Barnett: No Hubbert (Peak Oil) Curve

The Other Culprit on High Oil Prices,” by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 25 May 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001865.html.

Interesting thinking from Kerry-votin’ geopolitical grand strategist Thomas PM Barnett. While I had dismissed scare mongering, Barnett gives an alternative system-level explanation for high oil prices besides “oil is running out.”

Another great front-page WSJ on the global oil markets, pointing out that after the rising demand of India and China and other emerging markets, the key culprit in persistently high prices today is the fact that global oil companies simply haven’t invested in refining capacity for years now.

What’s interesting about this is that it’s really a self-fulfilling prophecy: the oil companies resist sinking the big bucks because they fear oil is receding in importance in coming years and decades as we shift to hydrogen (e.g., British Petroleum becomes Beyond Petroleum), and so by eschewing these investments, they create persistent high prices that accelerate that shift.

But if you don’t believe in that, you can always stick to the Hubbert Curve and wah-wah-wah yourself all the way to some scary doomsday scenario

Oil capitalism leading the shift away from oil. Nifty.

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