Kicking the Oil Habit

Linked with Vijay Vaitheeswaran – India & USA.

by Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran ME ‘90, published on MIT Alumni Association.

Excerpt: … The human misery involved alone justifies a transition to a cleaner energy model, but there is another problem that may prove more compelling to politicians: the growing political and economic cost of reliance on petroleum. It is now clear that the main problem with our petro-addiction is not oil’s scarcity, but its concentration in the hands of unstable, unsavory and unreliable regimes in the Middle East.

The central rebuttal to this concern, usually offered by the oil industry, is that the dramatic advances in oil exploration and production is unleashing a wave of investment in non-OPEC areas like Russia, West Africa and Brazil. It is even helping Canada develop its mucky tar sands. All this may well give the consuming world a couple of decades’ worth of breathing space before it once again has to worry about oil shocks.

But does today’s technological revolution in oil really add up to an OPEC antidote that will render Saudi Arabia irrelevant? The short answer is “no,” for much the same reason that the rise of Russia and other non-OPEC exporters will also not dislodge the Saudis from their perch atop the oil economy: improving technology will debunk claims that we are about to run out of oil, but it will never be able to change where on earth God put the oil in the first place … (read the whole long article on above link).

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