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World oil production continues to rise; outlook good for next decade or more.

Peak Oil, a theory popular among Chicken Little types, has been much in the news recently.  The idea behind it is that future production levels of any consumable resource can be reliably predicted based off a single factor: the size of the known reserves.  Once half those reserves have been consumed -- so the theory goes -- production will steadily fall, no matter what.

So when world petroleum production dipped slightly in 2006 and again in 2007, this predictably brought the usual Peak-Oil disciples out of the woodwork.  The global oil peak -- first predicted for the mid-1990s, and many times since -- was finally upon us, they said. From this moment on, production would steadily fall, culminating in the end of life as we know it.

But once again, their crystal ball has failed.  Petroleum production for the first quarter of 2008 rose to 74.5M bbl/day -- 1.2M higher than the 2007 average. Those figures don't take into account Saudi Arabia's recent pledge to pump another half-million barrels a day, a promise they've already met by the first 300,000.

Even better, a landmark study of 800 major oilfields recently performed by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) found that the rate of decline averaged only 4.5% -- about half of what was previously thought. That, coupled with new field development, means the world is on track to be pumping more than 100 million barrels/day by 2017, according to CERA.

How does Peak Oil get things so wrong? First, it ignores technological improvements in oil discovery and production. As science advances, the URR (ultimately recoverable reserves) of existing fields rise in pace. Thanks to advances in water and CO2 injection, many oilfields predicted to have been dry a half-century ago are still pumping strong today.

But more importantly, Peak Oil puts the economic cart before the horse, with the notion that supply is independent of both price and demand. So much for Economy 101. Higher demand means higher prices... and higher prices increase supply. There are trillions of barrels in the ground that can't profitably be pumped at $50/bbl. But at $140, the story is different. Existing fields are worked harder, unprofitable fields get opened up, and exploration picks up pace.  

Several large new fields have been discovered in the past decade alone, such as Brazil's Tupi and Kazakhstan's Kashagan -- the latter not much smaller than Saudi Arabia's Gwahar, the largest field in the world.  In fact, since 1965, we've found five new barrels of oil for every three we've burned.  And vast North American deposits of tar sands and oil shale -- too expensive to process even a decade ago -- are now beginning to look like a bargain. 

Most of the world hasn't even been fully explored for oil, including vast stretches of land in Russia, the Arctic and Antarctica, and nearly all the deep sea itself.  Some of these undiscovered fields are in places we can't pump oil -- not with today's technology. By 2050, though, wells atop the thickest Antarctic ice, or through five miles of ocean floor will be trivial to implement.

Higher prices have another effect -- they enable alternatives. At a cost of somewhere around $150/bbl, coal can be directly transformed into oil -- and the US has the largest coal reserves in the world, enough for hundreds of years.. At even higher prices, oil can be synthesized out of nothing but CO2 and water...if one has an abundant supply of electricity.

Throughout history, many other resources have hit production peaks. But the point missed by Peak Oil acolytes is that past declines -- on everything from whale oil to natural rubber -- were the result of falling demand. Prices rose until alternatives became cheaper, which reduced demand...and so production fell.

So yes, oil will one day peak. But it won't be in our lifetimes, or our even our grandchildren’s. And when it happens, it won't be an earth-shattering catastrophe, but rather a smooth and natural progression to better, cheaper alternatives.



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Quoting CERA?
By savebigoil on 6/19/2008 1:37:55 PM , Rating: 5
"Between 2004 and 2010, capacity to produce oil (not actual production) could grow by 16 million barrels a day -- from 85 million barrels per day to 101 million barrels a day -- a 20 percent increase." - Daniel Yergin, CERA, July 31, 2005

You are quoting the single worst predicter of oil prices and production in the industry. We are still at 85MM/Day.

Yergin is on track to miss the mark by more than two Saudi Arabias in just 2 more years. Search 'Yergin' in theoildrum.com for his track record. He is a lobbist of Saudi Aramco.

"Keep buying SUVs . ., Cheap oil Ahead, Keep buying SUVs . , Cheap oil Ahead"




RE: Quoting CERA?
By Ringold on 6/19/2008 3:02:42 PM , Rating: 4
Transocean's CEO yesterday stated that if he were given the green light today to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, he could get the exploration done and the rigs in place such that in 4 years the oil would flow, possibly 5.

Therefore, if oil firms saw the price signal any time in the last couple years, it's not inconceivable that production could start to roar. Asides from politics, the largest thing holding the industry back is a lack of skilled labor and equipment; thats a failure of liberal arts majors to choose to do something useful with their lives rather than proof of 'peak oil'.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 3:15:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I'm not a liberal arts major ( engineering actually ), and I think the argument for drilling is rather crazy. In fact, I think you have to be pretty bad at math to even think its a good idea.

For example, supppose we give the green light to start drilling in the gulf of mexico. Suppose that this drilling leads us to produce 1 million more barrels per day ( that'd have to be a pretty major find too, but I'll give you that ). I believe that we use about 25 million barrels per day in the US. So adding 1 million more would put us at 26, or a 4% increase.

Now, lets look at the alternatives here. Right now, I believe there is some kind of 25mpg requirement on new cars being produced (I think its some average, not exactly sure, but whatever). Now, suppose over the course of 5 years, we raise that from 25 to 30. That is a 20% increase in efficiency.

Which of the 2 scenarios do you really think is better for the USoA? In fact, I think that we're going to see huge improvements in MPG in cars over the next few years (it will be market driven), leading to a drastic decrease in demand for gas in the USA. Instead of drilling, we should focus our efforts on other sources of energy, because the demand / supply issue will be solved, and the solution will have nothing to do w/ the gulf of mexico.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/19/2008 3:24:39 PM , Rating: 5
> "Which of the 2 scenarios do you really think is better for the USoA?"

We can do both; they're not mutually exclusive.

As for alternatives to oil entirely, let's face facts here. We're realistically at least 20 years away from a majority of the US auto fleet using anything but gasoline. As oil is used for much more than cars (and indeed more than transportation) our oil needs are going to be with us for at least the next 40 years, regardless of how much money we pump into alternate R&D. So a responsible leader should take steps to ensure we have sufficient supplies over that period, or we risk economic chaos.

The US population is growing strong, and our economy relies on long term per-capita expansion simply to fund programs like Social Security. Given our needs for growth, it's inane to believe we can simply conserve our way out of a need for more energy.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 3:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
We actually had a decrease in demand for gasoline in 2008 from 2007 (I believe this is the first time that's happened)...

Today, China announced that they're going to stop subsidizing gas, which should greatly reduce demand there. India has already done that I believe.

I'm not arguing that we should stop using oil. I fully expect us to be heavily dependent on oil for many decades. However, I also don't think that we really need to be increasing supply at this point. If anything, we should be pushing to decrease our usage of oil. The first few years are going to hurt, but it will make us safer in the long run.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Ringold on 6/19/2008 8:01:12 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
However, I also don't think that we really need to be increasing supply at this point. If anything, we should be pushing to decrease our usage of oil. The first few years are going to hurt, but it will make us safer in the long run.


Why not increase supply? Why not allow the market to do its job?

As you point out, and what any economist knows, demand curves slope downwards! The market is already working on the demand side. You've discovered that yourself. Highway miles driven monthly has been dropping I think since late last year. Oil companies still are very aware of what happened the last time they increased supply all they could, so it may never stabilize at a significantly lower price if we drilled. They themselves seem to have a common number of what oils long term price will be: about $75. At that price level, private investment in alternative energy has taken place and will continue to take place, thus slowly replacing oil. It may cause fear in some, but yes, it would take place with zero government intervention. After all, is the Volt called the US Government Volt? No, it's the Chevy Volt.

There's almost no possible logical argument that I can imagine that the market hasn't already been doing what it needs to, except for where the government has got involved; it's limiting its supply-side response, and it tried to 'pick a winner' replacement technology (ethanol), and that has resulted in ongoing disaster. The one exception would be global warming, some big, nefarious externality that markets can't internalize on their own. Unfortunately, we can justify government capture of the entire economy with global warming, not just energy market manipulation.

I also find it amusing that leftists will advocate a 'portfolio' policy plan on alternative energy, but for some mystical reason, that portfolio can not include proven technology -- including, for some people, nuclear.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/20/2008 1:54:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why not increase supply? Why not allow the market to do its job?

The market can already increase supply if it wanted. The government estimates that if all areas that were already leased were to begin drilling right away, we would increase our oil production by 4.8 million barrels per day.

However, the cost of getting those 4.8 million barrels might not give the oil companies the amazing profit margins that they believe they deserve. These companies want the easy oil, not the stuff that might cost $40 - $50 per barrel to extract. That's why they want the ban to be lifted. After all, it makes sense. Its much better for your profits to extract oil at $15 per barrel and sell it at $140 than it is to extract it at $50 and sell at $140.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By porkpie on 6/20/2008 2:49:24 PM , Rating: 3
The WSJ today disassembles the "idle oilfield fallacy" you're trying to use:
quote:
Anyone with even the most basic understanding of how oil and natural gas are produced – and this should include many members of Congress – knows that claims of "idle" leases are a diversionary feint. […]

In reality, a lease is simply a block on a map, with no guarantee that it contains any resources. If all of them did, one could simply pay for the lease, haul in equipment and start pumping oil. But that only happens in fiction. And it happens in the minds of those who use the undeveloped-lease argument as a smokescreen to mask their intent to keep America's vast energy resources locked up underground, despite increasingly strong consumer demand for oil and natural gas.

For exploration to take place, our companies need access to the areas – offshore and onshore – that we know have the potential to produce the oil and natural gas consumers will need, if ours is to remain a viable economy in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. Today's short-term need was yesterday's long-term opportunity. If Congress had acted on that opportunity years ago, America would not be in the energy bind it finds itself in today
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121391719487790187...


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/20/2008 3:10:45 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Mr. Cavaney is president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, the trade association that represents America's oil and natural gas industry.

So... we have two sources: a report produced by the Committee for Natural Resources in the US House of Representatives, and on the opposing side, a opinion piece done by the CEO of the American Petroleum Institute.

No offense, but you're gonna have to try a bit harder next time.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Ringold on 6/20/2008 3:26:11 PM , Rating: 2
If you look in to the issue, you'd see the oil CEO is correct. Environmentalists started using your line of attack approximately two or three weeks ago; I'm surprised it's taken this long to counter it in public. After reading a detailed report on the current goings-on around the Bakken formation in the Dakota's and Colorado I surmised much of what that CEO said, but wasn't sure. Some oil wildcatters buy leases just, it seems, to get a share of profits if a nearby lease in the same 'zone' or something strikes it big. Beyond that, you're comparing the credibility of an industry expert to that of a political group? Lets be realistic. The CEO is covering himself, and the House, run by Democrats, have a vested interest in coming as close to lies as they think they can get away with in tearing him apart. Those are their jobs in life at the moment.

Besides that, to address your earlier post, oil companies are already going almost full-speed to develop every field they have access to. NOV, RIG, the first two off-sea companies that come to mind, both have huge back-logs.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/20/2008 4:21:14 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
For oil companies, vast holdings of federal oil and gas leases, even if undeveloped, show up in their financial records as assets that help attract investors.

“Absolutely,” said Mark Burford, director of investor relations for Tom Brown Inc., a Denver-based independent oil company. Tom Brown has more than 850,000 acres of federal land under lease, but just 22 percent is listed as producing, according to BLM records.

“In our investor presentations, we talk about the very large inventory of drilling locations on our acres that are prospective, and a lot of that would still be undeveloped,” Burford said. “But based on our knowledge of the producing areas and the formations, that acreage is very prospective and very likely to work out as far as becoming producing.”

From: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5111184

Its pretty clear that these companies don't really need any new leases right now, except to drive up their companies' value. They're already sitting on a ton of inventory.

Here is an interesting map that shows leases and how much they're being used:

http://wid.ap.org/oilgas/oilgas.html


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Ringold on 6/20/2008 8:29:09 PM , Rating: 5
I'm not going to beat the same bush, I find the entire "wah, wah, wah, the acres arent all being used!" to be a smoke screen, though you've dodged the same point multiple times. Why not let them buy the leases they want? What right do we really have to be getting in the way if they're willing to pay for leases anyway? What's the point in stopping them? And if they really have access to everything they want here, why the hell are they going to dangerous, hostile locations all around the world to pump out from there instead? Democrats at this point appear obstructionist just for the sake of being so, while simultaneously trying to push their own pet technologies forward, despite them being even more pie in the sky.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 4:10:02 PM , Rating: 1
Just saw this on Digg:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/6/18/134047...

