Al Fin, who's resource-filled side bar has gone AWOL again, has a new post up regarding "peak oil" and it's cyclical mythological status as "crisis". This is the topic of a book by Italian oil industry executive Leonardo Maugeri titled: The Age of Oil.
Which is not to say that such an eventuality isn't possible, you understand. Simply put, the previously little recognised fact is that we simply haven't done the necessary exploration to determine what level of oil reserves actually exist in the world today.
Despite its long history as an oil producing region, the Persian Gulf is still relatively virgin in terms of exploration. Only around 2,000 new field wildcas (wells made for exploring the presence of hydrocarbons in the subsoil) have been drilled in the entire Persian Gulf region since the inception of its oil activity, as against more than 1 million in the United States. p. 221 TAO
I didn't know that; my impression has always been that "oil companies" were steadily drilling away, "depleting the resources" of these avaricious third-world dupes, who just don't know what's being done to them yadda, yadda, you take my drift, I hope. Mr. Maugeri's point about the lack of modernisation in nationalised industry autocracies is quite correct. As is his example of price instability's negative influence on development of production and refining capacity.
All of which contribute to the elevated price of oil and it's plethora of refined products upon which much of the civilisation we consider normal here in the early years of the 21st century is built. And which gives reassurance that the same market forces which work to our present short-term financial discomfort also provide stimulus for our coming relief. Not only is that just how markets work (thank you
Adam Smith), that cyclical process is what stimulates regular advancement in new technologies that would be too costly to pursue otherwise. We call this technological progress and too often fail to acknowledge just what it is that so often drives individuals to be the "mad inventors" we so admire after the fact.
MORE: This recent TEDTalk by Juan Enriquez seems pertinent to this discussion. I've never tried linking a video before, let's see how well this works out.