Posted by Big Gav in peak oil
Materials Magazine has a little roundup of opinions on peak oil - Is the idea of peak oil a false projection or impending reality?.
Mr Simon Snowden, Lecturer in Operations and Supply Management at The University of Liverpool, UK The idea that the rate of production of oil will slow is, I believe, true for a non-renewable resource, and is proven by the current fad for non-conventional sources. This is not to deny the abundance of hydrocarbons in Earth’s crust, as some argue, but it is possible to have scarcity among abundance. The reason for this is that peak oil is not just a geological phenomenon, it is a fundamentally economic question. It is often reported in the press that the USA is set to produce as much oil as Saudi Arabia. Production costs are somewhere in the region of US$52–$113 a barrel for shale oil, and US$6–$28 a barrel for Saudi oil. So, even if there proves to be similar volumes, which is by no means clear, the difference in the cost of producing those barrels is significant. The market price for oil will need to remain high to induce production of these non-conventional sources, or governments will need to find ways of subsidising production. There is an urgent need to address peak oil. However, the impact won’t always be negative, as companies will try to find new materials and reduce the impact of the price of energy on their operations.