Now, I realize that's a very left-wing website, but I doubt they're making up #s.

If these permits are actually not being used already, then there really is no point in lifting the ban.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 4:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
Here is a better link... I don't like using that website...

http://courtney.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Natural%20...


RE: Quoting CERA?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/19/2008 5:26:56 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sorry, but this is the most backwards argument yet. Opening up new areas for drilling won't result in more wells? If people really believed that, then why even oppose lifting the ban? Getting free money from a lease without the so-called "environmental harm" of actual wells sounds like a dream come true.

The truth is the argument itself is a lie. Yes, not every lease sold results in a well, especially not within 5 years or less. Some leases are bought by smaller companies who then have to obtain additional financing. Others are for areas that aren't profitable to drill yet, but are expected to be soon, if prices rise or technology advances.

New leases mean additional drilling, plain and simple. And additional drilling means greater supply and, more importantly, more dollars in American pockets, rather than overseas.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 5:54:20 PM , Rating: 1
Or, instead of making new leases available, just take away the leases that are not being used and resell them to companies that would be willing to drill.

What's wrong with that solution?


RE: Quoting CERA?
By grenableu on 6/19/2008 7:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
You mean, besides the fact that breaking a contract is illegal and can result in us to being sued? As the previous poster said, a lot of those leases will wind up being used, it just takes time. Which is all the more reason to start selling more leases today, so that 5-10 years down the road, we have that oil before problems get even worse.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 7:53:20 PM , Rating: 1
You should really think before you post...

Lets, for a second, assume that you're correct and the United States cannot revoke the lease for region... What do you think all of the Environmentalist agencies would do if that really was the case? Do you really think they would let the oil companies buy out the leases w/o making competing offers?

Now, most rational people would agree that when the government leases something (be it land, frequency ranges, etc) and the 'thing' being leased is not used for the intended purpose, then the lease is broken. For example, in this particular case, the lease was granted for companies to dig in the region. If they are not digging, I'm sure there is some provision in the lease that would allow the government to revoke the lease. Hell, I'm sure there's a ton of provisions in that lease that would allow the governement to revoke the lease even if the company was actually exploring the area for oil.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By tmouse on 6/23/2008 10:57:48 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
You should really think before you post...


You also could benefit from this

quote:
Now, most rational people would agree that when the government leases something (be it land, frequency ranges, etc) and the 'thing' being leased is not used for the intended purpose, then the lease is broken.


Wrong; plain and simple, there is absolutely NO legal requirement to do ANYTHING during the term of the lease. If you do nothing then they may not renew the lease. It’s a way to make money for the government from unused mineral rights. MANY such leases exist for large areas of New your & New Jersey but it currently makes no sense to exercise these rights at this time. They usually do very preliminary geological soundings and maybe some very small scale test wells in a single area then make a determination. You can, and often do, get dry wells even if you drill in a productive field. Leases simply have no relationship to actual resources, its simply an insurance policy for the oil company and serves to bulk up a “portfolio” of potential resources.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Bremen7000 on 6/22/2008 1:32:36 PM , Rating: 2
Breaking a contract is not "illegal," which is why you can only be sued for it, and not thrown in jail.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By FreeTard on 6/20/2008 12:05:15 AM , Rating: 3
I agree that is a very strange arguement.

The company that I'm drilling for right now, is one of the small companies. Including this well that I am on now, they have 20 or 30 more leases, signed and paid for.

It really isn't about just punching a hole and hooking it up to a pipeline. It is a much longer process than that.

First you have to build the lease, which can involve a lot of construction, remember it has to hold a big rig, and all of the support people.

Then you have to drill the well. This can take anywhere from 5 days (Arkansas is a good example) to a year (Rocky Mountains).

Then you have completions, build the pipeline, build the compressor station, and get the product to market.

I'm sure I'm missings steps. But the point is, every step costs money. So for a small company, they may only be able to use one lease at a time, and have completions following them around finishing things off, so that they can afford to go onto the next lease.

These leases are also purchased based somewhat on speculation. If I was running an O&G company, and I only bought the lease that I would be working on for the next well, I wouldn't last very long. Someone else would come in and buy up everything else.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/20/2008 3:03:56 AM , Rating: 3
Well, your example is actually perfect for what I'm arguing...

A small company like yours that can only afford to build one lease at a time should not be allowed to purchase 30 or more leases. If these take you 1-2 years to fully build (like you said), that means that your company has prevented regions from being drilled for the next 50+ years.

It would be much better to stop companies like yours from simply holding these leases until you're ready to drill / explore. Give it to someone who will use it right away. That way, we get oil faster, and we don't need to change any laws.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By ToeCutter on 6/20/2008 11:22:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
New leases mean additional drilling, plain and simple.


But, you just said they didn't.

quote:
Yes, not every lease sold results in a well, especially not within 5 years or less. Some leases are bought by smaller companies who then have to obtain additional financing. Others are for areas that aren't profitable to drill yet, but are expected to be soon, if prices rise or technology advances.


Perhaps you should try to clarify:

New leases might mean new wells after a few years, if companies receive financing.

Hmm. Now it seems probable that new leases will result in new wells, but not anywhere as "plain and simple" as described by you just a few sentences earlier.

No worries, I doubt many will read this anyway.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By FreeTard on 6/20/2008 7:06:06 PM , Rating: 3
You are exactly right.

The idea is great on paper. There are xxx number of leases just being held, so just drill on all of those leases right away and the problem is solved.

In reality, one of the majors bought 1000 leases in this state, in order for them to drill all of them at once (which would piss off a lot of people) they would need roughly $5 million per lease. Ok, so now the major shells out 5 Billion dollars to develop the leases, we still need 1000 rigs, 20,000 roughnecks, several million gallons of water for drilling fluid, and countless other resources.

So let the mom and pops do it, hand the leases over to them! Well the fact is, the mom and pops have less money than the majors, and just because someone wants to drill for oil or gas, doesn't mean they can. It's not like plumbing, I would bet you can't open the phone book and choose AAAAAAAA1-Oil and Gas. The mom and pops are usually a collaboration with the majors, and they pick off the wells they can handle at a speed they can handle, without overextending.

The theory, on paper, is great. In reality, to simultaneously start developing all of the leases out there would be 68% impossible (a random number I made up).

One other thing to note, is that not every lease produces. How many dusters are there, for every producing well?

"New leases mean additional drilling, plain and simple."

But not every lease means additional oil and gas, plain and simple


RE: Quoting CERA?
By ToeCutter on 6/24/2008 10:40:19 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
New leases might mean new wells after a few years, if companies receive financing.


This statement could be clarified even further:

New leases might mean new wells after a few years, if companies receive financing, and they can do so profitably.

It seems "plain and simple" has turned into "hardly probable" in just a few sentences.

Asher's "plain and simple" comment is classic, unadulterated conservo-speak: Take a complex issue, dispense with all nuance, reduce the infinite number of solutions to a viable few, and present them in such a way that the solution to a complex issue appears obvious to even a 5th grader.

It's an attractive proposition. Who doesn't want simple answers to hard questions? If only the results of those simple answers bore fruit.

I would guess that's it's this approach that has the US heading in the wrong direction, according to 85% of Americans who were asked.

Hard problems deserve critical thought, and critical thought isn't a bad thing. Critical thought has given us some cool stuff, like TV, GPS, vaccines, microwave ovens even the PCs we use to post on this forum.

The world ain't simple folks, which is why so few have it figured out.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By grenableu on 6/24/2008 1:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
Your entire post is a shell game trying to hide what truly is simple. If we drill more, we'll get more oil. If we don't let companies drill, we'll get less.

Yes. It really IS that simple.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Fluxion on 6/22/2008 2:50:43 AM , Rating: 2
You're right, it is inane to believe we can escape by conserving the need for energy.

However, it's also inane to think that the need for energy, has to come from oil.

While we may be a quite some time away from a major shift away from oil, that doesn't mean we can't begin large scale efforts now to move away from the use of oil.

Look at the Tesla Roadster: 220 miles on a 3 1/2 hour charge. If a start up like Tesla can do it, every major Automobile manufacturer can do it. And it'd be a big jump in the process of moving away from oil.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By namechamps on 6/22/2008 11:49:21 AM , Rating: 4
Where will the electricity come from? Please don't say solar.
Just some quick numbers.

The Tesla gets about 4.7 miles/KWh. So a car going 12,000 miles per year will require 2553 KWh annually (2.5MWh).

Let's say Telsa could ramp production up to 1 million vehicles (even that is less than 2% of vehicles on the road).

That would require 2500 TWh of electrical production.

Nuclear power is the only zero emission option that can provide a constant source of low cost energy. Solar and wind are variable so a constant load source is still required.

The other issue is economics. Tesla sold <2000 roadsters (including future 2009 sales). Cost has already gone UP from $100K to $109K. Solar power costs about 3x as much as nuclear power so the "mpg equivelent" goes down from 140 mpg to 40mpg. I don't think many people will buy a car for $100K yet still doesn't cost less to operate than a Camry.

Simply put I think ideas like the Volt or Honda H2 car or the Tesla Roadster are great ideas. First issue is it will take 20-30 years to replace even 20% of cars on the road. Second issue is they still require power. Enviromentalist need to get realistic. Nuclear is best short term option. We could be like France and have enough nuclear plants to produce 70%+ of our electricity by nuclear PLUS enough to run millions of electric (or plug in hybrids or hydrogen) cars. Currently largest source of electricity in US is COAL.

So we can either burn coal and burn oil or we can build nuclear and run our homes, businesses and in the future cars on them.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By bjacobson on 6/27/2008 6:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
What's wrong with coal? We have enough in the US for 250 years at an increasing rate of consumption, and we're already so close to making them zero-emission. All we need to do is use SCR (maybe this is the hindrance, need a better catalyzer?) to oxidize the elemental mercury from the coal power plant exhaust. This Mercury Oxide can then be captured in the scrubber slurry like everything else, and stored/disposed of/not spewed into the air.

Don't say greenhouse emissions--> global warming, because we know from history that there hasn't always been as much ice as there is now. Take for example the Medieval British Grape/Wine industry, the medieval Viking coastal settlements (with everything including agriculture) in Greenland as examples that are impossible given the current climate in those regions (stole this bit from Penguinisto's post on slashdot. There's a good discussion going on about the melting of the North Pole ice, go check it out if you're so inclined: http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/06/27/1... ).


RE: Quoting CERA?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 3:25:05 PM , Rating: 1
Oh... and I forgot to mention....

currently, we export over 1 million barrels of oil per day (we import more, but we still export). If we want more oil in the USA, then perhaps we should stop exporting it before we decide to drill...


RE: Quoting CERA?
By JustTom on 6/20/2008 3:15:18 AM , Rating: 2
Oil is fungible, not exporting US produced oil would not lower prices in the U.S.. Nor would it lower the trade balance.


RE: Quoting CERA?
By FreeTard on 6/20/2008 7:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Canada exports as much oil to the US as Saudi does. Yet oil costs as much to Canadians as it does to Americans. Gas is more expensive at around $6/gallon and going up. I don't remember the last time it stayed lower than $3.75/gallon for more than a few weeks.

If Canada by some miracle decided to stop exporting oil, and survived the wrath. We wouldn't see gas prices go down because of the greater stockpile there. We would see oil prices go up, and fuel prices go through the roof.


Interesting Read
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/19/2008 10:36:45 AM , Rating: 2
Just to float a theory out there...
Perhaps production slowed because of the high costs. I know this sounds counterintuitive, because a high cost would typically mandate increased production, as is currently occurring. However, the oil industry is not a typical one in that most of the major producers are closely related (ie OPEC) and coordinate their efforts extensively.

I see a likely scenario is that if they realize they can make the same amount of profits, while selling less, they would be inclined to do it. It makes sense from a fundamental perspective. If they sold more, they'd deplete their supplies further and be making no more profit.

In a normal industry such thoughts would be offset by independent entities upping production. However in the coordinated oil world, if the big players decide to artificially limit production, they can steer the entire market.

I think regardless of when exactly oil reserves are exhausted, it is an eventuality, likely within 1000 years at best. This is why it is imperative to the future of man that we develop nuclear, solar, tide, wind, and microbial/synthetic fuel technologies in cost effective manner.

I believe even the most hardline critics of the green movement, can agree on this fundamental point.




