Arthur Berman: Why Today's Shale Era Is The Retirement Party For Oil Production


I choose my worries very carefully now. I am no longer worried about a rapid collapse, anarchy, zombie hordes. I feel that the powers that be have WAY more control over what appear to be random events,  than we can know right now. I differ with many posters here in that I feel there are technologies, in the offing, ready to be implemented, as oil becomes more and more volatile a commodity. 

I had an über doomer scream at me a few weeks ago about American elites, "They're weak.  They're desperate.  They'll never succeed!"  

Really?  What does he think all of the advanced computer modeling systems are for and does he think NSA sits on their hands and let sensitive and useful data fall through the various info sieves they've created?

I'm not disputing your fear regarding employment opportunities. It's atrocious and there doesn't seem to be an easy answer for people just starting out. It's horrible. I feel for them and specifically for your family. 

But your fears of all out collapse have to be weighed and measured against the very real possibility of black swan events of a positive nature. They happen, too!  

Not raining on your parade, just suggesting that even the experts are operating in a fog of limited information, so prepare as much as you can without causing yourself undue stress–and don't give up hope. 




Thanks davidallen, for the first laugh in a week, and a good one on myself too! 
I didn't mean to sound like one of those pity party people, but I worry for us all - not without reason, if you count the recent past where we lost everything because the system (say it nicely): isn't working for us. Now there are many voices with signs of "worse to come and soon".

Loss of oil or affordable oil/gas seems like the worst of all  -  it greases the wheels of all commerce, and so, (barring the sudden 'discovery' of an alien technology for limitless energy), I expect EVERYONE will be facing what we just went thru. We would count ourselves fortunate to look very much like the Greeks (and not worse). It wasn't sudden collapse for the Greeks but they still could not save themselves.

All it takes is another credit collapse and it could get maybe as badly as you spoke of, where masses will starve - just as happened in USSR when it fell. And that's kind of what I'm picturing, but with more shocks because so many Americans are now dependent (EBT/pensions/SSI), and the rest of us depend on that oil to flow reliably and affordably (and without easy credit, trucks and dock worker strikes would stop everything). 

Did you mean that our best chance for future survival opportunities may arise from scavenging from those who met their demise? I can hardly look forward to that outcome, but if we must all be so pragmatic, (in basic survival terms) then you'd have the same issue of protecting it. I don't see how you'd get around that.

I am not entirely convinced that the crazy financial things going on, in the hands of TBTF /TPTB, are in competent hands -IF they do have control - but it's scary either way. I know from experience how that won't work in our favor, and please, see link below for another example that has national repercussions.

Could you point to some kind of example of a good black swan? I'm stumped, but would really like a reason for hope. It really wouldn't take much. 

Not trying to have the last word, so this will be my last word (because I do really appreciate everyone's point of view on things), but the odds are really stacked against us.

If you're not familiar with how easily TBTF controls things now, without any action from OUR Reps (just words)…and out in the open, see the recent new policies written into the new national budget that legalize all kinds of bail-out/bail-ins and confiscation…the bill that Citigroup helped draft-and it has now passed- :

"…Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is calling on the House to strike the Citi-written language from the spending bill.

"I am disgusted," Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House financial services committee, said in a statement. "Congress is risking our homes, jobs and retirement savings once again."

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) issued an even more dire warning, calling the bill "a good example of capitalism's death wish."



Cheri, you started a very important thread.
I've seen "What a Way to Go, Life at the End of Empire" a few times and I've viewed "Blindspot" even more often. Another one that comes to mind is "The End of Suburbia."




Carolyn Baker (whose views of the future are as pessimistic as Michael Ruppert's) wrote that she is not a survivalist, because survivalists make survival their first - and last - goal.

In that line of thinking, I haven't done some of the usual "preps." Most notably, I haven't purchased guns and ammo because it seems to me that if everybody needs those things to survive, we no longer are likely to have a world worth surviving in.

