Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Kaufman @ Boston University: Running out of oil?

Today's WSJ has an interesting little debate with feauturing a professor from my alma matter. Robert Kaufman is a professor in the Center for Energy & Environmental Studies at Boston University

I won't bother to write the whole article:

We know that oil production will peak within our lifetime, we think market prices may not anticipate this peak and we know that not having alternatives in place at the time of the peak will have tremendous economic and social consequences. So, if society does too much now, as opposed to later, there will be some loss of efficiency. But if society does too little now, as opposed to later, the effects could be disastrous. Under these conditions, doing too little now in the name of efficiency will appear in hindsight as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
Earlier in the discussion a different professor from the university of california said that he trusted the markets to know when an oil production peak would occur, going as far as saying that it won't be anytime soon as you can get a futures buy for delivery in december 2011 for USD60 (makes me wonder if kaufman knows more about this, is he stuffing his face with futures like this?)

Point is: can we trust the markets to let us know when a peak in oil production is about to occur? when that day comes (which according to kaufman will be in our lifetime) what will the price of a barrel of oil be?

Seems to me like a very lucrative business too. If I could, I'd be stocking up barrels of oil in my basement. Buy it for USD50 bucks today, sell it for god-knows-how-much-more in the future. Why hasn't anybody thought of this? Sometimes I amaze even myself :|

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