RE: Interesting Read
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 6/19/2008 10:57:29 AM , Rating: 5
Problem is that while the Oil cartels can spike the price for brief periods of time, it is unwise to leave them at high prices for too long. If it becomes cheaper to use alternatives than oil, then Oil demand drops, and even if prices drop later, it might be too late to get people to switch back. I think this is happening now. People now recognize that Oil isn't as dependable as they would like and will begin gradually switching from it to a variety of other resources. It will take years for this to happen, but the Oil cartels will decline over time because of the rising price of oil. Short term, were boned. Long term, this will end up hurting the longevity of the Oil business.


RE: Interesting Read
By vapore0n on 6/19/2008 11:24:33 AM , Rating: 3
That's not what out politicians say.

What they do say is: oil is expensive, we need to find independence from oil by .... drilling for more oil.

Its happened before. Oil goes up, demand goes down, oil goes down and everyone forgets the past and starts spending oil like we never had a crisis before.


RE: Interesting Read
By tallcool1 on 6/19/2008 12:57:09 PM , Rating: 4
Our left wing democrates also want to turn America into a socialist country. Yesterday House Democrats called for nationalization of refineries!
quote:
Among other things, the Democrats called for the government to own refineries so it could better control the flow of the oil supply.
http://www.foxnews.com/urgent_queue/index.html#a54...

Your take is wrong on the drilling part. We need to drill for our own oil to allow independance from radical middle east controlled oil supply. A combination of drilling our own oil and reducing our dependance on oil in general with alternative fuel sources, and more efficient vehicles is the solution.


RE: Interesting Read
By jay401 on 6/19/2008 1:20:45 PM , Rating: 4
I'm not agreeing or disagreeing here, just providing another opinion. From June 2nd:

“Let’s be serious,” writes Kevin Kerr. “Oil has pulled back to $125, not $60.

“Think about the parabolic rise in oil we have seen in just the last six months. It’s incredible, and it’s overdue for a correction. But that doesn’t mean that this is the end of the longer-term bull market or global demand — not by a long shot. The idea that this was some kind of a bubble — with oil really worth $40 — is a pipe dream.

“The simple reason is that we are using more and more fuel and finding much less. Peak Oil is here, and it doesn’t feel good.

“Still, Congress can’t let it go. There is no ‘evildoer’ in the oil market, no cartel of traders that manipulated the oil markets to get us to this price. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is even getting a new mandate and a lot of power.

“If they continue on their latest witch hunt to find the traders responsible, it won’t matter. Those funds will simply flee into new oil markets springing up in Dubai and elsewhere.”


From April:

"We’re detecting a theme in much of the day’s news. Something you might call “Peak Everything.” Oil, food, water — you name it — supplies are falling and prices and tensions are rising. The world appears to be entering one of those phases in history that will take generations of library-sequestered historians inventing new theories to explain." hehe :)

Until recently, population-rich portions of the globe had a comparatively very small demand for oil. Places like India and China had steadily rising populations, yet their demand for oil and energy remained relatively low.

Over the last 10 years, that has become no longer true. Industrialization has finally caught up to these parts of the world, and we’re seeing demand that previously never existed. Now billions of people are driving cars and powering houses and factories in a way they previously weren’t. This puts serious pressure on the demand side of the oil curve.

Obviously, this demand must be met by a complementary amount of oil. The supply now becomes stretched and the price has nowhere to go but up. This is true for many of the world’s resources. New groups of consumers represent a need for scarce resources and there is only a limited amount to go around. Everything from metals and building materials to wheat and other grains must be allocated to new and growing population segments.

While these new needs are usually just a necessary side effect of much-wanted world development, the demand pressure being put on oil has a unique effect. The price and supply of the world’s oil have a much greater effect on the overall world economy than those of any other commodity.

We need oil for our own personal uses, and the more expensive it is, the more we have to pay. We all know this. But what about everything else we need to buy? Oil becomes the de facto cost of transportation and shipping. Anything imported to the United States takes oil to actually get here. From airplanes to trucks to cargo ships, the price of oil factors into everything we buy. The higher the cost of oil, the higher the cost of fresh produce that must be shipped across the country. Just one example of how oil affects everything we need and want.


RE: Interesting Read
By Spacecomber on 6/20/2008 11:40:28 AM , Rating: 2
The link doesn't work to the FoxNews reference. Is there a working link for this?


RE: Interesting Read
By tallcool1 on 6/20/2008 12:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
I just clicked the link and it is working fine for me...


RE: Interesting Read
By FiniteQuantity on 6/21/2008 5:56:41 PM , Rating: 2
Your take is wrong on the drilling part. We need to drill for our own oil to allow independance from radical middle east controlled oil supply. A combination of drilling our own oil and reducing our dependance on oil in general with alternative fuel sources, and more efficient vehicles is the solution.

At the phenomenal rate we (U.S.) use oil - 8 billion barrels a year - the protected areas off the coasts and ANWR will not give us independence from oil imports. Bush just recently talked about 16 billion barrels in protected areas. If that doesn't include ANWR add another 8 billion for a total of 3 years US oil use in protected areas. You cannot drill your way to energy independence. The oil isn't there. Ethanol will never be able to supply the fuel needed for the cars and trucks of 300 million people. There isn't enough energy return (if any) and there isn't enough arable land.

Conservation is a good idea. But the number one way to conserve is population shrinkage. Right now we have population growth. We will need to move to mass transit as our other big conservation, and yet not a single politician seems to be talking about it. They haven't even talked about fuel economy standards. SUVs are still exempt from car standards.


RE: Interesting Read
By geddarkstorm on 6/19/2008 1:21:13 PM , Rating: 4
Some politician in the news said about oil recently that, "We can't solve the supply problem by increasing production". My mind was numb for hours afterwards.

All I've gotta say is that we're doing a good job of fixing the supply problem by driving the price up. Can't have demand for what people can't buy, it's brilliant :D!


RE: Interesting Read
By porkpie on 6/19/2008 1:47:03 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Some politician in the news said about oil recently that, "We can't solve the supply problem by increasing production".
That's politician codespeak for "my environmental constituents have me by the balls".


RE: Interesting Read
By omnicronx on 6/19/2008 1:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps what they were referring too is the lack of refineries in the United States. You can produce as much oil as you want, but if the bottleneck is the lack of refineries to refine that increased production, then what good does it do.


RE: Interesting Read
By masher2 (blog) on 6/19/2008 2:07:39 PM , Rating: 5
But if the "supply problem" that politico was referring to was the refinery bottleneck, we could still solve it by increasing production -- production of gasoline itself, by building more refineries.

In fact, there isn't a supply problem in the world that can't be solved by increased production...which is why this remark is particularly inane.


RE: Interesting Read
By DanoruX on 6/23/2008 3:07:45 AM , Rating: 1
^ 6 for that one.


RE: Interesting Read
By FiniteQuantity on 6/21/2008 5:59:09 PM , Rating: 2
Some politician in the news said about oil recently that, "We can't solve the supply problem by increasing production". My mind was numb for hours afterwards.

He was probably referring to the long term supply problem. Any extra drilling now just makes the supply problem worse later. Oil discoveries peaked in the 1960's and have declined every decade since. And oil usage has increased every decade since. That is the supply problem. Adding some extra wells in protected areas doesn't change the terrible reality of the supply problem.


RE: Interesting Read
By greenchasch on 6/21/2008 6:33:32 PM , Rating: 3
Oil discoveries didn't peak in 1960. World reserves are twice what they were then, despite all the oil we've burned since then.


RE: Interesting Read
By Polynikes on 6/23/2008 2:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
The idea is not to ween ourselves off oil by drilling for more, but to ween ourselves off foreign oil by drilling for it here in the states.


RE: Interesting Read
By theflux on 6/19/2008 7:08:32 PM , Rating: 5
I think you're right, and that we're already seeing this. Saudi Arabia isn't increasing production out of the kindness of its heart, or because it suddenly wants more money. They are increasing production to help bring prices back down to levels where people aren't so interested in alternatives.


RE: Interesting Read
By Ringold on 6/19/2008 2:49:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I see a likely scenario is that if they realize they can make the same amount of profits, while selling less, they would be inclined to do it.


Fatal flaw: The Prisoners Dilemma. Because oil companies can't enforce policy amongst their ranks (OPEC can't even do that with reliability), if a bunch held back supply, prices would spike. For some companies, the temptation to hike output and thus cash in huge from what others have done to the market would be irresistible. This is why airlines can't just save themselves by unilaterally raising prices; they can't collude to do it in unison, so they have to nickel and dime you on things you don't actively price check (like are in flight peanuts free or not). That's not in Econ 101 like in mashers post, but 201 at least.

If they did collude, then ultimately they'd be found out with all these "investigations." Eventually there'd be a whistle blower, or a CEO would swap immunity for ratting out the rest. It hasn't happened, and probably wont, 'cause I don't imagine theres anyone to rat out.


RE: Interesting Read
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 6/19/2008 4:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
There is a big difference between what they CAN produce and what they DID produce. OPEC will always play games with production levels to keep prices where they want them.

But, the speculators have managed to keep it higher then the $100 limit OPEC would prefer.


RE: Interesting Read
By Ringold on 6/20/2008 3:13:21 AM , Rating: 2
If the market isn't at equilibrium, how do you explain people still buying each months contracts? By the time the futures contracts mature, real consumers must have contracts from real producers. Otherwise, you'd see massive tankers being leased by oil speculators (who provide a vital market function, called liquidity, among other things) so that they could take delivery of oil -- but that hasn't happened. If people are buying at $135/barrel, that seems to indicate markets are indeed clearing properly.

Whether or not we like reality is another issue entirely.

I'll also point out that non-traded commodities have also gone up tremendously in value; cadmium is up, according to Deutsche Bank, more than twice what oil has risen since 2001. Blame the speculators? There are no speculators in cadmium.

As for OPEC, I wouldn't bet money on it, but I've got a feeling perhaps only Saudi Arabia has any spare capacity at all. I'd love to be wrong, though; then we'd at least have slack.


RE: Interesting Read
By martinw on 6/20/2008 9:39:05 AM , Rating: 2
You are right, Saudi Arabia is the only OPEC country with significant spare capacity at the moment, around 1.5 million barrels per day. All the others are pumping as fast as they can. And don't expect Saudi Arabia to increase by 1.5 even though they can. Having spare capacity like that gives them enormous control over the world markets.

One other point that is often overlooked - usually demand increases are blamed on China, but one of the largest increases is actually coming from the Middle Eastern oil producers themselves. Their huge income leads to plenty of money sloshing around. Combined with fast-growing populations, that means lots of spending on energy guzzling cars, aircon etc, all of which are oil powered since it is so cheap. Saudi Arabia alone increases internal oil consumption by 200k barrels per day every year. That is enough to completely wipe out the recent widely trumpeted increase in production, so although they are raising production, the more important export number does not change.

Total world oil exports were actually higher in 2006 than now. That simple fact alone should explain most of the recent price runup:

http://netoilexports.blogspot.com/2008/04/net-oil-...

The real peak oil problem hits not when you reach the peak, but when the slope first begins to flatten out, as appears to be happening now.


RE: Interesting Read
By Ringold on 6/20/2008 3:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
It's only so cheap there because of subsidies. If I'm not mistaken, they still have to export most of their oil due to a lack of refineries, then import the refined products. China just a day or two ago slashed its fuel subsidies, so there is hope that others will too. Off the top of my head, I think Venezuela is another uber-subsidizer. Iran as well; the Revolutionary Guard makes a lot of money on the side by buying from the state at subsidized prices and then smuggling it out of the country to sell at market prices.


RE: Interesting Read
By martinw on 6/21/2008 11:48:01 AM , Rating: 2
No the Saudi comment is not correct. Saudi refines more oil than it needs for internal consumption, and is increasing refinery capacity even further. So they do not import refined product, and so it is not really accurate to say they subsidize. Chine did cut fuel subsidies, but not by that much given the price increases, so it probably won't have a huge impact. Iran does subsidize because it has to import refined fuel, but they are rationing now which reduced demand quite significantly. Smuggling of course is a big problem for them as you say.


Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/19/08, Rating: 0
RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By FreeTard on 6/20/2008 12:36:24 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you in part. I don't have a choice but to drive to work, and because of the nature of my work I need a bigger vehicle. I know I could change jobs, but I really enjoy what I do.

