1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Jobs after peak oil

  1. Jul 17, 2008 #1
    Maybe you've heard about Hubbert peak aka Peak Oil . Otherwise, this threads should be useful for you:

    Code (Text):
    Code (Text):
    The global economy it's entirely oil based. From fuel to crops. As soon as the peak oil consequences begin, a global crisis will arise and the industry is going to suffer energy and supplies shortages. Some people are talking about oil substitutes but they're actually more sci-fi related than a real alternative, and some areas like R&D will be affected.

    In a world with energy, food and medicine scarcity. What kind of careers would be good to follow? We can think about the industries to be disappearing:

    Oil Engineering
    Public transportation
    Biomedic devices
    Some chemistry areas

    Maybe it's hard to say it, but the world won't be able to absorb all the unemployed BA, B Eng, BSc or PhDs. Maybe it's time to learn to work in a farm.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 17, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Oh no, not another apocalyptic alarmist thread. I suggest we tackle this emergency first:

    Peak mummy
  4. Jul 17, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Some people choose to see adversity. Others choose to see opportunity.

    We're already starting to see the impact of high demand for oil affect industry. Consider the recent massive layoffs in the north american auto manufacturing sector. With rising fuel prices, there is simply less demand for gas-guzzling SUVs. On the flip side, consider companies like Tesla and their electric sports car line. I think in the next five years or so, all the celeb-types will be lining up for these toys and there will be a boom in related industries.

    In contrast to the original post, I would argue that the world will need more people educated in the physical sciences to act as innovators.
  5. Jul 17, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    The last study I read, the current and project reserves will last till around the year 2080. It was by OPEC I believe (year: 2001).

    The US hit Peak Oil around 1972 and the world hit it around 2003 (depending on who you ask).

    The oil and gas industry won't disappear. Currently we are finding new reserves in very deep water (5,000 to 10,000 feet and soon 12,000 feet). At some point the oil will disappear, but the industry will not - they will have diversified by then into alternative energy, much like BP is doing.

  6. Jul 17, 2008 #5
    What have you got against geophysical power generation and chemical energy storage?
  7. Jul 17, 2008 #6
    Alternative energy generation units are getting a lot of money at the moment; both from the investment side and production side.

    However, peak oil should be read “need better extraction methods.” Now, S.A. and Kuwait developed some interesting numerical methods to help deal with these issues in the past. So, if you happen to like numerical analysis this might be a fantastic decade for you.
  8. Jul 17, 2008 #7
    The career fields you highlighted are full of problem-solvers. I'm sure they'll be fine.
  9. Jul 17, 2008 #8
    Peak oil is half way. It means oil production will be slowly declining and then rapidly in 20 or 30 years. It just means that we need to get our head out of our a__ and get to work on alternatives. It means more engineering jobs, not less.
  10. Jul 18, 2008 #9
    The problem is that peak oil fanatics use dubious reasoning to "prove" that the minute people realize Peak Oil has hit, the economy will spiral out of control, or something.

    Since Peak Oil has *already happened*, this is clearly false.
  11. Nov 22, 2008 #10
    The problem is we're not doing anything fast. And even without PO there is a worldwide economic crash that will affect all of us. I'm not saying it's the end of the world but we're no ready to face the challenges.

    I'm not a fanatic, I'm just concerned about the actual situation. Oil and Economy are big issues but you don't need to be an apocalyptic maniac to be worried.
  12. Nov 23, 2008 #11
    So Artus, tell us - what have you done?

    You're okay with saying that we're not ready to face the challenges... But maybe it's just you.
  13. Nov 23, 2008 #12


    User Avatar

    Get a job working for Vault-tec building and designing underground nuclear bunker-type living areas. The resource war will start with the middle east and Europe, but once the US annexes Canada, and China takes Alaska, all hell will break lose.
  14. Nov 23, 2008 #13
    Plus, your list is rather ill thought out.. aside from the oil industry, the majority of the industries that you have listed will find a way to adapt.

    Finance purely devoted to the fluctuations of oil? Public transportation (automotive).. you mean in the 30-70 years we have left, we won't have vehicles that can run on electricity, which by the way, only a small percentage of the worlds total electricity generation is done by oil.

    Biomedical devices.. you mean, like a strictly oil powered med machine? Electronics.. I'm not sure how you figure this either. So on and so forth.

    The only industry that would truly collapse is well, the oil industry, so I suppose don't go there if you're concerned that much.
  15. Nov 24, 2008 #14
    To be fair the materials used to build that stuff are dug up and moved around with heavy diesel powered machines, and some of those things (like plastics) are made from oil (basically every petrochemical product, which there are quite a few).

    However, that doesn't mean that alternative energy sources for those big machines and alternative materials for petrochemical products won't be found.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?