Does the Oil Industry Have a Future? (Part I)

From MasterResource

By Julián Salazar Velásquez

Ed. note: Julián Salazar Velásquez is a geologist and petroleum engineer with a nearly 50-year career in the Mexican and Venezuelan oil industries. A leading educator and proponent of free market energy, he is author of numerous articles and Gerencia Integrada de Campos de Hidrocarburos (2020), a primer on the oil industry value chain. His four-part world view starts today and continues this week in Part II, Part III, and Part IV.

The current depiction of the oil and gas industry is not only incorrect but worrying. In the more than two years that I have been educating at conferences, in courses, in articles, and in my book—I have seen how unsound dogma threatens progress and prosperity in our countries.

Background

In December 2021 in Petroleum Magazine, I published “Energy Transition or TransgressionWhat to do in the face of the global campaign against the oil industry with the political threats of anti-fracking and global warming?”

I gave a talk on the article at the Venezuelan American Petroleum Association (VAPA), Venamerica, and “Colegio de Ingenieros de Venezuela—Monagas” (CIV-MONAGAS). The conference title–“The two great current threats to the oil industry: anti-fracking and global warming”–refers to legal prohibitions based on unfounded catastrophic environmental impacts.

The alleged danger of CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel usage has been propagated in a large part of public opinion and institutions. I warned about the anti-oil and gas campaigns and demonstrations that have grown in Europe, Canada, USA, and Latin America against fossil fuels, even in support of bans which would represent devastating results for the future of humankind. In fact, mineral fuels and petrochemical derivatives have encountered prohibitions, not only for the exploration and production of unconventional shale deposits but in activities across the value chain of the hydrocarbon industry.

In the 2017 edition of my book Gerencia Integrada de Campos de Hidrocarburos, I saw these threats as something temporary. I was optimistic when I reflected on the question: Does the oil industry have a future? On that occasion I mentioned with conviction:

I can state with high probability of certainty that this sector will continue to expand to meet the growing demand for energy, so that oil and gas will continue to represent the most widely available source at the lowest cost. On the other hand, alternative energy sources will grow in parallel, sharing the market as they become more competitive.

Five years later, I now see that things have turned for the worse. Not only has the anti-oil and gas position become more radicalized, but the actions of the international political leadership are flagrantly supporting energy generated by wind and solar. Most recently, the activists are trying to establish barriers in the international financial system against oil, gas and coal, based on “net zero strategies, decarbonization, green energy, renewable energy and energy transition,” with the argument of saving the planet from the supposed negative of “global warming,” or as it is now called “climate change.”

The international protests in Europe, USA, Canada and Latin America, (Figure 1) have had the support of the governments and radical environmental organizations, supported by left-leaning political groups. Hence their radius of action has been increasing, with strong influence on governmental and non-governmental institutions of civil society, as corroborated by the following detrimental results:

  • Prohibitions and moratoria on activities for the exploration and exploitation of unconventional shale deposits in Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and some states of the USA and Canada. Oil and gas are only produced from this type of deposit in the USA, Canada, Argentina and China.
  • Stoppage of the 1,700-mile Keystone XL Pipeline by the US through an executive order. This project was built in order to transport 830 thousand barrels per day of crude oil from the oil sands of western Canada to the refineries in Texas.
  • Promise to stop all oil exploration activities, both conventional and unconventional in Colombia by the left-wing candidate, and a ban on fracking, which is already in its implementation phase after winning the presidency in June 2022.
  • Proliferation of campaigns against the industry and oil usage by radical environmental groups, financed by non-governmental organizations that have influenced the policies of countries against the use of fossil fuels. (Figure 2)
  • Increases—after the pandemic and the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war—in the prices of oil, gas and its derivatives, given the decrease in production and increase in demand, with the subsequent global energy crisis; also, short-term problems for energy supply in this winter of 2022 in Europe and North America. 

(To Be Continued in Part 2)

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heme212
January 24, 2023 6:12 pm

absolutely. once the leftists control all of it.

