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Not Quite Peak Oil

Peak oil describes the "point at which new oil production can no longer keep up with declining oil fields, and results in a yearly decline in the amount of oil produced." Whether or not humanity has reached a state of peak oil remains in constant contention between economists, politicians and energy companies. As the current demand for crude oil continues to increase, the price has skyrocketed to record levels accordingly for the present supply of oil. The record oil prices are not necessarily the omen of either peak oil or a stranglehold on the world by OPEC.

While economists are making their usual case that there is no shortage of oil, recent developments are supporting the argument stronger than ever. The oil sands in Northern Canada are rumored to harbor more crude oil than all of Saudi Arabia – a supply whose extraction is only economically possible because of the current gas price and new oil extraction technologies. Another reserve outside of Canada’s jurisdiction is estimated to contain more than 400 billion barrels beneath the Arctic – accessible now only due to the retraction of the ice caps. As this enormous Arctic reserve lies beyond any nation’s claim, it may result in "interesting" international entanglements of rights and ownership.

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