This year Kuwait University and the Kuwait Oil Company released results of a study using a modified version of Hubbert’s curve to predict that oil will peak in 2014. This study seems to mostly agree with a another study that was popularized by Sir Richard Bronson of Virgin Group Ltd., which predicted that oil will peak in 2015.
There are many different arguments about the time frame of peak oil, some argue that it has already occurred (Dot 2 and/or Dot 3) and others argue that peak oil won’t occur for many years (Dot 1). I personally do not get too hung up on when peak oil will occur or whether it has occurred. Either way you look at it peak oil is not something that can be ignored and as you get near the top of the curve you begin feeling the effects of peak oil. This is because more costly sources are being used and it is more difficult to increase production. Many of the economic troubles that we are experiencing today stem from these facts.
One of the major reasons the Kuwaiti study is so interesting is because a major oil producer is stating that it will no longer be able to keep up with the demand of its product and that the it will be more costly to acquire. That is like Apple telling its consumers that even though demand for its iPhone is increasing, in a few years it will no longer be able to keep up with demand and the iPhone® price will also start increasing. No oil corporation would want to admit peak oil’s effects on their business which is why this announcement is so unbelievable.
The really unfortunate part of this whole ordeal is that while oil companies, oil producing nations and numerous other respected organizations are releasing reports that peak oil is REAL and IMMINENT, we continue down the same path. Cities, states and governments should be having serious discussions about how to deal with peak oil and should also be considering plans to deal with these conditions. Instead, the United States government is busy talking about things like health care, broadband expansion, cap and trade and numerous other topics that are irrelevant in a world where cheap energy is no longer abundant. Cities continue to spend money on beautification projects and citizens are living their lives like everything is just going to go back to the way things have always been. I realize that NO ONE wants to talk about these things because it can paint a grim future for our society, but if we continue to put our heads in the sand we will have a major problem on our hands that no one is prepared for. If we start planning now we could have a brighter future, but planning can only begin when everyone is mentally prepared to begin serious, tough discussions.
If you are interested in some more information about peak oil, visit one of Dan’s previous articles here.