Bryan A
Reply to  heme212
January 24, 2023 9:03 pm

Here are some of the things that will be lost if oil and gas are no longer drilled for
comment image

Last edited 5 days ago by Bryan A
Bryan A
Reply to  Bryan A
January 24, 2023 9:19 pm

Here are some of the ways petroleum is used in our every day lives.
All plastic is made from petroleum and plastic is used almost everywhere:
in cars, houses, toys, computers and clothing.
Asphalt used in road construction is a petroleum product as is the synthetic rubber in the tires.
Paraffin wax comes from petroleum, as do fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, detergents, phonograph records, photographic film, furniture, packaging materials, surfboards, paints, and artificial fibers used in clothing, upholstery, and carpet backing.

Solvents Diesel Motor Oil Bearing Grease Ink Floor Wax Ballpoint Pens Football Cleats Upholstery Sweaters Boats Insecticides Bicycle Tires Sports Car Bodies Nail Polish Fishing lures Dresses Tires Golf Bags Perfumes Cassettes Dishwasher Tool Boxes Shoe Polish Motorcycle Helmet Caulking Petroleum Jelly Transparent Tape CD Player Faucet Washers Antiseptics Clothesline Curtains Food Preservatives Basketballs Soap Vitamin Capsules Antihistamines Purses Shoes Dashboards Cortisone Deodorant Footballs Putty Dyes Panty Hose Refrigerant Percolators Life Jackets Rubbing Alcohol Linings Skis TV Cabinets Shag Rugs Electrician’s Tape Tool Racks Car Battery Cases Epoxy Paint Mops Slacks Insect Repellent Oil Filters Umbrellas Yarn Fertilizers Hair Coloring Roofing Toilet Seats Fishing Rods Lipstick Denture Adhesive Linoleum Ice Cube Trays Synthetic Rubber Speakers Plastic Wood Electric Blankets Glycerin Tennis Rackets Rubber Cement Fishing Boots Dice Nylon Rope Candles Trash Bags House Paint Water Pipes Hand Lotion Roller Skates Surf Boards Shampoo Wheels Paint Rollers Shower Curtains Guitar Strings Luggage Aspirin Safety Glasses Antifreeze Football Helmets Awnings Eyeglasses Clothes Toothbrushes Ice Chests Footballs Combs CD’s Paint Brushes Detergents Vaporizers Balloons Sun Glasses Tents Heart Valves Crayons Parachutes Telephones Enamel Pillows Dishes Cameras Anesthetics Artificial Turf Artificial limbs Bandages Dentures Model Cars Folding Doors Hair Curlers Cold cream Movie film Soft Contact lenses Drinking Cups Fan Belts Car Enamel Shaving Cream Ammonia Refrigerators Golf Balls Toothpaste Gasoline Ink Dishwashing liquids Paint brushes Telephones Toys Unbreakable dishes Insecticides Antiseptics Dolls Car sound insulation Fishing lures Deodorant Tires Motorcycle helmets Linoleum Sweaters Tents Refrigerator linings Paint rollers Floor wax Shoes Electrician’s tape Plastic wood Model cars Glue Roller-skate wheels Trash bags Soap dishes Skis Permanent press clothes Hand lotion Clothesline Dyes Soft contact lenses Shampoo Panty hose Cameras Food preservatives Fishing rods Oil filters Combs Transparent tape Anesthetics Upholstery Dice Disposable diapers TV cabinets Cassettes Mops Sports car bodies Salad bowls House paint Purses Electric blankets Awnings Ammonia Dresses Car battery cases Safety glass Hair curlers Pajamas Synthetic rubber VCR tapes Eyeglasses Pillows Vitamin capsules Movie film Ice chests Candles Rubbing alcohol Loudspeakers Ice buckets Boats Ice cube trays Credit cards Fertilizers Crayons Insect repellent Water pipes Toilet seats Caulking Roofing shingles Fishing boots Life jackets Balloons Shower curtains Garden hose Golf balls Curtains Plywood adhesive Umbrellas Detergents Milk jugs Beach umbrellas Rubber cement Sun glasses Putty Faucet washers Cold cream Bandages Tool racks Antihistamines Hair coloring Nail polish Slacks Drinking cups Guitar strings False teeth Yarn Petroleum jelly Toothpaste Golf bags Roofing Tennis rackets Toothbrushes Perfume Luggage Wire insulation Folding doors Shoe polish Fan belts Ballpoint pens Shower doors Cortisone Carpeting Artificial turf Heart valves LP records Lipstick Artificial limbs Hearing aids Vaporizers Aspirin Shaving cream Wading pools Parachutes.
Americans consume petroleum products at a rate of three-and-a-half gallons of oil and more than 250 cubic feet of natural gas per day each!

