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U.S. Department of Energy Doubles Down on Shale Optimism

U.S. Department of Energy Doubles Down on Shale Optimism

Asher Miller

The U.S. stock market is not the only thing that’s gotten overheated in the last few years. Exuberance over U.S. energy output has hit a record high as natural gas production has reached its all-time peak, and oil production nears highs not seen in 47 years. Thanks to the so-called “shale revolution” (tapping previously inaccessible fossil fuels in shale rock deposits through the use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies), the U.S. government has green-lighted liquefied natural gas export terminals and pipelines and lifted the ban on oil exports.

All mineral resources are technically ‘finite’. Using markets to determine their price and availability, instead of politics, is a good thing. I’ve lost track of how many flawed predictions the Poobahs of Finitude and the Sisters of Malthus have made in the last 50 years concerning resources, prices, etc, but it’s a long, long list.

Mr Miller can make his prognostications to his heart’s content, and invest and spend based on them, but leave the rest of us alone so that when he is wrong, he’s only harmed himself, instead of everyone law based on his ideas would harm, by law.

So you agree with the optimistic projections from EIA of oil and gas that we can keep drilling and not have to worry about it running out?
And that continuing to throw more carbon into the atmosphere is nothing to worry about?

I don’t claim to necessarily agree with their predictions, but I do know I’ll get better performance, from folks who’ll lose their own shirts by making mistakes, private buisness, than I will from those who just lose someone else’s, govt planners.

The flipside is I oppose all subsidies to every player, from solar to wind, from natural gas to coal, from biodiesel to ethanol. Let failure fail and let the market sort it out.

As for the CO2, yes, no problem for a variety of reasons from temperature histories in this and previous interglacials, to sensitivities which cannot be net positive in magnitude or else we’d already be Venus, and have been so for a long, long time. Net positive feedbacks are not stable.

You do know that this pure “free market” of yours is a totally fake concept, don’t you? The is not, and never will be, your Ayn-Randian, “free market”, because any attempt at instituting such a thing would be highly unstable and result in the rapid collapse of all resources, wealth and power in a handful of hyper-powerful individuals.

So real markets have to be controlled, and the question becomes; should they be controlled by, and for the benefit of Jeff Bezos or the Koch Brothers and their friends, or should they be controlled through democratic means through a democratic government for the benefit of the earth’s billions of humans?

The scary thing is not that these graphs are optimistic, but that they, the teratons of carbon releases they depict, are likely accurate or more likely pessimistic as past peak-oil predictions have been.

We can only wish these resources do peak and decline faster than the graphs depict, but wishing is not good course of action.