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Peak Oil and what it means for our way of life

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And how are we going to build enough nuclear reactors in time? Building reactors takes energy.

I guess construction workers won't be allowed to stand around doing nothing for hours on end on the job. You shouldn't be afraid of a little sweat and hard work. Building reactors does take energy...so what?


Do you have a study that shows that this will be a viable option? Most of what I've read indicates it couldn't be.

They are perfectly viable in Europe and have been since the 90s. The Tesla Roadster has also proven to be a VERY good option.


Scalable? No, not remotely.

I don't understand how you can keep making such an argument considering the fact that solar/electric cars have been on the market for over a decade.

49 years? The only estimate I'm aware of that puts peak out that far is Michael Lynch's--and he's an economist, not a geologist.

I said less than 49 years. Geologists are irrelevant in determining when the peak oil marker will be reached because, while they are useful in determining how many crude deposists are left and how many barrels of oil are contained therein, they don't keep track of oil consumption rates which is where economists come into the picture. I'd be happy to show you the math.

Anyway, most of the news that's been coming out over the last couple of years is pretty bad. I'm not terribly optimistic, if you can't tell.

The news is quite different in Europe.
 

Thelost1

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Hydrogen is, interesting. It is highly volitile (not c4 volatie but oh well). and one of the major problems facing hydrogen autos is how to make the vehicles safe.

And as for solar power. Well, I live in Seattle, and no matter how environmental I want to be, solar energy is not a viable solution when it is always cloudy.

just my OT
 

ashurbanipal

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NN said:
I guess construction workers won't be allowed to stand around doing nothing for hours on end on the job. You shouldn't be afraid of a little sweat and hard work. Building reactors does take energy...so what?

Let me rephrase--building a nuclear reactor takes a lot of energy, energy that has to be supplied by oil. If we're already using all the oil we can possibly find just to keep the economy going, where are we going to find the extra oil necessary to build all those nuclear reactors?

NN said:
They are perfectly viable in Europe and have been since the 90s. The Tesla Roadster has also proven to be a VERY good option.

So how many are actually on the road in Europe? Is the infrastructure (especially in terms of needed materials) present so that we could replace all the cars on the road now in a matter of a decade or two?

NN said:
I don't understand how you can keep making such an argument considering the fact that solar/electric cars have been on the market for over a decade.

What does that have to do with how scalable they are?

NN said:
I said less than 49 years. Geologists are irrelevant in determining when the peak oil marker will be reached because, while they are useful in determining how many crude deposists are left and how many barrels of oil are contained therein, they don't keep track of oil consumption rates which is where economists come into the picture. I'd be happy to show you the math.

1) You say geologists are irrelevant and then claim that they're "useful" in determining how much oil is available. Seems a little odd...

2) I'd love to see the math.

NN said:
The news is quite different in Europe.

It's somewhat different in Europe because they started preparing for the inevitable decades ago.
 
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If we're already using all the oil we can possibly find just to keep the economy going, where are we going to find the extra oil necessary to build all those nuclear reactors?

We aren't using all of the oil we can possibly find. There are plenty of deposits in the Gulf and Pacific that are still untapped.

So how many are actually on the road in Europe? Is the infrastructure (especially in terms of needed materials) present so that we could replace all the cars on the road now in a matter of a decade or two?

The problem is that these cars aren't in high demand in the United States or elsewhere because people percieve oil fueled automobiles to be easier to run and maintain not to mention less expensive i.e. more convienient. If we could bring more attention to these vehicles then demand would go up.

1) You say geologists are irrelevant and then claim that they're "useful" in determining how much oil is available. Seems a little odd...

Geologists are only relevant, in this context, in determining how much oil exists not in how many years we have left before reaching the peak oil marker because they don't keep track of consumption rates.


2) I'd love to see the math.

1. There are around 9 trillion barrels of oil which have yet to be tapped.

2. The United States currently consumes 7.3 billion barrels of oil per year with an annual increase in consumption on average of 1.4% per year.

3. IF the rest of the world cuts us no more than 25% of that 9 trillion then we are alloted a grand total of 2.2 trillion barrels of oil.

I'm certain that you can do the rest on your own.

It's somewhat different in Europe because they started preparing for the inevitable decades ago.

It's not any different. The technology has been available here and has been on the market here for 6 years already. All that is neccessary is public awareness.
 

ashurbanipal

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NN said:
We aren't using all of the oil we can possibly find. There are plenty of deposits in the Gulf and Pacific that are still untapped.

If you look at projected production numbers for those basins, they're typically not very high, which is why no one is producing them. Many of them may never be produced because, even if oil gets to $300 or $400 a barrel, it would cost more to set up shop than the oil produced would be worth.

I'm not aware of any known field with a good P1 number that is intentionally shut in, unless it's in a politically volatile area (Nigeria, for instance), it's not economic to produce (some of those places you mention in the Pacific, for instance), or has been protected for environmental reasons. In the last case, those barriers will be crumbling soon. If you compare what we will gain, though, to the sorts of fields we were accustomed to finding in the mid-20th century, it's almost laughable. ANWR will not remotely look like another Burgan or Rumalyah.

