I have never believed that Peak Oil was real despite the plethora of experts that claim its legitimacy. In life, the majority of people will believe something as long as enough talking heads repeat the same thing and enough newspapers proclaim it as “fact” or “inevitable”. Global militaries realize this as well and you can find such instruction in many military manuals –
To get a nation, or even a world, to believe something, even if it is not true, print it in the major media. Then the whole world will believe it if it is in print. I have always formulated my opinions by trying to understand the origins of such claims rather than accepting something as truth because I heard about it on TV or read about in a paper. But the reality is that many people are lazy and would rather have someone else tell them what to think.
In December, 1999, a great majority of people all over the world believe in Y2K because the media made us believe in its catastrophic inevitability – a catastrophe that was supposed to cripple the world that never happened. I believe Peak Oil is the same. But just as the theory of Peak Oil was invented by an employee of Shell Oil (and it’s just a tad ironic that the Peak Oil theory contributed to rising oil prices), I wouldn’t be surprised if the Y2K theory was invented by some employee of the computer/tech industry the theory most benefited.
However, I do believe that global warming is real. In fact, the reality, and not they myth, of global reality is changing the Peak Oil situation. Extensive melting of the polar ice cap is currently opening up previously unexplorable areas to exploration. This is not just true for mineral reserves but also for natural gas and oil reserves. This is Reality #1.
Reality #2 is that 375 billion of oil reserves are believed to lie beneath the polar ice cap. That would increase world oil reserves by 1/3rd.
Reality #3 is that with improved 4-D seismic imaging technology that can locate oil reserves much more efficiently and accurately, we will soon know if those estimates are accurate.
Reality #4 is that again, improved technology is making drilling to depths that were previously unfathomable, well, fathomable. Peak oil is based upon static reserves being depleted over time. With possibly 375 billion of oil reserves now accessible, that calculation significantly changes.
But access to huge amounts of oil is not the only investment opportunity that global warming is creating. In addition, with the rapid melting of the Arctic ice, a very important strategic shipping lane is opening up to sea vessels – a path that would shorten the current shipping distance between Asia and Europe that passes through, you guessed it – the Panama canal – by 5,000 kilometers.
In 1903, the United States engineered a revolution in Columbia in order to set up an independent Republic of Panama. After they accomplished this, the U.S. named themselves owner of the strategic Panama Canal “in perpetuity” and established military bases in Panama to ensure their control. This situation lasted for almost ¾ of a century until the canal lost its strategic importance and the U.S. turned over control of the canal to Panama.
The U.S. has already stated their official lane regarding these new shipping lanes. Despite Canadian sovereignty of the Arctic north, the U.S. has stated that they intend to use this new shipping lane regardless of Canadian consent. However, some of these shipping lanes, with sufficient melting, will fall outside of the legal jurisdiction of Canadian territorial waters so this contention may very well be moot.
However, an equally large, if not larger point of contention, will be the claim to the mineral and oil reserves that lie underneath these waters. In addition to possessing huge reservoirs of natural gas and oil reserves, the Arctic is home to vast amounts of diamonds and gold and uranium mineral resources that have previously been unexplorable. Canada claims that their exclusive economic zone which gives them sole rights to exploration extends 200 nautical miles from their coastline. This claim is being disputed by the United States, and perhaps other countries as well. So just as the U.S. seized a strategic military passageway in 1903, you can be sure that claims to this strategic Arctic passageway will be hotly contested today.
These two developments are well worth keeping an eye on. If one international shipping/freight company dominates this new passageway, it will be certain to profit hugely. Furthermore, whatever companies win the lion’s share of exploration rights in this area, based upon speculation alone, are sure to see phenomenal price appreciation.