And Nate Hagens has pointed out that the survivors of our upcoming crises will be a lot better off if those of us who know it is coming don't go the way of "gold and guns." He made millions but now he's walking the talk, working a farm with rather primitive technology.

Brings me to a youtube video I saw earlier this week. Some former Wall Street functionaries were talking about the hard times they realize are coming and one said that it'll be the areas that rely the most on the stock market and other such markets that will bear the biggest brunt of a major and long-term crash. Maybe that should be obvious. I suppose Chris Martenson has said that in many ways. But what I understood for the first time is that there will just be a lot less money overall sloshing around in areas where a lot of people have investment/market related jobs. Plus, he noted that if you live an area where many people derive their income from the markets, you'll be living among a lot of very aggressive people when the crisis hits.

How exactly it will play out, we don't know. I don't see anything positive in creating or watching youtube rants - which is what Stephen Molineaux was doing (in the 2 minutes that I was watching), just ranting… but he is completely correct in the sense that if everybody takes responsibility for the future we can have a much better one than if people only look out for themselves and their immediate families.


Hi pyranablade (like a skateboarding piranha?, thanks for your insights - it's good to get LOTS of input sources these days! Unfortunately, I don't see any reason to hope things get any better regardless how they crash (slow or fast). Your comment from Nate Hagens (a person new to me), is one reason some people DO buy ammo, etc… and points to a very dismal future for SOME people (prepping or not):
"'Nate Hagens has pointed out that the survivors of our upcoming crises will be a lot better off if those of us who know it is coming don't go the way of "gold and guns." He made millions but now he's walking the talk, working a farm with rather primitive technology."

He's pretty smart to get out of the rat race while he has a chance to get set up (for the worst-case scenario.) But, who with their eyes open wouldn't do that if they could afford to? I heard that the 'elites' are supposedly planning to build personal air strips on remote farms in New Zealand to outrun the collapse - and ensuing pitchforks here. 

The problem I see, is a situation where peace-loving farm folk (like the Amish, or Nate) being overrun by crazed, starving, and loosely organized gangs of "zombies" - in other words the true survivalists or the 'smart ones'. I see a lot of crazy people who do not care about others already. Hunger does that to good people too.

I think anyone who sees collapse of the economy, (or crash of the petrodollar, or a crash in bonds or a spike in interest rates, or a spiraling deflationary depression…et al), as affecting mainly or only financial sectors like 'the market', as hugely ignorant. I'm not very good with math, I even had to drop my freshman 'Business Economics math class, but it seems fairly obvious that things are only being held together with paperclips of deception right now, and a credit freeze, or any of at least 8 other similar kinds of 'financial-centric' things, (or maybe even a cyber attack) will stop normal commerce. 

Once it stops, it's hard to get it back up and going (per FEASTA's study – ). 

I watched a GIANT solar flare erupt from the other side of the sun just a day ago…so big it was astounding! It could have easily happened on the earth side and put us all back into 1850, and we'd have about a day to prep for that. It could still happen any time, whether we're in a solar max or minimum - it's totally unpredictable. I would hope to be prepared for such things, but we cannot be prepared for everything, and no one has the answers for sure, and it's all a risk of one kind or another.

Will the current oil price crash turn around and become priced too high … or perhaps end up being 'the trigger' that brings countries and societies to their knees - or eventually be the underlying cause for WWlll? Will people revert to their base instincts… or carry the American ideals forward? Will millions die like happened in USSR's collapse? Will the cities be locked down by the Nat'l Guard and the country put under Marshal Law? Will ships quit bringing goods, will trucks quit delivering…  and will climate change rear it's ugly head and end up ruining all our plans? Will it get as bad here as it is in places like Yemen now (a true Mad Max reality there)? 

There are lots of reasons to fear the future, to try to prepare for it, but a lot of those reasons leave very little hope for society over the short or the long term. And we may want to bow out of civilization when it's loses it's civility, but I think everyone remembers "the Donner party"… they survived and lived to tell the tale, but oh, can you imagine having to live behind their eyes each night?

