Peak Oil...Scary stuff



  • Reply 141 of 167
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member

    Originally posted by dviant

    Road warriors indeed. Markets and energy consumptions will change, not overnight but you can already see some shift with hybrid production cars etc.

    Hybrid cars are a nothing but a blip so far in auto sales, while SUVs, light trucks, and minivans are still all the rage, their popularity barely dented yet by higher gas prices.


    Make me wonder how many here stocked their garages with water and rations to weather the apocolypse-that-wasnt... Y2K? \

    I wasn't worried about Y2K. Do you really think concerns about peak oil and Y2K are equivalent?

    Peak Oil is all about timing. What makes you so certain that market mechanisms will ensure pleasant, gradual timing? That oil prices will rise slowly enough for us to adapt comfortably, that new technologies will be phased in smoothly?

    Are you simply comforted by the "logic" that doomsayers are so often wrong that all gloomy prediction can be safely dismissed?
  • Reply 142 of 167
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member
    Y2K was always an 'if,' but peak production of oil is a 'when.' And that 'when' is certainly in the next 5 years (if it has not already happened).
  • Reply 143 of 167
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member

    Originally posted by Harald

    Y2K was always an 'if,' but peak production of oil is a 'when.' And that 'when' is certainly in the next 5 years (if it has not already happened).

    Well we might find another reserve (offshore?), and I've also read that Peak Oil might still be 20 years away.

    Either way it's too close for comfort.
  • Reply 144 of 167
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member

    Originally posted by bunge

    Well we might find another reserve (offshore?), and I've also read that Peak Oil might still be 20 years away.

    Either way it's too close for comfort.

    For the first time ever, no major reserves were discovered in the last year.

    Production has been dropping for the last two years.

    We may have passed it already.

    Either way, yes, too close for comfort.
  • Reply 145 of 167
    boy_analogboy_analog Posts: 315member

    Originally posted by shetline

    Peak Oil is all about timing. What makes you so certain that market mechanisms will ensure pleasant, gradual timing? That oil prices will rise slowly enough for us to adapt comfortably, that new technologies will be phased in smoothly?

    It seems to me that there's two main threads to the Peak Oil issue: the first is about the economic dislocation that would occur in a forced scramble to replacement (and almost certainly less convenient) fuel sources.

    The other thread is about the role of petrochemicals in the Green Revolution of the '60s and '70s. We won't just be paying more for our petroleum (gasoline to you Yanks) -- fertilisers will become increasingly scarce and expensive. Food production will presumably decline, and perhaps this will be exacerbated by a decline in the use of automated farming equipment and mass haulage. And this is to say nothing of the depletion of soils around the globe as a result of modern farming practices.

    This second aspect of the problem is perhaps more of the worry than the first. Even if we manage to effect a transition to alternative energy sources, we might still be faced with a world that simply contains more people than it can feed.

    Of course I hope that I'm completely overstating this problem: let's raise our glasses of soylent green towards a brave new world.
  • Reply 146 of 167
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member

    Originally posted by boy_analog

    IOf course I hope that I'm completely overstating this problem:

    I can't see any reason why it isn't as serious as you suggest. It is.

    We're basically living at the bottom of Pompeii saying, "Nice here, isn't it?".
  • Reply 147 of 167
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member

    Originally posted by shetline

    I wasn't worried about Y2K. Do you really think concerns about peak oil and Y2K are equivalent?

    Everyone talks about Y2K as the "chicken little" poster boy. But here's the thing. We saw it coming. We knew it might be a big problem. Starting 5-10 years ahead of time, we started pouring major resources into making sure that it wouldn't be a problem. We knew the ultimate deadline by when all the fixes had to be finished, and they were. Small problems cropped up ahead of time, but those were taken care of. In the end, all the preparation worked. No problem.

