Oil will get marginalized by the market.

I think from an energy perspective we will become less and less dependent on oil as an energy source. I wrote a not as professional piece on why I think The End of Oil is in Sight.

If we think about oil in it’s most basic form it is just an energy storage platform that we burn to make energy on demand. As cars shift towards higher efficiency, electricity, and alternative fossil fuels the idea of oil will become less and less attractive. Look at the diagram from the LLNL on energy generation and consumption.

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25.4% of petroleum energy generation goes to transportation. As we figure out how to electrify cars more efficiently and store energy more efficiently I think consumption of natural gas will increase. GE already has a massive investment into gas turbines and yes gas can be derived from petroleum, but it requires distillation wheras with natural gas just build a pipeline to where you need it for energy.

All of the big car manufacturers are going into electric cars and when Tesla completes the gigafactory and starts producing batteries at scale then petroleum will be good for making polymers and powering niche areas of transportation (like trucking) or off grid power supply.

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Writer of The Polymerist newsletter. Talk to me about chemistry, polymers, plastics, sustainability, climate change, and the future of how we live.

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