Leo Smith
Reply to  Bryan A
January 25, 2023 1:29 am

However, the list of things that cannot be made without fossil fuels is much shorter….

…There. That wasn’t hard to read, was it?
Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, largely without any other elements, except sometimes a bit of sulphur. And nitrogen.
Carbon nitrogen and sulphur are not exactly rara avises, are they?
So lacking fossil fuel is no problem in terns of its uses as a chemical feedstock, provided we have the energy to synthesise what we need.

And that is the real shortage. Cheap reliable 24×7 energy. Its totally possible. Nuclear power demonstrably works. Uranium is dirt cheap and abundant. We just are being prevented from using it.

Why? Cui Bono?

Tom Halla
January 24, 2023 6:40 pm

Really bad ideas eventually go away. But the Soviet Union lasted 75 years, so eventually is not all that promising.

pillageidiot
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 24, 2023 6:54 pm

Yet Marxism still marches on – barely tarnished.

Only the Eastern Europeans and the Cubans who have recently escaped the deprivations of Marxism truly understand how bad of an idea it is.

College professors and other “thought leaders” in the U.S. and Western Europe still think it is just peachy. There is only one possible way that those people could ever learn the truth.

Leo Smith
Reply to  pillageidiot
January 25, 2023 1:32 am

It is not the truth of Marxism that explains the willingness of intellectuals to believe it, but the power that it confers on intellectuals, in their attempts to control the world. And since…it is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into, we can conclude that Marxism owes its remarkable power to survive every criticism to the fact that it is not a truth-directed but  a power-directed system of thought.”

Sir Roger Scruton

Kit P
January 24, 2023 6:53 pm

The same nut cases killed the nuclear industry in the US, POTUS Clinton hammed in the last nail in the coffin. I was there.

That was 30 years ago. Clinton and the nutcases were wrong. Nukes are still have the about the same share of production. in the US.

The future writes itself.

Jeff L
January 24, 2023 7:21 pm

From first hand experience working at a major O&G company ,management never took any threat from the green left seriously because it was so stupid & ridiculous. Instead of nipping it in the bud, it was allowed to grow , because the science & engineering driven large companies said to themselves, “this is stupid … no one will ever fall for this”.

The fatal flaw in this argument was failing to recognize that the general population are not scientists & engineers & would never understand that the green left arguments never made any sense. To the contrary , as the saying goes “fear sells” .. which is a truism of human nature unfortunately. The fear has been sold & and bought by the general populous, and now we find ourselves in a huge mess.
The lesson … never let a stupid idea gain traction … squash it ASAP.

Graham
Reply to  Jeff L
January 24, 2023 8:21 pm

I really think that all these politicians and dishonest scientists that are pushing against the use of fossil fuel should be denied petrol for their cars and airplane tickets and every other thing that fossil fuel is manufactured into .
I know this will never happen but as long as they believe that they are above every one else they just keep pushing their lies as shortages and high costs don’t concern them .
Only last night a well educated acquaintance of mine stated that meters of sea level rise are locked in when that is blatantly untrue .
Our sea level rise around the New Zealand coast averages 1.5 mm per year with no sign of acceleration which will amount to less than 6 inches by 2125 .
We have a lot more important things to worry about than climate change .

