Occasionally, you’ll see a news story about a huge new oil field being discovered, which “feels like” a game changer. Apache Corp in September 2016 discovered three billion barrels in Texas that was all over the news. Yet three billion barrels is just over one month of current consumption rates. And there was no information about what oil price per barrel would be required to make the discovery economically feasible to access. We’ve found most of the oil and have extracted a good deal of it already. Future discoveries will continue, but it’s highly unlikely giant and super - giant oil fields remain undiscovered. TaaL: You can only consume something once you’ve found it. This is understood by dogs, bears, foxes, eagles, ants, walruses, kangaroos, fruit bats, giant squid, monkeys, lizards, and presumably every other animal with a brain. Yet for some reason it doesn’t seem to occur to most humans that you can’t extract something you haven’t yet discovered. Your fearless economic leaders project rising oil availability as far as the mind can imagine, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how they go about extracting undiscovered oil. Something like serving imaginary tea to a group of dolls, perhaps.
The Bottom Line: Oil discoveries peaked 50 years ago and have been declining ever since.
Summary: It should by now be abundantly clear what is underpinning all our material wealth, jobs, and economic activity. There are renewable resources, like fish and trees (renewable only if we use them wisely). And there are nonrenewable natural resources (NNRs) like copper,
helium, rare earth metals, etc., as well as the combustible fossil energy - carriers oil, gas, and coal. They are called nonrenewable because they were concentrated by geologic processes a very long time ago and won’t re - concentrate (renew) themselves during the rest of human history. Once
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