Sorry, The Technology For Pulling Oil Isn't Improving

oil rig thunder horse BP

One criticism of the peak-oil theory is that technological improvements will paved the way for more oil finds in the near future. That’s just not true, says Matt Simmons in Foreign Policy.

Four major pieces were written about oil in the past few weeks, each poking holes in the theory of peak-oil, and each was wrong in its own way, says Simmons. The most interesting bone of contention to us, is Simmons assertion that we’re not going to see radically improved technology:

The final topic the Gang discussed was the rapid advances in oilfield technology. Sadly, this is the greatest myth of all. I spent four decades as an investment banker to the global oil-service industry, which collectively invented all of this technology. The concept that there are new innovations in this area is false.

In fact, the seeds of this so-called technological revolution — the ability to exploit oil from deep water or drill horizontally — were first developed 40 years ago. I personally raised a great deal of the venture capital that helped implement some of the most important technical advances in the industry. Our firm, through advising on mergers, consolidations, reorganizations, and bankruptcies, helped save the oil-service companies that created these great technological advances that help us find and commercially exploit oil and gas.

None of this technology is new — in fact, it is now quite mature. Sadly, there are few new ideas in the oilfield pipeline to replace advances that were made decades ago.

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