Peak Oil - Fact, Fiction or What?

Mister_Jinks

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First of all, let me wish everyone a Happy St. Patrick's day! This is my first thread on p.ie so please be kind :) Now, on to the topic of peak oil. This issue is more particularly relevant these days as the prices at the pumps climb higher and higher. If anyone reading is not fully sure what it meant by the term peak oil please see Peak oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. I have searched the forums for “peak oil” and I'm not sure if there has yet been a thread dedicated to this issue yet. I may be wrong.

Anyhow, it is true that the current unrest in the middle east has put upwardly pressure on oil prices as, after all, more than half of the estimated remaining reserves are in the Middle East. The following graph shows the price trend of a barrel of crude for the period 2000 to 2010.

Crude oil price chart, 2000-2010

As this graph demonstrates (assuming that it is accurate) the price has climbed consistently over the last decade with a huge peak in 2008. Anyway, the general trend is upwards and will presumably continue in this fashion into the future.

To me, it seems that a peak in oil production followed by a gradual decline in global production is a mathematical certainty. So, this leads to when and a what - when is this likely to happen and what are the consequences of this event?

On the when question, may it have already happen and perhaps production is on a plateau? Are we in the post peak phase? This might explain the consistent increase in crude oil prices in the last decade? However, increasing global demand due to the industrialisation of countries such as China and India could could also explain the increasing price of crude. Or general price inflation maybe? Or pure speculation on the oil markets? I just don't know. However, if there is so much of it remaining, then why can't more be extracted from the known remaining reserves so that increasing supply meets increasing demand and the price remains fairly consistent taking inflation into account.

Now, on to the what question, if global oil production has peaked or does peak in the next decade then what are the implications for the world economy and our technology based lifestyles? This is a major issue for developed countries such as Ireland that have a huge dependency on crude oil. The following wiki explains shows the essential role that crude oil plays in the modern world.

Petroleum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Here at home, we have a allowed a very car dependent culture to develop due to bad planning decisions – residential development far from major centers of employment (the Dublin commuter belt for example), one-off housing in rural areas and relatively poor public transportation. All our petroleum is imported. And it doesn't stop at transportation - plastics, pesticides, fertilisers,solvents,pharmaceuticals etc. etc. are all derived from crude oil.

Anyway, I'm just interested in hearing folks' thoughts on this topic. Will it happen soon or has it happened already? And what are the implications of this when and if it does? Thanks for reading.
 


shyster

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Well all the low hanging fruit has been picked regarding oil and gas. As prices increase it will become more cost effective to extract oil from more awkward places. (But I don't know if the rising market prices are true refection of supply & demand at the moment, with the speculation in the market and all the quantitive easing that's been going on in the last few years) And it's not known what is there, just that exploration will become more viable as the rewards for extraction increase.
The melting of the Arctic ice cap will have an effect also, and previously unaccessible areas become easier to exploit. THere's already a Scramble for the Arctic by the circumpolar countries, similar to the 19th C scramble for Africa among the imperial powers.
So those factors will certainly influence peak oil, but how it'll play out I'll wait to see.
 

cimon9999

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Since you asked....

The International Energy Agency presents three different scenarios in its World Energy Outlook 2010.



These are for oil demand, the IEA's model assumes that there is sufficient oil in OPEC countries to increase output well beyond current levels, from 33 mb/d in 2009 in the current policies scenario to a stonking 54 mb/d in 2035. This is fairly impossible, particularly given the turmoil in certain OPEC countries at the moment which will affect investment.

While you will find more pessimistic scnearios, I'd say the world will be forced to follow something resembling the 450 scenario path. Here are the dynamic changes the IEA sees in the New Policies Scenario:



You will note the 20 mb/d difference between the New Policies Scenario and the 450 Scenario. Heavy trucks can improve their efficiency by up to 20%, and new container ships are 50% more efficient, but they, more or less, have to use oil. You'll get a few mb/d savings from this. This still leaves 15 mb/d, so there will have to be radical changes in car transport, which currently consumes some 22 mb/d. Increased ICE efficiency, smaller cars, hybrids, bicycles, reduced mileage, telecommuting, electric vehicles, are all on the menu.
 

Mister_Jinks

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Yes. It is certainly true that it is becoming more economically viable to extract oil from the more difficult reserves. This will delay peak oil somewhat. However, the discovery rate of of new resources has been in decline for the last 50 years -

http://www.philhart.com/images/peak_oil/paper/Figure2_IHS_Discovery.png

Interestingly, oil consumption has dropped in Ireland in recent years. This is a direct result of the recession presumably. Less economic activity inevitably leads to a drop in demand.

Ireland Oil - consumption - Economy

Could the global economic crisis be delaying the arrival of the peak also? I would tend to think that this is possible.
 

The Field Marshal

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"Peak oil" is a myth perpetrated by environmental lobby groups mainly in the pay of governments.
Certain private vested interests also promote this lie.
Governments are acting on the basis of future increased taxation and the private interests are motivated by increased profits.

There is more than enough oil in the earth to meet all future global demands.
 

Mister_Jinks

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Thanks Shyster and Cimon9999. Very interesting posts.
 

