Peak oil always seemed on of the fuzzier of the politicized economic-sustainability issues going forward. Although in a very general sense the left was more interested in it than the right. That has gotten even fuzzier lately because the fracking/tar sand/etc. debates have made some on the green left realize that peak oil can be used as an argument for no holds barred fracking.
Peak oil theories 'increasingly groundless', says BP chief
Fiona Harvey, The Guardian 16 January 2013 (Hat tip: NC)
The US will be self-sufficient in energy by 2030, with only 1% coming from imports, the company's analysts predict
Warnings that the world is headed for "peak oil" – when oil supplies decline after reaching the highest rates of extraction – appear "increasingly groundless", BP's chief executive said on Wednesday.
Bob Dudley's remarks came as the company published a study predicting oil production will increase substantially, and that unconventional and high-carbon oil will make up all of the increase in global oil supply to the end of this decade, with the explosive growth of shale oil in the US behind much of the growth.
Chris Martinsen, Oil Price, 17 January 2013 (Hat tip: NC)
There has been a very strong and concerted public-relations effort to spin the recent shale energy plays of the U.S. as complete game-changers for the world energy outlook. These efforts do not square up well with the data and are creating a vast misperception about the current risks and future opportunities among the general populace and energy organizations alike. The world remains quite hopelessly addicted to petroleum, and the future will be shaped by scarcity – not abundance, as some have claimed.
To my mind it looks somewhat like the global warming issue. The cautionary side has the better arguments overall, but tends to overstate the near future case. So while they have by far the better long term arguments, their near-term hysteria gets in the way. The business as usual crowd has almost no case except for pumping out insanely optimistic data.
At the point where you are talking about building a nuclear power plant in Canada to be able to produce the steam for the tar sands cheap enough to make the operation worthwhile you have to be able to sense at least some sort of higher plateau has been reached.