February 2019

First oil

The art of discussing issues in 2019
Kurt Abraham / World Oil

Back in simpler days, there weren’t many ways for the general public to air individual views and frustrations on social, governmental and business issues. One might write a letter-to-the-editor of the local newspaper, or perhaps author an op-ed piece. Today, Internet access has opened up a plethora of social media sites and news channel forums to air views and engage in “discussions.” Our World Oil Facebook page last month hosted an impromptu exchange, with such clear-cut opposing views, that we thought we would share it. The names have been changed to protect the individuals’ privacy:

John: Every barrel of oil extracted is another nail in humanity’s coffin. Leave it in the ground.

Bob: John, how about natural gas too? Have fun heating your home with good intentions.

John: Gas is better, of course. Thorough insulation is better still, for both buildings and bodies. What’s your alternative plan?

Bob: John, I don’t have an alternative plan. Natural gas and oil extraction are what pay my bills and feed my family.

John: OK, so extinction it is then. Good luck to your family, a few years down the road.

Bob: Well, John, a happy extinction for your family as well!!

John: That’s what I’m trying to avoid, for your family and mine. I’m pointing out the consequences of continued fossil fuel extraction. If you don’t like the message, do something practical—don’t waste time arguing with the messenger.

Bob: John, who was arguing? A lot of people and equipment out there rely on (O&G). If you want to make a difference, then get off your phone and park your car, and shut the gas off to your house, because the more you use that stuff, the more the industry needs to drill for oil. Think about it. You’re bitching about oil staying in the ground on a device created by oil.

John: We have to start from where we are. I do what I can at work, and at home, to minimize fossil fuel use and campaign for arrangements that will give us a chance of survival. And I don’t drive a car, thank you for checking.

Bob: John, no matter what you do, you will always need oil every day. From wind turbines to solar panels. They can’t make them without oil. I’ll keep drilling holes to heat your home and provide fuel for the tractors and combines that take the crops off to feed you and your family. And you keep up the good work, bud. Your welcome for the oil, btw. You wouldn’t be able to campaign against oil without it.

John: Your last sentence is true today. Very sad. But I am not ready to join you in your despair by agreeing with your first sentence. As you said, you have no alternative plan. I would rather push for a transition to zero carbon, which, of course, cannot happen suddenly but can be achieved. If we carry on pumping the (O&G) out, and don’t even try to change course, we are going to get runaway climate change and human extinction. You might be willing to roll over and accept it, but I’m not.

Don: Victim to Political Lies. Drill baby Drill!

Scott: Bob, unless that John guy heats his house with firewood, doesn’t drive a vehicle, or almost anything else in life, he’s just a head case.... that guy’s hair is definitely not straight back.

John: You’re right, I do heat my house with firewood, and as I said above, I don’t drive. Hair is a mess though, sorry.

Bob: Scott, he’s not dialed in.

David: Bob, your job threatens my livelihood. I ranch—the ranges are burnt off, cattle killed, noxious weeds. How are u going to do your job, if I can’t feed you? U can’t eat oil. And if oil and bitumen are so great, why don’t we save the resource for Canada?

Don: These hippie comments are hilarious. Guess what—if you are alive and breathing, and don’t live in a third-world country, like it or not, you support the fossil fuel industry.

And, so goes the art of discussion in today’s electronic environment. wo-box_blue.gif

About the Authors
Kurt Abraham
World Oil
Kurt Abraham kurt.abraham@worldoil.com
Related Articles FROM THE ARCHIVE
Connect with World Oil
Connect with World Oil, the upstream industry's most trusted source of forecast data, industry trends, and insights into operational and technological advances.