Reply to  Graham
January 26, 2023 8:55 am

Our sea level rise around the New Zealand coast averages 1.5 mm per year with no sign of acceleration which will amount to less than 6 inches by 2125 

extrapolation is not prediction

old cocky
Reply to  Steven Mosher
January 26, 2023 3:18 pm

extrapolation is not prediction

One of the prime rules of time series analysis is “don’t extrapolate”

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Jeff L
January 24, 2023 8:54 pm

he fatal flaw in this argument was failing to recognize” … how stupid most people are.

AndyHce
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 25, 2023 1:24 am

Technology in many sectors has grown more sophisticated and more certain. I think that mind control technology has grow right along with the rest of it.

Jeff Alberts
January 24, 2023 8:52 pm

global warming,” or as it is now called “climate change.”

Red herring. It’s been called climate change since at least 1988, hence, the CC in IPCC.

bdgwx
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 24, 2023 9:07 pm

It has been called climate change since at least the Chamberlin 1897 publication. The first appearance of global warming occurred in the Mitchell 1961 publication. The vernacular “climate change” predates “global warming” by 60 years. Nevermind that they are two different, albeit related, concepts. Climate change occurs because of global warming. But it can also occur because of global cooling or other events like comet impacts.

AndyHce
Reply to  bdgwx
January 25, 2023 1:27 am

And maybe with longer term changes in the direction of rotation of the Earth’s inner core
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-022-01112-z

bdgwx
Reply to  AndyHce
January 25, 2023 7:32 am

Sure. Continental drift would be another geological cause of climate change as well.

Last edited 4 days ago by bdgwx
Reply to  bdgwx
January 26, 2023 9:08 am

drift? another evidence free assertion. i went to south america i could not feel it moving away from africa. just like you cant feel a temperature increase of 1.5C

Reply to  AndyHce
January 26, 2023 9:02 am

inner core? who oberved this mythical thing

Ronald Havelock
Reply to  bdgwx
January 25, 2023 10:04 am

I was not aware of that much earlier terminological use. “Climate change” became the buzz word in the early 2000’s because there was a “pause” in global warming that lasted a decade (“oops!”). No one seems to mind that the word “climate change” is meaningless yet somehow sounding more ominous. The real motivation behind all of this is “scare, scare, scare, the sky is falling because of what bad humans are doing.” There is no empirical basis for any of it.

bdgwx
Reply to  Ronald Havelock
January 25, 2023 2:35 pm

It is my understanding the push to use “climate change” instead of “global warming” in the early 2000’s came from Frank Luntz because it is “less frightening”. I don’t know…it’s a bunch of political wrangling which I don’t care about in the least. Anyway, “climate change” definitely has meaning. It is the effects that occur within the climate system as a result of a significant and sustained nudge by agents that act upon the climate system. Think of the glacial cycles, the various Eocene thermal maximum events, snowball Earth events, the 4.2 kiloyear event, Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period, etc. There is definitely empirical basis that they all happened. Whether those events are scary is in the eye of the beholder. They certainly aren’t scary to me and I consider each of them an episode of climatic change.

Reply to  Ronald Havelock
January 26, 2023 10:34 am

“Climate change” became the buzz word in the early 2000’s because there was a “pause” in global warming that lasted a decade (“oops!”)

nope

  1. there was no pause.
  2. some skeptics tried to manufacture a pause bewteen 1998 and 2014

even IF there were a pause ending in 2014 that would not cause a linguistic change in early 2000s

Reply to  Steven Mosher
January 26, 2023 10:42 am

The IPCC was established in 1988. The CC stands for Climate Change.

rckkrgrd
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 25, 2023 7:12 am

I am sorry, Petroleum and CO2 is specifically blamed for global warming.
By using the term climate change the inference is made that any and all uncomfortable incidences of weather are the fault of CO2/fossil fuels.
Climate change is a general term that cannot be fairly applied in this instance. It is not specific to any time period or any cause or result .
The term climate change has been hijacked with the purpose using it to describe warming. Warming may be evidence of climate change, but it is not in itself climate change.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
January 26, 2023 8:57 am

this argument about the use of climate change versus global warming amuses me because
NONE of the people arguing have any experience documenting or understanding linguistic change.

