Oil is directly responsible for 1/3 of the world’s primary energy supply. Prices low or high, people still need oil. The world economy has been developing with oil as its lifeblood for over a hundred years. Oil/gas powers over 90% of all transportation. Transportation, in turn, directly accounted for 1/6th of world GDP in 1997 and is heavily involved in every other type of economic activity. Except for electric-powered cars and trains, you cannot move anything anywhere faster than about 25 mph without oil. Modern agriculture could not exist without oil, not to mention the military.
The infrastructure of oil and gas transport is a global spider web of pipelines and shipping routes. The natural gas pipelines in the U.S. alone could stretch from the Earth to the Moon 7-8 times. Think about this—if your house has natural gas heat it is connected to a network of pipes that go to wells drilled deep into rock that is tens of millions of years old. Your house is directly connected to the Paleozoic era—by the world’s oil and gas infrastructure.
About 40% of all seaborne cargo is oil, and there is literally more seaborne cargo at any given time (by weight) than there are fish in the sea. Oil is in transit for a much shorter amount of time than the lifespan of most fish, so the total amount of oil that moves via water each year is much, much higher than the total amount of fish biomass. Think about what that means for a minute. The ocean isn’t full of fish, it’s full of oil cargoes.
Unfortunately, the enormity of the amount of energy that comes from oil makes it impossible to replace it in the near or even midterm. It’s an inconvenient truth, but it’s reality. There are no viable replacements in our lifetime. People who think renewables can replace oil with a few decades of Manhattan Project style effort are simply ignorant of how big oil really is. Wind and solar aren’t going to replace it in the next few decades.