At my current rate of reimbursment for company mileage, my break even point for gas is $7.50/gallon. After that my company will have to start driving me around. For a lot of people $4.00/gallon is too much, $5 is out of reach, $6 is a death sentence.

As far as drilling under antarctica being disgusting, I know it's not a popular idea, and I hope we can avoid it. But it's going to be possible a lot sooner than 2050. I might be pulling this number out of the air, but I believe the longest Extended Reach Well on record is over 30,000', mostly horizontal under the ocean. There are already tests underway in the Arctic to safely drill in the extreme environment.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By Hare on 6/21/2008 9:07:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
For a lot of people $4.00/gallon is too much, $5 is out of reach, $6 is a death sentence.

Gas here in Scandinavia (and Europe in general) costs around 5.5$ per gallon (litre of 95oct costs a bit over 1.5€). I haven't seen any dead bodies yet and our economy hasn't crumbled...


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By JustTom on 6/20/2008 3:19:44 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, eventually oil production will peak. No, the situation in the U.S. is not a real example of peak oil. Oil production is artificially limited by government regulations. Give me the power of government and I can prove that corn production has peaked simply by mandating working acreage to lay fallow.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/21/2008 8:27:17 AM , Rating: 1
But the history of US production peaking is a perfect real example. What has peaked is the production what we are willing and able to bear the cost of producing. That includes environmental and future reserve costs. Our ability to produce includes obeying laws that must justify their restrictions in the face of huge economic pressures. For you to dismiss this as simply artificial is either unrealistic or politically devious.

In denying this, your logic asks us to accept the notion that we should embrace 100% unrestricted drilling at any cost. As I said before, every last drop.

Indeed, perhaps we could start extracting and refining fats from fat people. Make a new law, and pay them some monthly compensation. Whales might be even cheaper, and they harvest from the sea. It's possible you know. High enough prices would make it viable. Your laws to protect their rights are just artificial. Oh sorry, I forgot, we actually just have slumping demand for oil, so I guess we don't need to after all.

The reality is that oil production depends on many factors. All together, they resulted in US oil production peaking about 1973. It happened, for completely real reasons. It's history. If you have better information, then please by all means let's hear it. If you have some better insight, then I'm sure lawyers for all those oil men who lost value would love to sue the asses off whoever artificailly restricted their market. What a shitty thing to have done.

In the meantime, I stand with my assessment that this article is deeply flawed and disgustingly biased. Definitely sub par. Get better independant reporting on Fox News these days.

/sarcasm


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By greenchasch on 6/21/2008 6:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm sure lawyers for all those oil men who lost value would love to sue the asses off whoever artificailly restricted their market.
They would, but you can't sue the government for passing misguided environmental laws, or for banning drilling in so many areas.

No big surprise US production peaked. We stopped letting people drill for oil.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By JustTom on 6/21/2008 7:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
Of course U.S. oil production peaked in 1973, I never disputed that. What is the real question is why it peaked and did it need to. I would answer it peaked because mainly because of artificial constraints placed on it by governments. Remove those constraints, which is possible if not probable in the current political environment, and the U.S. could easily produce more oil today than it did in 1973.

quote:
TextIndeed, perhaps we could start extracting and refining fats from fat people. Make a new law, and pay them some monthly compensation. Whales might be even cheaper, and they harvest from the sea. It's possible you know. High enough prices would make it viable. Your laws to protect their rights are just artificial. Oh sorry, I forgot, we actually just have slumping demand for oil, so I guess we don't need to after all.


Even as sarcasm this is rather weak. Restrictive drilling regulations do not remove the environmental impact of drilling, it shifts it. Instead of oil being produced in the United States it is produced in Russia, Saudia Arabia, and the Sudan. Which country do you think is going to produce oil with the least environmental impact?


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/21/2008 9:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Restrictive drilling regulations do not remove the environmental impact of drilling, it shifts it.

Yeah, that's right. We decided at that time that we weren't willing to pay that price on our own turf. There also must have been influence by oil investors with overseas interests who wanted to cash in, lobbying the opportunities and markets away from the domestic producers. I'm sure it's some of both.

And maybe if we are willing to forgo most restrictions, burn almost every last drop at any cost, we can do it all over again and get another few decade's ride until it peaks again.

I'm glad there's promise of more cheap oil to be had, or we would be seriously screwed. But I hope we don't drill ourselves anyways, in a mix of desperation and corruption where anything goes.

Sadly we will never know exactly what part of this equation is realistic practical truth, and what part is sick corruption and greed. You would have to be an idiot to doubt for a second that it's plenty of both. Or a Neocon to claim otherwise.

We seriously need to look for better solutions than oil and nuclear.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2008 11:15:21 PM , Rating: 2
> "We decided at that time that we weren't willing to pay that price on our own turf"

What price? You drill a hole, pump the oil out, then plug it up. There's no permanent environmental damage.

The price to be paid is huge sums of money we send overseas, while we ignore trillions of dollars worth of oil in our own backyard.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/22/2008 1:37:22 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
There's no permanent environmental damage.

Yup. Never. I see no need to be the one to pull your head out of your ass.

I fully agree that the issue has benefiets and drawbacks pointing in multiple directions. I don't think we're doing the right things either. But I see no need to drink the koolaid.

Seriously, where do you come up with this shit?


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By Fluxion on 6/22/2008 3:08:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What price? You drill a hole, pump the oil out, then plug it up. There's no permanent environmental damage.


Look at pictures of the North Slope/prudhoe Bay drilling operations in Alaska, and how even these supposedly "clean" drilling operations, pollute many square miles with leaked oil, etc. (especially look for pictures of blackened tundra, and where oil has pooled in the snow. All that oil isn't exactly positive for the environment.

I'm glad that spills such as Ixtoc, the 1969 Santa Barbara off-shore spill, Prudhoe Bay in 2006, etc., all apparently caused no serious environmental impact. I'm also glad that, as long as you aren't inconvenienced or get to pay less, the cost in animal life, clean up, environmental impact isn't important or serious.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By porkpie on 6/22/2008 12:17:04 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Look at pictures of the North Slope/prudhoe Bay drilling operations in Alaska, and how even these supposedly "clean" drilling operations, pollute many square miles with leaked oil...
Here's a picture of Prudhoe Bay taken last year. I don't see any miles of leaking oil. I don't even see any plants or animals. Just thousands of square miles of ice.

http://i27.tinypic.com/34y20wj.jpg


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/22/2008 9:03:00 PM , Rating: 1
Thanks for the support, it's been getting lonely trying to fend off this insane demented denial.

I don't have everything figured out, I am often poorly informed, lean on my own opinions, etc., and I admit it. But some of the assertions coming back this way can only be explained by a very twisted political agenda having suckered a lot of people into asbsolute denial of the extreme complexity of these issues. There are pitfalls in all directions, pros and cons, and apparently marks and rubes.

I just hope to cut through some of this dogma, because I might agree to drill in the Arctic/Antarctic, but not at the psychopathic blind insistence of some Neocon dupes.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By JustTom on 6/22/2008 12:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with the basic premise of your blog I can't agree that there is no environmental degradation involved in oil production. Which is why I think more drilling should happen in the United States; we are far more willing to lessen any possible impact than most major oil producing nations.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By Ringold on 6/20/2008 4:53:37 AM , Rating: 3
Whats wrong with drilling deep in to the ocean or under ice?

Are you concerned that the rock or ice will miss the oil and become lonely?


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/20/08, Rating: -1
RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By Ringold on 6/20/2008 8:47:00 PM , Rating: 3
Lots of hate and simmering anger.

Zero economic analysis or logical argument at all.

For example, if we start building nuclear plants now, then the future can clearly be powered by nuclear. In the interim period, we could expand production of what is already abundant and relatively cheap; oil.

Instead, people like you propose starving the global economy of energy in the interim, while praying to the Alternative Energy God that something else saves us before things start flying apart. Wonderful logic.

IMHO, liberals are a testament to the failure of public school education. Where's the logic?


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/21/2008 7:57:46 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, I actually called this article out on something concrete and plainly false. Oh the nerve of me, it's all just "hate and simmering anger".

Nice analysis there mate, detailed logic. I lose.

You my friend actually expose yourself for the American Neocon puppet you are. Pull that party line, tow that load. My politics and nationality remain private, and you have guessed me wrong, while showing us your hand with trite party dogmas about "liberals" and "the failure of public schools". Fool. I hope you like your ball and chain.

It is you who offer "Zero economic analysis or logical argument". Or do you simply try to outright dismiss what I do offer (flawed or otherwise) without the courtesy of following your own standards?

The best you proffer is a future frought with the very real and uncertain challenge of containing the most toxic poisons known to humanity, nuclear materials. Maybe we can compitently handle a nuclear future, and maybe we can't. Again, as with peak oil, there is much room for legitimate debate, where you state some unprovable certainty. Your blind party line (as with this article's) would have us close our eyes and follow the whims of the current established big money holders, without questions. This is honestly folly.

I propose that it is entirely possible that we might develope workable small scale fusion power, and/or many other possible alternatives, for less than it will cost us to "trivially" drill through Antarctica. All with less environmental damage, and while maintaining some oil reserves for the unforseeable future.

Without the will to do something different, which this article clearly means to discourage, we gamble on options and a path forwards that is known to be toxic, and to have serious and risisng cost issues.

Can you actually argue me Ringold?

If peak oil is indeed very far off, then we have all the more time to do the right things without risk of shortages, and for that I am glad.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By greenchasch on 6/21/2008 6:38:41 PM , Rating: 2
Lol, nuclear materials are not "the most toxic poisons known to humanity!" Botulinum poison is worse than plutonium, and people PAY to have that injected into them (Ever hear of Botox?)

Nuclear is safe because the quantities involved are so small. A nuclear plant makes about a ten-millionth of the waste a coal plant does. And nuclear is technology that works NOW.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/21/2008 7:32:35 PM , Rating: 1
OK then, dump a pound of botulinum (powdered or sprayed, no matter) into the sky, maybe out of an airplane or in an explosion. What's the total damage? Sure it's gonna be short term nasty, and then it's over.

Now let's substitute uranium or plutonium. Apparently you weren't living in the huge area affected (still) by Chernobyl.

Your cheap dodge of the reality of the dangers is lame and dishonest. Radioactive metals persists in the environment, bioaccumulating, causing toxicological and radiological damage. You can't clean it up, ever. It just mixes around and around.

I agree that coal is bad news, and that nuclear is realatively safe. But a fair estimate for 100% replacement of oil is something like 700 new nuclear plants. And that could easily be far shy of the reality by the time we have actually switched over and got it working. Let's not forget about the mining required either, there's always serious environmental cost to mining operations.

All I said is, it's not some cut and dried fact that this Neocon talking point of a proposal (a mostly nuclear future) is guaranteed safe or viable for our energy future.

There are obviously some pretty realistic and serious questions to be asked here.

Check out http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2320 for a very interesting discussion, if you are interested in the whole topic of how much oil we use and how we might replace it.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By masher2 (blog) on 6/21/2008 11:13:06 PM , Rating: 4
> "Radioactive metals persists in the environment...You can't clean it up, ever. It just mixes around and around."

This couldn't be more wrong. Radioactive isotypes decay naturally...and the more dangerous they are, the faster they decay.

Take Chernobyl, for instance. I-131 (radioactive iodine) was one the principle sources of danger. But it has a half-life of only 8 days. Once a week, the amount in the environment drops by half. The danger from that isotype has already cleaned itself up, automatically. Sr-89 was another major component, with a half-life of 59 days. Both those are essentially already gone from the Chernobyl area.

Radiation levels have already dropped to the point where the only real danger is from foods grown within the 19-mile exclusion zone. The risk is primarily from the longer-lived C-137...but even stll, within another ~50 years, even this will be gone.

Nevermind that Chernobyl was a RBMK reactor -- a type the Western World rejected as too dangerous to ever build. Out of thousands of reactor-years of operation, no Western commercial power plant has ever killed or injured a single person.

And we have far safer, cleaner designs on the books, ones which produce far less waste and are wholly unable to even theoretically melt down. Unfortunately, due to public ignorance, there is little interest in building them.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By Solandri on 6/22/2008 1:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
OK then, dump a pound of botulinum (powdered or sprayed, no matter) into the sky, maybe out of an airplane or in an explosion. What's the total damage? Sure it's gonna be short term nasty, and then it's over.

Now let's substitute uranium or plutonium. Apparently you weren't living in the huge area affected (still) by Chernobyl.

