On Thursday, May 12th Dr. Daniel Pardieck of Lander University will give a presentation on global oil supplies including future projections  and the potential impacts of declining oil on our society. This presentation is sponsored by the McCormick County Library. The presentation starts at 6:30 pm in the library meeting room. Admission is free.  

It is hard to overstate the importance of petroleum. Petroleum has done much to advance our civilization and provide the high quality of life that we enjoy.  It fuels essentially our entire modern transportation system on the ground, in the air and on the seas; heats our homes; is used to generate a fraction of our electrical energy; is used as an important part of our infrastructure including asphalt and other materials; and provides the raw material for many of our industries from pharmaceuticals to fabrics to plastics.  The uses to which oil is put are staggering in number and variety. Is it any wonder that high oil prices can stifle economic activity?

Yet, petroleum is a non-renewable resource. The processes in nature that produce petroleum take place within the earth and at rates too slow to replenish this resource in any meaningful way.  By some measures, the world has used up more than half of the petroleum available on the planet for exploitation, whether discovered or undiscovered.  The age of abundant, cheap oil is coming to an end. At the same time, oil demand around the globe continues to rise as populations increase and as developing countries strive for affluence.  Short term oil consumption, prices and supplies depend on a variety of political, economic,  and technical factors, so fluctuations in these are normal. However, over the longer term, on the order of decades, supplies and consumption will fall and prices will permanently rise. The potential negative effects of this predicament are many, so reducing oil dependence, especially on oil from unfriendly nations, is both prudent and necessary.

In Dr. Pardieck’s presentation, the geological origin and distribution of petroleum will be described; methods of exploitation will be reviewed; the notion of peak oil and its consequences will be illustrated including a projection into the future. Potential impacts of declining oil will be outlined and some alternatives to the current trends will be discussed.

Daniel L Pardieck is currently Associate Professor of Environmental Geology and the Director of the Environmental Science Program at Lander University.  He has been at Lander since 2003, taking over the first undergraduate environmental science program established at a state supported university in South Carolina. Prior to that, he worked for consulting firms and industry over a period of 16 years, addressing a variety of environmental challenges, including cleanup of several Superfund Sites. He was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, researching ways to clean up contaminated groundwater with microorganisms found in soil or groundwater, received a Ph. D. from the University of Arizona in Hydrogeology, a Masters in Environmental Science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a Bachelor of Arts in Geology from Hanover College, a small, liberal arts college in southern Indiana.

For more information contact the McCormick County Library by phone at (864) 852-2821, by email at mccormicklibrary@hotmail.com