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OT: peak oil - a myth or a real threat?

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  • OT: peak oil - a myth or a real threat?

    There's been numerous discussions here on alternative fuel as it related to the emission of CO2 and rising fuel cost. I was talking to a colleague at work on this topic and he told me that peak oil is a much greater threat to humanity than any environmental issues.

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

    Normally I'm very skeptical of any claims that the world is coming to an end, but after doing some research, I can't find any real sound argument against the theory of peak oil. The peak may not happen for 15-50 years (some claim it's already happened, but I dismiss that), depending on who's making the prediction but I was shock to learn that the known reserve is so low even if you include the tar sand in Canada.

    I'm hoping that some enlightened individuals on this board can help dispel this myth. I'm kinda of sitting on the fence with this one.

  • #2
    We have a 200 year supply for North America at current rates of consumption. More will be developed.

    [edit]

    At today's prices any supply is cost effective to exploit.
    Last edited by Evan; 05-30-2008, 12:22 PM.
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    • #3
      I've never heard anything that even hinted at new deposits of oil being formed, so there must be a finite amount in the ground. The conditions that led to the deposit of huge quantities of biomass in a way that results in oil haven't existed for many millions of years.

      Given that, it makes sense that the oil production will peak at some point, and decline thereafter. Of course, there will be minor swings in the slope of the decline as higher and higher prices drive the development of reserves that are now considered too difficult (read: expensive) to extract. New fields may even be found. The invention and development of alternatives will slow the decline, too. There may even be some huge catastrophe that reduces the demand for oil.

      I think "peak oil" is a fact, but I don't think anyone can know exactly when it will happen. I suspect that the "gas tax holiday" being suggested by the politicians and Dodge's "refueling America" program will hasten it's arrival.

      Roger
      Any products mentioned in my posts have been endorsed by their manufacturer.

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      • #4
        It is a myth! I heard the president of Shell oil say thet the proven reserves in the USA contain more than three times as much oil as has been used in the histroy of the world. That did not include things such as shale oil, coal gasification, and of course unknown oil waiting to be discovered. The problem is that the government will not alow the oil companes to explor, drill, produce, and refine.

        ANWR in Alaska is the size of lower Michigan and the oil companys want to drill in less than six square miles. Ninty percent of the native people that live in ANWR (around 500) want them to drill. Seventy percent of all Alaskens want them to drill. Why has the government not allowed drilling? Why are the three people running for President against drilling in ANWR? Why can China drill in between FL. and Cuba but we are not? Why are our leaders driving us to a new Great dreppression? Gary P. Hansen
        In memory of Marine Engineer Paul Miller who gave his life for his country 7-19-2010 Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Freedom is not free, it is paid for with blood.

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        • #5
          George will have his finger on the trigger if this turns to politics.
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          • #6
            So is it just the definition of known oil reserve? We're not counting what's really below the ground, and only the oil reserve in places where we're already drilling?

            I'm glad to hear that most of you think it's a myth.

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            • #7
              Definition of a reserve depends on who you talk to. "Conventional reserves" are pools of oil under the ground that come up as liquid without help other than a pump and have been proven to exist. If you go by that definition we have very little oil left. Unconventional reserves such as tar sands aren't counted in that but if you do count them we have huge amounts of oil left. Considering that tars sands oil has been exploited for decades it seems ridiculous to leave it out of the tally. Canada has enormous reserves in the tar sands, enough to supply North America for a long time. At current prices there is no problem with extracting that oil even with the strictest environmental considerations.
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              • #8
                Oil HAS already peaked in the US, it's been declining ever since the 70's. In the 50's, DR. M. King Hubbard predicted this decline would happen, he was laughed out of town, then it DID happen. Once Saudia Arabia has peaked, the world is toast. Some say this is happening now, but we'll never know for sure until after-the-fact.

                In regards to Un-coventional oil, including shale, bio, coal to liquids, etc... there is a little thing called EROEI. Energy Return on Energy Invested. If it takes 1 barrel worth of oil to squeeze 1 barrel of oil out of rock, then you can see how it wouldn't be a very profitable undertaking, not to mention all the environmental costs. It takes A LOT of water to make this unconventional oil.

