It started innocently enough. On a cold December night, there I was in my living room, reclining comfortably in my lounger. My favorite network, The History Channel, was about to air “Doomsday Tech,” a two-hour episode of Modern Marvels. Entranced, I wasn't even thinking about writing my almost-yearly rant about outsourcing work to cheap foreign labor markets. All was almost right with the world.
Then, the facts presented in the program jarred me back to reality. Although we have many decades, perhaps 100 years, before the supply of oil actually runs out, the point of “peak production” — where half of the world's available oil has been extracted — is surprisingly close. According to the theory, once global awareness of peak production kicks in, panic and skyrocketing prices will soon follow. If someone had asked me last week, “How long will our oil supply last?” I would have answered off-the-cuff, “I don't know — 200, 300, 500 years?”
However, according to the experts on the program, Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Hydrogen Economy, and Peter Schwartz, chairman of the Global Business Network, we will reach peak production within the next 15-40 years. The pessimists say the 2010-2020 timeframe; the optimists say 2030-2040. But, it is only a 20-year difference. The program stated that $400-$600 dollars per barrel isn't out of the question.
Just some grist to think about as we enter 2005.
How are we progressing on synthetic feedstocks to replace petroleum? Now, there's a future money-maker, Mr. Robinson.
Spring Hill, Tenn.