I just listened to this week’s The Investigation on Radio 4. Described as ‘Simon Cox investigates the truth behind rising oil prices’ it was a major disappointment.
Cox spends half an hour looking for the culprit behind rising prices. The usual suspects are trundled out for view, i.e: oil producers and futures speculators, all the time ignoring the elephant of Peak Oil standing in the middle of the room knocking the china all over the place.
Most of the programme is spent with Cox buying oil futures, getting nowhere fast.
The most interesting part of the programme is when he talks to Mike Wagstaff of North Sea oil drillers ‘Venture Production‘.
Surprisingly, Wagstaff talks about the ‘end of cheap abundant energy’, oil as a ‘depleting commodity’ and an industry with no spare rigs or engineers on tap for new drilling, all pretty much standard Peak Oil arguments.
All this is blithely missed (or ignored) by Cox who is happier playing the futures market and watching his investment take a dive.
This show could have been a big step forward, helping to bring Peak Oil into the mainstream, an opportunity missed, what a shame.
To make up for this, take a look at Matt Simmons, an energy insider bullishly making the case in the US:
It is important to understand that Peak Oil is not about oil ‘running out’ (which, of course it will do one day, eventually). Rather, as the good folk at the Oil Drum like to put it it: “It’s the size of the tap, not the size of the tank.“
On a worldwide basis, the phenomenon of peak oil can be thought of as a crisis in resources needed to produce oil. It’s the size of the tap, not the size of the tank. As we deplete the large, easy-to-produce fields and move to ever-more-difficult fields, it takes more and more oil rigs, more petroleum engineers, and more investment dollars.
Eventually we reach a point where we are out of equipment, out of trained personnel, and the investment cost for expanding production becomes prohibitive. When production begins to drop because of all of these pressures, we reach peak oil.