Peak oil: Chevron CTO's best guess

Posted by: Tedstaff

News.com’s blog reports on how much oil we have left, in the estimate of Chevron CTO Don Paul: About 1 trillion gallons that we can extract, and another trillion that, for now, we can’t. In a hallway conversation with a News.com reporter, Chevron’s Paul estimated that we will have consumed half of all the oil that ever existed — 1.5 trillion gallons, out of 3 trillion — by 2012. From the story:

Thus, peak oil–the theory that we’re about to get into declining numbers on conventional oil–is probably real. However, Paul said, “I don’t think it has to be the catastrophe that other people have predicted, because there are other ways to make fuel.”

Watch TED.com in the coming weeks for more on alternative fuels, including Juan Enriquez‘s recent talk at TED’s fall Salon, on new ways to grow energy — related to his exciting work with Craig Venter at Synthetic Genomics.

Or take the point of view of TEDTalks favorite James Howard Kunstler. Near the end of Kunstler’s talk on modern suburbia, he describes a post-peak-oil future that actually doesn’t sound that bad: We’ll work and eat locally. We’ll rely on our neighbors. We’ll … walk.

Comments (6)

  • Stuart Rothschild IV commented on Apr 4 2008

    Funny…I noticed a common theme on Ted.com.

    There is a tendency or preference towards a particular perspective, ideology or result. TED’s output is influenced by inner biases, to the extent that all posted views are not subjectively considered neutral or objective.

    This website is 100% bias towards socialism and liberalism. Can’t the creators of ted.com offer a balanced website and have some intelligence from conservative thinkers in the world.

    I thought this was an effort to educate but rather ted.com is an attempt to recruit newcomers to their religion of liberalism. I suspect this site will vanish just as most other liberal swindles have in the past.


    • Steven Slaughter commented on Oct 20 2009

      Stuart, I am trying to figure out how this particular story is a vehicle of liberal indoctrination. It is mostly the news that an oil industry leader has acknowledged that peak oil appears to be a valid theory. Is this, in itself, a liberal sentiment, or are you quarreling over how the story was written? Just curious.

    • Richard Hopker commented on Jan 27 2010

      I don’t wish to get into a political argument but I do feel your position mustn’t go unchallenged. I don’t necessarily disagee with you either, just the last paragraph.

      ted.com certainly is biased toward a ‘leftist’ ideology, but most members don’t see that as a bad thing. This website’s aim is to spread alternative ideas, the ‘worth spreading’ indicates may of these ideas have previously been ignored and in a right-of-centre society, anything alternative, must, by default express thoughts that lean toward liberalism.

      I fear you may have been indoctrinated to believe Liberalism is something bad. The Oxford English dictionary defines Liberal as ‘willing to respect and accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own’ and (in a political context) ‘favouring individual liberty, free trade, and moderate reform’.

      Liberalism is the ideal that You and Your Interests are of equal or greater importance in society than say a large coorperation.
      What’s wrong with that?

  • rupert kaufman commented on Apr 1 2008

    The worlds population was 1 billion at the time oil was discovered and it has allowed the population to grow to 6 billion mainly by efficient transportation and the green revolution. Now that we have wasted and squandered a fantastic source of cheap energy, it is now probable that the world population will not reach 9 billion but rather will reduce to 3 billion rather quickly due to expensive transportation and expensive food and competition for resources.

  • TEDBlog Reader commented on Oct 29 2007

    In the words of Richard Dawkins: ‘It’s important to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out’. Let’s try to think critically about alternative fuel sources, ok? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7065061.stm

  • Greg Huntoon commented on Oct 26 2007

    I love it when people discuss this topic, and then at the end say something stupid like: “I don’t think it has to be the catastrophe that other people have predicted, because there are other ways to make fuel.” While, of course it’s true that there are infinite other ways to produce fuel, and even a handful of viable solutions that are being researched, tested and implemented now. The problem, which everyone overlooks, is that EVERYTHING requires large quantities of oil to produce. Everything. All of our plastics, all transportation, all industrial processes….so if we run out of oil before we are well into the adoption of alternative fuel sources, we’re going to be in a terrific amount of trouble. The world economy is 100% dependent on oil at this moment.

    Even with all the research on new technologies, until solar panels, hydro- and wind-powered turbines, alternative fuel automobiles are in wide use, and a viable substitute for petroleum in petroleum based products has been found the loss of oil will bring the world to a screeching and catastrophic halt.

    I’m not trying to be pessimistic, as I actually believe we can accomplish this. I’m just saying that we need to really pick up the pace. It would be catastrophic to run out of oil, because no one is taking this serious enough.