It’s not looking good for the global fossil fuel industry. Although the world remains heavily dependent on oil, coal and natural gas—which today supply around 80 percent of our primary energy needs—the industry is rapidly crumbling.
This is not merely a temporary blip, but a symptom of a deeper, long-term process related to global capitalism’s escalating overconsumption of planetary resources and raw materials.
New scientific research shows that the growing crisis of profitability facing fossil fuel industries is part of an inevitable period of transition to a post-carbon era.
April 28: Peak Oil Review: A Midweek Update.
The woes of the US oil industry continue to grow with Exxon losing its AAA investment rating and numerous oil companies reporting sharply reduced profits or larger losses. The oil services industry which largely supports new drilling has been badly hit by capital spending by oil companies now some 50 percent of 2014 levels.
Over in Iraq, the political situation continues to deteriorate with Prime Minister al-Abadi unable to confirm a new cabinet amongst much turmoil. The situation in Iraqi Kurdistan is not much better with oil exports in 2016 lower than last year. The Kurds are negotiating to build an export pipeline through Iran thereby bypassing the never-ending conflict between the Kurds and the Turkish government. It is becoming apparent to the Kurds that dependence on the one oil export pipeline through Turkey will not be a solution to their troubles.
In Venezuela, the government announced that the public sector, which provides about 30 percent of the country’s jobs, will only work two days a week to save electricity. The situation in the country is becoming critical. The government will no longer announce the water level behind the dam, which could be only a week or so away from shutting down depriving the country of some 65-70 percent of its power production. Much of the future depends on when the rainy season begins, and how quickly it brings water levels up to operating levels. Some are saying that the thermal electric plants that used to provide about a third of the country’s power are breaking down for lack of maintenance leaving the Guri dam as the only source for much of the country’s electricity. It seems increasingly likely that the social fabric of the country could collapse soon endangering the country’s oil exports and eliminating much of the world’s oil surplus at one stroke.