I kinda wonder - if on a long enough trajectory, after everything finally stabilizes, if Americans wouldn't end up like the Celt or Apache societies… pockets of organized chiefdoms(?). And I wonder if a breakaway civilization will exist on Mars simultaneously. 






Yes of course I have the same questions and even the same fears as you mention.
But is it productive to worry constantly? We could, of course, all just give up and kill ourselves - there would be more resources left for the survivors then… Fact is though, we don't - and we won't know how things will turn out. Sure, the world might be unlivable at a future time, but I'm not going to give up on it now.

Kind of funny: The shoe is on the other foot now. Usually I'm the prophet of doom and the other person is dismissing the things I'm saying. But in this case, I'm not dismissing your fears. I will argue one point though:

I think anyone who sees collapse of the economy, (or crash of the petrodollar, or a crash in bonds or a spike in interest rates, or a spiraling deflationary al), as affecting mainly or only financial sectors like 'the market', as hugely ignorant.

Although that is maybe a distortion or misunderstanding of what I said in an earlier post, allow me to explain:

Say there are 2 districts. In one district 40% of the households derive all their income directly from the stock and bond markets. In the other district, 5 % of the households derive all their income from those markets. (Yeah this is oversimplified, but please bear with me.) Let's say I have a roofing business (or almost any business might work as an example). Well, If the markets go to zero, the district in which 40% of the people are directly dependent on the markets will have a lot less money to pay for a new roof and there will be a lot less work for me. Even in the other district, there will be less money, but there will still be a lot of people who won't bug out or try to sell their house just because they have a leak in their roof. 

That is what will happen in the wealthy suburbs around NYC, right? I mean, a lot of people there depend on the stockbroker types indirectly… those rich investment professionals are the customers for a lot of people in many lines of work. So the possibility that you'll need/want to bug out of the NYC area are, admittedly high, I think. But I expect to be able to remain in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin for the foreseeable future, at least my chances are a lot better.






Chris Martenson says he's living for today and so am I. I do expect hard times to come. But some of the things that are bad in the sense of immoral (or greedy) will actually cushion us from the horrible blows we're going to get. They say that in the US 50% of our food is wasted. That percentage won't be nearly so high post-crisis. People will learn to eat what they are wasting now. We are so spoiled in this country and we've been taking the fossil fuels of other countries - and going to war to keep it that way… Not to get too political, but the topic of peak oil itself should make us accept that we Americans have been living at a higher standard than anyone in recorded history, so should it be a surprise that it cannot go on forever?

Anyway, it was nice to meet you online Cheri and to answer your other question, I paddle a whitewater kayak which is the Blade, made by Pyrannha, hence my screen name.

I recommend any video with Nate Hagens, including his appearance on this very website:


…and he gets it. However, he raises his arms up and says " how many drove here" blah blah blah when I think he should pound home his ideas of change that could help move the narrative to one of " be the change you want to be". CH Smith does this consistently and has effected my actions more than anyone. More with less is the motto I have attached to his teachIng. Our shale oil industry has positively effected our national securIty, jobs, keeping the cash home and resulting in King dollar and much lower gas prices. I say  Yeah Baby as smiles have returned to the over burdened faces of family and friends. Why we don't tackle the development of a smart grid, rail, natural gas and the Keystone pipeline is a mystery to me. Have utility companies put up solar on every roof to those who want it and watch the economy flourish. That would change the narrative and our collective psychology for the better. We have to retool all our grids anyway's so be smart. I have hope. Why? I live on less than $35k a year where Iused to live on $70k and I live better. Thanks Charles for the push.

[…] an article by Gail Tverberg “The Shale Oil Boom is More Mirage than Miracle” from 2013. Similar wisdom on the same site from Art Berman from 2015. Earlier YouTube videos by Martenson give the impression that he viewed peak oil as an […]