Mark Luhman
January 24, 2023 9:01 pm

Oil and Gas has a big future when the idiot elites start freezing and starving people with their green ideas, they best hope the freezing starving people don’t settle on the French Revolution’s solution.

Eric Vieira
Reply to  Mark Luhman
January 24, 2023 10:38 pm

If Louis XIV had had machine guns and AI surveillance at the time, there would have been no French revolution.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Eric Vieira
January 25, 2023 1:34 am

What do you call a Russian with a machine gun?

“Sir!”

Dennis Gerald Sandberg
January 24, 2023 9:06 pm

Those who are technically aware understand that wind and solar is all about political corruption. if it wasn’t for the tax credits, mandates, grid priority, low interest loans, accelerated depreciation allowances, exemptions from regulations and more, they wouldn’t exist.

Liberal progressive democrats provide the subsidies and the wind and solar fraudsters respond with generous campaign contributions. The alliance extends to the Universities that promote CO2 as the climate control knob hoax to get funding from the same progressive democrat party for their climate studies that report only wind and solar can save the planet from fossil fuels. It’s as pathetic as it is environmentally and economically damaging.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
January 25, 2023 2:15 am

I think you need to go even further. In whose interests, geopolitically, is it that this corruption take place?

There is an interesting man out there on the internet and YouTube going under the moniker of “Perun“. He was a war gaming enthusiast until Russia invaded Ukraine, and he is now blogging material on the strategic political and economic issues that accompany wars.
His acutely perceptive analysis of corruption in Russia is peerless. His two conclusions – firstly that corruption has destroyed Russian ability to wage war effectively, secondly that corruption is a self sustaining system – only the corrupt succeed, and they have no incentive to reduce it – bear thinking about. Russia is locked into a system of corruption that cannot be changed except by violent revolution that utterly destroys the existing power structures.
And that corruption has, since WWII, been Russia’s most successful export.

Western consumer goods and technology subverted Eastern bloc economies. Russian subversive propaganda, backed by bribes and blackmail of the key figures in the West, and the idiocy of Marxist thought were used as tools to subvert democracy, by getting people to believe in irrelevant but highly damaging nonsense.

Russian paranoia understands that freedom and democracy completely threaten the ability of what amounts to a criminal mafia to run a huge part of the world along proper Mafia lines.
Russian claims that the West is threatening Russia are completely true, just not in a way that we understand: The very existence of a society, rich, comfortable and not as corrupt as Russia is, is of itself an incentive to violent overthrow of the Russian regime.

We have worked out the linkages between climate change, and Leftism and Marxism. What we haven’t yet fully understood is that the ultimate protagonists of all this are in fact the FSB. It is their money and their propaganda that is ultimately behind this attempt to subvert democracy and economic prosperity. And promote their own gas and oil industries. Aided and abetted by any other society that fears that Western thought will topple their power structures. So into that mix you can add the Muslim and Arab states, China, and the nastier little autocracies like Zimbabwe, Cuba or Venezuela. As well as the massively corrupt new African states, also run more or less on lines of CorruptionMax.

They dont care whether it’s true or not. It’s a stick to beat the hated White Man with – hated because his shit works better than their shit ever did, and his shit makes their shit utterly obsolete. And makes them obsolete too. Its a way for them to retain control and win.

Picture yourself as a tribal leader somewhere, who is feared and respected because you have killed off all the other tribal leaders, and your extended family runs and rips off all the other tribes. Are you going to sacrifice you lead role in a dungheap, for a bit part in a golden cage ?

Realpolitik shows that corruption and state sponsored violence against your own people works brilliantly until and unless some less corrupt outside force comes along, when due to their greater efficiency, they will beat you. As is happening in Ukraine. What kept the West free and democratic was, ironically, the threat of the Soviet Union. What has emerged post the percieved end of the Cold War has been a wave of Marxist subversion and political corruption.

