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Scoop Feedback: The Peak Oil Mirage

Scoop Feedback: The Peak Oil Mirage

By Owen McShane
Director, Centre for Resource Management Studies

Scoop Outgoing News wrote:

17: Peak Oil and Mirage Realism

Realism is the philosophical notion that what our scientific theories tell us about the world are more or less, or approximately true. Scientific theories are generally considered to be the pinnacle of human knowledge.

I know many people get their kicks out of forecasting doom but a little balance is needed.

The following piece from spells out the real geopolitics and geo-economics of oil and what we should do about it.

I have been intrigued by the response to my Herald piece. (see… Owen McShane: If Stone Age had run out of rocks...

Several emails from people in the US and UK who simply abuse me and charge me with all manner of sins.

You must have noticed that "Running on Empty" seem to be thrilled to bits by the idea that the end of peak oil could mean the death of 4 billion people before the end of the century.

In my experience these true doomcasters hate the idea of solutions because their reason for being is their peculiar insight into their own secret knowledge of impending doom.

They used to carry placards - now they write for the internet.


Oil, Oil Everywhere . . .

Why is it expensive? Because it's so cheap.
Sunday, January 30, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST


The price of oil remains high only because the cost of oil remains so low. We remain dependent on oil from the Mideast not because the planet is running out of buried hydrocarbons, but because extracting oil from the deserts of the Persian Gulf is so easy and cheap that it's risky to invest capital to extract somewhat more stubborn oil from far larger deposits in Alberta.

The market price of oil is indeed hovering up around $50 a barrel on the spot market. But getting oil to the surface currently costs under $5 a barrel in Saudi Arabia, with the global average cost certainly under $15. And with technology already well in hand, the cost of sucking oil out of the planet we occupy simply will not rise above roughly $30 a barrel for the next 100 years at least.

See full story at:


Owen McShane Director, Centre for Resource Management Studies 158 Rangiora Road, R.D. 2, Kaiwaka, Northland, 0582 New Zealand.

See Centre web page at:

See personal web page at:

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