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 Post subject: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:08 am 
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Interesting article on 'Peak Oil' hysteria by Michael Lynch in NYT.


Quote:
‘Peak Oil’ Is a Waste of Energy
<<>>
In the end, perhaps the most misleading claim of the peak-oil advocates is that the earth was endowed with only 2 trillion barrels of “recoverable” oil. Actually, the consensus among geologists is that there are some 10 trillion barrels out there. A century ago, only 10 percent of it was considered recoverable, but improvements in technology should allow us to recover some 35 percent — another 2.5 trillion barrels — in an economically viable way. And this doesn’t even include such potential sources as tar sands, which in time we may be able to efficiently tap.

Oil remains abundant, and the price will likely come down closer to the historical level of $30 a barrel as new supplies come forward in the deep waters off West Africa and Latin America, in East Africa, and perhaps in the Bakken oil shale fields of Montana and North Dakota. But that may not keep the Chicken Littles from convincing policymakers in Washington and elsewhere that oil, being finite, must increase in price. (That’s the logic that led the Carter administration to create the Synthetic Fuels Corporation, a $3 billion boondoggle that never produced a gallon of useable fuel.)

This is not to say that we shouldn’t keep looking for other cost-effective, low-pollution energy sources — why not broaden our options? But we can’t let the false threat of disappearing oil lead the government to throw money away on harebrained renewable energy schemes or impose unnecessary and expensive conservation measures on a public already struggling through tough economic times.


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/opini ... ef=opinion

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:27 am 
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The old peak oil question rears its ugly head again! It's becoming a bit like the global warming, cooling, changing or whatever debate.

While there are so-called chicken littles running around, the main concensus as far as I can gather is one where there isn't a dispute that in-the-ground oil exists in sufficient quanitities to feed our current needs but that the demand for crude should hypothetically increase as the likes of China, India and other emerging economies strive to reach our Western standards of consumption. Also, as your excerpt pointed out, we have newer technologies which can extract oil but these technologies are costly and therefore increase the price per barrel of oil. There is also the question of the types of oil being recovered. Sweet crude is becoming a rarer commodity. Thus, the price per barrel is increasing as more refining of non-sweet crude takes place. In fact, the debate (and market pricing imo) currently revolves around the expectation of future sources of new demand and the costs of extraction.

The entire 'peak oil' debate is a misnomer anyway, and the NYT reporter probably knows this or he/she shouldn't be reporting on such an important topic. The 'peak-oil' nomenclature derives from the fact that discoveries of new, previously unknown sources of oil (may) have peaked - not oil supplies themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:33 am 
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The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:36 am 
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Tyler wrote:
The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stones.


It's just aswell, those stones were awful tough to burn and they were fuck all use at generating energy. Very inefficient.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:49 am 
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bungaloid wrote:
Interesting article on 'Peak Oil' hysteria by Michael Lynch in NYT.


Same Michael Lynch as here http://peakoil.com/peak-oil-discussion/ ... el%20lynch
He posts/posted as Spike if I remember correctly, if it's the same person I wouldn't waste my time with his latest article.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:20 pm 
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Thank goodness we have the truly terrifying and immediate global financial crisis to distract us from the more decadent and long-term global warming panic.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:47 pm 
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I'm not sure if you're being factitious or not jihle. But in all seriousness peak oil isn't that scary. The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:54 pm 
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Another Green canard exposed. Besides propping up the party of property developers-what are the Greens for?


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:13 pm 
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Bigby wrote:
The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.


Would people please stop using that line...

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:20 pm 
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The Unwelcome Guest wrote:
Bigby wrote:
The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.


Would people please stop using that line...

The bronze age didn't end...

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:10 pm 
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I don't have time to do a major critique about this maybe later but the basic problemas are:

A small number of very large wells in Saudi Arabia in particular supply a huge proportion of the worlds oil, these wells have very high EROEI (energy return on energy invested) and they will be almost impossible to replace when depleated. Data about these wells is scarse but many are belived to have reached their peak.

Total oil production globally peaked in 2006 in barrells per day. Whether this is due to economic or physical reasons is not certain. But the high oil price was a major cause of the economic crash.

Many of the most productive and easily accessible oil producing countries and regions Russia, North Sea etc. are in decline.

Since the 1980s we have burned oil at a higher rate then we have found it.