NN said:
The problem is that these cars aren't in high demand in the United States or elsewhere because people percieve oil fueled automobiles to be easier to run and maintain not to mention less expensive i.e. more convienient. If we could bring more attention to these vehicles then demand would go up.

That doesn't answer the question I'm asking. I'll pose an example from real-life to show you what I mean. There's a guy who lives in my city who made the local news a couple years back because he modified his car to run on biodiesel he makes from oil he scavenges from receptacles behind Restaurants. Pretty good idea--there's plenty of this oil that would otherwise go to no good use. But suppose that everyone in my city decided to do that. There's a lot of that oil only in relative terms--maybe enough to power 500 cars or so every year. Maybe double that. But there are nearly half a million cars on the street. Everyone cannot do what this guy did because the resource base to do it is not there.

Now, with regard to these cars--what materials do they use and can those materials be produced at a rate and in the volume necessary to make them scalable? Have they the capabilities necessary to replace the machines we currently run on petroleum?

NN said:
Geologists are only relevant, in this context, in determining how much oil exists not in how many years we have left before reaching the peak oil marker because they don't keep track of consumption rates.

Actually, it's typical that petroleum geologists will be supplied with that information. It's necessary to their jobs to know how to use it because one of the things oil executives like to ask geologists for are case scenarios for Ultimately Recoverable Reserves (URR's) at different production rates. It is generally assumed that oil produced will be consumed. There are some Strategic reserves that countries keep, but aside from that, no one is building significant or unreasonable inventories. The vast majority of oil produced is consumed as soon as possible.

NN said:
1. There are around 9 trillion barrels of oil which have yet to be tapped.

That is extremely unlikely. Most everyone puts the usable untapped resource base at no more than 1.5 trillion barrels. That doesn't include tar sands and shale oil, but it's not clear that the former can be produced economically for much longer, and that the latter could be produced economically at all.

The only two estimates I know of that are that optimistic about the resource base are from the USGS year 2000 survey. That survey had serious methodological issues which I described briefly earlier in this thread. Their discovery projections have so far been horribly off.

The other is sometimes kicked around by Michael Lynch, but he's either relying on the USGS or he's got an independent analysis. If the former, his estimate falls to the same criticism, if the latter, he's a lone voice in the wilderness. Everyone else, including the EIA, Campbell, Deffeyes, Bahktiari, Laherre, Skrebowski, etc. think the figure is between 1 and 1.5 trillion.

Kenneth Deffeyes likes to tell a story about a time he was in a room with a group of geologists who were at a week-long EIA (IIRC) conference to help estimate the current resource base. They went through all the possible oil-producing basins in the world one by one and it turns out that there wasn't a single basin that someone in the room hadn't worked. And this was about a decade ago, so the insinuation that sometimes gets kicked around that we don't know how much oil is out there is nonsense.

NN said:
2. The United States currently consumes 7.3 billion barrels of oil per year with an annual increase in consumption on average of 1.4% per year.

Got a source for that? I've not seen estimates lower than 8 bbls/year for some time. 7.3 bbls/year is 20 mbpd; I think we crossed that line in the late 90's but I'm going on memory here.

NN said:
It's not any different. The technology has been available here and has been on the market here for 6 years already. All that is neccessary is public awareness.

And about 20 years of cheap oil to use as a platform to switch over.
 
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I'm not aware of any known field with a good P1 number that is intentionally shut in, unless it's in a politically volatile area (Nigeria, for instance), it's not economic to produce (some of those places you mention in the Pacific, for instance), or has been protected for environmental reasons.

That doesn't change what I said.

Now, with regard to these cars--what materials do they use and can those materials be produced at a rate and in the volume necessary to make them scalable? Have they the capabilities necessary to replace the machines we currently run on petroleum?

The sun isn't going to die anytime in the near future and nuclear power is the perfect alternative for fossil fuels in generating electricity. The Tesla Roadster is the PERFECT alternative to petroleum fueled vehicles. I don't know whether or not you've researched it but I'll provide some basic information about it:

1. It's the first entirely electric powered vehicle which doesn't require solar panels. They are, however, an optional feature. In can be plugged into any standard electrical outlet for recharging and is also equiped with a mobile charger if you need to recharge while away from home. All you have to do is find an electrical outlet.

2. It uses a rechargable Lithium ion battery which only needs to be recharged every 250 miles. Recharging the battery takes about 3.5 hours but you only have to charge it that long if you plan on going the entire 250 miles. The battery stays at peak performance until you travel 100,000 miles at which time it begins to gradually degrade and should, eventually, be replaced.

3. It has a fuel efficiency of 200 watt hours per mile which is equivelant to 135 mpg in a petroleum fueled vehicle.

4. It's acctually aesthetically pleasing and people are acctually interested in buying it which is rare for alternative fuel vehicles especially after the EV1 flop.

