Sunday, June 01, 2008

Peak Oil Now--or not?

I've been reading about the recent spike in energy prices from a couple of different sources that I don't always read on a regular basis. It's kind of giving me pause about the underlying reasons for the spike. At first, I immediately attributed the price spike to increased demand from India and China. The supply/demand variable is a given precipice to price spikes in peak oil circles so, naturally, it was the first thing I thought of. However, I think there are other factors in play here as well.

I almost hate to give reference to Newsmax, because by my nature I attribute Newsmax to be a right-wing rag, and I lean more toward anything written with a liberal bias. I'm not sure how to peg Information Clearinghouse except that it seems more independent and is definitely not mainstream, although I do tend to accept the possibilities the articles that IC publishes (I owe to my inherently rebellious side). Nonetheless, I've been taught to identify the source and its biases, and also to read literature that doesn't always coincide with my own viewpoint. So, here I am presenting some articles from sources I don't naturally agree with in order to be fair and more educated on the subject myself.

After taking in this data and all of the previous data over the course of the last 4 years, I think I've come to the conclusion that while my view of peak oil remains intact, I do believe there are other variables at work at this particular time. I'm not sure that the world has actually peaked as I/we have no definitive proof that it has occurred. I think we will only know in hindsight without the proper hard evidence of proven reserves in all of the world. My feeling is that we are on a plateau and will seesaw up and down for quite awhile before sliding straight down.

What are the variables masking this seesaw plateau, you ask? In my opinion, the variables include availability of sweet crude vs. sour crude, the availability of refineries to meet demand and what grades of oil they have the ability to refine, the increase and decrease of consumption across the world, the fluctuations of demand destruction around the world caused by the higher oil prices, weather events affecting the physical extraction and transportation of oil, geopolitical events affecting exploration, extraction, processing & transportation of the oil, and market manipulations. These are just a few of the variables I can think of at this time.

With all of that said, I will give you the links to the two articles that tell me something other than JUST peak oil is in the mix:
Information Clearinghouse: The Great Oil Swindle
Newsmax: The Dollar and Oil-The Truth

The Oil Drum also has a good thread about the recent spike with some mainstream video of discussions on TV here if you want to look.

If you have time to read them, tell me what you think. Am I completely off the track?

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