A Thousand Barrels a Second: The Coming Oil Break Point and the Challenges Facing an Energy Dependent World (英語) CD – Abridged, Audiobook
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A Powerful Analysis of Our Oil Addiction and a New Direction for Global Energy
In 2006, world oil consumption exceeded one thousand barrels per second-a level with enormous impact on the environment, world economies, investments, and business profitability. A Thousand Barrels a Second examines the future of oil and the nature of our energy supply, revealing how governments, businesses, and individuals can meet the coming challenges with better solutions and innovations.
“A Thousand Barrels a Second is a book that arrives just in time.”-U.S. Representative Charles F. Bass, (R-NH), member House Energy and Commerce Committee
“Peter Tertzakian's analysis of world oil is a fascinating reminder that history often foretells the major turning points of the future.”-Gwyn Morgan, President & Chief Executive Officer, EnCana Corporation
“An excellent book! In my more than 40 years in the industry I can't think of a publication which has so clearly discussed the global challenges of today's demands and tomorrow's requirements.”-Peter Gaffney, Senior Partner, Gaffney, Cline & Associates--このテキストは、ペーパーバック版に関連付けられています。
Peter Tertzakian is Chief Energy Economist of ARC Financial Corporation, and has become an internationally recognized analyst. Tertzakian publishes ARC Energy Charts, a weekly synopsis of world energy trends. For more information about the future of energy, visit athousandbarrelsasecond.com.--このテキストは、ペーパーバック版に関連付けられています。
Tertzakian goes on the review the principle of growth, pressure buildup, and then a "break point" as an energy source becomes disadvantaged.
I especially appreciated the concept of the "oil dependency factor" of a given economy. The "oil dependency factor" can be considered as the measure of how much new oil is required to fuel economic growth. Countries like Japan, Britain, and France have taken very conscious efforts to mitigate their oil dependency, and thus have very low oil dependency factors. Countries in the early stages of industrialization, like China and India, exhibit high "oil dependency factors." This concept becomes very useful as you consider diversifying the energy mix in an economy while still allowing economic growth.
Tertzakian continues to make very interesting points as he goes on to discuss the very low probability of our being saved from our horrific energy policy by waiting for a technological "magic bullet."
The author does give some very practical advice for postponing the collapse. He mentions three actions we can do right now do decrease our use of fossil fuels. These require no new technology and could made a big difference in giving society some "breathing room" while we ponder the next steps. These very practical suggestions are:
- lower national speed limits
- raising fuel taxes
- progressive tax of vehicles based on fuel inefficiency
Tertzakian starts to ramble and dream a bit at the end, but on the whole, I found this to be a very readable and informative book with a novel view of the our current energy quagmire.
In the book's title, "A Thousand Barrels a Second" refers to the point at which world oil demand exceeds 86 million barrels per day. (86.4 to be exact--there are 86,400 seconds in one day). The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes the 86 million threshold could be crossed this year.
The "Coming Oil Break Point" refers to the aftermath of crisis and inevitable forced change. Tertzakian explains:
"...the history of energy shows that a time of crisis is always followed by a defining break point, after which government policies, and social and technological forces, begin to rebalance the structure of the world's vast energy complex. Break points are crucial junctures marked by dramatic changes in the way energy is used."
During the break point and the rebalancing phase that follows (which can last for 10 to 20 years), nations struggle for answers, consumers suffer and complain, the economy adapts, and science surges with innovation and discovery. In the era that emerges, lifestyles change, businesses are born, and fortunes are made.
I read the entire book on one leg of a coast-to-coast plane trip, a feat made possible by the clarity and lucidity of Tertzakian's writing. He excels at laying out detailed concepts in ways that are easy for the reader to grasp and understand, and paints a convincing picture of the significant challenges we face.
Tertzakian firmly grounds his argument in history, explaining what he calls the "evolutionary energy cycle" through the lens of past transitions. At one point we journeyed to the ends of the earth for whale oil, just as we do for "rock oil" (the literal meaning of petroleum) today. In the switch from wood to coal, tallow to whale oil, whale oil to kerosene, and so on, predictable aspects of the evolutionary energy cycle begin to emerge.
In addition to outlining the situation we're in, Tertzakian gives a fascinating, though brief, history of the oil industry. He covers the rise of Rockefeller's Standard Oil, its eventual breakup, the curious origins of Saudi Aramco, the British Navy's fateful switch from coal to oil, energy's role in respect to railroads and WWII, and more.
In my opinion, Tertzakian can be classified as an Urgent Simonist.* The word "Urgent" is meant to distinguish from the "Pollyanna" Simonists--those who believe technology will magically solve our energy problems with no real pain or discomfort.
On the emotional subject of peak oil, there are two extremes of debate. At one end you have those who think civilization is doomed no matter what (the viewpoint of cheery websites like dieoff.org). At the other end, you have those who think peak oil will be shaken off like a mild head cold.
Tertzakian helps bridge the gap between these extremes by explaining that yes, the challenge is serious, and gut-wrenching times are ahead... but we will ultimately see our way through. He is "urgent" in pointing out that the sooner we act the better, and pulls no punches in terms of what's at stake.
Perhaps the real power of "A Thousand Barrels A Second" is in showing readers how to think about the big picture, orienting them to the mind-boggling mechanics of energy supply chains.
There are so many steps and processes involved in the discovery, extraction, and distribution of energy that supply chains generally evolve at a glacial pace. Major energy transitions are measured in decades, not years; the scale and scope of the task is breathtaking to behold. Without taking a closer look behind the scenes, it's hard to get an intuitive sense of the time frames and logistical complexities involved. Tertzakian helps readers do that.
In sum, if you truly want to understand the energy issues we face--or at least get a handle on the key elements--I strongly recommend this book. It could also make an excellent gift for those friends and colleagues locked in one of the "extreme" camps, i.e. "what me worry" vs. "we're all going to die." (The book might not change their mind, but it will certainly make them think.)
I too consider myself an Urgent Simonist--we'll make it through, but only with serious pain--and believe that Tertzakian succeeds in his goal of providing "a highly researched and balanced assessment of our energy situation."
*Julian Simon, an influential economist, wrote a book in 1981 called The Ultimate Resource, in which he argued that technology and human ingenuity would always ensure an abundance of raw materials. In 1980, he also made a famous wager that a basket of base metals would fall in price, rather than rise, over a significant period of time. He won the bet. Ever since, those who believe in the power of innovation to overcome doomsday scarcity predictions have been dubbed "Simonists."