Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Brazil oil field could be huge find, and why I don't care.

Yesterday an exciting piece of news hit the headlines titled "Brazil oil field could be huge find"
"A deep-water exploration area could contain as much as 33 billion barrels of oil, an amount that would nearly triple Brazil's reserves and make the offshore bloc the world's third-largest known oil reserve, a top energy official said Monday...

"This would lay to rest some of the peak oil pronouncements that we were out of oil, that we weren't going to find any more and that we have to change our way of life." said Roger Read, an energy analyst and managing director at New York-based investment bank Natixis Bleichroeder Inc., which buys and sells stock in offshore drilling contractor Seadrill, a Petrobras contractor." (News.Yahoo.com)
First, take a moment to reread Roger Reads job description and soak in any biases that he may have.

Now, continuing on; so we find a little bit more oil and we buy ourselves some more time for what? So we can continue living extravagant wasteful lifestyles, raping the world to feed our addictions, and not have to worry about changing?

I say praise God that we can delay the inevitable a little bit longer to make the transition to a more responsible way of life. But if you read something like this and it reaffirms your complacency, simply put, it is irresponsible to the generations that will follow.

There aren't to many ways to spin this.

Not only is it short-sighted, it is selfish to make excuses for why we have a right to retain a lifestyle that 95% of the world could never dream of. I worry the only force powerful enough to ween us of our luxuries addictions is the limitations of nature. Someone dies every 3.6 seconds because of disease that could be easily avoided if they only had access to clean drinking water. Is this not a powerful enough motivator to practice some good old self restraint?

As a Christian, this shakes me; to the very foundation of my existence. I believe we have a greater purpose to live for then the empty luxuries of America.

As a Christian, I must not be complacent with the extravagant lifestyle I am offered.

As a Christian, I must put myself on a trajectory of a lifestyle of continually living with less excess (I will be touching on this more in a later post).

As a Christian, I must be seeking to be satisfied more and more in Christ.

It is worth mentioning also, that it has been common knowledge that there are massive unexplored oil reserves in the ocean. The hard part is extracting it at a feasible cost. The cost to energy ratio will never be anywhere near the levels we enjoyed when you could just stick a pipe in the ground and oil came out. And at some point, the cost of energy to extract the oil makes it unprofitable.

So in this day, with $4.00 a gallon on the horizon for the summer, I can understand why this is welcome news. But in the bigger scope of things, it changes absolutely nothing. Do not let it lull you into blind complacency.

Because this is the future; an article on the BBC (Again, something else worth noting, I could find no mention of this in any of the American media outlets) released today titled "'Threat' to future of Russia oil".
"One energy expert said the Russian industry was now acknowledging a crisis which had been evident to independent observers for several years.

"We now see production peaked last year," Mikhail Kroutikhin, editor in chief of the Russian Petroleum Investor told the BBC.

"I believe the decline will continue for quite a number of years." (news.BBC.co.uk)
That is the undeniable future of oil, no matter how much is still in the ground; anywhere.

That, my friends, is why I don't care how much oil was discovered in Brazil.


Michael Dawson said...

Neat blog, David!

It's also important to note how silly Roger Read's (he's almost certainly an economist, not a geologist) comment is. 33 billion barrels is important, but hardly an answer to peak oil. Check out the numbers over at Wikipedia:


Those numbers there are the oil we know we have left, and rates of discovery are neither high nor rising.

Likewise, world petroleum demand is set to hit 188 million barrels a day. That means this glorious 33 billion barrels is about one's year's worth!

All so that we can continue to drive cars, which add nothing to the quality of life! See Jared Diamond's "What's Your Consumption Factor" essay:


Michael Dawson said...

Oops, I meant 118 million, not 188...

Elisa Lehto said...

I love when you refer to these things as our addictions. It's so true in every aspect. Look how terribly excited we get over the simple concept of more of something we crave--without even thinking about the longevity of the situation, or of the end when we run dry and crave it more than ever. How desperate will we get?

See, that's why I don't drive.
Because this oil junk is ridiculous. Not because I fall asleep or anything. :P

David Knepprath said...

Haha, Thanks for putting that 33 billion barrels into perspective Michael! And thanks for the Diamond article, I will be quoting that one in a future post.

Mirranda said...

This is what Doctor Who - clearly an excellent source of wisdom - has to say about oil.

"It's about time the people who run this planet of yours realized that to be dependent on a mineral slime just doesn't make sense."

(I just listened to this episode this morning, and then read your blog; I had to share.)

David Knepprath said...

That made me laugh¡ Thanks Mirranda¡

David Knepprath said...

Whoops, I forgot I was using the Spanish keyboard.