Dr Richard Pike, the CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry has died of cancer. He was a forceful ambassador for British Science and represented the subject of chemistry and its importance in providing a means for the fabrication of new materials and solving environmental problems, especially providing clean water across the globe. He and I disagreed about the nature of "Peak Oil": in his opinion, as a former oil-man working for B.P., the estimates of proven oil reserves were low by a factor of 2 according to whether a P90 or P50 analysis was used, while my contention is that no matter how much oil may lie under the Earth's surface, if it cannot be extracted fast enough to meet current (and relentlessly growing) use, there will be a gap in supply and demand for it, with catastrophic consequences for a global civilization based on crude oil to provide for transportation, chemical and pharmaceutical manufacture and food-production. An ultimate peak in oil production is an inevitable consequence of a finite resource, and the gap will be sharply enlarged when it transpires. Crude oil, or its substitutes, will be produced for decades, but at an increasingly expensive tariff, both in terms of cost and energy, as it is sourced in the form of a heavy, sour (high-sulphur) material, or in synthetic form from tar-sands, shale and coal. The term "peak oil" really means the precipice of cheap oil, and all that depends upon it.
Resquiecat in Pace.