Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The End of the Oil Drum

Rembrandt Koppelaar has announced today that the Oil Drum will cease to be an active site with the end of July 2013. After eight years of activity, TOD is closing down.

I would like first to thank all the members of the TOD group, of which I have been a member up from 2008 up to a few months ago. It has been an unforgettable experience of learning and of personal growth. The "peak" of the group, for me at least, was the Alcatraz meeting that we had in Italy in 2009 which led me to develop the "peak empire" idea.

Alas, as Seneca had said about all human things, there always comes a moment of decline which, often, is faster than growth. This seems to have been the destiny of the TOD group, which I had already left some months ago because it seemed to me that it wasn't any more the lively discussion group that it had known at the beginning. So, I was surprised to see that the site closes down, but really not so much.

Why these cycles? Hard to say; maybe human groups suffer of entropic effects, just as everything in the universe. But it is a fact of life that human associations start lively and die ossified. As Marcus Aurelius said in his "meditations" "Observe always that everything is the result of a change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and to make new ones like them. "

So, if an ancient form is gone, we can work at making new ones.


  1. Interesting. I left the Oil Drum about two months ago also. Somehow it rather suddenly seemed to lose its way.

    I am saddened but like you I think it may be time to shut it down. Something better will come along.

  2. Why these cycles?

    The oil drum always needed more of a front end to give new visitors some orientation. It really is too overwhelming to new arrivals. Regular viewers would probably not notice the problem.

    Information is become as dispersed as natural resources. If it's not presented well it might as well be twenty miles down and inaccessible.

    It is a loss to loose the Oil Drum. It is a valuable resource that I recently linked to on my own site.

    My impression, K-Dog.

  3. I used to hang around at TOD for a year or two-three and learned a lot about energy and economics (also via links to other blogs, like those of John Michael Greer, James Howard Kunstler, George Mobus, and this blog). It's a shame that it's coming to an end, but all good things do.

  4. Matter is that Oil is no more THE problem. instead it is just The coal mine's bird in the cage.Perhaps we should consider a new place called Bangin on the drum! for comunicating more on the various and different aspects of the MAD. ( Mother of All the Decadences).

  5. Thanks Ugo
    I posted this comment on TOD this morning:

    I hope this TOD demise is not another sign of 'American Decline' - 'giving up' in the face of increasing detachment from reality?

    Individuals of course move on when needs must (story of America?) and handing on a voluntary organisation is problematic at best, as I know only too well.

    On amore hopeful note, last week I was at the Global Energy Systems Conference in Edinburgh. This was something new and rather extraordinary. Again, Rembrandt and Euan thanks! The quality of some of the papers by young people was outstanding - watch for the contributions from such as Dr Michael Gale (Stamford) and Dr Sgouris Sgouridis (Masdar Institute, UAE) and the almost-as-young Michael Kumhof (IMF Research).

    Meanwhile thanks Leanan and team. And best hopes for papers from Alan Drake and for reports from work in the making in Halifax and variously from out-there in North America. See you over at or checking in with the Archdruid if you have something good for the rest of us to see! DC78, Rune and WHT, keep us posted!


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  7. Ugo,

    I got banned out of TOD quite a while back
    ( )

    Nonetheless, sad to see the demise of that rarity of a web blog where most people intelligently contributed.

    Part of the problem as I see it, is lack of out reach to younger demographics (those who came before the Baby Boomers).

    Eventually, as with all generations, the bedrock commentators drop off and it is necessary to bring in new blood. It seems that didn't happen.

  8. I was sorry to see TOD give up but like you I'd long ago ceased contributing so i guess it was bound to happen eventually given the lack of new blood.

    I'm sure peak oil will come back into vogue at some point in the future and something will rise up to replace TOD - in the meantime I'm glad to see you are still posting Ugo.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)