My thesis is this. The cold war never ended. It moved from miltary might to propaganda bribery and corruption of Western leaders and subversion of the political process away from valid topics of governance to irrelevant and damaging faux moral issues. Meanwhile targeting the universities and the public sector to fully infiltrate a society it could not match in military terms.

Why buy guns when you can buy people, who will fool other people, into believing damaging nonsense?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Leo Smith
January 25, 2023 4:23 am

I’m pretty certain that ‘States’, in a political sense, existed long before the USSR, or Russia for that matter. If you want to know why these act the way they do, you should read Rothbard’s essay ‘Anatomy of the State’. It’s an easy read, accessible on line and an eye opener.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
January 25, 2023 5:25 am

Oh sure, the game theory analysis of warrior tribes is very old – when is it more profitable to steal the fruits of someone else’s hard work than do it yourself, and what happens if everybody tries to do that, is an interesting study.
Cf ‘The Cattle raid of Cooley’ as well as large tracts of the Old Testament.
I view this from an engineering perspective – what sorts of orsganisations are stable and what are not.

Honest upright men ruled by and gulled by crooks is perfectly stable. The honest peole make the wealth the crooks then spend it,. This is Western caitalism. Its more efficient that dishonest skiving rogues and thieves run by more ruthless, more dihnest mafia thugs. IF you need your peole to do efficient production. In an oil rich low population state like Russia or Saudi Arabia, you don’t need very many people to make the wealth at all. But if you are under interdiction and fighting a war, then suddenly you do.

Someone has run some game theory on Russia, and found the weakness. They are dishonest thugs, who dont trust one another, run by even more dishonest thugs, who are out to kill each other.

Western governments are merely corrupt and incompetent, but the societies that create the wealth are still surpisingly decent honst and competent.,

Yirgach
Reply to  Leo Smith
January 25, 2023 12:00 pm

Well the mistake the US made with Russia was to believe that Russia would not survive the sanctions. Yet here we are, with a mobilized Russian Army of 300,000 against a demoralized battered and mostly destroyed Ukranian Army of maybe 50,000. Aty the same time, the US dollar is being displaced by a much stronger basket of currencies, the Petro dollar is about dead. 90% of US based companies have not left Russia and that economy is just doing fine. Meanwhile NATO is sending what’s left of their inventory to the untrained Ukranian army who will have to be trained to use it as well as maintain it even as the Russians destroy it. But the US seems to be pushing for Nuclear War.
Pure madness.

For a very good overview of the entire mess, see Cooke’s The Most Egregious MIstake as well as The World Blood Pump.

Leo Smith
Reply to  Yirgach
January 25, 2023 10:25 pm

You have been listening to too much Russian propaganda.
6 months on and still no conquest of Bhakmut.

Last edited 4 days ago by Leo Smith
Yirgach
Reply to  Leo Smith
January 26, 2023 11:31 am

Leo,

Don’t worry, the Russians have hypersonic tech. Game over.

Reply to  Leo Smith
January 26, 2023 11:39 am

My thesis is this. The cold war never ended.
wrong.

you like you tube?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-1MquvFmUA&t=1s

Reply to  Dennis Gerald Sandberg
January 26, 2023 11:24 am

Those who are technically aware understand that oil is all about political corruption. if it wasn’t for the us navy protecting shipping , low interest loans, accelerated depreciation allowances, exemptions from regulations and more, it wouldn’t exist.

Tony_G
Reply to  Steven Mosher
January 26, 2023 1:27 pm

it wouldn’t exist.

So what would exist then? Energy poverty?

January 24, 2023 9:07 pm

yall pot committed on Oil and drawing dead

Mike Dombroski
Reply to  Steven Mosher
January 25, 2023 8:54 am

Could you translate that into English? It seems like I’ve heard you were an English Lit major.

