Economic peak hitting shale gas

And this is from that ‘greenie think tank’ Forbes magazine! ;) Many Americans celebrate pumping more shale gas condensates etc to raise their ‘oil’ production. However, their whole country is ultimately doomed to polluted waterways, flaming taps, drilling infrastructure everywhere and they’ll still be facing an energy cliff sooner than they think. Magical numbers like 100 years of oil are floating around the meme-sphere, but like many of these memes they do not consider the complex interplay between the impact of price on Reserves.

This Forbes article is quite bullish on the amount of shale oil in the ground, and just seems to assume a century of supply. However even it ultimately raises alarm bells about that fine line between a Resource (stuff that’s there) and a Reserve (stuff that’s easy and cheap to produce).

And, as peak oilers have been saying all along, peak oil isn’t predicting the end of oil per say, but the end of cheap, easy to produce oil. If the following paragraph from Forbes is true, then even the mighty new fields of Shale Oil are peaking out, and that low hanging fruit is disappearing fast. It’s time to get the ladder, and put in some more work to get scattered, harder to reach ‘fruit’.

“Trouble is, as these sweet spots are developed the companies have to move down the continuum of sweetness, and profitability. That costs more. Analysts at Bernstein Research wrote last month that “cost inflation continues to rise, and as commodity prices are ‘capped’ by rising supply, net income margins in the sector are now at their lowest in a decade. This is not sustainable. Either prices must rise or costs must fall.”

Or, rather than messing up their waterways and environments and fragile ecosystems and prolonging a liquid fuel addiction that simply must end soon anyway, they could start buying more Tesla electric cars with battery-swap options, and investing hundreds of billions a year in longer term energy options like wind and solar and GenIV nukes that could burn American nuclear waste for the next 1000 years to supply baseload power overnight. But hey, that’s just my idealism getting the better of me, and believing the world is run by grown ups making rational decisions based on what’s good for the nation long term. How childish of me! Instead, it seems we’ve got to run Multinational Corporation welfare schemes and give our fossil fuel companies ever larger tax discounts and various kickbacks to encourage them to ‘develop’ our rural areas.

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