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Of course, we have known this for a long time, but this is the first time one of the major oil companies not only admits it, but is actively warning the public about the approaching global shortage of oil!
 

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I don't completely agree with that. Yes we are going to start having shortages but it is not because we're running out but rather that demand for oil is greater than the supply. In the next 30 years we will use more oil than in the last 100 years. Also the "Easily accessible" oil is running out and the large oil fields left are mostly located under water and a lot of that oil is under 8000 feet of water or more. That oil will cost a considerable ammount more than we're used to paying.

I can see us paying $4 to $5 a gallon in the next year or so, once we get there it should stabilize in cost for a while.

I would think that oil companies would make a statement like that to take some heat off the fact that they're having double digit profit margins lately.
 

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"...it is not because we're running out but rather that demand for oil is greater than the supply."

And why is demand greater than supply? Because there is only a fixed amount of oil on the Earth. People can argue about just what that amount is, but I don't see how anyone can argue that fact. (Other than certain religious fanatics, who seem believe that their deity-of-choice stuffs in replacement oil as though the earth was a big Christmas stocking :))

As you say, the easily-accessible oil has mostly been sucked up. To me that says "running out". In other words, not everyone that wants oil is going to be able to get it at a price they're willing to pay.

As for oil companies and double-digit profit margins, good on them! Higher prices discourage demand. Quite a few people here have suggested that the price to the consumer ought to be raised by adding taxes, but our government is obviously unwilling to do so. (Some are even talking of lowering the current fuel tax.) So oil companies raising the price may be the only practical way to curb demand.

The upside is that, unlike government, you can buy some oil stocks, and thus put those "excess" profits right back in your pocket :)
 

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From the time we took the first drop of oil from the ground we were running out. There is a lot of oil left in the ground but true it is a finite volume and will one day run out.
If oil companies were not constrained by OPEC global demand could be met and prices would drop. Notice that the recent steep rises this past summer just happened to arise at the same time of the merger of the big us oil companies?

What I'm seeing in the future are smaller cars like the Insight, powered by smaller highly efficient diesel hybrid that burns a mixture of soy/ vegatble oil/methanol blend. Burning a fuel like that has several benefits, it is renewable, it is greenhouse gas neutral and builds a base for new agriculture for americans.
 

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james said:
As you say, the easily-accessible oil has mostly been sucked up. To me that says "running out". In other words, not everyone that wants oil is going to be able to get it at a price they're willing to pay.
i agree with fklentz's logic., or at least i can understand how he could be right if the variables fall in to place. ( lots of variables, and i don't know their values )

we can all agree that gasoline comes to us by virtue of a process in which crude oil is refined into different constituents (is that the right word?.. anyway). for any barrel of crude, only some percent of that barrel can potentially end up as gasoline. on the Earth, there is only a certain quantity of instances of operations whereat crude oil is "claimed" from the planet.
there really only seems to be a few points of consideration here ( extracting crude, delivering to refining, refining into gasoline, delivering gasoline for sale ), but each one of the steps in the supply line from Earth->GasPump is not flat. there are multiple paths connecting one point to each other, one point may share several different neighbors on both sides.
without thinking myself into circles too quickly, imagine that the amount of gasoline consumed per day is traced back a certain quantity of crude oil per day. if the amount of crude oil in the ground exceeds the rate of consumption, "X", after having considered the "natural" growth in consumption as time increases, but the rate at which crude oil can be extracted/refined/delivered to satisfy that consumption is less than X, fklentz's argument that the demand exceeds the supply but that the amount of crude oil in the ground is not the problem, can be shown to be valid.

it seems to depend on what you define "supply" as. are you defining it as the amount of gasoline coming out of the refinery or are you defining it as the volume of crude oil contained within the Earth.

naturally, if the volume of crude oil contained within the Earth is a limiting factor, the rates don't mean a damn, as we will "run out". but if there is no shortage of crude "in the ground down there", but we can't get it out enough to keep the refineries busy enough, then the issue is the rate of consumption of gasoline exceeds the rate of the entire refining process, and not the amount of dead dinosaur goop we build shopping malls on top of.
 

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"...but if there is no shortage of crude "in the ground down there"..."

That's the whole point: there is a "shortage" - or more accurately, there is only a fixed amount of oil, whatever that amount happens to be.

In the short term, as we saw in the past few weeks, issues of pumping rates, refinery capacity, and suchlike can further restrict supply, and so increase price, but they're just minor distractions. The real problem is that eventually there will be no more oil to pump. Maybe that'll happen next year, maybe in five or ten, maybe in your grandkids' time, but IT WILL HAPPEN.

Given that fact, it seems like only common sense to A) put it off as long as possible; and B) prepare for it, so that it comes as a gradual change rather than a sudden shock.

High prices discourage consumption, and I think that's a good thing. If the money from those high prices is going to the oil companies, and thence to their stockholders (of which I'm probably one, through various 401Ks and mutual funds), well, better there than to Arab terrorists or third-world dictators.
 

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My Rant on the subject:
As I see it the biggest factor in the near future is the demand that the new consumption from China, India, South America, and the rest of the developing world. China alone in the next few years will be ramping up their economy, on a scale we can only imagine. The number of autos in China and India is growing very quickly. Humans by nature are oppertuneist, and also have trouble planing for their childrens future beyond their education. We all need to start having some compassion for the future generations of Humans that have not even been born yet, as well as the poor people in the world today. They deserve a good life, and without taking steps today, the future looks bleak for the next century. As energy cost go up, so do the cost of all energy dependant products and services. Most of our food supply is transported to us from over 1000 miles with petroleum, is processed and grown with petroleum.
Biofuels are processed and grown using petroleum. We are so dependant on oil in so many ways that the ripple effect will undermine our way of life. This winter in New England, with heating oil predicted to be over $3 a gal, will hit many people very hard, and this is only the begining. Are people building smaller more efficient homes? Not in my town, all the new homes are over 3500 Sq feet. Go Figure.
We need to start teaching our children how to minimize their ecological footprint, by our own example.
Maybe the trade in value of SUV'S should be based on what you are buying to replace it. The bigger the weight difference the more you get?
How many Smart's can you make with the steel from one H2?
Rough times in the future is my prediction, and the future starts now.
:cry: :cry:
 

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"Are people building smaller more efficient homes?"

Are people even bothering to add sufficient insulation to the homes they already have? Not that I can see - they'd rather apply for assistance with their heating bills.

I'm about 2/3 of the way through retrofitting my place, BTW, and so far, despite a hot summer, I didn't need A/C at all this year. At least 80% of my winter heating is wood or passive solar, and I hope to add a couple of active panels in the next couple of years that will take care of the rest, and maybe much of the hot water too.
 
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