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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Analyst: Predictions That Oil Industry is Dying Are Off Base

From Forbes contributor and analyst Michael Lynch:
Numerous prognosticators now claim that the petroleum industry is doomed to either a quick or a lingering death, as we ‘transition’ to a new energy economy. There are even statements from within the industry that seem to confirm this: A blogger for the Financial Times reports that a senior Shell executive thinks that demand could peak in five to fifteen years, adding “I think …possibly by 2020.” 
Two rationales are given for this change. Some see galloping improvements in competing technologies like photovoltaics and electric vehicles, the latter being particularly relevant, causing Bloomberg to predict: “Superior electric cars are on their way, and they could begin to wreck oil markets within a decade.” 
Then there are those arguing that fossil fuel reserves are due to be stranded by climate change policies and that the industry is greatly overstating their value, with one advocacy group arguing “The shocks to some industries could be severe—potentially as severe as, for example, the effect of the introduction of wireless telephony on the telecommunications sector during the 1990s….”

Graybeards like myself just shake our heads in wonder. Although many people have heard of the oft-repeated claim that electricity from nuclear power would be ‘too cheap to meter,’ few recall that there have been other threats and promises to transform the industry, especially due to technological advances.
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