Monday, November 28, 2016

Peak Oil redux

Forty years ago, Aristotle Onassis wanted to build an oil refinery in my backyard, and of course we all banded together to stop him. One of our refrains (a popular one at the time) was that the world was running out of oil, so what was the point of building a refinery that by the year 2000 would have nothing to refine? Didn't happen that way! Each decade, the experts had to reset the day of Peak Oil, when production would begin to decline, pushing doomsday further into the future.

And this morning the Wall Street Journal is fretting anew, but this time about Peak Oil Demand. It's not a shortage of oil that's the new fear, but customers for all that oil. One Eastern European oil company sees demand flattening about 2030 and falling thereafter. The giants -- Exxon, BP, Saudi Arabia -- likewise anticipate a time when they will have to make their profit instead from petrochemicals, natural gas, and even (are you ready?) solar power!

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