Hans-Josef Fell and Oliver Krischer on Peak Oil

German Members of Parliament for the Green Party Hans-Josef Fell and Oliver Krischer just published a paper on peak oil. It is excellent and I recommend it to anyone able to read German.

They explain that peak oil is clearly already happening and is already damaging the economy world wide. I think they have a point. Oil prices have gone up massively already. And as they explain, the IEA has been constantly wrong in predicting these prices, their estimates were always too low.

The most interesting part of this paper for me was at point 16. The authors show a diagram plotting the profits of Shell and Exxon against the price of oil. And that clearly shows that those profits always go up when prices are up, and down when oil becomes cheaper.

Looking at that diagram, would you rather have cheap oil or expensive oil if you were running an oil company? And as any basic market theory clearly shows, producing less of anything leads to higher prices, so the rational thing for the oil companies is to join forces with Bill McKibben and 350.org and start lobbying for limits in their production imposed on them by law (which would of course eliminate any problem with antitrust that a coordinated voluntary reduction might have).

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