Summary of A Thousand Barrels a Second

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A Thousand Barrels a Second book summary


8 Overall

7 Applicability

6 Innovation

7 Style


So many books lately have touted the looming energy crisis that a new book on the topic bears a fairly heavy burden. It must demonstrate a firm grasp of prior scholarship, yet be innovative enough to serve a distinct purpose amid similar tomes. In this regard, author Peter Tertzakian achieves the first objective nicely and comes close on the second. He shares his keen sense of how the impact of energy sources has rippled across history and altered its course. He discusses the concepts of "energy cycles" and "energy break points" to explain how inherent mismatches between dwindling supply and growing demand lead to crises that can be resolved only by innovation and "rebalancing solutions." Upon closer examination, though, the "break point" seems referential to the familiar notion of a "paradigm shift." And, alas, the author's menu of alternate energy choices is no more satisfactory than anyone else's. Given his historical acumen, however, getAbstract finds that this book is a useful addition to the expert chorus warning the global citizenry to wake up and smell the petroleum.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How historic events parallel today's energy crisis;
  • How "energy break points" help balance the needs of energy producers and consumers;
  • Why an energy crisis is inevitable;
  • What role nascent China plays in energy volatility; and
  • How "the little guy" can minimize the pain that will accompany the next great energy transition.

About the Author

Peter Tertzakian's company publishes weekly charts that evaluate worldwide energy trends. He is also the head energy economist at a leading equity firm that specializes in energy.



A Thirsty World
The global appetite for energy is immense - and growing. Each day, the world consumes "85 million barrels of oil, 240 billion cubic feet of natural gas, 14 million tons of coal and 500,000 pounds of uranium." The numbers are growing. Given China's awakening economy, soon...

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