Go here if you want more info:

http://teslamotors.com/

I'd buy one myself if I had the money to do it. I guess I'll just have to wait until supply and demand takes it's toll on the price...then again..you're not American unless you're wallowing in debt by your mid-20s. LOL.

That is extremely unlikely. Most everyone puts the usable untapped resource base at no more than 1.5 trillion barrels.

Anyone who states that the usable untapped resource is that low must be severly limiting the study to a handful of territories.

Got a source for that? I've not seen estimates lower than 8 bbls/year for some time. 7.3 bbls/year is 20 mbpd; I think we crossed that line in the late 90's but I'm going on memory here.

EIA - Energy Information Sheets Index: Petroleum Products Consumption
 

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NN said:
That doesn't change what I said.

It changes the subtext quite a bit. Your claim seemed to imply that there were lots and lots of untapped oil fields out there. I say there are very few.

NN said:
The sun isn't going to die anytime in the near future and nuclear power is the perfect alternative for fossil fuels in generating electricity.

Well, except that we don't have enough nuclear capacity right now. We need to build more reactors. And you haven't answered the question I've posed about that.

NN said:
The Tesla Roadster is the PERFECT alternative to petroleum fueled vehicles.

I went to the website and saw immediately that the Tesla roadster will never replace petroleum-driven automobiles. Here's why:

http://teslamotors.com/media/white_papers/TeslaRoadsterBatterySystem.pdf

From their website. They describe the battery pack in some detail. They give a weight of 450 kgs, or about 990 lbs.

Assume that 25% of that is lithium, for 247.5 lbs of lithium.

There are about half a billion cars on the road worldwide.

Simple math tells me that's 123 billion pounds of lithium needed, or over 61 million tons.

Production of lithium doesn't look poised to supply that kind of demand:

Strong growth in consumption of lithium led by higher demand for batteries

And my guess would be that it probably never will. Production capacity would need to expand a thousand fold in 2 or 3 decades, without the use of cheap energy, and similar supply constraints in needed materials elsewhere.

This was the question I was asking; how plausible is the idea that these cars will actually replace what we drive now. The answer is that it's not too plausible; if everyone tries to drive a Tesla roadster, there won't be enough material available.

NN said:
Anyone who states that the usable untapped resource is that low must be severly limiting the study to a handful of territories.

No, that's for every possible oil-yielding basin in the world. Other than the USGS y2000 survey, I'm not aware of a single geologist that has a significantly different estimate. And I probably would know.

NN said:
EIA - Energy Information Sheets Index: Petroleum Products Consumption

See:

U.S. Product Supplied for Crude Oil and Petroleum Products

It appears that the EIA estimate is based on barrels of crude only, not including NGLs and other liquids. We're using about 8.3 bbls/year OE.
 

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I like the exchange going on, but there is one thing I'd like to see addressed and that is what should we do about our way of life? I think a big part of the solution is the rebirth of our cities with more and more people living in an urban environment where cars are not necessary. New Urbanism can have a huge impact on the amount of oil and gas we use, but only if becomes widespread. And people aren't crazy about change, even if it's for the better. There's plenty of info here New urbanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .
 
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It changes the subtext quite a bit. Your claim seemed to imply that there were lots and lots of untapped oil fields out there. I say there are very few.

You shifted the goal posts to exclude all fields which aren't immediatley available for extraction due to one reason or another. There are PLENTY of untapped oil fields out there. It's just a matter of eliminating the reasons why they are still untapped.

Well, except that we don't have enough nuclear capacity right now. We need to build more reactors. And you haven't answered the question I've posed about that.

There was nothing really to answer.

Production of lithium doesn't look poised to supply that kind of demand

Thats because that large of a demand doesn't exist at the moment. The production rate will increase along with the demand.


Production capacity would need to expand a thousand fold in 2 or 3 decades, without the use of cheap energy, and similar supply constraints in needed materials elsewhere.

Kinda like the production capacity of fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution? You keep assuming, for reasons unknown to me, that it is impossible to use "cheap energy" to extract the materials needed for alternative fuels but you still haven't explained why it isn't possible to use petroleum for those purposes while the alternative fuels are being phased in.

No, that's for every possible oil-yielding basin in the world. Other than the USGS y2000 survey, I'm not aware of a single geologist that has a significantly different estimate.

Convention oil reserves are in the 2-3 trillion barrel range but you can't ignore "unconventional" oil reserves if your'e going to be intellectually honest.

It appears that the EIA estimate is based on barrels of crude only, not including NGLs and other liquids. We're using about 8.3 bbls/year OE.

Natural gas is irrelevant in this context. We're talking about petroleum fueled vehicles and power.
 
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I like the exchange going on, but there is one thing I'd like to see addressed and that is what should we do about our way of life? I think a big part of the solution is the rebirth of our cities with more and more people living in an urban environment where cars are not necessary. New Urbanism can have a huge impact on the amount of oil and gas we use, but only if becomes widespread. And people aren't crazy about change, even if it's for the better.

