As oil flirts with the shocking $100 a barrel level on world markets, some shocking awful truths about oil beg for more conservation on the part of consumers as oil actually becomes not only more expensive, but also far more difficult for producers to pump than before the "peak oil" period of 1977.
Oil was only $2 a barrel back in 1973. However, although a barrel of oil will wield as much as 46.4 gallons of gasoline, 500 man hours of production are needed to refine this crude product into gasoline, meaning many fixed costs have to be added to a barrel of oil.
Oil from Alaska generally contains unacceptably high levels of poisonous benzene, of which only BP has equipment at this point to heavily filter this dangerous cancer causing pollutant that will pass right through a car's normal pollution controls into the public air. The EPA under the Bush Administration has allowed oil companies until 2014 to filter out this dangerous benzene from Alaskan oil. Alaskan oil has as much as four times the benzene of any oil found in the world.
Since 1977, the largest oil wells have either dramaticly declined in production levels or else huge amounts of gas or water injection have been required to maintain pre-1977 "peak oil" poduction levels. The world's largest oil reserve in Saudi Arabia, the Ghawar oil field only is able to produce 4.5 million barrels of oil production each day by pumping in 7 million gallons of seawater a day.
Worldwide, other oil fields have witnessed terrible production shortfalls despite growing worldwide demand. The giant Russian Samotler oil field has declined from 3.5 million barrels a day at peak production down to just 325,000 barrels a day. Prudhoe Bay oil reserve has declined from 1.5 million barrels a day down to a mere 350,000 barrels a day. Forty Field in the North Sea has declined from 500,000 barrels a day down to just 50,000 barrels a day. Cruz Beana in Columbia has declined from 500,000 to 200,000 barrels a day. Generally only smaller oil reserves have been discovered worldwide to replace this huge decline in production, and water and gas injection has been required in higher and higher levels to be able to pump out these harder to pump, smaller oil reserves.
America's enemies, Venezuela and Iran are pushing OPEC to link oil prices to another currency as the dollar falls to record lows. So far Saudi Arabia has resisted this, only because it would almost certainly lead to a serious economic recession in the U.S. But if the dollar continues to fall much more in value, the Euro could replace the dollar as the currency for world oil markets, and lead to serious economic problems in the U.S.
The average American may think that fueling up a car is as simply as going to any gas pump. But things are far more serious than that. Just like the whale oil of the 1800's meant to fuel lamps, ground oil is running out on the Earth as demand increases for oil in the U.S., China and India. Americans will only see sharply higher prices in the future as oil becomes more scarce. Conservation and a move to another technology to fuel automobiles and heat homes is absolutely necessary in the near future.
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