Uranium and plutonium principally decay by emitting alpha particles. A piece of paper will shield you from it. They're only dangerous if you grind them into a fine powder (why would you?) and breathe it in. Once they lodge in your lungs, the high mass of the alpha particles (basically a helium atom without electrons) can cause physical damage to the molecular structure of your cells. So under those certain circumstances they can be very dangerous, but in practice it's exceedingly rare for those circumstances to ever happen as a result of nuclear power generation.

Speaking of which, if you're worried about uranium powder in the environment, you should be even more in favor of nuclear over coal. Right now our coal plants emit more particulate uranium into the atmosphere than our entire nuclear industry uses. There's a tiny bit of naturally occurring uranium in everything, including coal; and when you burn it it gets carried out with the smoke, into the air, where people breathe it in, and it gets lodged in our lungs just like the worst-case scenario I outlined above.

Anyhow, for some reason the nuclear argument always seems to take place with the opponents arguing for zero risk. Nothing has zero risk. Well, nothing except doing nothing. Nuclear in its current form carries considerably less risk than coal and oil-burning power generation technologies. A kg of refined uranium used in a reactor contains about 2 million times as much energy as a kg of coal, 1.5 million times as much energy as a kg of oil. Would you rather convert a kg of uranium (about three and a half tablespoons) into "radioactive waste" or burn 2000 tons of coal with its accompanying atmospheric emissions?

And most of that "radioactive waste" is actually reusable fuel. If we reprocessed the "waste" we could increase the energy extraction more than tenfold. It's only classified as "waste" because we (the U.S.) banned reprocessing in the 1970s due to fears of terrorists getting reprocessed weapons-grade plutonium. France and other countries happily reprocess and thus have a considerably smaller "radioactive waste" problem than we do. (Our waste is "hot" because we're classifying it as waste even though it still over 90% of its energy still in it.)

Environmental cost of mining uranium also suffers from the same flawed zero-risk assessment. We mined over 1.1 billion tons of coal last year, which provided about 50% of our electricity generation. In that same time, we extracted about 2200 tons of uranium from about 3 million tons of mined ore, which generated about 20% of our electricity. Concerns about the environmental impact of mining favor nuclear by over a hundredfold.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/22/2008 9:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you Solandri. I admit that nuclear is not the worst possible option out there, but that also doesn't mean it's the only one we should be vigorously persueing.

Coal is pretty much the dirtiest bulk fuel we have ever used, so it's a pretty stacked-deck comparison that you gave. The certain safety of nuclear materials is also not quite as lilly white as you make out, and I don't think we will know for at least another hundred years, by which time an exessive commitment to nuclear could turn out to be a very painfull "too late". It would still be better than running off the coal cliff, and there are many people calling for a whole new wave of coal useage, now that NG is rising sharply with other easily mobile and clean fuels.

There are numerous possibilities, and political will, the lack of it, or the distrotion and corruption of it, all play a VERY large part in what happens next. I hope our enguaged discussions can play some small part in heading us towards sanity in our policy choices, because the stakes are too high to just leave it all to chance.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By JustTom on 6/21/2008 8:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I propose that it is entirely possible that we might develope workable small scale fusion power, and/or many other possible alternatives, for less than it will cost us to "trivially" drill through Antarctica. All with less environmental damage, and while maintaining some oil reserves for the unforseeable future.


Maybe or maybe not. I have seen in my lifetime aritcles predicting commercial fusion power is just 10 years away repeatedly. And still we don't have any. And it is not for lack of resources committed to research, it is just a damn hard thing. I'd be the first to celebrate reliable commercial fusion power if it becomes available but I doubt it will any time soon.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/22/2008 1:29:02 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=7168

Right here on ars, we see cold fusion mechanisms proven by the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center.

Nothing to see here folks, move along...


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By Fluxion on 6/22/2008 3:20:14 AM , Rating: 2
Cold fusion is one of those research areas, where the majority of mainstream science has kinda turned its back on it, but in reality, it has some promising potential simply in fusion research.

However, everything I've seen and read, essentially puts cold fusion as never being a commercially-viable source of energy, as it simply occurs in too small of amounts, if occuring at all (and yes, some research evidence strongly supports it).

So no, it's not time to move along.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By JustTom on 6/22/2008 12:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
What is possible in the lab is not always possible on a commercial scale. I will be estatic if there is a cold fusion plant in the near to mid term but I doubt it will happen. This is less due to any technical expertise on my behalf than a reaction to previous proclamations that viable commercial fusion is around the corner.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By Fluxion on 6/22/2008 3:16:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a fairly big supporter of nuclear technology, as well as the development of nuclear fusion, but in the past 15-20 years, I've never seen a major scientific article, journal or magazine publishing anything related to commercial nuclear fusion within 10 years.

The most successful experimental reactor so far, JET, has succeeded in achieving a Q value (Q being the breakeven point between fusion heating and heating via external sources) of 0.7 or 0.8 if I recall. The breakeven value is roughly 1, and for commercially viable fusion power, ideally it would be between 15 to 20. Thus, scientists have known for quite some time, that we're further than 10 years away...


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By Ringold on 6/23/2008 4:18:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Can you actually argue me Ringold?


Nope. I can't. You made a bunch of insults and false statements about nuclear power, and even proposed "small scale fusion", despite that we don't have even "large scale fusion," which harkens back to my original point: You'd apparently prefer we starve while waiting for this silliness.

When you make better arguments than my 7th grade cousin, then maybe I can argue you.


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By jamdunc on 6/21/2008 11:04:37 AM , Rating: 2
Well I can blow a hole in part of your argument. In the UK our unleaded petrol is approx $10.60 a gallon (that's imperial, which is 1.2 US gallons I think). And diesel is even more expensive. Now most of our trucking industry runs on diesel and whilst they're not happy with prices, are still running and at a profit. The profit might be getting smaller but it's still there.

As for increasing production, there isn't the skilled labour available to do that. I work for the #2 ROV Operator in the world and so my job is tied to the Oil and Gas industry and I see how strapped for people the industry is.

As for alternative fuels, you hate Nuclear. So what shall we do, cover acres of land with wind farms/solar farms and destroy that natural habitat? Or?


RE: Worst article on Ars EVER.
By exploderator on 6/21/2008 8:11:17 PM , Rating: 1
Glad your market is bearing that price point. I think we will fair worse here in Canada where shipping happens over much longer distances. We have already had many trucking operations fold while the markets reballance to these prices, or maybe don't. Some sectors just fold up, and the people end up unemployed. It isn't pretty.

And as for alternative energy, I don't blindly accept nuclear as some perfect instant panacea solution. It will be a part of the solution, no doubt, but it carries real and terrible dangers. It is obvious that solutions that DO NOT have these dangers would be preferable. Same goes for oil, ultimately. Oil is pretty handy stuff, but it still pollutes in many ways, and is obviously a good candidate for replacement with cleaner alternatives, which is ultimately inevitable anyways.

I don't know what we will use for alternatives. Figuring out how to use geothermal would be fantastic. Essentially infinite free energy, no pollution, no net effect on the planet. It's here, it's real, and it's in operation in some places. Go ahead and prove that it's not a perfectly viable alternative.

Small scale fusion has tremendous potential, it is in development as we speak, and it might well pan out. If it can be made to work there are very good reasons why it could be ideal. Let's seriously fund it for a while and see what we can accomplish. Unless you think armageddon is coming, we maybe aught to think to the longer term future today.

If it were up to me, I'd put this ahead of missions to the Moon and Mars.

Can you honestly tell me that the total life cost of many hundereds of nuclear plants, including proper long term waste disposal, plus the total cost of extreme oil extraction techniques, is guaranteed known to be less than the end cost of geothermal or some other good alternative? We don't know enough about geothermal or nuclear or oil to answer that. But we won't find out unless we get honest and spend some SERIOUS effort finding out.

"Or?" is a very good question, and it deserves answering. This forgedaboudit attitude that oil and nuke are the final answers is wearing suspiciously thin.


If oil production isn't peaking...
By ToeCutter on 6/20/2008 11:09:22 AM , Rating: 3
Then why do most of the "new technologies" have little to do with finding or producing more/cheaper oil, but instead focus on wringing every drop of oil from deposits that already exist? Seems to indicate that oil is getting alot harder to find and we're basically sucking the straw to get the last few drops out of the earth.

Do these "Ultimately Recoverable Reserves" include shale and oil sand, two sources that require a ridiculous amount of effort to recover usable amounts of oil from?

And where do these sources get their information from? Are they even remotely associated with the same economic pundits who said that $100/bbl oil would cause global economic disaster? Seems to me the sources Asher relies upon for this article are no more credible than the peak oil crowd.

I saw "Crude Awakening" a year or so ago and remember a discussion regarding Saudi Arabia and how they claim that their reserves (i.e. the oil still in the ground) are the same today as they were in the Seventies. Are those "reserves" also counted among the URR figure described here?

I also remember quite a few former petroleum executives and government energy officials from both the US and abroad supporting the premise, with absolute certainty, that the world's oil supply is diminishing.

What I completely fail to understand is how conservation and development of alternative energy sources can be a bad thing, regardless of who is right on this issue?




RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By HARM2 on 6/20/08, Rating: 0
RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By Ringold on 6/20/2008 8:52:31 PM , Rating: 2
Don't be such a tool. Go look at data. The public has already started making titanic shifts in their energy consumption patterns, such as monthly highway miles driven.

The point a Republican would make, and one you obviously wouldn't understand or appreciate, is that people should be allowed to adjust on their own -- just the way they have. Truck and SUV sales? Falling like a meteor. It's an issue of individual liberty. Conservatives have no problem with people buying fuel-efficient cars and other appliances, they merely don't want tools like you using the police power of the federal government to force it on them.

By the way, the environmentalists wet dream, the Chevy Volt, is not the result of government mandate, fuel efficiency standards, or anything else. It is the result of the free market responding to a price signal. How does the Volt fit in to your world view?


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By MadMaster on 6/20/2008 9:47:04 PM , Rating: 2
Consumption dropped 0.1%

Imports dropped 5%

Oil stocks in USA 40 million barrels lower than last year.

Coincidence?


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By Ringold on 6/21/2008 7:10:54 AM , Rating: 2
What you said makes sense based on my post; that Americans were cutting back, responding by their own free will.

The drop in oil stocks has an answer as well; growing Chinese, Indian, and other developing nation demand.

Coincidence? No, because everything fits.


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By FiniteQuantity on 6/21/2008 6:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
Consumption dropped .1%. Not quite a "titanic shift" yet. People still commuting to work for the most part. The titanic shift comes when most people have to move to mass transit. We aren't prepared for that and there isn't a single politician talking about it, so we may need to hire some of those "train stuffers" they have over in Japan.


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By porkpie on 6/22/2008 12:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
Gas consumption actually dropped 1%, ten times what you claim:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121392646391690835...


By Ringold on 6/23/2008 4:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, and highway miles driven has tanked more than any time since data started being collected, I think in the 40s.

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/08aprtvt/index.c...

Also, proof that markets and consumption works as one would expect:

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/06/cross-price-el...

Given that the previous pattern was clearly towards consuming greater amounts of energy, and now we're in a trend towards consuming less and less every month, I call that titanic from a macroeconomic perspective. In fact, a lot of reasonable people would expect these sort of rapid responses to be impossible, it was thought a multi-trillion dollar economy might not be able to turn on a dime. It has. 1% of anything in an economy the size of the US means changes larger in value than probably several African nations.


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By HARM2 on 6/20/2008 10:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
I have no beef with free choice, and never said I did. I was responding (sarcastically) to the core assumption at the heart of this post: Peak Oil is a (yet another) Liberal myth.

It's this type of inflammatory, knee-jerk dismissal of a real-world problem, framed in partisan-cartoonesque "us" (good 'ol boy conservatives) vs. "them" (evil Liberal scientists), that really pi$$es me off. It's not a "fake crisis", or a "Liberal fanatasy". Peak Oil is real and doesn't care with what party you're registered.

Yes, the public is gradually responding to higher prices --no thanks to head-in-the-sand people like Michael Asher. Big question is, can we/will we transition to alternative sources of energy in the time we have left to avert some really nasty outcomes? A: not if people don't even acknowledge there *is* a problem, debate it like adults, and propose solutions.


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By Ringold on 6/21/2008 7:24:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
debate it like adults, and propose solutions.