There really is no reason why we would have to change our way of life just because we're enventually going to switch to alternative fuels. New Urbanism is so impractical that it borders on dangerous. If you're packing tens of millions of people into a single city in tight living conditions then you are just asking for trouble in many ways but, most importantly, healthwise.
 

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There really is no reason why we would have to change our way of life just because we're enventually going to switch to alternative fuels. New Urbanism is so impractical that it borders on dangerous. If you're packing tens of millions of people into a single city in tight living conditions then you are just asking for trouble in many ways but, most importantly, healthwise.

So impractical that it has been THE method of building the foundation of civilization all over the world for well over a millenia. You must not have read much from the link, if at all. Go to just about any city in Europe or New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc and tell me how impractical they are. Let me clarify since you surely wouldn't make such a comment without basic research; New Urbanism is just re-implementing traditional town planning. There are a plethora of towns that already have new urbanist characteristics, but aren't because they were built pre-New Urbanism. Did you take Physics 101? There is only so much USEABLE energy in the universe for us humans and the fact that we are very limited in our access means we should not squander it. By continuing sprawl and using as much energy up as we can, which we will NEVER get back, we are quickly making the future a not so comfortable place for later, maybe even current generations. Walkable, bikeable towns and cities with solid rail transit allow the most number of people & goods to be transported with the least amount of energy used. Sprawling suburbs are exceptionally practical, how again? As for just switching over to alternative fuels, how are we going to do that when natural gas is becoming more and more rare and nuclear power is not being seriously pursued?
 

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Columbusite said:
I like the exchange going on, but there is one thing I'd like to see addressed and that is what should we do about our way of life? I think a big part of the solution is the rebirth of our cities with more and more people living in an urban environment where cars are not necessary. New Urbanism can have a huge impact on the amount of oil and gas we use, but only if becomes widespread. And people aren't crazy about change, even if it's for the better.

I know Kuntsler's a big fan of New Urbanism, but the main problem I see is that, with any solution that doesn't involve killing off half the population of the world, there's not enough time to implement. And killing off half the world's population will result in something just as bad as what Peak Oil will bring, so there's no use in doing that either.

The short of it is, we're screwed 12 ways to Sunday, there is nothing that we can collectively do about it except kiss our asses goodbye, and that's the end of the story.

Individuals, families, and small groups can implement changes to their lifestyles and survive what is coming. But if everyone tries to do it, there won't be enough to go around. The fact is that some people will live through what is coming, but most will not.

There are lots of people who maintain some kind of optimism in the face of Peak Oil. To them I say two things:

1) You have to look at the numbers. It's not enough to claim "We have plenty of oil." You have to know how much (or at least have the best possible estimate), you have to know where it's coming from, what form it takes, how much we need to keep the economy going, etc. etc. Once you get that information, it's difficult to remain optimistic.

2) It's arrogant to believe that we've somehow escaped the arguments of history. Civilizations have gone down before, and ours is likely to as well. Especially when you look at how dependent food production is on petroleum products, things go from bad to bleak. There is almost a one-to-one relationship between civilizational collapses and constrained energy supplies throughout history.
 

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NN said:
You shifted the goal posts to exclude all fields which aren't immediatley available for extraction due to one reason or another.

I was speaking somewhat loosely. But if I moved the goal posts, I didn't by much. I said there were no basins with good P1 numbers that weren't either being produced or that someone wasn't planning to produce ASAP. Technically, that's not right, but it's not right only by a hair. If you add up the shut in capacity due to political instability or other political condition, and the oil that could conceivably be produced economically, right now you'd get about a million and a half barrels per day, or a little more. In a world that consumes about 85 mbpd, that's not so much.

Furthermore, when you add in recent PEMEX, Lukoil, and OPEC projected decline rates, those 1.5 million barrels won't even make up the difference in a couple of years.

NN said:
There are PLENTY of untapped oil fields out there. It's just a matter of eliminating the reasons why they are still untapped.

"Plenty" implies that there is enough extractable oil to fill the world's needs for the foreseeable future. I don't think there's "plenty" of oil in that context at all. But if you think differently, just say where it is (the names of the basins), who's operating (the names of the companies), and what the projected production curve is going to look like.

No need to post in detail if you've got a source that covers this information.

I will say up front that I keep up with this sort of news, and I will be astonished if you come up with something other than a Michael Lynch/ Daniel Yergin obvious whitewash. Assuming my base scenario (peak in 2012 at about 87 mbpd, composite type III decline at 8%/year), that would mean that by 2015 we'll need to have another 19.2 mbpd production. By 2020, we'll need another 42 mbpd production.

So, tell me, where are the fields that are going to make up that shortfall?

