Monday, April 20, 2009

The Paradox of Plenty

Ok, it's been some time since my last post. I'll try to get back to speed with shorter posts on what's happening. Interaction Quarterly of Stanford recently published an article, which reminds us that NOCs (national oil companies) have often neglected new exploration investments, and the oil revenue is rather used for other government expenditure (a recent exception is Brazil's Petrobras). The "sovereign" or political risk in the oil producing countries is often too high for non-NOCs to do exploration solo. There's still plenty of oil in the ground; it's just harder to get to, and new investments are lagging behind because of poverty, corruption, and war. NOCs are instant cash machines, as David Victor calls them.

Why is it so important to get to as many conventional oil sources as possible? Well, because each barrel of conventional oil left in the ground is likely to be replaced with a barrel of non-conventional oil. That's bad news both economically and environmentally, and there's no "paradox of plenty" with regards to either of the two.

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