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PHOTO CAPTION: NOAA satellite of Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico late April 2010.

Why How Much Oil Is Left Doesn't Matter Any More

What's left is hard to get at and risky to extract, as Deepwater Horizon blowout shows.

Published: 02-May-2010

Peak oil felt like a very real and immediate possibility around the time of the oil price peak in mid-2008, but the “oil-is-here-to-stay” crowd has enjoyed something of a resurgence since then.

Oil prices are down (though back to more than twice the low seen after the financial meltdown). Furthermore, 2009 was a banner year for new oil field discoveries — more than 10 billion barrels in potential reserves of black gold, which was the most found since 2000. Then there’s the fossil fuel riches of the Arctic that will likely be opening up in years to come, thanks to climate change.

Don’t get too excited, though. While there might be plenty of oil left below the surface of our planet, it won’t be enough to prevent an oil shock in the short-term future. Here’s why:

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