Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quote of the Week

I'm always keen to talk about the price of oil, the future of the Alaska Gas Pipeline, gas prices, Tar Sands and energy conservation. Since October the wheels have pretty much come off the truck. I feel like I've seen this movie before like maybe 1985-87 when life for a young engineer in Texas kinda sucked.

You read a lot of articles that curse the oil companies or the speculators. I dismiss those folks as clueless, they have no skin in the game, they haven't seen the industry from the inside. The story is that our economy is very complex, highly optimized and totally interrelated.

I found a good article that sums this up well - The Looming Energy Crisis Oil Prices: Why the Past is Not Prologue By Chris Nelder. It's the source of the quote of the week, Mr. Nelder says:

By focusing on the financial markets without seeing their connection to everything else, we have truly missed the point, which is that energy is the real economy, and money is merely an artificial representation of it. Consequently, twiddling with interest rates, and other measures that don't produce more energy or decrease demand for it, ultimately don't cure our problems at all.
To be honest I look forward to $150/bbl oil and $15/MMBTU natural gas. My reasons are selfish, I'll be the first one to admit that - but society needs to understand that energy resources are precious and should be conserved and used carefully and thoughtfully. Squandering energy on soccer mom SUV's and 5,000 square foot Mac-Mansions is not going to build a better society.

Nelder says that energy prices will turn around in 2010 - just in time for the Alaska Gas Pipeline open season. For the engineers and craftsmen that design and build the world let's hope he's right.

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