If you work for an oil producer and sit down with a group of friends, odds are that at least one of them is going to want to lecture you about how terrible the industry is. They’ll say that drilling for oil is polluting the world, that green energy can do everything fossil fuels can, and go on about how OPEC is keeping gas prices high to fleece hard working Americans. Then they’ll get in their car and drive home.
But these are the 6 things your anti-oil buddy won’t tell you.
Peak Oil Isn’t Coming
Ever since the oil crisis in the 1970’s, some economists have been making a living off of predicting doom and gloom for the world energy markets. They say that we’re running out of oil, and our entire way of life is at risk.
Drilling and production techniques have changed, and will continue to change, at such a fast pace that predictions about the future are obsolete nearly as soon as they’re made. For example, the United States is drilling for more ‘tight’ shale oil than ever before, a fact that couldn’t possibly have been predicted back in 1972.
The other strike against peak oil is the fact that hydrocarbons themselves are actually pretty common. Algae and bacteria produce oil naturally, and science is being funded right now to harness that production. In the future, oil producers may switch from drilling oil to growing it.
There’s just no telling where the next big crude oil boom will come from.
Green Energy Isn’t The Answer
You’ve probably been told that biofuels and ethanol are the answer to America’s energy needs. They’re clean and green technologies that will replace filthy, obsolete crude oil. Why wouldn’t we switch immediately?
Biofuels come with their own set of challenges that need to be overcome. They use tons of resources to create, things like arable land and freshwater that were previously used to grow food and fodder. And the truth is, burning biofuels isn’t any cleaner than burning fossil fuels.
But the real kicker is that, as of right now, biodiesel and ethanol take more energy to create than they produce.
Oil Exports Aren’t Funding ISIS
Nobody’s denying that ISIS is a group of bloodthirsty terrorists and murderers, bent on spreading their hateful version of Islam across the Middle East and the world. But time and time again, people talk about how they’re funding their operations through oil and gas exports.
In reality, ISIS makes most of their money from levying taxes. As much as 50% of the $80 million that ISIS brings in every month is from extorting and threatening the people who live in the towns and villages they control. Much of the remainder comes from private donations and criminal enterprise.
ISIS captures gasoline and crude from refineries, then sells it locally to make some of their money. Nobody on the world market is buying crude oil from ISIS, the only people who are doing business with terrorists are doing it on purpose.
Fracking Won’t Contaminate Your Drinking Water
You’ll hear that fracking is just one more way the evil oil companies are squeezing every drop of profit possible out of America’s pristine countryside, and that it contaminates aquifers so badly that you can even light your tap water on fire.
But that’s nowhere near the truth. The man who produced a viral video showing that his tap water was flammable was sued for defamation after it was shown that he was really setting fire to gasoline pumped through a garden hose.
Fracking uses a mixture of water and sand to crack open oil-bearing shale formations that exist hundreds of feet below aquifers. These plays are so far removed from where your drinking water comes from that scientists don’t believe contamination is a possibility.
Pipelines Aren’t An Environmental Hazard
If you ask a certain type of person, they’ll tell you that America is crisscrossed by a series of tubes full of oil, some buried under the ground, and they’re leaking into the water supply.
These pipelines are used to ship oil around the country, and also import it and export it from Mexico and Canada. Millions of barrels of oil every day travel through pipelines, and in reality stories of them leaking or spilling are rare.
In fact, pipelines are the single safest way to transport crude oil and petroleum products.
OPEC Doesn’t Control The Price Of Oil
Even some institutional investors will tell you that OPEC heavily influences, or even sets the price of oil, through a complicated system of forecasting and production quotas. The story goes that OPEC is pulling the strings behind the scenes of the world energy market, inflating the price of gas at the pump and leaving Americans footing the bill.
But OPEC has failed, time and time again, to accurately predict global demand. If you know anything about markets, you probably understand how hard that makes it to control the price of crude. They’re left reacting to the dictates of the global market, cartel or not.
If OPEC price controls worked as well as people claim, the price of crude would still be above $100.