Therein is the problem. Feel free to look at the liberal/environmentalist posters here, and compare that to the 'conservative' ones. People like Masher and I propose that all sources of energy are developed -- maximize oil production, but simultaneously start building nuclear plants, and let the billions of private investment dollars continue to flow in to solar, wind, and other renewable forms of energy, as well as some of the cool biotech options like fungi or whatnot that takes cellulose and directly creates gasoline.

Liberals, on the other hand, reject out of hand any expansion of fossil fuels as a short-term measure, many of them object to nuclear (not all, but all the most vocal groups do, as I've documented before with links to each of their websites decrying nuclear power), and instead they suggest technologies and policies than, while they may be viable in 10 to 30 years, are no where near ready for commercial prime-time today. The solution seems easy: Drill now, but start building nuclear plants across the nation as quickly as possible. Combined with technology soon to come to market (the Chevy Volt, for example), oil consumption can be relegated to niche markets, and renewable technology, as it becomes viable, can play its role as well.

I see nothing "knee jerk" about a position of "lets pursue every option on the table." I also see no one denying oil prices are at the level they are. It doesn't even matter why or how, peak oil or not, is just matters that they are where they are. The only "knee-jerk dismissal" I see going on in the energy debate is the dismissal of technology that is here today for no apparent reason. At least, none buried in sound logic as far as I can see. The "but its scarce and will run out" argument is true of every natural resource. The "global warming" argument is cute, but frankly no one cares at $140/barrel.


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By HARM2 on 6/23/2008 1:17:55 PM , Rating: 2
First off, you're switching the subject. The author of this thread is beasically considers Peak Oil to be "liberal" myth, and refuses to consider that there my be some practical limits on extracting a finite natural resource. Once we get past that absurd proclamation and agree that we are nearing (or at) peak production for the cheap/easy to extract stuff, *then* we can debate solutions and alternative energy sources. You (to your credit), unlike the author, seem to acknowledge that P.O. is a reality, and jump right to the solutions part.

Now, as far as solutions go, call me a pragmatic or centrist 'libuhral', but I don't have a problem with nuclear (especially next-gen molten salt reactors that produce a lost less radioactive waste), or drilling offshor, or even using coal (despite its horrible impact on the environment) as a transition energy source, until we develop something better long-term (fusion, solar, wind, wave, combination thereof?).

By the way, not *all* natural resources are non-renewable. Just the ones we consume faster than they can be replenished by the natural or geological processes that put them there.


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By porkpie on 6/23/2008 1:52:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The author of this thread is beasically considers Peak Oil to be "liberal" myth
Where does he say anything about "liberals" ?

quote:
and refuses to consider that there my be some practical limits on extracting a finite natural resource.
Well he specifically says oil will peak some day. I think his point is that it won't be in our lives and it won't be a problem when it happens.


RE: If oil production isn't peaking...
By HARM2 on 6/23/2008 2:48:22 PM , Rating: 2
"Chicken Little types,"
"...the usual Peak-Oil disciples"
"...Peak Oil acolytes"

My bad, he didn't come right out and say the dreaded "L" word. He just *implied* it through code words.

In any case, I certainly hope the author's right about the timeline. Given the public's overall apathy and unwillingness to confront the issue (reflecting the author's own mindset), we'll be woefully unprepared to handle a post-P.O. world if those "Chicken Little types" turn out to be correct.


By masher2 (blog) on 6/23/2008 3:45:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "My bad, he didn't come right out and say the dreaded "L" word. He just *implied* it through code words."

It sounds like that, in your mind "Chicken Little types" equates to "liberals". I however made no such association.


By Ringold on 6/23/2008 3:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
Well then, whats the problem? Some think the peak oil thing is possibly bunk, because production and price haven't diverged from what one would reasonably expect, and thus prefer to instead just respond to the price signal. Others would rather blame peak oil, not a lost decade of investment when oil prices were ridiculously low. The end result is advocating the same solutions.

Therefore, looks to me like you just like to go around flaming anyone with anything close to a conservative position, despite in your above post supporting the same solution to a problem both sides agree to but in different ways. If you wanted to be productive, could try to proselytize the anti-energy liberals, who seem to only support technology that still isn't ready to replace the bulk of our energy demand. Just enjoy trolling more? You and Noya should meet, would probably like each other.


By ToeCutter on 6/24/2008 11:06:50 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
How does the Volt fit in to your world view?


It's expensive, stylish and "Green".

What more could it be than a celebrity fashion statement?


Peak Oil
By Antius on 6/20/2008 11:54:25 AM , Rating: 3
Peak Oil has already happened in dozens of regions around the world, the North Sea being the best known example. This is a documented historical fact and has nothing to do with speculation or theory. The peaking of a resource isn't really a theory any more than dying is a theory. It is simply a matter of time. It is notoriously difficult to say exactly when it will happen, but it is inevitable that it will happen. Based upon existing reserves, recovery rates and development of non-conventional oil, we could draw a 2D probability map for when peak will occur.

In the North Sea, new wells continue to be drilled (mostly horizontal extension of existing wells) and enhanced oil recovery is prolonging the life of existing fields. But nothing can halt production decline. The same is true with low EROI non-conventional oil. It will undoubtedly cushion the decline, but will have little impact upon when peak occurs. In net energy terms, peak is likley to have already occurred.




RE: Peak Oil
By masher2 (blog) on 6/20/2008 1:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
> "The peaking of a resource isn't really a theory any more than dying is a theory"

The fact that a well gets progressively harder to pump from has been known almost since the begining of the petroleum industry. Peak Oil, however, states far more than that. As commonly understand by its adherents, it is a combination of most or all the below beliefs:

1. That world production is predictable, based off known reserves.
2. That production peaks occur without regard to demand or pricing.
3. That the global peak in oil prediction is imminent, and that it will lead to catastrophic results.

None of which are correct.

As the article points out, yes World oil will one day peak. But "Peak Oil" is still a fraud.


RE: Peak Oil
By HARM2 on 6/20/2008 6:39:01 PM , Rating: 2
"1. That world production is predictable, based off known reserves.
2. That production peaks occur without regard to demand or pricing.
3. That the global peak in oil prediction is imminent, and that it will lead to catastrophic results."

Actually, only claim #1 and part of #3 are even close to core "beliefs" of Peak Oil theory.

P.O. theory originated with M. King Hubbert, who back in 1956 correctly predicted that the U.S. would hit its production peak by 1970, which it did. Based on the data of know reserves available to him in the 1956, he estimated that world production could hit its peak at "about half a century" (2006). Of course, he was not an idiot and understood that newly oil fields could be discovered, or better recovery techniques could be developed, and that could shift the timeline somewhat. Nonetheless, coming within a few years of actual world peak using 1950s technology and data is pretty impressive.

Straw-man claim #2 is pure nonsense. In the 1976 interview, (referring to the first oil shock) King admitted that "the actions of OPEC might flatten the global production curve, but this would only delay the peak for perhaps 10 years". In other words, sharp price hikes could reduce demand and delay the peak.

The "imminent" part of claim #3 may prove to be true for those of us living today, but King made his predictions over a half a centurey ago, so he could hardly be considered an alarmist. He also made no guarantee of "catastrophic results", but rather encouraged us to develop alternative forms of energy and use the time we had left wisely. We did neither, but that's certainly not King's fault.


RE: Peak Oil
By masher2 (blog) on 6/20/2008 7:20:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"...who back in 1956 correctly predicted that the U.S. would hit its production peak by 1970...he estimated that world production could hit its peak at "about half a century" (2006)..."
Actually, Hubbert's seminal paper predicted a world peak by 1999, a figure which has been continually revised as each new peak fails to arrive. You can see his actual paper at:

http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/1956/1956.pdf

His predictions for specific countries varied widely. For instance, the Soviet/FSU Republics did indeed peak within 5 years of his predicted value...but after a few years of decline, began to rise again, and now a decade later, continues to go up.

His prediction for the US was his beat yet, a range from 1960 to 1968 (4-12 years). It actually occurred in 1970...but when it did arrive, was due to the abundant supply of cheaper alternatives (foreign oil), coupled with a massive tide of environmental legislation that made prospecting and production of domestic oil extremely difficult.


RE: Peak Oil
By HARM2 on 6/20/2008 8:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, so his original 1956 range was off by 2 years for the U.S., and could be 10 years or so off for the world (though in 1976, King himself said demand destruction via higher prices could push that date out 10 more years).

Wow, I wish I could make a prediction 50 years into the future and be that accurate. I'd be happy to predict *1 year* out with that kind of accuracy.


RE: Peak Oil
By greenchasch on 6/21/2008 6:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
You forgot the #1 rule of predicting the future: if you make enough predictions, at least one will come out right.

Predicting the peak of every country in the world and getting one of them sort of close isn't a very good record. Random guessing would do better.


RE: Peak Oil
By HARM2 on 6/23/2008 2:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
So... what you're saying is, because Hubbert (and others) were off in predicting the *exact* world peak by a few years, the entire concept behind P.O. theory (fossil fuel as a scarce resource with practical limits to extraction) has zero validity?

Okeedokee then, I give up. You Cornucopians are 100% right. There is no such thing as peak oil. Or Evolution, or gravity. They're all just "theories", right?

God will provide us all the oil we'll ever need in perpetuity (or at least until the Rapture comes). At which time all them damned Libuhral Commie Darwinists will get what's comin to them, while us True Believers will all get raptured up to Conservative Heaven. Then we'll spend eternity be communing with corporate CEO Jesus, who will preach Prosperity Gospel to us, and explain the moral superiority of rich people, whilst we watch the Commie Darwinists roasting on a lake of fire (fueled by unlimited abiotic cheap oil, of course).

Wow, this 'magical thinking' thing is fun and kind of liberating! I'm switching sides --thinking and dealing with this 'reality' crap is sooo tiresome.


RE: Peak Oil
By ToeCutter on 6/24/2008 10:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But "Peak Oil" is still a fraud.


How so?

fraud, A deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.

What, exactly, is to be gained by the "Peak Oil crowd"? If this peak oil nonsense is all propaganda, what's behind the drive to deceive?

I've also seen countless mentions of these powerful "liberals" and "environmentalists" that have seemingly unlimited power?

Who are these people? What organization are they members of? Most of the people that I talk to have never even heard of Peak Oil.

Lastly, the only folks I see standing in the way of drilling in ANWR are the Alaskans?

Have I missed something?


RE: Peak Oil
By grenableu on 6/24/2008 1:39:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lastly, the only folks I see standing in the way of drilling in ANWR are the Alaskans?
Alaskans are pretty much for drilling actually. Its all the Democratic (and a few Republican) congressmen who keep voting against it.

quote:
what's behind the drive to deceive?
A lot of political power for one.


RE: Peak Oil
By JustTom on 6/25/2008 7:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lastly, the only folks I see standing in the way of drilling in ANWR are the Alaskans?


Or maybe not:

http://www.gov.state.ak.us/pdf/ANWRlettertoCongres...


Where are you averages coming from?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 3:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Petroleum production for the first quarter of 2008 rose to 74.5M bbl/day -- 1.2M higher than the 2007 average

I tried to look this up online, but the most recent figures I could find for world production were from 2005 (I just don't know where to look for reliable data on this stuff). In any case, according to https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world... in 2005 we produced 78.9bbl / day.

That is a pretty huge decrease (6% in 2005 to 2008), even with growing demand. I guess I'm just not sure where you're getting your numbers from, or how you can say with any confidence that our production is going up. Sure, I guess if you mean that it went up year over year by 1.3%, that's good. But it going down by 6% in a 3 year period seems pretty bad, and I would question why you choose to focus on the 1 year period instead of looking at the huge drop from 2005.




RE: Where are you averages coming from?
By Ringold on 6/19/2008 3:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'll let someone else respond with data, but I'll just say a lag between price signal and supply-side response is to be expected. Transocean, National Oilwell Varco, they're going flat-out and are still booked for years in to the future, day-rates for ocean rigs is about $700k/day, and I read it now costs $5m to setup a well on solid ground. The entire global supply chain has to lurch from reverse after years of low prices to full speed ahead, and its not a small business, so years-long lag shouldn't be a surprise to us.


RE: Where are you averages coming from?
By FreeTard on 6/20/2008 7:36:29 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure if you were responding to my $5 million dollar quote for drilling. But I actually meant that the cost for one of these small land wells is roughly $5 million in the end. Thats when you figure in personal, rig rental, equipment rental, supplies, and everything.

I can say that with a fair amount of certainty, as I have submitted tickets at the end of a well for over $800,000. I have seen tickets written for $2million.