You may ask where I get these numbers. I've already named names, any of which can be googled for plenty of information (Collin Campbell of the ASPO, Jean Laherre, Samsam Bakhtiari, Kenneth Deffeyes, Torjus Gaarden, Chris Skrewbowski). My scenario matches Campbell's and Gaarden's most closely, but it's in line with the others. The decline rate is also supported by recent news about the imminent and projected decline rates of Cantarrel, Burgan, Rumalyah, the North Sea, and the historic declines of practically any region or country you care to name.

NN said:
There was nothing really to answer.

Yes there was. I'll restate the question: How are we going to get the cheap energy necessary to build enough nuclear reactors when we are using all the oil we can find (less a little) just to keep the economy going?

NN said:
Thats because that large of a demand doesn't exist at the moment. The production rate will increase along with the demand.

Well, if that's the case, then oil ought to be able to do that as well, and there's nothing to worry about. But we know that won't happen. I would bet pretty long odds that it won't happen with Lithium either; all resources follow a curve. They will eventually peak and decline. If you can find a source that provides a valid and detailed analysis of Lithium supply, and that makes the claim that we could produce 61 million tons a year (or, heck, let's be generous and say even a tenth of that--6.1 million tons a year), I'd love to see it. Until then, it appears that production is not likely to exceed 100,000 tons per year, even in the face of rapidly increasing demand.

NN said:
Kinda like the production capacity of fossil fuels during the Industrial Revolution?

Production of fossil fuels did no such thing during the Industrial revolution. Production increased about a hundred-fold over a century and a half. And that was balls-to-the-wall exploration and production. People have fought wars, had revolutions, risked and lost billions, etc. in the petroleum game. People have died to produce as much oil as we did.

NN said:
You keep assuming, for reasons unknown to me, that it is impossible to use "cheap energy" to extract the materials needed for alternative fuels but you still haven't explained why it isn't possible to use petroleum for those purposes while the alternative fuels are being phased in.

Cheap energy is oil.

We're approaching a time of supply constraints that will continue and get worse. As that happens, we need to continue an economy that runs on oil, and have enough left over to switch to alternative fuels. Again, if you've got some kind of quantified plan for how that can be done, and one that people are likely to implement, I'm all ears. But I think the much more likely scenario is that we rush headlong for the cliff, oblivious to the plunge that awaits.

Actually, what I think will happen is what is already happening--third world countries will be priced out of the bidding, thus creating demand destruction. For a while, this mechanism will keep freeing up oil for the world's axial powers, but that's not a game that will continue forever. I suspect that the BRIC nations will emerge pretty early on as the dominant players, though when they break up it will be down to Russia being the dominant power in the world. Siberia still has significant oil reserves, and Putin is already starting to remove production from the world market in order to keep it for his country.

NN said:
Convention oil reserves are in the 2-3 trillion barrel range but you can't ignore "unconventional" oil reserves if your'e going to be intellectually honest.

Who said anything about conventional/ unconventional?

I'm talking about Ultimately Recoverable Reserves, which are not a matter of semantics. Each field/ source varies, but economically extractable reserves are typically about 30-35% of oil in place for conventional reserves, and considerably less for unconventional reserves (for instance, the Athabascan tar sands are projected to have URR's less than 10%-and for reasons I can lay out if you want I think it'll be far less than that).

Original Oil in Place was probably somewhere around 9 trillion barrels (including unconventional reserves). Of that, we will extract between 23-28%. That's between 2 and 2.5 trillion barrels.

We won't get the rest simply because it will take more energy to get the oil than we will gain from burning it.

NN said:
Natural gas is irrelevant in this context. We're talking about petroleum fueled vehicles and power.

I was talking about NGC's--Natural Gas Condensates. During the normal processing of Natural Gas, liquids will condense. It turns out these are similar to a very high grade crude. We ship it to refineries, where it is turned into petroleum products like gasoline, kerosine, and diesel.
 

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Lets not forget a lot of oil-based products should also raise in price, and that light crude oil is becoming rarer every day. Most of oil fields that would have to be tapped would be sulfur ridden or very deep underwater or in a place far away from normal life (an area tundra far away from a city). There should always be a demand for crude oil for cars and motorcycles. China and India are industrializing and people are using more cars / motorcycles everyday. Batteries won't take off a passenger airplane, aviation fuel is a high quality fuel.

I got the idea of how much oil is really being used. A barrel is 42 gallons of oil. If you lit a match and started the oil in the barrel on fire, it would take a long time until all of the oil converted into heat and gases.

The daily consumption of oil is a whopping 84 million barrels a day. Thats about 3.5 billion gallons a day.

1 day = 86,400 seconds
3.5bil gallons divided by 86,400 = 40,509 gallons a second of oil being consumed
 

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What you're talking about is a concept called "net oil." We've found all the Ghawars and Cantarells we're going to find. Now we are going to be finding many smaller fields that cost a lot more to develop, for decreasing returns.

If you combine the projected conventional decline rates with the decline rate in EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested), a very bleak picture emerges.
 
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So, tell me, where are the fields that are going to make up that shortfall?

