Robert Rapier – Imagining a World of Increasing Oil Scarcity

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Understanding the economic, technological, social, and political factors that may come into play in a world of increasingly scarce and costly oil will be essential to navigating the future.  Reductions in oil use, whether willful or involuntary, will be unavoidable; such reductions, however, may be achieved through any number of different pathways and scenarios.

After establishing the basic parameters of a future with diminishing supplies of affordable oil, the Day 2 discussion focused on the forces and factors that may accelerate or obstruct efforts to adapt to dramatically reduced oil consumption in a deliberate and strategic way—through technology, new business models, redesigned systems, alternative energy sources, new institutions, changes in lifestyle and more.

This session set the stage for a vigorous discussion of future scenarios, impacts, and opportunities.  Fundamental questions addressed included:

  • What factors will affect how Americans adapt to increasingly scarce supplies of affordable oil?
  • How will economic, technological, social, and political forces accelerate or obstruct adaptive efforts?
  • What unforeseen challenges and opportunities may arise?

Robert Rapier
Chief Technology Officer, Merica International

Robert Rapier works in the energy industry and writes and speaks about energy and the environment. He has worked on cellulosic ethanol, butanol production, oil refining, natural gas production, and gas-to-liquids(GTL). He has a Master’s Degree in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University, and is presently employed as the Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President for Merica International, a renewable energy company. Merica is involved in a wide variety of projects, with a core focus on the localized use of biomass to energy for the benefit of local populations. He is the author of Power Plays: Energy Options in the Age of Peak Oil.

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