$5 million for an average land well, when you figure in everything is about average.


RE: Where are you averages coming from?
By Ringold on 6/20/2008 8:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
We're talking about the same $5 million, I got that number, the price of developing a single small well, from a recent Bloomberg special on the craze going on around the Bakken formation. Good to know someone familiar with it agrees. I figured it'd be a little expensive, but that expensive was a little surprising. All that cash for something that might not produce anything at all.


By FreeTard on 6/21/2008 4:16:04 AM , Rating: 2
It's kind of weird when people agree on here.

There was one company I worked for, that it seemed like a challenge to see how expensive they could make the hole.

We cemented two sets of directional tools, at a million dollars each, downhole. Then drilled a duster. To twist the knife a little bit more, we then presented them with a bill for $750,000 for our services. I gave the company man the bill, and he looked it, then looked at me and said "you guys are criminals, you need to go home".

I saw one company pump 9000bbl of drilling fluid away down the hole, never to be seen again, at a cost of $75/bbl.

$5 million is a good average, but dang it can cost much much more.


RE: Where are you averages coming from?
By masher2 (blog) on 6/19/2008 3:31:53 PM , Rating: 2
> "in 2005 we produced 78.9bbl / day. That is a pretty huge decrease"

You're looking at different data. There's a few different ways to calculate world petroleum output, depending on whether you count things like natural gas distillates and others. There was no 6% decline from 2005.


RE: Where are you averages coming from?
By Murst on 6/19/2008 3:33:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You're looking at different data.

Ok... so... where can I find the same data you're looking at?


RE: Where are you averages coming from?
By MadMaster on 6/20/2008 9:52:32 PM , Rating: 1
Here's one place.

http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/4152

One thing to note, oil production hasn't been growing significantly in the last 4 years. Contrary to what a stupid person would tell you, investment in oil infrastructure is way the hell up. ECON101 supply demand curves say we should be seeing about 5 million additional barrels.

I wonder what masher/ringold's comments will be...probably a load of brown.


By Ringold on 6/21/2008 7:07:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
ECON101 supply demand curves say we should be seeing about 5 million additional barrels.


Yeah. In the long run.

In the short run, to steal a model more often associated with tight skilled labor markets, the "cobweb" model dominates.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobweb_model

As is typical, the wiki graphic is darn near useless. However, when the supply of something is fixed (in this case, oil infrastructure) and demand increases, supply can't immediately react. It takes years to do exploration, years to make new rigs, years to train new engineers, etc. So instead, prices simply explode.

The supply over-reacts, causing a price collapse (like in past oil price spikes), leading to a smaller shortage, leading to.. look at the graphic, you get the 'picture'.

Thus far, the trickle of new production and the huge new fields discovered, such as Brazils, appears to validate this model.

Of course, you mangle even "101" concepts, so I'll forgive you for not being familiar with the cobweb model. :)


actually...
By jay401 on 6/19/2008 12:25:12 PM , Rating: 2
Not enough new fields are being discovered to keep up with growing world-wide demand, and the new oil that is being discovered any more is in harder to reach locations or in forms that require more processing. Both of these require greater investments of funding and acquisition, as well as greater time to bring it to market.

Here is the growth trend of world demand:
http://www.ezimages.net/upload/5MIN/worldoil.gif
"China and India are consuming oil at a rate the U.S. did in the early years of the 20th century. Even if they move half the distance Hong Kong or South Korea have — that’s strong demand with or without a recession in the U.S."

You're right though about Peak Oil theory being used as an excuse by speculators:

"“The Peak Oil viewpoint is establishing a beachhead in the futures markets and supporting high prices,” comments our resident oil industry analyst Byron King. “Greed and fear are just plain hitting the fan on this one.

“Veteran oilman T. Boone Pickens has been beating the drum on this topic for quite a while. ‘All the world can produce is 85 million barrels of oil per day,’ Mr. Pickens told me at a conference in Houston last October. ‘But the world demand is nearer 87 million. Something has to give. It’s the price.’

T. Boone has repeated that comment many times since.

“Apparently,” says Byron, “the markets are listening. On a large scale, investors are shifting their energy focus from the short to the medium term. Beyond the medium term, fears for future oil supply dominate.”"


This from May 22nd:

As you know, head honchos from BP, Shell, Chevron, Conoco and Exxon suffered though their now-monthly testimony before Congress on Wednesday. Senators from both sides took their shots, all sounding something like:

“People we represent are hurting,” the whiny Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont said, “the companies you represent are profiting.” Senators asked oil execs important questions like how much money they personally make each year and how they can live with their “corporate consciences” when Americans “can’t afford to drive to work.”

“We cannot change the world market,” responded BP’s Chairman Robert Malone. “Today’s high prices are linked to the failure both here and abroad to increase supplies, renewables and conservation.”

“I don’t think we can control OPEC,” added Peter Robertson of Chevron. “I don’t think it is our place to control OPEC… there’s not much spare [production] capacity in the world. OPEC doesn’t have much spare capacity to change the supply.”

The CEOs were verbally whipped. Congress got their chance to spew populist rhetoric while the cameras were rolling, and not one, not a single piece of policy emerged. We wonder… where were these hearings when oil was at $15 just nine years ago and the Big Oil companies had to finance operations?

And… how many more before oil companies just pack up and leave, a la Halliburton? We doubt they’ll be publicly flogged in Dubai or Singapore.


and then, from the same week:

But don’t worry. Congress is on the job. Yesterday, the House approved legislation that would effectively allow the Justice Department to sue OPEC.

Seriously.

“The House today with a strong bipartisan and veto-proof margin,” beamed Nancy Pelosi, “voted to hold foreign oil cartels and Big Oil accountable.” Apparently, the president’s embarrassing trip to visit the Saudi’s last week wasn’t enough for them.

Under the proposed bill, OPEC nations would be subject to the same antitrust laws as U.S. companies. Should that occur, the U.S. government could sue OPEC members for any sort of purposeful supply or production restrictions. After all, as Americans, it’s our God-given right to buy and consume as much of the world’s oil as we see fit, at a price we choose.

Hey, maybe if we sue Iran and Venezuela, they’ll refuse to pay… then we can legitimately invade and kick the crap out of them too. What’s a two-front war when you can have four?


So basically, there is world-wide demand, exploration is showing new oil fields are in difficult to reach places or the oil is in states that will require more processing and refining before it can be marketed, and our elected officials are doing a fine job making a mess of things in the meantime.




RE: actually...
By TheDoc9 on 6/20/2008 11:19:11 AM , Rating: 2
It's funny how the u.s. is calling for an increase supply from opec and yet we won't increase our supply here. Everyone involved must be laughing their asses off at this game.

The world isn't running out of oil, it should be called 'Peak Oil in Realation to Production Facilities'.

The u.s. also has the largest deposits of shale oil in the world - trillions of barrels worth, someone will tap that if we need it.


RE: actually...
By FITCamaro on 6/20/2008 4:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
The people calling for the increase in supply from OPEC are doing so because others in this country won't let them drill for oil here. So we have to go to others to increase supply. Bush would be glad to increase domestic supply. But environmentalists and the liberal left has stopped us at every turn.


RE: actually...
By Fluxion on 6/22/2008 2:45:22 AM , Rating: 2
I don't get this incessant desire to open up new wells here, given that it would barely change prices (if at all), and only extend our reliance on a resource we should be moving away from.

Take ANWR for example: if ANWR was opened for drilling, and let's say it could begin producing today, it's been estimated that it's impact on a $130-135 oil barrel cost, would be a 75 cents decrease over around 15 years. Sure, it's a decrease... a decrease consumers would likely not see at all.

All the tens of billions of dollars in planning, building and maintaining new infrastructure, should go into alternative fuel research and advancement instead.


RE: actually...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 6/23/2008 10:45:58 AM , Rating: 3
Throwing money at research does not make research advance faster, but I find it amusing so many people think so. Throwing money at production problems can speed up production, but it does nothing in the research department.


RE: actually...
By Entropy42 on 6/30/2008 11:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
If money doesn't make research advance faster, what does? I think the semiconductor industry is an excellent example of where throwing money at research makes it go faster. There is a ton of money to be made there, so lots gets invested, and the growth of the technology is far beyond any other field. More money leads to more people working on it, using better equipment. I think its amusing you don't see any correlation there.


By pvandyke on 6/19/2008 4:01:28 PM , Rating: 2
None of this really matters - attempting to extend the use of a localized fuel for transportation is absurd. The money spent on developing oil-based technology and oil discovery could much more effectively be spent on electrical storage and transmission development.

Maybe even harnessing the energy that's already floating around in our solar system and on the planet? Energy that won't run out eventually?

In the long term it doesn't make sense to hedge your bets on oil simply because it's the easy solution. If we put monetary clout behind alternative energy development and more efficient energy use we could both lower our per-capita consumption and move our production capacity to a place where we wouldn't have to worry about finding another source of energy so soon.




By grenableu on 6/19/2008 7:16:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maybe even harnessing the energy that's already floating around in our solar system and on the planet?
Fossil fuels are energy thats "floating around" the planet. It makes sense to use them while we have them. I've seen some reports that say we have 100 years of oil left and 250 years of coal. It's not the big problem some people claim.


By exploderator on 6/20/2008 4:25:44 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I've seen some reports that say ...


... everything and anything that you could possibly want to hear. A good question is often "who's selling?" The oil industry certainly doesn't want you to bother planning for an oil free future.

In any case, it seems like an unwise gamble to me, to ignore the inevitability that we will be running out of oil sometime soon. How soon is a legitamte argument, not an obvious non-issue like when will the sun explode.


By Solandri on 6/22/2008 3:13:22 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
... everything and anything that you could possibly want to hear. A good question is often "who's selling?" The oil industry certainly doesn't want you to bother planning for an oil free future.

I grow tired of this argument for dismissing sources. Everyone has an agenda. The oil industry wants to make money. Environmentalists have a pipe dream of a zero-footprint existence. If you dismiss information from anyone with an interest in this issue, you've excluded all information from consideration.

You seem to claim the oil industry wants to exaggerate petroleum reserves so that we won't bother planning for an oil-free future. A bunch of Congressmen and Senators are claiming they're under-reporting our currently accessible reserves as a ploy to open up ANWR and offshore oil drilling. It can't be both. Which is it?

If you have facts refuting the claim (100 years of oil, 250 years of coal), then post them. People only resort to ad hominen attacks when they don't have facts to support them, or are too lazy to find them. That's why they don't contribute to discussions and are frowned upon.


By bjacobson on 6/27/2008 6:56:52 PM , Rating: 2
here's my guess, it's all over the place: 250 years of coal

http://www.google.com/search?q=250+years+of+coal&i...

I've been hearing this one forever.


By FiniteQuantity on 6/21/2008 6:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Fossil fuels are energy thats "floating around" the planet. It makes sense to use them while we have them. I've seen some reports that say we have 100 years of oil left and 250 years of coal. It's not the big problem some people claim.

We could have 100 years of oil left but it won't be produced at current production rates. Each country that produces oil eventually hits a production peak and then goes into decline. The United States peaked in 1970 and is still producing oil, just not as much. The world will peak soon and go into a decline.

But why would someone claiming we will have oil (presumably at current rates) for 100 years, be right and someone claiming we are going into decline soon not be? The fact that has to get applied to both claims is... oil discoveries peaked in the 1960's and have declined every decade since then. And yet oil usage just continues to go up and up.


30 years of conventional oil left..
By excelsium on 6/23/2008 1:00:04 PM , Rating: 2
http://wolf.readinglitho.co.uk/mainpages/oilworldm...

903 billion barrels in reserve.
30.56 billion barrels consumed globally per year.
= 30.2 years left of conventional oil at the current rate of consumption...

common logic says "big problems" will arise before the 30 years are up if the consumption does not decrease or even increases.




By excelsium on 6/23/2008 1:28:41 PM , Rating: 2
If for example the oil producers could somehow keep production high enough to meet demand until the day when every last drop of conventional oil is gone - the world is going to wake up one day with no easy oil left in the ground, its literally impossible to have anywhere near enough production from oil sands or whatever, and it would be ridiculously expensive.

The only real solution is using alternative sources of energy in a big way- eventually at 100%.
The consequences caused by failure to use other sources are ugly and obvious.


RE: 30 years of conventional oil left..
By porkpie on 6/23/2008 1:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
We have 30 years of oil left.

When I was a kid, we had 25 years left.

When my dad was a kid, we had 20 years left.

