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Sunday, May 08, 2005

How to deflate an argument

From the Anti War Blog, in a discussion that treaded carefully around the reality of peak oil, Sam Koritz received this response from an evidently well-credentialled reader:
Non-rehasher Tom Lowe writes:

Regarding so-called Peak Oil, I can tell you exactly what's going on, and you can spread the word. I have a MS degree in petroleum engineering from UT-Austin and top international experience in upstream operations, in particular, well logging for Schlumberger, where profiles of newly-drilled wells are examined for hydrocarbon producibility.

I have not been asked to work for the past 18 years, since the price dipped down to $12/bbl in 1987. That means they have plenty of reserves. "Peak Oil" is nothing but a propaganda slogan designed to shill prices upward.

There is still a lot of relatively unexplored, potentially oil-producing terrain left on the planet. If there were any shortage of oil on this planet, you can rest assured: they would call me immediately.

I spend my days selling postcards on eBay.
(my italics) Quite a supposition -- I can imagine the scenario unfolding thusly:
BossOilMan: Quarterly profits look pretty good. Demand is strong while supply hasn't come down too much. What happens when people start shopping around?

OilConsultant: Well, we can always start to seriously look for oil again ...

BossOilMan: Yes ... I see. I'd imagine Mr. Lowe wouldn't want to risk his career in postcard collectibles to take another shot, would he?

OilConsultant: Oil's in his blood.

BossOilMan: OK, it's settled, let's get the "Lowedown"

6 Comments:

Professor Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Sam continues here;
http://www.antiwar.com/blog/comments.php?id=P2031_0_1_0

I am one of the people who `deluged' him with email, so I've been eagerly waiting for him to catch up on his email and answer the specific question of why he doesn't believe in peaking oil. He really has done a masterfull job of avoiding that specific question.

tic toc, crossing off days on the calendar...

11:06 PM  
Professor Blogger Big Gav said...

I think there may possibly be another reason why Mr Lowe can't get work in the oil industry other than a surplus of known oil reserves.

But rather than cast aspersions in his direction I'll note that people I know in the oil and gas industry here are complaining that their number 1 problem in expanding their businesses is resource constraints - with people being top of the list. Graduate engineers in oil and gas related fields of engineering can make over A$100k per year now - and I've heard of people with a year or two of experience making close to A$200k.

Its like the good old days of the tech boom out there (without the lattes and fancy offices).

3:45 AM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

A while ago, I looked at monster.com, and the number of openings for "petroleum engineers" was frighteningly small.

12:53 PM  
Professor Blogger Big Gav said...

Well - I'm no expert on the job market for petroleum engineers in the US, but maybe the Hubbert's Peak graph for the US could explain things.

There's a (mostly natural gas) boom going on here from the anecdotes I'm told by oil and gas engineers...

7:30 AM  
Professor Anonymous Tom Lowe said...

Hi Folks,

This is Tom Lowe, checking in, I found the posts. First, thanks to all for the general evenhandedness. Almost every person I know who was in the petroleum field has moved on to a different industry. I could give you dozens of examples and point you to them on the web. Try Dr. Shlomo Bekhor of Technion, whom I worked with in Chile. Shlomo is now a Professor of Transportation Engineering. Or my grad school office mate Grant Scott, who is currently a director of OTEK in Australia, which is an environmental engineering firm. The exploration and production jobs just aren't there because there's too much supply of both producing wells and production capacity, period. 'Peak Oil' is a shill!

Now, let me destroy Peak Oil once and for all time: the reachable Saturnian moon Titan is almost wholly composed of lng and associated hydrocarbon compounds. Hence we have just increased our known recoverable hydrocarbon reserves many millions of times over.

And if any of you think this idea would not work, you are not only lacking in vision, but lacking in technical acumen as well.

1:07 AM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

Tom,
Taking a break from selling postcards, huh?

11:30 PM  

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