The largest Oil Shale deposits:

1. Morocco - 12.3 billion metric tons

2. Thailand - 18.7 billion metric tons

3. Sweden - 50 billion metric tons

4. Israel - 15.4 billion metric tons

5. Jordan - 40 billion metric tons

6. United States - 3.3 trillion metric tons

(A total of 2.6 trillion barrels worldwide are extractable)


The largest Oil Sand deposits:

1. Canada - 175 billion barrels

2. United States - 32 billion barrels

3. Venezuela - 236 billion barrels


Nations which can increase their petroleum output:

1. Bolivia

2. Brazil

3. Algeria

4. Angola

5. Chad

6. Nigeria

7. Iran

8. Iraq

9. Kuwait

10. UAE

11. Azerbaijan

12. Kazakhstan

13. Russia


How are we going to get the cheap energy necessary to build enough nuclear reactors when we are using all the oil we can find (less a little) just to keep the economy going?

Again, it's not as if there isn't enough oil to build the reactors. In anycase, it's a matter of priorities. The United States has one of the lowest fuel efficiency requirements in the world. We could start by making our nation more fuel efficient.


Until then, it appears that production is not likely to exceed 100,000 tons per year, even in the face of rapidly increasing demand.

The Journal Of Fusion Energy estimated in 2005 that there are enough land based Lithium deposits to last us between 300-500 years so I don't see the problelm.



Production of fossil fuels did no such thing during the Industrial revolution. Production increased about a hundred-fold over a century and a half. And that was balls-to-the-wall exploration and production. People have fought wars, had revolutions, risked and lost billions, etc. in the petroleum game. People have died to produce as much oil as we did.

No one ever said that the switch would be easy but the doom and gloom scenario you and certain scientists are painting is simply unrealistic.

As that happens, we need to continue an economy that runs on oil, and have enough left over to switch to alternative fuels.

Yeah if you're going to do it at the last minute.
 

nes

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The largest Oil Shale deposits:

1. Morocco - 12.3 billion metric tons

2. Thailand - 18.7 billion metric tons

3. Sweden - 50 billion metric tons

4. Israel - 15.4 billion metric tons

5. Jordan - 40 billion metric tons

6. United States - 3.3 trillion metric tons

(A total of 2.6 trillion barrels worldwide are extractable)

Most of the figures you've given me are not extractable oil. Lets not forget EROEI, Energy returned on energy invested. Its not surprising to see no oil company or any company even touch the 3.3 trillion metric tons of oil. Getting oil through shale deposits is very energy intensive and the EROEI is very low.

The largest Oil Sand deposits:

1. Canada - 175 billion barrels

2. United States - 32 billion barrels

3. Venezuela - 236 billion barrels


Nations which can increase their petroleum output:

1. Bolivia

2. Brazil

3. Algeria

4. Angola

5. Chad

6. Nigeria

7. Iran

8. Iraq

9. Kuwait

10. UAE

11. Azerbaijan

12. Kazakhstan

13. Russia

oil sand deposits mean nothing to me. The EROEI on nearly all of the sand deposits is low and in some places in the sand deposits is lower than 1, which means more oil would be used to recover oil than oil gained.

Again, it's not as if there isn't enough oil to build the reactors. In anycase, it's a matter of priorities. The United States has one of the lowest fuel efficiency requirements in the world. We could start by making our nation more fuel efficient.

Unless the world is composed of just Europe, the United States is average in fuel efficiency compared to the rest of the world.


The Journal Of Fusion Energy estimated in 2005 that there are enough land based Lithium deposits to last us between 300-500 years so I don't see the problelm.

No one ever said that the switch would be easy but the doom and gloom scenario you and certain scientists are painting is simply unrealistic.

Yeah if you're going to do it at the last minute.

Enough land based Lithium deposits currently supplying our small cell phone batteries. The Journal Of Fusion Energy doesn't take in to account future supply should cars use lithium batteries.
 

ashurbanipal

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NN said:
The largest Oil Shale deposits:

1. Morocco - 12.3 billion metric tons

2. Thailand - 18.7 billion metric tons

3. Sweden - 50 billion metric tons

4. Israel - 15.4 billion metric tons

5. Jordan - 40 billion metric tons

6. United States - 3.3 trillion metric tons

(A total of 2.6 trillion barrels worldwide are extractable)

So far, no one has found an economic (or, for that matter, workable) process by which to extract oil from oil shale. Shell was planning to try it in Colorado, but it appears they've recently pulled out. The moment someone actually produces, say, a million barrels of oil per day from a shale deposit, I'll be a believer. But until then, if you look into what it actually takes to process shale keragen into oil, it doesn't look like it will ever be feasible on a large scale.

NN said:
The largest Oil Sand deposits:

1. Canada - 175 billion barrels

2. United States - 32 billion barrels

3. Venezuela - 236 billion barrels

Canada is producing about a million barrels per day right now. The US and Venezuela are not producing oil sands in any appreciable qty currently.