Thac0man

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Twitter
twit taa woo
Well all the low hanging fruit has been picked regarding oil and gas. As prices increase it will become more cost effective to extract oil from more awkward places. (But I don't know if the rising market prices are true refection of supply & demand at the moment, with the speculation in the market and all the quantitive easing that's been going on in the last few years) And it's not known what is there, just that exploration will become more viable as the rewards for extraction increase.
The melting of the Arctic ice cap will have an effect also, and previously unaccessible areas become easier to exploit. THere's already a Scramble for the Arctic by the circumpolar countries, similar to the 19th C scramble for Africa among the imperial powers.
So those factors will certainly influence peak oil, but how it'll play out I'll wait to see.
Excellent round up. I have a relation who works as an engineer on rigs and oil fields for a BP sub-contactor. He said peak oil is nonsense. New deep drilling techniques mean many previously exhausted fields now have about twice their original and used capacity. He also told be a consortium bought an exhausted well from BP in the North Sea for Stg £50 Million, but now BP want to to but back at a serious multiple of that.

The fact that the term peak oil has become so flexiable in terms of meaning, demonstrates how hollow the argument is now. Those arguing for it have taken to a nomadic form of defence, rather than admit their origional premis and meaing of the term has been defeated.
 

niall78

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Thanks Shyster and Cimon9999. Very interesting posts.
You should check out the 'bumpy plateau theory' of peak oil as well, it is very interesting reading as regards peak oil and the world economy.

BTW ignore people like The Field Marshal who seem to think we live with unlimited resources. You can debate how and what effect stuff like this will cause but it's crazy to think everything lasts forever be it oil or any other finite resource.
 

shyster

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Excellent round up. I have a relation who works as an engineer on rigs and oil fields for a BP sub-contactor. He said peak oil is nonsense. New deep drilling techniques mean many previously exhausted fields now have about twice their original and used capacity. He also told be a consortium bought an exhausted well from BP in the North Sea for Stg £50 Million, but now BP want to to but back at a serious multiple of that.

The fact that the term peak oil has become so flexiable in terms of meaning, demonstrates how hollow the argument is now. Those arguing for it have taken to a nomadic form of defence, rather than admit their origional premis and meaing of the term has been defeated.
Well it is a finite resource, it's just a question of when we'll reach the end.

I'd be happier to see a concerted effort to improve renewables to the point where they can reasonably supply domestic usage say, with fossil fuels as back up rather than the other way around. It's not ideal to be so dependent on someone elses' asset, in high demand leading to increasing costs. Nor am I thrilled about climate change. For security, geopolitical and environmental reasons I'd like to see much more emphasis on renewable R&D. But for the above reasons we don't have to switch tomorrow, so we can use these next few years wisely and position ourselves well.
 

The Field Marshal

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You should check out the 'bumpy plateau theory' of peak oil as well, it is very interesting reading as regards peak oil and the world economy.

BTW ignore people like The Field Marshal who seem to think we live with unlimited resources. You can debate how and what effect stuff like this will cause but it's crazy to think everything lasts forever be it oil or any other finite resource.
BTW ignore people like niall78.who is unable to read english properly.

The Field Marshal never stated that resources were limitless or that stuff would last forever.

Lying and propagandist posters like niall78 continually distort what others say to promote their fraudulent & criminal vision designed to curb and cull human progress.
 

ibis

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Excellent round up. I have a relation who works as an engineer on rigs and oil fields for a BP sub-contactor. He said peak oil is nonsense. New deep drilling techniques mean many previously exhausted fields now have about twice their original and used capacity. He also told be a consortium bought an exhausted well from BP in the North Sea for Stg £50 Million, but now BP want to to but back at a serious multiple of that.

The fact that the term peak oil has become so flexiable in terms of meaning, demonstrates how hollow the argument is now. Those arguing for it have taken to a nomadic form of defence, rather than admit their origional premis and meaing of the term has been defeated.
That's funny. I have several old friends in the oil industry who are now at senior management level in companies like British Gas and Schlumberger (Oilfield Services), and none of them have any difficulties with the view that we're now on a production plateau.
 
D

Dylan2010

the danger anyone faces in this issue is extrapolating the present. even if oil never goes above ~85mbd it doesnt mean the end of civilization. Essentially oil is a transport fuel and at some price people will dump the cars but they will still be able to go from A to B. You might see items like blueberries from S America dissapear off the shelf but the shelves will still be full.
THe main problem I could see might be a series of oil wars but hey given all the other sh1t going on in the world............
 

H

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Its total fiction of course! There are predicitions of "peak oil" since the 1800's

Of course please keep shouting "peak oil" nonsense as I tend to make a small fortune from my diversified oil stocks by Greenies helping to create false rises in markets!

P.S. if you could also organise a few rebellions in Near East countries that helps my share as well!


"By 2030 more than 50 percent of the known oil will be recoverable. Also, by that time the amount of known oil will have grown significantly, and a larger portion of unconventional oils will be commonly produced, bringing the total amount of recoverable reserves to something between 4,500 billion to 5,000 billion barrels of oil. What’s more, a significant part of “new reserves” will not come from new discoveries, but from a new ability to better exploit what we already have."

