May 25, 2013
A Tough-Oil World
Posted on Mar 14, 2012
By Michael T. Klare, TomDispatch
In addition to all this, many of the most promising tough-oil fields lie in Russia, the Caspian Sea basin, and conflict-prone areas of Africa. To operate in these areas, oil companies will be faced not only with the predictably high costs of extraction, but also additional costs involving local systems of bribery and extortion, sabotage by guerrilla groups, and the consequences of civil conflict.
And don’t forget the final cost: If all these barrels of oil and oil-like substances are truly produced from the least inviting of places on this planet, then for decades to come we will continue to massively burn fossil fuels, creating ever more greenhouse gases as if there were no tomorrow. And here’s the sad truth: if we proceed down the tough-oil path instead of investing as massively in alternative energies, we may foreclose any hope of averting the most catastrophic consequences of a hotter and more turbulent planet.
So yes, there is oil out there. But no, it won’t get cheaper, no matter how much there is. And yes, the oil companies can get it, but looked at realistically, who would want it?
Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, a TomDispatch regular, and author of the just published “The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources” (Metropolitan Books). To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Klare discusses his new book and what it means to rely on extreme energy, click here, or download it to your iPod here.
Copyright 2012 Michael Klare
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