Friday, November 23, 2007

Awlll Whall

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.

2 comments:

al fin said...

I recommend Maugeri's book, The Age of Oil, very highly. It is never fun to pay big money for fuel, but it helps a smidge to understand several of the reasons for the high prices.

As for my side bar, I know it works on Firefox and most IE browsers. When I access Al Fin from some library computers, the sidebar can be stuffed to the very bottom of the page, below all the dated postings. Once, on a library computer, only the top 6 postings were displayed and the sidebar was missing.

Feel free to capture the sidebar in a saved document or webpage, if it is useful and you feel it may disappear again. It is not my doing, honest.

Will Brown said...

I agree, his is a most informative book. I think it will become my standard by which to measure other commenters on oil production and distribution in future.

FYI your sidebar; the first post that displays in either my favored browser Avant or IE7 is the one regarding Evan Coyne Maloney's documentary. Your usual "posted by" data block doesn't display (though it does on subsequent posts) and the entire sidebar is absent. Obviously, the more recent posts function as normal. Maybe go back to that post and refresh all the data blocks? I've never had to deal with a similar problem so I'm just guessing here.