Tony_G
Reply to  Mike Dombroski
January 25, 2023 11:51 am

Operative word would appear to be “pot”, Mike

eo
January 24, 2023 9:39 pm

Almost 20 per cent of the fossil fuel mined is not used for fuel as you have partially enumerated. I think the question should be rephrased “Does the civilization as we know have any future without the fossil fuel industry?” If the fraction used for fuel has no market how would the fuel refining industry restructure to exclusively supply the feedstock for various uses such as medicine, fertilizer, etc.
Most important, the renewable energy industry is highly dependent on the petrochemicals for insulation, corrosion resistant coatings, structural support for the solar silica, etc. etc.
“Does the renewable energy have any future without the fossil fuel industry?”

Leo Smith
Reply to  eo
January 25, 2023 2:19 am

Does the civilization as we know have any future without the fossil fuel industry?

I think that should be rephrased to

“Does a technological civilization as we can conceive of it have any future without the fossil fuel industry?”

And the answer is yes, but only if it embraces nuclear power. Quickly. And let’s the free market dictate what the solutions will be. Not an ignorant centralised bureaucracy.

On your last point, can renewables survive without fossil fuels, the answer is of course no. Renewable energy is simply too low in EROEI to be sustainable.

You need access to cheap energy in order to replace petrochemical feedstocks with other feedstocks. We build with what we have, that is cheap and available. When oak was in short supply we started building iron ships. When wind was to unreliable and labour intensive, we built coal powered steam engines to run them.

Today, fossil fuels are still available, but they are pricing themselves out of contention against alternatives. PLA – something people will be familiar with if they 3D print – is a full plastic derived from non fossil feedstocks.

PLA is derived from corn starch or sugarcane. Corn starch is generally used in the United States because of the large amount of subsidized corn growth in the United States, resulting in a large amount of raw materials for production. Cane sugar is used elsewhere in locations where sugar cane is easily accessible, grown, or inexpensive to purchase.

So its perfectly possible to envisage and construct a nuclear technological society, but not one based on renewable energy.

Last edited 4 days ago by Leo Smith
Leo Smith
January 25, 2023 1:22 am

I will make just two points from a detached perspective.

1/. What are the geopolitical and economic implications of a society that has divested itself of access to cheap reliable large scale energy?

2/. In whose geopolitical interests is it, that this should happen?

Cui Bono. Follow the money and follow the political power.

quelgeek
Reply to  Leo Smith
January 25, 2023 2:37 am

Re your point 2: it will infallibly benefit someone somewhere, and they will derive political power from it. But our self-harm doesn’t imply it was their cunning design. Cock-up is far more likely than conspiracy.

Leo Smith
Reply to  quelgeek
January 25, 2023 5:34 am

That depends on your view of human nature. I suspect my cynicism exceeds yours by orders of magnitude.
In the general way of things the ordinary sort of middle class person you meet daily is quite competent, quite honest, and has no desire to rule the world. But at the higher echelons of politics and business you meet deep psychopaths, who do want to run the world. As in academia you meet people who utterly resent the fact that they think they are smarter than everyone else, and *ought* to be running the world. But instead stay in ivory towers on low salaries.

These people are all capable of mounting extremely long detailed and utterly inhuman campaigns. If your political system favours a Nazi party, you will get a holocaust. If your political system favours a communist wrapped dictatorship you will get a holodor.

The Marxists have a thesis that alleges that someone somewhere is doing it all to you deliberately to oppress you.

In reality no one is.

Except the Marxists.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Leo Smith
January 25, 2023 8:32 am

I knew someone back in the days of the USSR that had dual citizenship, the US and Russia.
He was visiting relatives that taught in Moscow and got into a conversation with some college students. They seemed eager to hear about the US. He told them about our freedoms, free enterprise etc. and they liked what they heard.
Then a young party member came up and began to argue with him about the virtues of Communism.
At some point he said that Communist don’t really want peace.
She said they do want peace and they’ll have peace when everybody is a Communist.
He said, “I’ll never become a Communist!”
She said, “Then we’ll kill you.”

