So it turns out that after all this time we've spent arguing about diplomatic relations with the Middle East hinging on our dependency on sweet, sweet Saudi oil, that quiet, sneaky little Australia was sitting on what could be the largest oil find in history.
In Coober Pedy, everyone lives underground like
moles and drives these spaceship things.
Coober Pedy, this sun-scorched patch of land in Southern Australia that has been noteworthy only for its opal mines and fine, underground shopping tunnels, sits atop a shale oil fortune known as the Arckaringa (Ark-a-Ranga') Basin. The entire basin may yield spoils large enough to embarrass Canada's tar sands, and make the Saudi Royal Family chuck a wobbly. The only fly in the ointment is that getting to all that sweet down under, may damn near destroy the country.
You see that black gold is going to have to be fracked the frig out of the layers upon layers of rock beneath Coober Pedy which raises some concerns about affects of pollution in an already near inhospitable region. That, and the endeavor will make Alberta's Tar Sands look like a tiny chocolate stain by comparison.
Alberta Tar Sands, 1984 - 2011
Another concern is that, although this would free ourselves from dependency on oil in from the most religious/politically volatile regions on the planet, at the same time we can accomplish the same by focusing on alternatives to fossil fuels. I'll be the first to say that I think electric cars and other options as they exist today, are wimpy, lame and stink of pretentious partisan ideologies. But then they do have the whole, sustainable/renewable/not making the planet unlivable for mammals thing on their side.
"I said Barbie as in cookout, not as in takin' one to the chest, mate."
None of this is stopping get-rich-quick snake oil salesmen from pitching their insider handbooks to anyone willing to stick with fossil fuels. One of the usual players is Dr. Kent Moor who has served as an energy adviser to both the U.S. and Australian governments. For fifty bucks, he claims he'll mail you a dossier that will tell you which energy companies are likely to get all the contracts for extracting the new-found Outback wellspring. You can determine the veracity of Dr. Moor in this online discussion that at no point dissolves into petty name-calling and attacks on anyone's sexual orientation.
Despite the fat that even Linc Energy, the company that made the discovery, insists it will be many years before there is any commercial viability born from the depths of the Arckaringa Basin, beware the get-rich-quick schemes that will be bubbling up in the interim. This could be humanity's biggest moral/economical challenge to date. Will we resist the temptation to chase the fossil dragon for another hundred years and plunge the final nail in our own coffin? Can we pull together and damn well come up with a practical, renewable source of energy that still makes some company billions of dollars? Dear Mother Earth couldn't care less either way; we haven't been here any longer than a sneeze in evolutionary terms. Better decide quickly though, daylights a-wastin.'