It's become the talk of the energy industry that the US love affair with energy may be given a boost with the additional production of gas and oils from increasingly successful (if environmentally controversial) "fracking" to get at shale layers to release their reserves. 

Australia is dipping into this technology as well despite well publicised "lock the gate" campaigns by farmers and those worried about water supply contamination.

A number of analysts say the USA's fortunes will fundamentally shift the energy balance in the world and potentially extend the life of fossil fuels for some time beyond the current peak oil scenarios.  America for one may close in on "energy independence" while Saudi Arabia is tipped to be importing fossil fuels by 2030.  And analysts are only now beginning to consider what will be accessed under an "ice free" Arctic.

Given that Peak Oil and the rising price of oil has been the one inescapable factor to motivate change in energy and transport policies, is a surge in fossil fuel supplies and more stable prices actually going to be unwelcome news for cycling and cyclists, more sustainable transport and those (apparently few) concerned about the impact of climate change? 

SMH article

Economist article

NYT article

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I rarely think about bicycles in terms of their fuel efficiency. The important thing to me, as somebody who lives in a city where space is at a premium, is their space efficiency. If cars ran on angel's farts instead of fossil fuels I'd still be against them because of the way they cause cities to be thinly smeared across the landscape, making economic development much harder and more expensive.


Plus in the city trying to deal with a car is an avoidable stress. I need to reduce stress.


I am still not 100% convinced "[cars] cause cities to be thinly smeared across the landscape" is correct.

It depends on what is defined as "the city". For instance many people commute into London from surrounding towns and cities of a distance away from London that if they were in NSW they would still be considered suburbs of Sydney, not separate towns and cities in their own right. I believe this to be the case for pretty much every major western European city too.

In any case, my wife has (had) colleagues that commute from Penrith into the city by train faster than you can get to the city by car or PT from the much closer Northern Beaches (outside of school holidays, anyway).

I certainly do not think we should go back to tenement housing for the sake of "economic development".

London differs from Sydney by having a planned green belt around it.


So that's where the sprawl ceases until you get to the next actual town. These towns & cities are usually serviced by fast trains, and have their own PT radiating from the station.

Exactly, it is not necessarily cars and it does not necessarily adversely affect economic development.

Sydney (and most Aussie cities) have been planned by how much developer cash pollies find in their back pocket.

Trains allow people to commute from nearby towns, but without cars those towns would have density of their own rather than being part of the city's sprawl.

Bikes are interesting because they're likely to generate thinner densities than walking/trains, but with all the positive effects of agglomeration intact. But we've never seen a city built around bike transport, so we don't really know.

Nothing wrong with tenement housing from my perspective, and nobody's forced to live in it.
Peak oil happened already, the crunch in price remains a question of when.

Peak is defined as point of maximum extraction... with the new fracking techniques and the Arctic now available, peak may now be further off in the future rather than in the past?  Add to that new efficiencies that may offset additional costs and the whole outlook is for more of the same energy dependencies to continue unless a new dynamic takes hold.  Otherwise, price crunch may now follow climate crunch?

Contained in Paul Bellen's thread on the subject:

Analysis of the spin

There are a few more things linked there, under 'general' discussions.

Nope, peak has passed as Martin says.

All these wonderful discoveries (including tight oil (shale, etc)) only amount to between a few days and a few months worth of oil at current consumption rates, and consumption rates are still going up, particularly in India & China. The technological cornucopians will have us believe that it's all going to be peachy. It isn't.

On a related subject, here's an excellent lecture.

As for cycling, like anything else, the majority of people will only do it if it is more convenient than the alternatives. No amount of talk about the environment, energy dependence, health or otherwise will change that (except for the minority who probably already cycle) so it is a waste of time banging on about it in my opinion.

I'm just very disappointed that we aren't being more careful with the remainder of the oil that we can afford to extract (that's another topic too...) and limiting wasteful use of it (ie. burning it in our engines to move our fat arses 500m).

...and some more on the US Shale Oil situation, with some 'optimistic' graphs which are nothing short of absurd!

Note: even IF they can extract this much oil, it is still going to peak in 2020; and the decline is masked by 'yet to produce' (is it affordable?) and 'yet to find'. And people think this sort of thing is going to fix our problems! It's funny and frightening at the same time. This is also only US production. 

It is important to note that the US consumes 18 MILLION barrels of oil per DAY.

While we discuss IEA predictions, their graphs for oil price at last admit that they don't know what's going to happen. They show a best case and worst case, with their prediction range including a somewhat steep increase in the price of oil and a very steep increase in the price of oil.


So to get back to Omar, we might see fairly stable oil prices for a while and then we'll see the kind of rises which will significantly reduce usage/consumption. The 'when' part is the uncertainty.


Science warning: none here, economic predictions are not science.

Apologies to economists given with a chuckle :-)


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