Tom Abbott
January 25, 2023 1:30 am

Some good news: I read yesterday that the Canadian Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will start pumping oil through the new pipeline to the tune of about 500,000 barrels per day by the end of this year.

TimTheToolMan
January 25, 2023 1:51 am

The “Just stop oil” people are morons. If we just stopped oil overnight then within a few months the vast majority of humans would “Just die”

This blog used to be mostly about climate and the problem is that people want “decarbonisation” due to perceived climate change disasters looming. The climate alarmists have a lot of real damage to answer for.

If climate wasn’t such an issue in the public mind (as it shouldn’t be) then transitioning to renewables would be a much smoother and less disruptive process and the decisions on when and how might even be sensible.

quelgeek
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
January 25, 2023 2:41 am

Leaving the dance hall when you’re tired is prudent. Everyone leaving the dance hall in a sudden panic is a deadly crush.

Leo Smith
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
January 25, 2023 5:37 am

The ‘transitioning to renewables’ will never be smooth or less than disruoptive to the point of being a far greater risk to far more people than any climate change could be.
The maost dangerous fallacy that exists today is that a fully renewable powered society is actually possible.

It isn’t, and we will destroy millions of lives before we realise it.

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  Leo Smith
January 25, 2023 10:57 am

It is possible and we’re now entering the phase where storage will play a major role. Don’t worry Leo, nuclear energy will surely play a role too.

Leo Smith
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
January 25, 2023 10:28 pm

What storage? There is no storage that will work at the scale required at any cost we can afford.
The best storage is a hall stacked with uranium rods

TimTheToolMan
Reply to  Leo Smith
January 25, 2023 10:41 pm

There is no storage that will work at the scale required at any cost we can afford.

It needs to be developed and that takes time. Sodium based batteries is my bet and we’re a long way from them today.

Basically the battery technology we need to get to for large scale grid storage needs to be based on readily available materials.

Weight isn’t a factor and neither is volume. Efficiency is less a factor and the most important things IMO will be efficient manufacturing process, reliability and to a lesser extent, longevity.

I expect we’ll have them within a couple of decades assuming something better like viable fusion doesn’t come along first.

Ronald Stein
January 25, 2023 6:19 am

How dare the ruling class, powerful elite, and media, avoid energy literacy conversations about the “Elephant in the Room”, as the end of crude oil that is manufactured into all the products and transportation fuels that built the world to eight billion, would be the end of civilization as “unreliable electricity” from breezes and sunshine cannot manufacture anything.

Tik Tok’s 1-minute summary at https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZTRp74uR2/ of the conversation about the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about: the lack of energy literacy in the bizarre California energy policies. 

slowroll
January 25, 2023 12:16 pm

A clue for all those who wonder about the validity of the warmistas’ claim is that every single one them is and has been a lefty. I have never met a warmista who was a right winger. It is just a beard for their goals of wrecking the western economies. Not for nothing they are aptly called watermelons.

Hatter Eggburn
January 25, 2023 4:07 pm

Outside of the west – in most of the world that is – yes, oil and everything else has a future

eo
January 25, 2023 4:10 pm

The debate on the future of petroleum, natural gas and coal are so focused on the energy aspect as to extract the energy generates carbon dioxide. What is often overlooked is the matter or raw material aspect. A large portion of petroleum, natural and to a lesser extent for coal is used for various components of modern civilization as Bryan A partially enumerated. It is huge, it is almost 20 per cent of the crude oil output and maybe more if materials such as asphalt is added. Petroleum is basically a mixture and currently the raw material aspect is easily extracted by distillation with some portion reconfigured by cracking or polymerization. What to do with the 75 per cent of the fraction currently used for fuel will be a big challenge.

A greenie who is anti-mining, anti-oil, anti ??? once boasted she will throw away anything that has to do with oil, mining, etc. She discarded first her earrings, and at the end she had a striptease. The same thing I could say with a modern house. Strip the product from mining and oil and there will practically little will be left of the house.

Back to the cave. Back to bearskin, fig leaf, —oops not with the current world population

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