Oil hits $100

Crude oil prices have rocketed up since 1999Today oil prices touched $100 a barrel for the first time in history, marking a growing important trend for the near future. Even when historic prices are adjusted for inflation the price has been very slightly higher (at $104.70 during the Iran revolution in 1980). Crude prices reached a high of $97 in November and then fell, only to rise again after the new year.

Peak oil, and the other associated peaks (peak food production, peak metals and peak coal, among others) are a real concern over the next fifty years. When I participated in the collaborative fiction project World Without Oil in May, I thought peak oil was an interesting problem for the future but I wasn’t expecting prices to jump from $50 in January to $100 today. Although oil is always a volitile market, it looks like we may be hitting the point where supply can’t keep up with the increased demand. In the end $100 is just a number but the trend of oil, gold and other commodities mean many of the conservations needed to combat climate change may be forced on us by price alone.

[via the oil drum, where two people had a $1000 bet on whether oil would hit $100 a barrel in 2007. It didn’t, by one trading day, graph by futures.tradingcharts]

5 thoughts on “Oil hits $100”

  1. Maybe Peak Oil is a myth but according to the world oil production figures at theoildrum.com, it seems that we reached at least a local peak sometime around the summer of 2006 and production has declined since then.

  2. From the Publisher’s Weekly review of The Bottomless Well, as quoted on the Amazon page linked:

    But their treatment of energy-consumption pitfalls like global warming is cursory and unconvincing, and they devote too little space to explaining exactly where new energy supplies will come from, and too much to assurances that “[f]uels recede, demand grows… but logic ascends, and with the rise of logic we attain the impossible—infinite energy, perpetual motion and the triumph of power.” Long on Nietzschean bombast but short on some crucial specifics, theirs is an intriguing but incomplete vision of energy policy and prospects.

    I think almost every regular reader here at Futurismic is pro-technology, and no one is advocating a return to primitivism. But I still remain to be convinced by nay-sayers that there is anything to be lost from making our energy consumption cleaner and more efficient … apart from the profit margins of the fossil fuel industry, that is.

  3. As Paul said, the reviews of ‘The Bottomless Well’ are a little underwhelming. The thing is though, even if the authors are right, we will have to undergo an identical process of converting to new energy to meet demand as we would if they were wrong. I’m not a doommonger that thinks the world is going to end over this. This is merely another challenge. But I do think the economic and technological policies will have to change to match problems such as these.

    The point is, it doesn’t matter if peak oil is real or not. The increase in price of oil due to increased demand over supply has exactly the same effect on the world economy and the way we live, whatever the root cause.

  4. I think that 50 years from now, we’ll look at the “Peak Oil” theory the way we look back at Paul Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb” prediction.

    By the way… I LOVE this site!

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