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America's 'Oil Independence' Myth: 'Most Shale Oil and Gas Reserves Could Prove Too Deep, Too Expensive to Drill' — Economic Collapse Will Follow

Peak Oil is not a myth. The production of oil will eventually peak (likely sooner than later) and then it will drop dramatically from then on. Fracking and tar sand oil extraction will only delay the inevitable: World oil output will drop like a rock. Meanwhile, there will be a vast acceleration in demand, caused by China, India and the entry into the high-tech age of the underdeveloped nations. Think nuclear energy and uranium will save the day? Have you ever heard of Peak Uranium?
—Ronald David Jackson



PeakGraph provided by Joy King.
PeakGraph provided by Joy King.

By Peter Moskowitz
In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said that the U.S. had a supply of natural gas “that can last America nearly 100 years.”

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 Richard Heinberg on Peak Oil and the Globe's Limitations



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But that unbridled optimism, shared by the natural gas industry as well as politicians who want to see the U.S. become more energy independent, is worrying a growing grout op of activists and analysts who say U.S. oil and gas production may start declining in a matter of years as drillers run out of sweet spots in U.S. shale reserves and are forced to explore less productive — and less lucrative — regions.

“Most of the wells right now are going into sweet spots,” said David Hughes, who authored a report released this week on the future of oil and gas production from the Post Carbon Institute, a green energy think tank. “You’re going to have to go into other parts of the reservoir eventually.”

He says more pessimistic observations have for years been swept under the rug, as the recent flood of untapped oil and gas made accessible by newly popularized technologies like hydraulic fracturing has buoyed the spirits of fossil fuel optimists. These optimists believe the U.S. oil and gas boom could create hundreds of thousands more jobs, cut dependence on foreign oil and even use U.S. energy sources to leverage power in diplomatic battles — as long as the country manages to keep producing gas and oil at the current rate for decades to come.

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But the relentless upbeat nature of the U.S. government’s predictions may mask a more complicated truth about oil and gas development. No one knows exactly how much oil and gas will be accessible in the future, and some people say it’s a lot less than what the government and industry think.

The Post Carbon Institute report suggests that while the U.S. does have a lot of shale oil and gas, the majority of it may be too deep and too expensive to drill.

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GO DEEPER:
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash



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The report is based on an analysis of the productivity of thousands of wells in the most productive U.S. shale regions.

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