Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Supply and Demand and Peak Oil

This is a follow-up to my rant (or perhaps a continuation thereof) on peak oil.


Supply and demand does indeed fit this model. A shortage in supply traditionally has prodded the market to increase production by finding an alternate means. Basically, demand exists, therefore someone will provide supply.

However, here's the problem. Oil is a finite resource. The "end of the petrolium era" does not mean that we've run out of oil. We've only run out of the cheap, easy to find, not too hard to refine oil. We thrive on that oil. Light, sweet crude we call it. I guess you could call this phase in our history the end of easy oil.

There continues to be, and there always will be oil. The oil contained within the earth falls into one of two categories: Ultimately recoverable and the rest of it. Ultimately recoverable oil is precisely that. An example of oil that isn't ultimately recoverable would be oil that is too deep, or in a spot that it would take more oil to extract than the oil you extracted. (see the Wolf at the Door website and their definitions of Energy returned on energy invested, they explain it better than I do).

So, the crux of the problem isn't that we're going to be out of oil. We're going to be out of cheap oil. The only reason society exists at the level it does is because oil is cheap.

Lets say that air was a lot more scarce (just as an example). Right now we don't give four tenths of one fuck about air because ISN'T scarce. If it was, life as we know it wouldn't end, per se. However, it would not be life as we know it. We would find ways of conserving air. We would find ways of purifying used air. We would do whatever it takes to do as much as we could and use as little air as possible. The end of the world would not come from the scarcity of air.

The end of the world would come from the wars fought over the continued dwindling supply of air.

So will it be with oil.



-LORD Gotwa

2 Comments:

Blogger notyourmommasoatmeal said...

I don't think air is a fair comparison. Oil, as it is mostly consumed, is as a fuel source. There are millions of alternatives. Agreed there are different degrees of efficiency. However as we have to spend $500 a barrel for oil, all of a sudden burning buffalo dung works as a viable fuel source. There are no alternatives to air.

If you are just worried about food, 2/3 of the world is water. A lot of shit can be grown there (i cannot believe i am using this as an example, but....) see Waterworld.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Lord Gotwa said...

Ahh, you see, but the problem is not a LACK of energy. It's a loack of cheap and efficient energy. Animal dung can be and is indeed used as fuel in many Third world countries.

My point is that America will not survive its transition to a third world country well.

11:15 AM  

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