Investment incentive concerns overlooked in peak-oil debate

Oil supply is as much about money as it is about geology, technology, and politics.The ongoing industry debate on the future of oil production, covered in a series of special reports in Oil & Gas Journal last year (OGJ, July 14-Aug. 18, 2003), largely ignores the single most powerful driver: investment incentive.Oil companies are in business to deliver better value for their shareholders, not to provide the world with enough cheap oil to satisfy its appetites. In the current, confused consumer markets for oil products—where gasoline can sell anywhere from $1/gal to $5/gal—there is insufficient incentive to invest the new capital to meet the perceived demand growth over the med...

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