At least one author is warning consumers not to be fooled by relatively steady gas prices and prognostications of plentiful petroleum. Richard Heinberg, in his book Snake Oil: How Fracking's False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future is warning people that any prediction that the world has staved off the prospect of diminishing returns on continued oil drilling is inaccurate, and that the recent increase in supply may merely accelerate the overall decline.

Heinberg says we need to look to history, pointing out that oil industry members and some US government agencies were trumpeting oil abundance a decade ago. They said oil prices would remain under $25 a barrel, but it was the so-called "Peakists" who forecast the price spikes that ended up coming to fruition. Heinberg, in a book excerpt reprinted by Grist, notes that the recent US fracking craze that has boosted production of both oil and natural gas will only increase supplies in the short term, and says extraction rates may decline "sharply" after the end of the decade. To soften that blow when it comes, Heinberg is pushing for greater investment in solar and wind energy.

Oil executives have recently been looking to allay fears of an imminent shortage, a recent example being Gulf CEO Joe Petrowski, who last month said on CNBC's Squawk Box that oil prices would drop about 50 percent by the end of the year partially because North America was producing "record amounts" of oil and natural gas.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm trying to understand what the motivation would be for oil companies to falsely inflate supply. If there truly was a limited supply of oil, wouldn't they want to get top dollar for it?
        • 2 Years Ago
        I think its all about timing. The industry wants to sell fossil fuels until they ran out and they probably have a profitable alternative lined up for the phase after that. What they don't need is a panic induced premature shift away form their product to an other product they have no stake in like batteries or some forms of biofuels (hence their war on corn ethanol...).
        Richard Lam
        • 2 Years Ago
        Get everyone to invest in natural gas equipment, infrastructure, cars and then reduce supply and raise prices. Common buisness tactic. If will then beotoo expensive to move to alternatives as this will negate your current investment in natural gas equipment. That's how you screw the pooch.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      comments dissapearing like mad..
      Levine Levine
      • 2 Years Ago
      Oil Flippers want you to believe in the Energy Crisis of '73, Peak Oil, and now, Snake Oil. To drive prices higher the Flippers have resorted to various fear mongering: Nigeria oil rebels, the instability of Arab nations, Katrina-like storms, refinery fire, switching over to Summer-Winter gasoline blend, increase demand from India, and throwing down the 'China' card. At the height of the commodity speculation and housing bubble, GoldSach was screaming for $200/barrel before the entire bubble economy imploded in 2007. The credit crunch prevented Flippers from refinancing or rolling over their loans and thereafter, the gasoline prices collapsed to less than $2 Dollar a gallon in 2008 when all the world's oil tankers were used as emergency storage bins. As the Federal Reserve made free money available to WallSt, the Oil Flippers returned to the market as well as the subsequent higher petro prices. Increased in petro prices are not the result of scarcity but of oil speculators who are trading the weak dollar for hard commodities such as copper, gold, silver, soybean, and of course crude oil. Thanks to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the Central Bank has debased the 2013 Dollar to less than 5% of a 1913 Dollar. In term of silver or gold, the price of a gallon of gasoline is about the same as in the past; petro prices appear higher because the Dollar has lost much purchasing power. As a result of USA's petro conservation, alternative energy sources, and increase crude production, USA is exporting surplus gasoline. Oil Flippers who have taken positions in futures are issuing propaganda that brainwashes naïve people into fearing the coming crude shortage. The Flippers are hoping such fear will lead to hording and driving up crude prices.
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