Canada expects to get to 10 million barrels per day, as a maximum, by 2025.

However, given that the process of mining the tar sands uses natural gas, and natural gas has already peaked in North America, I doubt we'll be getting much more from tar sands.

NN said:
1. Bolivia

2. Brazil

3. Algeria

4. Angola

5. Chad

6. Nigeria

7. Iran

8. Iraq

9. Kuwait

10. UAE

11. Azerbaijan

12. Kazakhstan

13. Russia

Bolivia, Brazil, Angola, Chad, Algeria, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan are not, even put together, enough to make a drop in the bucket. The stories you hear about the Caspian sea region nations being able to increase production are often misleading. Caspian basin oil is very high in sulfur, and there are few refineries capable of processing it. Anyway, it turns out that there's probably no more than around 50 billion barrels in the region, so it's not the gold mine Reagan and his buddies thought it would be.

As for the others:

Iran--no one actually knows if they can increase output. They say they can, but so far have not done so. Most of the news coming out of the Iranian oil sector is really quite pessimistic. See:

Report: Iran oil profits could dry up by 2015 - CNN.com

Now, this is an interesting case of scotoma. The price of oil in Dubai is within a few cents of the London and NYMEX prices. So if their revenues are dropping, it means either their exports are dropping or the costs of extraction are rising. Either way, it suggests that Iranian oil production is in decline.

Iraq--could potentially be the big one (that's why we're over there). But we don't know for sure--there's supposed to be a lot of undiscovered oil in Iraq, but of course, since it is undiscovered, no one knows where or whether it really exists. We will see; but either way, I seriously doubt they're going to be increasing production by more than a million barrels per day, even at the outside.

Kuwait--no way are they going to increase production. One of the big underreported stories of 2005-2006 was the state of the Kuwaiti oil industry. Two things are huge red flags:

1) It came out in late 2005 that their reserves may really be about half what they've been saying their reserves were. See:

Photo Slideshow | Reuters.com

This is interesting for reasons that go well beyond Kuwait's borders. In the mid 1980's, OPEC changed it's quota rules for member nations so that the amount of oil they were allowed to pump depended on their stated reserves. Within a year, all the OPEC nations but one had increased their stated reserves by huge amounts. But there wasn't any reason for it as far as most non-OPEC geologists could tell. There hadn't been a lot of new exploration or anything. So the suspicion was that those barrels were fake. This story lends some credence to that position.

2) Burgan is in decline. See:

The Oil Drum | The Top Twenty Fields: Are They in Decline?

Burgan is the second largest field in the world in terms of reserves, third largest (at its peak) in terms of production. The Kuwaitis have no fields remotely like Burgan. They don't have any way to make up the shortfall.

UAE--pumping full out last I heard.

Russia--maybe, maybe not. You have to be careful when reading stories about Russia being able to increase production. A lot of Russian scientists at one time had some pretty weird ideas about where oil comes from. A few of them are still around and they still get funding. None of their projects ever work out, but it still might be feasible for them to increase production somewhat.

This is not important, however, as Putin has stated that he will be progressively removing Russian oil from the worldwide market, in order to keep more for Russia.

NN said:
Again, it's not as if there isn't enough oil to build the reactors. In anycase, it's a matter of priorities. The United States has one of the lowest fuel efficiency requirements in the world. We could start by making our nation more fuel efficient.

I absolutely agree. The question, though, is whether it's likely we will do that. I think it's very unlikely, and the time to make changes is almost up. At a certain point, there will not be enough oil to keep everyone fed and build reactors, and then we will be making some very hard choices indeed.

NN said:
The Journal Of Fusion Energy estimated in 2005 that there are enough land based Lithium deposits to last us between 300-500 years so I don't see the problelm.

2 points:

1) It might last that long at present rates of consumption. If we're going to be replacing our fleet of automobiles with the electric cars you've suggested, consumption will increase many-fold. Those 3 to 5 centuries might become 3 to 5 years.

2) This really isn't the point, though. Production of any mineral resource follows a curve--and there's a maximum amount that can be produced per unit of time, and a maximum amount that can be produced for any given period of time. I posted numbers to show that production is never likely to exceed 100,000 tons per annum, while we would need at an absolute bare minimum six million tons per annum, and demand would be perhaps 60 million tons per annum. So I think it's very unlikely we'll be driving cars that run on lithium ion batteries, unless the amount of lithium needed is substantially reduced.

Now, I did take a SWAG at the amount of lithium in one of the battery packs. IIRC, it was 25% of 990 pounds. We can test whether I'm being reasonable by looking at it another way--let's assume that the figures I posted are pessimistic about production rates by a factor of 3--that, indeed, production will be able to get to 300,000 tons per year. What percent of the total weight of the battery pack would need to be lithium to make that production level enough?

So, 500 million cars on the road. Let's assume that we can get by with one tenth that total--50 million cars (in fact, we couldn't without causing a die-off, but I'm trying to be particularly generous).