    1. Identify problem

    2. Establish timeframe for problem

    3. Commit resources to fix problem within timeframe

    4. No problem

    We've barely hit #1 with oil, and there's plenty of controversy about #2. And zero effort at #3. It would be like we only just realized that Y2K might be a problem, and we're not sure if today's date is February 4, 1999 (still time) or January 2, 2000 (too late?).
  • Reply 148 of 167
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Sad news presumably about the Bush camp. Hopefully the world will correct their error.
  • Reply 149 of 167
    toweltowel Posts: 1,479member
    I thought I would update this thread with the comments made today by the OPEC President regarding crude oil prices surging to $44/bbl for US light:

    The latest surge in oil prices comes after OPEC President Purnomo Yusgiantoro said the cartel had no extra oil to immediately supply the world market to bring down prices.

    "The oil price is very high, it's crazy. There is no additional supply," Purnomo told reporters in Jakarta.

    "Minister Naimi has said Saudi Arabia can increase production but they cannot do it immediately," he said, referring to Ali al-Naimi, oil minister for the biggest exporter Saudi Arabia.

    Purnomo's comments echoed those on Monday of Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil, who said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries had done all it could to stop this year's oil price rally.

    "OPEC can do nothing," Khelil told reporters in Algiers.

    Now, on the one hand, they must be enjoying these high prices, and are motivated to keep them high. On the other hand, with the market in its current state, they could surely bring a fair bit of extra oil to the market without sending prices crashing. I'd like to believe the Economist when they say that the high price of crude lately is due more to a "terror premium" than to any lack of supply. But if supply is so tight as to be unable to handle even a mild shock, what does that say about the day-to-day situation just a couple of years from now, as demand continues to grow?
  • Reply 150 of 167
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member

    Originally posted by Towel

    But if supply is so tight as to be unable to handle even a mild shock, what does that say about the day-to-day situation just a couple of years from now, as demand continues to grow?

    We are in the shit. That's what it says.

    When supply peaks (which it will within a decade, two if you're wilfully optimistic) then ... our lives will change forever.

    I'm a stuck record on this one but this is way more important then al Qaeda.
  • Reply 151 of 167

    zero-point energy ... bullshit.

    Zero point energy is not bullshit at all - no one has figured out how to tap it, but it is there - its existence has been proven by experiment. We are all just foam on a sea of energy.
  • Reply 152 of 167
    Please read it all before you slam it!

    Here is my point of view; I am 14 years old. Even if it happens 20 years from now, I'll still be here.

    I am watching the enourmous party the world is throwing thanks to oil. Just look around you. How much do you think was made from oil? The imac's plastic, the silicion for the chips inside was mined and refined with oil and coal which was also mined with oil with refined into gasoline or deisel with more oil. The wood for my bed was harvested by machines burning oil. The metal for my lamp was mined and heated and manufactured by oil and electricity powered by oil and coal. The paint in my room, oil refined and created. Even my clothing was transported to the local store by a oil burning truck, the store itself was built by machines burning oil which were made with oil. Every little thing in my life has had oil involved in someway or another. Just think about how much modernized societies revolve around oil.

    For most of the alternatives fuels it is to late. If we wanted to switch to bio-diesel, we couldn't. It would take the entire United States land just to grow enough corn, not including any room for the citizens or for actually feeding them. Our government is inefficient and clogged, they may want to do something, but they can't outrage the public with them admitting their lies of security and safety and taking proactive measures. Not even our way of life will remain, for our entire economic system is based on CONSTANT GROWTH which cannot be mainted if we hope to survive. It's all based on taking out loans with interest to make money (literaly). The key thing there is with INTEREST, it means you have to make more (grow) money than you originally started with, and with out oil you just can't get enough of an efficiant energy return to make enough money to pay it off. So the economy is pretty much doomed for anywhere based on constant growth. Nuclear plants take energy to build and maintain, and by the time we need them, will we have enough energy? Another way to think is to compare money to energy. The more valuable the currency, the more energy you can get with it. So when the economy goes down, the price of everything goes up (inflation) and you get less energy, in whatever form, for more money. With this in mind, remember that everything is subject to the law of diminishing returns, so you can not possibly get more energy out of anything than you put in (remember money = a certain amount of energy) for awhile, the loss is exceptable and it appears that you are gaining energy (money and material goods), but then with out something with as much stored energy as oil, you realize that all you did was convert money (energy promise) into different kind of energy (computers, chairs, speakers, etc.) and that you actualy lost energy in the process.

