Peak Oil

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Reggie Koch
Professor Metcalf
English 100
The Beginning of the End of Oil
The end of oil can mean an end to a lot of things in an industrialized lifestyle that we live in today. With more than 60% of the world passed their peak, this puts United States at a great risk because the U.S. alone uses more than 25% of the world’s oil. According to Tom Whipple, “Americans have consumed an average of 9.3 million barrels of gasoline a day so far this year, an increase of 0.6 percent from last year” (Whipple). In 1956, a man by the name of Dr. Marion King Hubbert, who worked as a geologist for Shell, came up with “Hubbert’s Peak.” Hubbert’s Peak is Dr. Hubbert’s theory, which he accurately predicted, that U.S. domestic oil production would peak in 1970 (Deffeyes 2). Some people didn’t believe in Dr. Hubbert’s Peak theory. They saw it as just a “theory.” Most people now feel that Dr. Hubbert make a good point and believe that the world is coming to an end of oil. This could be in 5 years from now or 30 years--no one really knows when it’s going to happen. The end of oil is not only going to have and end to transportation, but it will also have an impact on other things such as agriculture, economy, and almost everything else that is used daily in an industrialized country. The big problem isn’t the fact that the world is running out of oil, the big problem is running out of oil without a back-up plan. The solution to this problem is to be less dependants on oil and to come up with alternative sources that can replace oil or help us use less of it.

The end of oil is going to bring everything to a complete stop. This will drive all corporations to bankruptcy, which will result in unemployment rates skyrocketing. This will result in the stock markets plummeting and this could lead to a world wide great depression. The lifestyle that we have been so use to is going to take a drastic change. Things like cell phones, televisions, computers, air-conditioners, heaters, and cars are some of many things that we will lose in this battle.

The end of oil will also result in the end of suburbia. In the documentary, The End of Suburbia, James Howard Kunstler stated that, “in Texas oil was less expensive than a glass of water.” CBS News reported in November of 2007, that the state’s average per gallon of gasoline in Texas is $2.94. The price per barrel of oil is now around $100, which is still expected to increase.

For 20 years, Hubbert worked for the Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas, first as the director of the research laboratory, and eventually as chief geology consultant. One of the results of his research was the creation of methods to calculate the amount of remaining oil and natural gas in the world, during a time when it was assumed that natural resources could never be depleted. The Hubbert Peak Theory states that since oil is a nonrenewable resource, we are slowly going to suck the Earth dry, of its conventional oil. This theory also articulates that United States’ oil production would peak between 1965 and 1970. After these peaks, oil production slowly declines, until there is none left for us to extract. Due to lower quality in oil being extracted from the Earth, oil is becoming increasingly difficult to refine, and is almost using more energy to refine it than the actual production. Not only did Hubbert calculate the year accurately, his theory has still proven correct. We have already reached the peak and are beginning to feel the effects of its decline. For every 10 barrels of oil used only four barrels are discovered. New oil fields are still being discovered but none that are big enough to substantially change the amount of oil produced. In the past 30 years no significant liquid oil fields have been discovered (Deffeyes 3-5).

After Dr. Marion King Hubbert presented his theory in 1956, everyone thought he was crazy. There were many different reasons why people discarded Hubbert’s theory. The main reason...
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