I refer readers back to an article written here in 2011, titled 'The End of Petrotyranny', where I claimed that high oil prices were rapidly burning through the buffer that was shielding oil from technological disruption. I quantified the buffer in an equation, and even provided a point value to how much of the buffer was still remaining at the time.
I am happy to declare a precise victory for this prediction, with oil prices having fallen by two-thirds and remaining there for well over a year. While hydraulic fracturing (fracking) turned out to be the primary technology to bring down the OPEC fortress, other technologies such as photovoltaics, batteries, and nanomaterials contributed secondary pressure to the disruption. The disruption unfolded in accordance with the 2011 Law of Finite Petrotyranny :
From the start of 2011, measure the dollar-years of area enclosed by a chart of the price of oil above $70. There are only 200 such dollar-years remaining for the current world petro-order. We can call this the 'Law of Finite Petrotyranny'.
Go to the original article to see various scenarios of how the dollar-years could have been depleted. While we have not used up the full 200 dollar-years to date, the range of scenarios is now much tighter, particularly since fracking in the US continues to lower its breakeven threshold. At present, over $2T/year that was flowing from oil importers to oil producers, has now vanished, to the immense benefit of oil importers, which are the nations that conduct virtually all technological innovation.
The 2011 article was not the first time this subject of technological pressure rising in proportion to the degree of oil price excess has been addressed here at The Futurist. There were prior articles in 2007, as well as 2006 (twice).
As production feverishly scales back, and some of the less central petrostates implode, oil prices will gradually rise back up, generally saturating at the $70 level (itself predicted in 2006) in order to deplete the remaining dollar-years. But we may never again see oil at such a high price relative to world GDP, as existed from most of 2007-14 (oil would have to be $200+/barrel today to surpass the record of $147 set in 2008, in proportion to World GDP).