in production is a sign of dwindling supply rather than the million other reasons that production might slow down. That’s just a guess of course. Assuming the retarded mindset for too long gives me a headache.

      1. A drop in demand has exactly the same implication as a drop in production capacity.

        Right?

    2. How can you say that peak oil is dead, when oil’s sell price is one third of the price needed to sustain current production level?

      I believe the moron is stating oil’s ‘rational’ price should be ~$90 at current production (oversupply) levels(?).

      For comparison, fellow socialists in Venezuela are begging OPEC currently to fix it for $60.

    3. I think he says that prices have dropped, therefore production will drop, therefore we have seen peak oil.

      He is using the hyperliteral interpretation of peak oil production and also assuming that the economy will never grow again.

  7. Paris was Peak Stupid.

    1. No, if it was we’d be seeing a reduction in stupidity.

    2. Stupidity is not a finite commodity.

      Unfortunately

  8. Peak oil, peak climate changes, peak SJW, peak diversity, peak capitalism, PEAK REASON…

    WHEN WILL IT ALL END?!

    1. When we pass Peak Peak.

      (Or Peak Meta?)

    2. And a new season of Twin Peaks coming out and everything!!

  9. Peak Oilers was Carl Mauck’s “Oiler Cannonball”.

  10. A buddy of mine, one of the most brill people I know and who normally has an excellent command of basic micro- and macro-economics, literally loses the plot when he starts talking about Peak Oil. Every time he opens his mouth about it, I’m tempted to say “Why is it that whenever you start talking about this you forget the most basic concepts of supply, demand and price discovery?”

    But I don’t, ’cause I value his friendship in too many other dimensions. It’s just one of those annoyances a guy’s gotta live with, is all.

    1. Is “brill” one of those new youth words?

      1. Sure.

        Or a British-ism.

        1. Ah, I constantly forget those guys exist. Thanks.

        2. You know, proper punctuation requires that you italicize words from foreign languages.

          1. If I did that consistently, I’d have to italicize 90% of every post I make in English.

    2. I have a friend who pretty vehemently believes that cell towers cause cancer and/or make people retarded. I did pretty much the same thing you did when I found out.

      1. Well he appears to be right about cell towers making people retarded in at least one case.

    3. I have a few eccentric beliefs of my own, I’m sure. So I try to be tolerant of other people’s eccentricities.

      1. ^ This. In spades.

      2. Ignoring supply and demand is the only eccentricity I never put up with.

    4. You owe it to him to tell him what a dumb shit he is.

      If you can’t argue with your friends…they’re not your friends.

      1. Even with lifelong friends, there are bridges that are too far.

    5. You should say that. It will be good for him. I’ve been harsher and ruder to my stupid friends and it’s made me happier.

      1. And taking advice from The Canadian Commando is a sure path to a happy life.

        1. Damn right! Full of pwning peacenazis and yokels.

  11. Peak adieu?

  12. Oil’s price is skyrocketing due to demand outstripping current supply = PEAK OIL!!
    OIl’s price is bottoming out due to glut of supply coinciding with unacknowledged economic slowdowns cutting demand= PEAK OIL!!

    You just don’t understand, Bailey.

  13. “…I noted the recent strange laconism…”

    Ron, I think you mean “silence.” A laconism is a brevity of expression, made famous by “Spartan Sayings,” who used few words to make a powerful statement. (e.g., molon labe, “come and take them”)

  14. The internets are full of anonymous trolls. I really am not interested in reading about them.

    1. Well, you’re hanging out in the wrong place, then.

    2. Commenting on them, however……

  15. I like that the letter cites the unanticipated coal boom in China, while remaining blissfully ignorant that technology and innovation are constantly pushing “peak [whatever the apocalyptic fear of the week is]” further and further into the future.

    1. Peak whale oil happened about the time people started understanding distillation as vapor pressure differences and applying it to this nasty naptha literally seeping out of the ground and polluting springs and streams.

  16. Where Have All the Peak Oilers Gone?

    I suspect this one has gone to the hospital

    NHL player from Blaine hit by puck so hard his athletic cup breaks

    1. I remember that happening to a goalie like 15 years ago, but with nastier consequences. I want to say it was Jamie McLennan, but I can’t find any evidence.

    2. He should have been wearing one of these.

  17. i tried reading a few of those Joe Romm articles @ ThinkProgress, but it just crushes you under the tedium of how retarded it all is.

    In any other career, being wrong over and over and over and over and over again generally has some kind of adverse consequences. in progressive-journalism, there is no past = there is only the future and the certain doom it will bring…. unless we impose massive restraints upon the economy ASAP like right now OMG.

    calling that guy’s material “cookie cutter” is an insult to cookies.

    1. in progressive-journalism, there is no past

      After reading what is said now about Flint and what was written at the time, I’ve come to believe that, for progressives, the past is only what you believe it to be now.

  18. All of these gentlemen declared secretly hoped that global oil production had essentially peaked before 2010 and the long downhill slide of industrial civilization was about to begin.

    FTFY

  19. Bonus link: Go here to enjoy reading some deep thinking on the topic of peak oil back in 2007 by the progressive intellectuals over at ThinkProgress.

    No thanks, I can think of many more interesting forms of self abuse I’d rather engage in.

  20. Wait, I’m confused. How does the argument that oil is too cheap support that we have past peak oil? If it were becoming more and more scarce it should be skyrocketing and oil companies should be smoking big fat cigars and people beg them for their limited supply.

    Peak oil probably will happen some time (it is replenished so slowly it might as well be a fixed resource), just not anytime soon.

  21. Peak oil stands for the PEAK in global OIL production. Peak oil is a fact, not a theory. There will be a peak, the question is when. Most people (who understand the issue) believe in will happen in the next 10-30 years. We are on what is called the “undulating plateau”, which means there will be peaks and valley because price will become very sensitive to supply. This is EXACTLY what we are seeing right now. Shale oil might push the peak back a decade, but there will be a peak. Its just physics.

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