See a pattern? We constantly find more oil than we use.


RE: 30 years of conventional oil left..
By excelsium on 6/23/2008 2:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
Who is saying that there's more than 0.9 trillion barrels of easy oil left? 30yrs,60yrs (1.8 trillion barrels) .. Either way 100% of energy will come from alternative sources sooner or later - some of it manufactured oil I guess (plants and bacteria etc).


RE: 30 years of conventional oil left..
By masher2 (blog) on 6/23/2008 3:43:56 PM , Rating: 2
> "Either way 100% of energy will come from alternative sources sooner or later."

That was just as true in 1908 as it is today. Does that mean we should have stopped using oil 100 years ago?


By excelsium on 6/23/2008 4:02:08 PM , Rating: 2
Oil was a convenient resource used to accelerate human evolution that resource is running out faster than ever, we have the intelligence the need and the moral duty to accelerate the development of alternative energy sources on a path to 100% replacing regular oil asap.


Chickens Little
By teverth on 6/20/2008 6:30:46 AM , Rating: 2
The chickens 'little' then obviously must include a staggering majority of the world's geologists and oil-analysts among them advisers to the Bush dynasty and oil-billionaires alike....
You are obviously one of the few Pollyanna believers left who think that the world can forever feed 70 million new inhabitants a year without ever running into limits...
Peak oil arrived in the USA on cue in 1970 as calculated by Hubbard and it has arrived globally as calculated by many intelligent minds in the late half of the first decade of the new millennium.
Peak oil means that new discoveries coming on line do not replace old fields decaying and so far the theory has proven correct. Oil sands and other hard to extract resources are no substitute for the decline in easy and accessible oil. Some of these will demand an energy input in form of natural Gas to drive the oil out of the sands of similar amount as the energy gained from the oil extracted...
Make no mistake, despite the hollow calls of some deluded minds like the author of this article, the decline of net energy extracted from the ground is upon us.




RE: Chickens Little
By Chipewyanman on 6/20/2008 9:37:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Some of these will demand an energy input in form of natural Gas to drive the oil out of the sands of similar amount as the energy gained from the oil extracted...
I don't know what website told you this but as a practicing chemical engineer I can tell you its wrong. The EROI of existing Canadian tar sands projects starts at about 5 and goes up. That means you get five times the energy output as you. Compared to crude which has EROIs of 50 or more that may sound bad, but getting 5 dollars for everyone one you spend is a very good deal.

And EROIs have been improving as the tech does. One of the new fields coming online just north of me will have an EROI of about 10. It also uses no natural gas at all, by feeding the bitumen back in as feedstock.


Peak Oil Bashing
By ineedaname on 6/20/2008 1:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
This article brings up some good points but it really tries to make a joke out of what peak oil is. Peak oil simply means that as you get to the bottom of the well its harder to get oil out of it. This is a fact of oil wells and should be taken into consideration. That's why oil companies are looking for new sources and using better technology to keep the production rate up.

Its the people who take this fact and say "the world is ending" that make it a joke. You get people like that for every type of bad news. The problem is that these people take this idea and take it to a ridiculous level.

I just wanted to say that "peak oil" is not wrong. Its just what people tack onto this idea that's wrong.




By JCC on 6/22/2008 9:27:11 PM , Rating: 2
As countries develop, such as is the case in India and China, the worldwide demand for oil has been increasing. So peak oil has a lot to do with the balance of supply and demand. Demand is increasing.

That aside, your points on alternatives are correct.




Peak oil correct and incorrect.
By excelsium on 6/23/2008 3:00:46 PM , Rating: 2
Peak Oil incorrect: We find/have the technology and oil reserves to get the stuff out of the ground fast enough to meet demand and at a decent price e.g. $175 pb
Peak Oil correct: We cant manage to get the stuff out of the ground fast enough at a decent price.

Only time will tell. hehehe. No person can say for sure right now. Only certain thing is we will have to switch to using alternatives well before the oil runs out to maintain our lifestyles and have a pleasant transition from oil to the next sources.




Peak oil irrelevant
By Sonya on 6/25/2008 10:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
By the time we run out of fossil fuels, we will have run out of time, period, because - and those damn environmentalists are right about this one - life on earth will be unrecognizable.

Time for Plan B.




just to add
By tanishalfelven on 6/19/2008 8:38:12 PM , Rating: 1
Its getting harder and harder to mine oil. There is a reason why chevron and other companies are building expensive mining operations over the sea, and cost will increase as extraction cost increases.

ALSO peak oil is a real phenomenon. maybe , just maybe its hasn't happened but IT WILL. that is a physical law. don't make titles and articles implying that peak oil is not real. it makes daily tech look worse that a college news paper




Peak Oil is real and now
By cjwirth on 6/19/08, Rating: -1
RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By kattanna on 6/19/2008 11:50:41 AM , Rating: 2
from that link

quote:
Within a few decades, the U.S. will lack car, truck, air, and rail transportation, as well as mechanized farming, adequate food and water supplies, electric power, sanitation, home heating, hospital care, and government services


LOL.. wow the end of the world as we know it?? after seeing that.. i didnt need to read any "report"


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By dever on 6/19/2008 1:40:20 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, anyone who can hold a rational though for more than 10 seconds realizes that it's not worth exploring for new oil, when you're sitting on plenty of current supplies. Once current supplies start dwindling, it becomes more profitable to do additional exploration.

However, this is not the problem now. The problem is an mid-East oil oligopoly that has little competition because potential domestic suppliers are completely hamstringed by government interference.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By Poptech on 6/21/2008 10:21:03 AM , Rating: 2
Myth: The World Is Running Out of Oil (Video) (5min) (John Stossel, 20/20)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYZ1-h-OpLA

Despite Popular Belief, The World Is Not Running Out Of Oil, Scientist Says (Science Daily)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/06101...

Myth: The World Is Running Out of Oil (John Stossel, ABC News)
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=195457...

Reserves:
- 2 Trillion barrels of oil are estimated in the United States Oil-Shale Reserves (USGS)
- 580 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in Russia's Arctic Ocean Shelf
- 400 Billion barrels of oil are estimated under the Arctic Ocean
- 175 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the Oil Sands of Alberta, Canada (AGS)
- 86 Billion barrels of oil are estimated on the Outer Continental Shelf of the United States (MMS)
- 32 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in ANWR, NPRA and the Central North Slope in Alaska (USGS)
- 31.4 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the East Greenland Rift Basins Province (USGS)
- 15 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in Jack field in the Gulf of Mexico
- 7.3 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the West Greenland–East Canada Province (USGS)
- 4.3 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota and Montana, United States (USGS)
- 214 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the Illinois Basin, United States (USGS)


For Comparison:
- 260 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in Saudi Arabia (EIA)
- 80 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in Venezuela (EIA)


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By Amiga500 on 6/21/2008 11:12:59 AM , Rating: 2
The question is really...

Is the world running out of cheap oil?


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By martinw on 6/21/2008 11:55:46 AM , Rating: 2
Bingo.

A lot of the numbers quoted above are in inaccessible therefore expensive places. Another thing often overlooked is that what matters is extraction rate not reserves. The oil sands have over 175 billion barrels, but current production is only just over 1 million barrels/day. Limits are not the amount of oil but the other inputs, water, natural gas, steel etc. Oil shale would be even worse - it is not even oil but kerogen, an oil precursor that is even harder to extract. Imagine trying to extract oil from asphalt. You just can't get it out that quickly. This stuff is the crap left at the bottom of the barrel, it's not like the light sweet crude that gushed into the air when a straw was poked into the ground.

We will never run out of oil, but cheap oil is an endangered species.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By JustTom on 6/22/2008 12:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
Those are all good points. However what you missed is as these lesser desirable fields are exploited the cost of that explotation will decrease. Anything done for the first time is always more expensive than subsequent attempts. Technology will evolve cost will decline.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By just4U on 6/23/2008 11:59:52 AM , Rating: 2
I had some people over at my house the other day who are in the oil industry. ( I live in Calgary Alberta). I asked them when they thought alberta would finally run out of Oil. I got a guesstimate back of aproximately 400 years...

To me that seems like a very long time at the current rate that we pump oil out of the ground..


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By FiniteQuantity on 6/21/2008 5:37:26 PM , Rating: 2
Myth: The World Is Running Out of Oil

Stossel and Huber both acknowledge that oil is a finite resource. Therefore, the world starting running out the minute if used the first drop.

Stossel asks is Peak Oil another "media myth". In fact, the media does almost zero objective investigation these days and relies on business and government to give them their view of reality, so the media doesn't think there is peak oil either. The large increase in oil prices does have them starting to scratch their heads a little but they still rely on people like Peter Huber to tell them what reality is. The only media myth in this context is being perpetrated by John Stossel.

And regarding Peter Huber, how can someone who has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT equate tar sands with oil? Until we see dozens of nuclear reactors built in Alberta in order to power some rediculously massive mining operation, the world is not going to get anything close to the 30 billion barrels of oil it wants each year for a hundred years from tar sands.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By porkpie on 6/22/2008 12:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
As someone else here pointed out, Canada is already building plants to extract oil from tar sands using the energy within the tar itself to power the whole process.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By FiniteQuantity on 6/21/2008 6:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
175 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the Oil Sands of Alberta, Canada (AGS)

That is a number I have seen before, but for some reason Huber was talking "fuel the entire planet for a century". That would be at least 3 trillion barrels.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By Fluxion on 6/22/2008 2:35:17 AM , Rating: 2
As others have stated, factor in the costs of extraction, as well as the environmental costs for extracting oil from oil shale/etc., and you'll quickly realize it won't at all be worth it.

Sticking to oil is like saying we should use coal until every last gram of it has been mined and consumed. We have at least 200 years of coal in known reserves, but I doubt we want to rely it on for 200 years.

I've seen the results first hand of oil shale extraction, it's not a pretty process at all.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By Solandri on 6/22/2008 11:42:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sticking to oil is like saying we should use coal until every last gram of it has been mined and consumed.

I think both sides are guilty of this - mis-characterizing the other side's arguments to make them absolutely extreme and untenable.

I think there are very few pro-oil drilling people who feel we should stick with oil until every last drop is used. Just as I think there are very few pro-environment people who feel we should use nothing except 100% renewable and clean energy generation.

The happy medium is going to be gradually weaning ourselves off of oil. Even if the auto manufacturers were able to convert all their cars to pure electric this year, not everyone would be able to immediately buy one to replace their existing gasoline car. During the transition period, it makes sense to expand oil drilling and production as long as this chronic shortage persists. The tricky part is going to be balancing it. You want to take the edge off the pain so our economy doesn't tank, but you don't want to take so much off that we become complacent and return to total dependence on oil.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By HARM2 on 6/23/2008 3:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
"So yes, oil will one day peak. But it won't be in our lifetimes, or our even our grandchildren’s. And when it happens, it won't be an earth-shattering catastrophe, but rather a smooth and natural progression to better, cheaper alternatives."

Ummm... how is characterizing this as unsubstantiated wishful thinking anything except "accurate"? I certainly hope that the world's post-P.O. transition is "smooth and natural", as the author claims. But as the old saw goes, "hope is not a plan". And neither is apathy.

For the record, most of the "mis-characterizing the other side's arguments" here seems to be one sided: Peak Oil deniers misrepresenting Peak Oil theory/concepts, creating straw men, and then changing the subject whenever it suits them.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By excelsium on 6/23/2008 3:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
The Peak Oil disaster only happens if the world dosn't start to switch to alternatives e.g. 20 years before the affordable oil runs out.. of course the world needs to be running on 100% alternatives by the time its run dry. Of course the supply of the alternatives needs to meet the demand else we have the "Peak Whatever" disaster.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By excelsium on 6/23/2008 3:23:18 PM , Rating: 2
the thing that is bs though: "production automatically declines of a finite resource" umm no you can just use more equipment or intensive farming/whatever is required. but it will get more expensive and it will still run out.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By excelsium on 6/23/2008 3:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
The more expensive part isn't 100% certain, some amazing new oil farming technique could be invented :P.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By blue7053 on 6/26/2008 8:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
The three largest fields ever discovered are in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq, (spell them hell, I can't even say them) they are all about 25 to 27 billion barrels each. The North Slope as a comparison was about 8 billion.


RE: Peak Oil is real and now
By JustTom on 6/25/2008 7:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting link, clicking on the fees link was enlightening. What do you know they charge money? So they are directly benefitting from the belief in peak oil.


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