A Recent New York Times
The story of a conference held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, froze to the bones. The title provides all the reasons: "The big plan of Saudi Arabia to overtake oil: big goals, bigger hurdles."
At first glance, this does not sound CRM bells, but maybe there Should businesses or businesses plan to leave their area of interest if they are not obliged to do so? What happens to customers who become dependent?
Beyond oil means exhaustion – as we will not be in this business in so many years because there will be nothing left to pump.
Peak oil snapshot
If you have not followed the oil markets or the somewhat obscure discussion about peak oil, here is a brief overview: In the United States, oil discovery peaked in the 1960s, and it declined since.
The recent revolution in hydraulic fracturing brought more oil to the market, but it is from old wells that there was not much left. This is what is called a "secondary recovery", and it's like you're spinning a wet sponge – you can usually get a few more drops.
On a global scale, oil discovery peaked in the 1970s and exploration has not resulted in a new barrel since 2003. We are essentially depleting the reserves discovered in the day. and, like any finite entity, they begin to exhaust themselves. There is a lot of scholarly work on the subject that you can find online, so I will not dwell on that.
However, as further evidence, GM and Ford recently announced elaborate
plans to bring electric vehicles on the market over the next few years. Why would GM and Ford come out of the internal combustion car market if they did not?
Luckily, if – or more likely when – we stop burning fossil fuels, we will be able to rely on electricity from various sources, including solar energy, wind and something that you may not know,
geothermal, which I encourage you
look in. However, there is a lot of work to be done and investments to be made before electricity can support the workload that fossil fuels currently support.
The sooner we stop burning fossil fuels, the better we will be. You might think it means reducing pollution, which of course will happen – but more importantly, fossil carbon is the basis or raw material for hundreds of products that make modern life possible. Rubber and synthetic fertilizers like nylon, carbon fiber and plastics and much more, we rely on fossil carbon derived starting materials.
For example, did you know that a medium car tire requires seven gallons of oil to make? It takes five gallons to make the rubber and two other gallons to drive the manufacturing process.
Did you know that coal is the source of more than 500 pharmaceutical products and the original dye that makes jeans blush? Oil and other fossil fuels left in the soil are now too valuable to burn.
Give credit to the Saudis for at least telegraphing their problem of oil depletion on the market. Other countries have similar positions and have not said anything. This is not exactly good practice for dealing with a global customer base that depends on your product.
How long before we run out is speculative. Proven reserves are generally figures that few countries share with the world, so that there is an ambiguity in almost any description of the oil supply compared to the consumption data that many governments and oil companies keep.
The entry in Wikipedia listing countries and their reserves offers this caveat: "Some statistics on this page are disputed and controversial. The different sources (OPEC, CIA World Factbook, oil companies) give different figures."
Even the CIA does not know how much oil remains in the ground, but BP's 2014 annual report set it at 53, ignoring the rising demand, which is turning currently around 2% per year.
We would do well to follow the example of the Saudis – at least recognizing that there is a problem with Peak Oil. With this, it will be possible to have a late conversation on how to organize our lives on this tiny planet, and plan for a mid-century time when Earth will host 2.5 billion people additional.
Without a new energy infrastructure, it is difficult to say how we will be able to produce enough food or provide fresh water to this mass of people.