Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Monday, August 05, 2013

Peak Oil, EROEI and the Muffled Drum

An interesting thing happened last month. The Oil Drum, a well-regarded website + blog, announced it was ceasing operations and archiving itself for posterity. Well, everything has its day - we can all list blogs that were thriving a few years back but are no longer with us.

Some have suggested it was the extraordinary shale-based renaissance of US gas and oil production that did for the Drum. Probably not. But, fairly or unfairly, the Drum was associated with 'peak oil', which at its simplest is a view (or theory or doctrine or whatever) that global oil production - as a function of oil-in-the-ground - is doomed to peak, after which we start 'running out of oil'.

At its simplest, it is Malthusian hogwash. Of course, there are more nuanced versions than that, and the Drum shouldn't be tarred with the brush one would use for countering hogwash. Much more important is the concept of EROEI - energy return on energy invested, which has been another Drum favourite. And this concept really does bear careful consideration. Declining EROEI could be the end of civilisation as we know it for, in the immortal words of James Lovelock - "civilisation is energy-intensive". Better believe it.

So - no more drum-beat. But you'll not stop hearing about EROEI.


This post appeared first on the Capitalists@Work blog


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6 comments:

Sackerson said...

Love that "muffled drum": very witty.

Re blogging dropouts, as I said on CapAtWork:

The Oil Drum people say they didn't have enough contributors to keep going, plus internet reading is changing - more writers, fewer readers per piece.

One of the authors says he could get more hits by being sensational but didn't want to go that way, and I think we can all see what tends to generate more interest.

I do get the sense that attention span is declining and there's more emphasis on flashy ephemera. Don't we see politics playing to this trend?

So as far as TOD is concerned, ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.

A K Haart said...

"At its simplest, it is Malthusian hogwash."

Popular hogwash though.

Nick Drew said...

thanks, sackers

BTW I stuck up an answer to your qn on 'natural' gas, here

Sackerson said...

ND: so I noticed. Still has a whiff of spin though, doesn't it? Natural uranium next.

Ralfyman said...

EROEI is part of peak oil and of Malthusianism.

Anonymous said...

EROEI is part of peak oil and of Malthusianism.