    There will probaly be much generational (from my generation) hatred from those less understanding of previous generations. When people of the same age wake up and look at the enormous party that was thrown by previous generations, there will be anger and hatred. So for those of you enjoying the party, I do so hope for you that you do remember to help cleaning up. What many people do forget in their guesses of how long we have oil for is that China, with the most people on earth, is industrialising. We should not even care about global warming because we will run out of oil before it gets to serious, funny how the earth is just a giant balance.

    As for those who doubt that we will ever run out of oil, I would like to remind that the United States oil production peaked in 1971 and has been slipping ever since. Just to let all doubters know that it has already happened in the past, and no fossil fuel is infinite.

    Sincerly, Ian

    P.S. Sorry for the terribly long post and excuse any spelling errors I might have.
  • Reply 153 of 167
    Good post.
  • Reply 154 of 167
    a10t2a10t2 Posts: 191member

    Originally posted by Scott

    How many times in the past has oil hit a "record high"?

    An infinite number. ;-)

    I don't actually have anything productive to contribute here except to say that people whose opinions really ought to at least be considered have been talking about this since at least the '50s, and it's still going to bite pretty much the entire world in the ass.

    a10t2's Plan for Reducing US Dependence on Oil(tm):

    Short term, invest heavily in nuclear energy research and construction. Triple the installed nuclear capacity in the next ten years, and move to a fast reactor fuel cycle based on decommissioned weapons materials to stretch uranium resources.

    Medium term, continue nuclear construction to supply electricity needs while using diminishing oil resources to construct a new energy infrastructure based on wind, solar, and/or geothermal power plants. Simultaneously, accelerate adoption of fuel cells. Use reactor-produced hydrogen for all transportation needs by 2025. As US transitions to a net energy producer, reinvest foreign capital in research into renewable energy sources and petroleum replacements.

    Long term, retire nuclear power plants by 2075. Use synthetic petroleum products to maintain wind/solar/geothermal plants and manufacturing while continuing research into renewable energy resources like fusion.
  • Reply 155 of 167
    iposteriposter Posts: 1,560member
    There is an excellent article in the June 2004 issue of National Geographic called "The end of cheap oil". Very revealing stuff in it. They polled several sources from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to univiersites and the US Geologic Survey. The worst estimate for world oil production peak is 2006 outside the Middle East, 2016 in the M.E., the best estimate was 2040.

    And yes, there are alternate fuel sources, but the real problem is oil based polymers. There just are not any good replacements for some of them.

    The fact is oil will run out, be it sooner or later, and living like it won't run out is stupid. (10mpg HUMMERS, SUV's, etc...) To quote the final sentence in the article, "With every visit to the gas pump, after all, the end of cheap oil draws closer."

    IRT SDW2001,

    According to the article, the deepwater wells being explored in the Gulf of Mexico contain "more oil than you'll ever find in ANWR", but even that will taper off after 2008....
  • Reply 156 of 167
    If only it were so easy to pass funding for such things. Nobody wants to back such a dangerious thing, and to do anything aggresive will get people mad that they hadn't done anything previously. Our government is controlled by the people, it's too bad that all the average "American" does is consume (recources, media (T.V.), and is unaware that oil running out has been predicted accurately for at least 40 years. So, we are a train out of control about to smash into the mountain of reality, the people up near front of the train have already started to run to the back, hoping that the inevitable doesn't happen, and the best and worst of humanity will be shown during these times to come. Will we detach ourselves from the engine of oil leading us to our own destruction? No, because we are afraid to be left behind in the world's economy.
  • Reply 157 of 167
    wrong robotwrong robot Posts: 3,907member
    I think the most important first step type thing we can do now, is promote fuel efficient cars. Really push them onto the market. Also, I think that all public buildings should be run on renewable energy. solar for street lights(collect and store during the day, power on at night) Wind and hydro for municipal buildings...etc. Basically concentrate renewable resources to the important infrastructure type stuff as much as possible as a top priority.