So, 300,000 tons spread over 50 million cars is 12 pounds of lithium per car. For a battery that weighs 990 pounds, that's just slightly more than 1% of the total weight in lithium. Plausible? I really don't think so.

And if we go with the actual likely figures (let's say we can get by with half the cars and production could rise to 150,000 tons per year), that's

150,000 tons spread over 250 million cars--that's one tenth of a percent of the weight being lithium. Completely implausible.

NN said:
No one ever said that the switch would be easy but the doom and gloom scenario you and certain scientists are painting is simply unrealistic.

No, I'm being entirely reasonable. Societies have collapsed in the past, with calamitous consequences. It's arrogant to believe that ours is any different, and is likely to escape that pattern. It just might, but it's not unrealistic to believe that it won't.

NN said:
Yeah if you're going to do it at the last minute.

You see anyone rushing to change infrastructure and build a bunch of nuclear reactors?
 

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What about extracting oil from shale and other unconvential sources using Nuclear power?
 

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I see no problem doing that with tar sands. Shale oil may be another issue entirely; it may turn out to take more energy to extract the oil than we'd get from burning the oil, so it wouldn't be effective.

There is some talk from some of the companies operating in the Athabascan tar sands of using nuclear to heat the oil out of the sands, rather than natural gas. But, right now it's just talk. It may turn out that building a chain of reactors to get ten million barrels per day is not worthwhile. We'll see. I expect that we will at least try it in Canada, and that it may do some good. I certainly see no obstacle to a smaller-scale operation.

Keep in mind, though, that this isn't going to make it possible to get more out of the tar sands. We'll get no more than ten million barrels per day, and that's over a decade away. Helpful, but far from all that we'll need.

There's a big difference between tar sands and shale oil. The tar sands have actual oil in them, it's just very thick and viscous, and diluted with sand. It has to be heated to be handled. Shale is another matter; the shale rock in these deposits contains keragen, a sort of precursor relative of oil. It's oil that hasn't really finished cooking yet (I'm not a geologist, but that's what I've been given to understand). In order to make it useful, you have to finish cooking it, which uses quite a lot more energy than extracting it from tar sands.
 

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I think very few people have little care about what the lifestyle is going to be for people 50-200 years from now. Oil is not just used for transportation, about 24 percent is used for industry. Light crude oil is the best fuel since it can simply get pumped out of the ground. With any renewable fuel to replace it, usually requires growing plants which I think would use a lot more energy, time, and land. We'll also need something to replace natural gas since we are going to run out of that resource also.

Who here thinks the cost of renewable energy if available would be much higher than the price of a barrel of oil today? How would the economy react to this?
 

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To be blunt--we cannot run our economy on alternative fuels, in any combination. In order for alternative energy to be viable, the human population of the earth needs to be around 1-2 billion (no more than 2) and we would need a completely different infrastructure.
 

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Unfortunately, tar sands are a joke. Hydrogen is a joke. Tar sands have to be heavily processed and even then they're unusable until some chemicals/elements are added. You basically use more energy to produce it than you get out of it. And then hydrogen, well just look at what that article says we're going to need; natural gas. Natural gas is dwindling and we want to rely on a resource that is becoming much rarer as the days go by?

We still have huge supplies of natural gas and the peak oil date will move outward as we increase efficiencies and move to other technologies. That is of course if we ever get off our butts and start greatly expanding our nuclear energy capabilities. Then we can generate electricity to produce hydrogen from water and still have a portable energy source such as gas is today. With increase battery life at less weight electic cars, again getting the electricity from nuclear, will gain more ground as short range vehicles and nuclear plants can produce at night and with no wind.

And then we will never run out of oil because the last barrel will be so expensive no one can afford it.

Wind and solar? Pipe dreams, very limited local use and you still have to have an alternate source ready to go but which sits idle otherwise.
 

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Unfortunately, tar sands are a joke. Hydrogen is a joke. Tar sands have to be heavily processed and even then they're unusable until some chemicals/elements are added. You basically use more energy to produce it than you get out of it. And then hydrogen, well just look at what that article says we're going to need; natural gas. Natural gas is dwindling and we want to rely on a resource that is becoming much rarer as the days go by?

We still have huge supplies of natural gas and the peak oil date will move outward as we increase efficiencies and move to other technologies. That is of course if we ever get off our butts and start greatly expanding our nuclear energy capabilities. Then we can generate electricity to produce hydrogen from water and still have a portable energy source such as gas is today. With increase battery life at less weight electic cars, again getting the electricity from nuclear, will gain more ground as short range vehicles and nuclear plants can produce at night and with no wind. Shame the same people fight oil fought nuclear back then. Imagine if we had sustained the nuclear energy and allowed it to grow and develop new technologies back then how far we'd be now.

And then of course we will never run out of oil because the last barrel will be so expensive no one can afford it.

Wind and solar? Pipe dreams, very limited local use and you still have to have an alternate source ready to go but which sits idle otherwise.
 
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