"Warnings about “peak oil” have been with us since the OPEC crisis in the 1970s. At some point, the experts said, the world would hit a limit on how much oil could be extracted from the ground. Production would then drop, prices would soar, chaos would ensue.
But after a worrisome series of price spikes starting in 2007, oil triumphalism is once again ascendant. Companies are now using new technologies to extract crude from hard-to-reach sources, from the tar sands of Alberta to shale formations in North Dakota. After decades of decline, U.S. oil production has risen to its highest levels since the 1990s. And that’s led many analysts and journaliststo confidently declare that “peak oil is dead.”
Not everyone’s convinced, however, that oil is really on the verge of a new boom. Energy analyst Chris Nelder, for one, has spent a lot of time scrutinizing the claims of the oil triumphalists. Our newfound oil resources, he argues, aren’t nearly as promising as they first appear. And peak oil is still as relevant as ever.
I talked to Nelder by phone this week. A lightly edited transcript follows."
"Shale Oil will save us all? Peak Oil is the forbidden subject now - millions were spent on mass media just to bring the false security, but it is out there and we have only a very small time gap before it."