Squeezing More Oil Out of the Ground: Scientific American

"Until we explore the entire planet as carefully as we did Oklahoma and Texas, our assessment of global oil reserves will have plenty of room for surprises. _Vaclav Smil"
 

needle_too

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"Peak oil" is a myth perpetrated by environmental lobby groups mainly in the pay of governments.
Certain private vested interests also promote this lie.
Governments are acting on the basis of future increased taxation and the private interests are motivated by increased profits.

There is more than enough oil in the earth to meet all future global demands.
Total rubbish.

'Peak Oil' is entirely true and already proven when applied to the US.

It proposes a peak in production of a finite resource and by definition it has to be true. The timing is another thing.
If you eat a cake a more or less a given rate, at some point youre going to be halfway through the cake, no matter how big the bites or from what angle you eat the cake. To say its an environmental lie is, as they say, not even wrong.

Bumpy plateau sounds about right, btw.

I was of the belief that not much is being done because govts know the real deal with oil reserves and realise we have enough time to 'convert' before catastrophe hits.
That said, I thought the UK and US wouldnt go to war unless there really were WMD in Iraq and I thought FF wouldnt be dumb/corrupt enough to put a blanket guarantee on half the universe.... just goes to show......
 

Sexual Harassment Panda

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There is more than enough oil in the earth to meet all future global demands.
That argument presumes there is an infinite level of this resource, unless you are presuming that civilization will either end before it runs out, or stop using it (or hugely reduce its dependency on oil) before it's gone.

If we do not take steps to reduce oil use, population levels and economic advancement will dictate an exponential increase in oil needs. Oil is a finite resource and some day it will run out if neither of the two above scenarios coming to be.

If we do start to run short on oil then peak oil is inevitable as it will become a limited resource and demand will begin to outstrip supply. Of course we can get more, and we can dig deeper but it's extraction will be substantially more expensive, meaning higher oil prices which will most likely require a movement away from oil in the long run on those grounds alone.

However the early bird gets the worm. The sooner we as a nation can get off the oil IV, the better in the long run, as we will be far less susceptible to the inevitable long term increases in price.

Cheap oil is gone forever so lets look at our options.

Peak Oil is inevitable if the world continues its dependence on oil. No if's or but's, it is a truism and the nature of supply and demand.
 

The Field Marshal

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Total rubbish.

'Peak Oil' is entirely true and already proven when applied to the US.
False
It proposes a peak in production of a finite resource and by definition it has to be true. The timing is another thing.
If you eat a cake a more or less a given rate, at some point youre going to be halfway through the cake, no matter how big the bites or from what angle you eat the cake. To say its an environmental lie is, as they say, not even wrong.

Bumpy plateau sounds about right, btw.

I was of the belief that not much is being done because govts know the real deal with oil reserves and realise we have enough time to 'convert' before catastrophe hits.
That said, I thought the UK and US wouldnt go to war unless there really were WMD in Iraq and I thought FF wouldnt be dumb/corrupt enough to put a blanket guarantee on half the universe.... just goes to show......
Another warmist eco fascist spouts his fraudulent tripe.
This time its laced with off topic bile about the Ff bank guarantee:rolleyes:
 
J

Johnny Boy

The only doubt pertaining to the Peak Oil scenario is "when" not "if". Anyone who suggests otherwise doesn't deserve to be taken seriously. My gut feeling, from what I've read, is that it is imminent.
 

niall78

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"Peak oil" is a myth perpetrated by environmental lobby groups mainly in the pay of governments.
Certain private vested interests also promote this lie.
Governments are acting on the basis of future increased taxation and the private interests are motivated by increased profits.

There is more than enough oil in the earth to meet all future global demands.
You should read your own posts retard.
 

The Field Marshal

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That argument presumes there is an infinite level of this resource, unless you are presuming that civilization will either end before it runs out, or stop using it (or hugely reduce its dependency on oil) before it's gone.
Wrong
Its a statement of fact not an argument.
There is no presumption of infinite oil resources.
I said there is enough oil in the earth to meet future needs.

[I did not say there was enough to meet every future need which is what you imply I said]

If we do not take steps to reduce oil use, population levels and economic advancement will dictate an exponential increase in oil needs. Oil is a finite resource and some day it will run out if neither of the two above scenarios coming to be.

If we do start to run short on oil then peak oil is inevitable as it will become a limited resource and demand will begin to outstrip supply. Of course we can get more, and we can dig deeper but it's extraction will be substantially more expensive, meaning higher oil prices which will most likely require a movement away from oil in the long run on those grounds alone.

However the early bird gets the worm. The sooner we as a nation can get off the oil IV, the better in the long run, as we will be far less susceptible to the inevitable long term increases in price.

Cheap oil is gone forever so lets look at our options.

Peak Oil is inevitable if the world continues its dependence on oil. No if's or but's, it is a truism and the nature of supply and demand.
The above amounts to If, buts,maybes, all followed by unsubstantiated false assertions and rumours all fed by biased media speculation.

You ought rename yourself media blinded Panda.
 


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