    One source of power that doesn't get a whole lot of attention is Tidal power. Tidal power has the potential to make massive amounts of power, it's renewable and it's pretty safe.

    of course non of this could happen while Bush is in office, he's way too tied in with the oil business.
  • Reply 158 of 167
    madmax559madmax559 Posts: 596member
    lets have a bet...

    i predict we may invade or try to topple the govt in iran

    by dec 2005

    the real issue is we are very heavily dependent on oil

    cars apart what would take a serious blow would be agricultural production

    & common stuff we take for granted...soap for example

    all it needs is for our resources to dip past a certain point after which

    our industrial economy would be doomed. ie how can you conduct

    research if you dont have oil to power your tools.

    over the next 2 years assuming the above prediction comes about

    & we do see a major peak then we are looking at the age of resource wars

    fought on 2 fronts. energy aka oil & water
  • Reply 159 of 167
    formerlurkerformerlurker Posts: 2,686member
    Good post. I enjoyed hearing from Little Mouse as well.

    Of course, I'd expect someone named mad max to be all too familiar with a world that's run out of oil.
  • Reply 160 of 167
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,531member
    Energy is a complex blend of physics, economics and politics.

    I think you can pretty much write off alternatives such as bio-energy, coal gasification, oil shale deposits and such as large sources of energy. They suffer from requiring more energy to produce than they provide. Or they require other scarce resources such as water to produce them. Due to politics though you will see them crop up from time to time.

    Because of thermodynamics energy production is counterintuitive to our notions of high technology. We imagine lots of genius and high-tech going into the production of wonderful gadgets such as iPods and G5s. However, in the case of energy the least effort and the lowest tech is best. The more effort and transformations required to produce energy the less valuable it is. This is a key concept.

    This is the beauty of oil. You stick a pipe in the ground and it flows out. With a little refining you wind up with gasoline which has an energy density of about 12 kW-hrs per kg (about 100 times more than Li batteries). This is the second beauty of oil, it has a higher energy density than any other common fuel.

    Think of it. The next time you put 20 gallons of gas in the tank that is roughly equivalent to 750 kW-hrs of energy, enough to run a home for three months, and you can pump it in a few minutes. Amazing.

    Ethanol used for fuel is probably not energy efficient. That is, when you add up all the fertilizer, tractor fuel, refining costs, refineries, tractors and clean up costs (all of which use or are made from oil) then the resulting fuel may have cost more oil to make than it produced. The fact that some of us are mandated by law to use gasoline mixed with ethanol from corn is one example of how politics clashes with physics.

    Solar, wind and even nuclear all suffer from the fact that they rely heavily on fossil fuels for their production and operation. In other words, if all we had was electricity it would be difficult to extract and process the raw materials, build the required machines and clean up when finished. Cars, trucks, machinery and materials needed to build and operate alternative fuel technologies require fossil fuels and oil stocks.

    While these alternatives produce more energy than they consume it is better to think of them as fossil fuel amplifiers than alternatives to fossil fuels. Oil has the remarkable dual role of energy source and feed stock. Solar, wind or energy might produce electricity but you can't make things out of electricity. Making oil out of carbon, hydrogen and electricity will be very expensive.

    In the past hundred years we have built a huge infrastructure based on fossil fuels. Any alternative we try to adopt as the price of oil goes up will engender wide spread disruptions.

    Jeremy Rifkin published a book called Entropy in 1980. He is a bit of a radical and certainly pushes his point of view. However, the book is an easy read and does a good job of showing how thermodynamics sheds light on our energy problems.
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