CRF Blog

Peak Oil

by Bill Hayes

In Everything You Know About Peak Oil Is Wrong in Bloomberg Businessweek, Charles Kenney argues that we are not running out of oil, but that poses a problem.

Managing this planetary cornucopia will, however, present significant challenges. Were we to continue expanding our resource use at current rates, we may pollute our way to a denuded planet. Mining, drilling, and moving industrial commodities is a messy business — the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is just one example — to say nothing of the impact on climate change. The tar sands fields in Alberta, Canada, alone contain 1.7 trillion barrels of oil. That is equal to roughly a half century’s supply at current global oil use — and it’s an environmentalist’s nightmare to extract. Two tons of tar sands are needed to produce every barrel of oil. Getting the sludge-like stuff to the surface takes pumping steam into the tar beds, which in turn takes burning natural gas to heat the steam water. [more]