Last edited by dkin on Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:28 pm 
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dkin wrote:
Total oil production globally peaked in 2006 in barrells per day. Wheter this is due to economic or physical reasons is not certain. But the high oil price was a major cause of the economic crash.

This is the problem with the "We'll always develop new ways to extract oil" analysis. We'll race past peak oil and not even know it until some years down the line.


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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:42 pm 
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sharper wrote:
dkin wrote:
Total oil production globally peaked in 2006 in barrels per day. Whether this is due to economic or physical reasons is not certain. But the high oil price was a major cause of the economic crash.

This is the problem with the "We'll always develop new ways to extract oil" analysis. We'll race past peak oil and not even know it until some years down the line.

But this is the point of the line that is annoying TUG (it involves stones - nuff said). The reason that we'll move from oil (which is currently a fairly inexpensive source of energy) is because it'll become less attractive as it becomes more expensive. As that happens we will start researching other methods of energy production. And as time goes on they will be come less expensive. At some point alternate energy sources (probably solar) will be coming down and will meet oil on the way up. When that happens we'll start moving away from oil in large numbers.

Solar power is the current front runner. Currently its too expensive. But as it is researched it is dropping in price. When oil starts getting really expensive we'll start researching it a lot more quickly. This research will be done because there will be money to be made from undercutting oil rather than anybody giving a rats ass about the environment.

Bjorn Lomburg explains in his book Cool It that apparently the entire energy needs of the planet could be met by setting up a big solar-power plant in the sahara. I forget if it was a few square miles, or a few dozen or even a hundred square miles would be required. A drop in the bucket of the Sahara at any rate. Obviously transporting all that energy would be problematic to say the least of it. But the point he was making is that if it is possible to power the entire planet from a single power-plant in an area where land-values are very low it should be possible to do the same with many smaller plants if and when it becomes economically viable/necessary to do so.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:54 pm 
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dkin wrote:
But the high oil price was a major cause of the economic crash.


I agree there is a case to be made that the bubble in oil price and the bubble in food prices were a major cause of the economic crash.

Confused central bankers raised rates too agressively.

The bubble in oil price was fed in part by the cult of peak oil. The bubble in food prices was caused by
overambitious renewable energy targets (specifically biofuels, since dropped).

If you accept dkin's thesis about high prices, you have to assign blame for the crash to armageddonist malthusian whackjobs.

Fascism grew from the 1930's depression. Was eco-fascism a cause of ours :?:

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Last edited by bungaloid on Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 'Peak Oil' far, far away
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 3:54 pm 
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Bigby wrote:
But this is the point of the line that is annoying TUG (it involves stones - nuff said). The reason that we'll move from oil (which is currently a fairly inexpensive source of energy) is because it'll become less attractive as it becomes more expensive. As that happens we will start researching other methods of energy production. And as time goes on they will be come less expensive. At some point alternate energy sources (probably solar) will be coming down and will meet oil on the way up. When that happens we'll start moving away from oil in large numbers.

The problem is that peak oil discussion typically happen in the context of what we should be doing about alternative energy sources. The argument goes that since we'll always develop new ways of getting cheap oil then we don't have to worry about those alternative energies. As I mention above true "peak oil" will actually be something occurs in our past, not present or future so we'll be in the crisis before we realise it. We could be in it right now.

Quote:
Solar power is the current front runner. Currently its too expensive. But as it is researched it is dropping in price. When oil starts getting really expensive we'll start researching it a lot more quickly. This research will be done because there will be money to be made from undercutting oil rather than anybody giving a rats ass about the environment.

Solar has come along a lot but for little old Ireland we're probably looking at some other form of energy.

Quote:
Bjorn Lomburg explains in his book Cool It that apparently the entire energy needs of the planet could be met by setting up a big solar-power plant in the sahara. I forget if it was a few square miles, or a few dozen or even a hundred square miles would be required. A drop in the bucket of the Sahara at any rate. Obviously transporting all that energy would be problematic to say the least of it. But the point he was making is that if it is possible to power the entire planet from a single power-plant in an area where land-values are very low it should be possible to do the same with many smaller plants if and when it becomes economically viable/necessary to do so.

I've seen calculations of varying degrees of optimism but yes the sahara could yield quite a lot of energy if an efficient energy storage and transportation system is found (e.g. hydrogen). Even if we could make lots of energy there then right now we have no way to get it elsewhere efficiently and safely.


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