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Among the big energy stories of 2013, “peak oil” -- the once-popular notion that worldwide oil production would soon reach a maximum level and begin an irreversible decline -- was thoroughly discredited. The explosive development of shale oil and other unconventional fuels in the United States helped put it in its grave.

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Don’t imagine for a second that we're headed for an age dominated by renewable energy. Instead, humanity is pioneering the third great carbon era, the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas.

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China’s determination to assert control over disputed islands in the potentially energy-rich waters of the East and South China Seas spells trouble not just regionally, but potentially globally.

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The world still harbors large reserves of petroleum, but they are of the hard-to-reach, hard-to-refine, “tough oil” variety that will be more costly to extract, refine and buy at the pump.

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In 2012 and beyond, energy and conflict will be bound ever more tightly together, lending increasing importance to the key geographical flashpoints in our resource-constrained world.

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