The Death of Peak Oil

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Every once and while, liberal myths explode onto the scene with great fanfare and then later fade into oblivion with a whimper. One example was the famous population explosion myth in the seventies, where the left was proclaiming the imminent destruction of mankind by the year 2000 due to overpopulation. They could hardly have foreseen the fact that many countries are experiencing a population implosion that will have disastrous economic and social consequences in the near future.

Another such myth is the theory of peak oil.

Peak oil, was the brainchild of M. King Hubbert, who claimed the world will reach a maximum rate of oil extraction, after which the rate of production is expected to enter into a terminal decline. He claimed that new discoveries of oil would fall rapidly and the world would be forced to face apocalyptic times.

The only problem with the theory is that King created and first used the models behind peak oil in 1956 to predict that United States oil production would peak between 1965 and 1971. When projections of world production did not come to pass, Hubbert predicted in 1974 that peak oil would occur in 1995.  However, oil production did not peak in 1995 but actually climbed to more than double the rate initially projected.

No problem. New projections pushed the date up to 2006 when oilfields would surely start depleting and big oil’s days would be numbered.

But that was not to happen. With the discovery of new oil fields and technology to extract oil from shale, the peak oil theory has fallen on bad times. Each new discovery pushes up the day of doom to the point that many experts are saying that present rates of oil production will sustain supply for up to 100 years.

Worse yet for the peak oilers, American oil companies are asking the government for permission to export domestic crude to other parts of the world for the first time since the oil crisis in the seventies. America is now one of world’s largest producers of oil. The world is awash in so much oil that it is increasingly hard to see the peak.

For the peakers, oil and gas are becoming embarrassingly more abundant. Exxon, for example, is saying that new technologies will make it possible to draw fuels from deep under the world’s oceans, oil sands deposits and tight rock formations like shale until 2040. The sheer abundance of oil and gas in the U.S. has overwhelmed demand. Moreover, Exxon claims that even after all this extraction until 2040, nearly two-thirds of the earth’s crude deposits will remain untouched!

The death of peak oil myth does not disturb leftist myth makers. They merely stop talking about it and go on to the next myth. Indeed, there are plenty of other myths to take their place. Like a fast talking car salesman, advocates of these myths never seem to learn, and are fast to talk up the latest apocalypse. By the way, did you hear the latest about rising global temperatures…that will soon destroy the earth as we know it in 2025…or 2040?

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