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A Thousand Barrels a Second: The Coming Oil Break Point and the Challenges Facing an Energy Dependent World

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  • Posted October 31, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    How much oil is there anyway?

    A well written book on the past, present & future of energy. I bought this hoping to find out how much oil was left in the world, and what's going to happen when we run out. While Tertzakian doesn't give an exact date when the last drop will flow, reading this will make you much better informed on the subject.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2006

    Well-researched, topical history of the world's oil dilemma.

    So many books lately have touted the looming energy crisis that a new book on the topic bears a fairly heavy burden. It must demonstrate a firm grasp of prior scholarship, yet be innovative enough to serve a distinct purpose amid similar tomes. In this regard, author Peter Tertzakian achieves the first objective nicely and comes close on the second. He shares his keen sense of how the impact of energy sources has rippled across history and altered its course. He discusses the concepts of 'energy cycles' and 'energy break points' to explain how inherent mismatches between dwindling supply and growing demand lead to crises that can be resolved only by innovation and 'rebalancing solutions.' Upon closer examination, though, the 'break point' seems referential to the familiar notion of a 'paradigm shift.' And, alas, the author¿s menu of alternate energy choices is no more satisfactory than anyone else¿s. Given his historical acumen, however, we find that this book is a useful addition to the expert chorus warning the global citizenry to wake up and smell the petroleum.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2006

    Interesting and Balanced

    Well written and insightful, this book covers the subject with interesting lessons from history and a clear discussion of issues on both the supply and the demand sides of the global market for crude oil. Without being alarmist or politically oriented, the author presents a picture that is sobering and more than a little disconcerting. Unforunately, there is not enough discussion of alternatives and new technologies. For example, the author implies that LNG will be a much more important part of the future energy mix in the U.S., as it is now in Korea and Japan, but there is no discussion of supply and demand issues affecting natural gas prices. Similarly, there is little mention of the oil shale reserves in Colorado and Utah, potentially a huge sourcce of future energy, notwithstanding a good discussion of the oil sands of Alberta. More significantly, there is no discussion new Fischer-Tropsch technologies, IGCC coal-fired power plants, the production of hydrogen from coal with carbon sequestration (e.g., the government-sponsored 'FutureGen' project), and other new developments. Technologies such as these are either not mentioned or glossed over as too remote or too harmful to the environment to attract the necessary public support. A contrary case can be made, and it would have been interesting to see the author apply his clear and succinct style to that contrary case, if only to refute it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2009

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