Remember Peak Oil?


Image Source : The Washington Post

You could not be seriously serious unless you were concerned about Peak Oil. The officially official announcement of this phenomenon came in 1956 in a paper by M. King Hubbert entitled “Nuclear Energy and The Fossil Fuels.” He noticed that an oil field was a finite resource and that it’s productive performance could be modeled by building a Gaussian Distribution with production plotted against time. The 1st Moment (Mean) of this curve would be the Peak Productive capacity of the hypothetical oil field.

Oil Production Curve From Hubbert's Peak Oil paper.
Oil Production Curve From Hubbert’s Peak Oil paper.

This was mathematically valid until he attempted to superposition every known oil field in the world and estimate when the planet would run out of oil. At or about 1965 or 1970; the US was supposed to hit its productive peak. At or about 2000, the entire world would follow suit.

Another Y2K Disaster Prediction
Another Y2K Disaster Prediction

Hubbert did not count on the improvement of the technological base in the face of the resource depletion problem encountered using traditional oil extraction technologies. The oil industry now faces a different sort of a crisis. Details follow below.

He’d spent years touting his vision that America would one day dominate one of the world’s most powerful markets. And when Harold Hamm, a pioneer in discovering vast reserves of shale oil under American soil, took the stage in front of several hundred oil luminaries, he never acknowledged that the narrative was in doubt. “For the next 50 years, we can expect to reap the benefits of the shale revolution,” Hamm said one day this spring. “It’s the biggest thing that ever happened to America.” But away from the stage, the U.S. oil industry — and Hamm — was in crisis. In the previous six months, Hamm, founder of oil giant Continental Resources, had lost $6.5 billion, more than one-third of his net worth.

Yes, 15 years after Hubbert predicted !DOOOOOM!, we have an oil glut and a price war between the shale oil community and OPEC over who will control the world petroleum market. It’s into that environment that Iran now gets expanded access to world markets.


And now there is a new pressure on the scene. The decision to strike a nuclear agreement with Iran, which has more oil reserves than all but three OPEC countries, will, over the coming months, unleash new Iranian oil into the markets. Analysts expect Iran to pump 1 million or more barrels a day as a result, so the prospect of the deal has been driving prices down in recent weeks — by about 15 percent — interrupting a stabilizing in the price of oil since the big plunge last year.

Environmentalists on The Left and The Alternative Right are predictably torqued. What we have instead of peak oil is peak busybody. When Left Environmentalists claim our economy does not effectively price the environment, they are really saying that smart and capable people have found a way around resource restrictions and therefore totalistic scolds can’t use them as choke-points to eliminate freedoms and opportunities that these particular Leftists morally disapprove of.

When The Right Environmentalists claim “As a culture, we don’t seem willing to consider the possibility that industrial civilization is not a phenomenon that can be reconciled with the preservation of the biosphere we were born into…”, they are arguing that since they are politically and socially powerless to persuade you not to change in a manner they don’t want you to; they threaten you with !DOOOM! to make you mend your errant ways. It reminds me of a less-than-skillful preacher who keeps threatening back-sliders with pits of brimstone and hell-fire because he is too dim-witted to read and understand the true meaning of The Sermon on The Mount.


And this represents the true state of the environmental movement in Post-modern America. It has been hijacked and taken hostage by various factions of Luddite-Leftists, Neo-Reactionaries and haters of humanity. It cares only slightly more about the planet than Planned Parenthood truly cares about Women’s Health. They are only slightly more accepting of the current human condition than the average ISIS suicide bomber.

M. King Hubbert profoundly impacted modern thinking about resource extraction because he was intelligent and scientific man who applied logic and reason to his subject matter. He pushed an agenda only after he had done research and marshalled an impressive volume of mathematical and scientific knowledge that served his cause. Today’s environmental movement was unable to adapt to the technological obsolescence of Peak Oil because they picked a cause first and then went cherry-picking among factual truths to support their outdated arguments.

M. King Hubbert was attempting to allocate investments over a long time frame throughout a varied portfolio of energy production technologies. Environmental activists are attempting to acquire short-term political leverage in order to confiscate the assets and control the behaviors of people they have demonized as the enemy. Hubbert has been proven obsolete by the advancement of technology far beyond what he foresaw when he made his estimates. Faced with that reality, he would have changed his conclusions. Those who claim to love the planet while detesting the humans that populate it are not open-minded enough to ever accomplish such a courageous scientific feat.



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