                There's a great website on this very topic. http://www.theoildrum.com/

                When you look at the so-called "Alternatives", most are nothing more than derivitaves. Hydrogen is the biggest sham ever.

                Peak oil is no myth, even Darth Cheney spoke about it before the Iraq oil-grab/ war. We are in big trouble already, and I believe (and hope) that there will be no easy way out. The world does not work without oil. I'm using it right now just typing this.

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                • #9
                  Information being generated by today's media, can excite any 'chicken little'.

                  Take an ordinary world map and put a blue pin in any world area where there are 100 producing wells. Use same map, red pins to define each 500 wells, etc. Now look at map to see bookoo pins in our Gulf Coast, same for Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, Texas and a few pins in the areas of the Persian Gulf, Venezuela, Canada-----

                  Question: By counting the pins, why did mother nature deposit 90% of the worlds' oil under America but only 10% under the balance of the earth's surface/water?

                  Dr. John M. Campbell, head of Oklahoma's Petroleum Engineering school, about 1958, said: 'You Petroleum Engineers better learn at least four foreign languages'.

                  Pull up www.rigzone.com/news/ to see where your next tankfill is coming from. Sleep tight tonight-----

                  G

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                  • #10
                    Oil HAS already peaked in the US, it's been declining ever since the 70's. In the 50's, DR. M. King Hubbard predicted this decline would happen, he was laughed out of town, then it DID happen. Once Saudia Arabia has peaked, the world is toast. Some say this is happening now, but we'll never know for sure until after-the-fact.

                    In regards to Un-coventional oil, including shale, bio, coal to liquids, etc... there is a little thing called EROEI. Energy Return on Energy Invested. If it takes 1 barrel worth of oil to squeeze 1 barrel of oil out of rock, then you can see how it wouldn't be a very profitable undertaking, not to mention all the environmental costs. It takes A LOT of water to make this unconventional oil.
                    Canada has more oil than Saudi Arabia. They are exploring using nuclear energy to process the tar sands. That would make the process far more efficient.

                    If it "cost a barrel of oil to make a barrel of oil" available (it doesn't) the you end up with a net gain of a barrel of oil. You haven't lost something. You pump two barrels for an extraction cost of about 3 to 20 dollars per barrel and sell one for $130.
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                    • #11
                      Question: By counting the pins, why did mother nature deposit 90% of the worlds' oil under America but only 10% under the balance of the earth's surface/water?
                      Because there was an enormous shallow inland sea that stretched from the Yucatan to Northern Alberta and from the Rockies to the Appalachians.
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                      • #12
                        What we are running out of is the easy to get up sweet crude that we are so dependent on. There is a lot of sour heavy crude but it is harder and more expensive to refine into gas, diesel, and plastic feedstocks. Sour crude is what generally comes from our friends in the middle east, Mexico, and Venezuela, and a lot of the tar sand/shale deposits. The US was lucky enough to have a large amount of light sweet crude, some of it so light that you could burn it in a car without refining, just filtering (anyone remember white gas or wellhead gasoline?). A lot of those original deposits are running out or are out for practical purposes, and new ones are not coming online fast enough to make up for them.

                        Besides increased drilling in the US (a lot of reserves that are marginal at $40 bbl oil are well worth producing at $100) and reworking older wells, we will see refineries get updated to be able to process the heavier supplies, so eventually prices will stabilize for a while. But with the decline in the dollar, fewer sweet reserves, and the developing world starting to use cars and electricity, I seriously doubt that we will ever see $2 gas again, much less the $.88 gas that we loved just a couple of years ago.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MickeyD
                          The US was lucky enough to have a large amount of light sweet crude, some of it so light that you could burn it in a car without refining, just filtering (anyone remember white gas or wellhead gasoline?). A lot of those original deposits are running out or are out for practical purposes, and new ones are not coming online fast enough to make up for them.
                          Yep! there was quite a bit of that "collecting" from a seep in PA back
                          quite a spell ago. I have heard of people running a car on it right out
                          of the ground. This was up in northern PA . Everyone should know
                          about the PA oil business, Drakes Oil Well is still a tourist attraction.
                          ...lew...

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                          • #14
                            Oh perleeeze, everyone knows the oil can never run out and that all the free energy scams are set up by the oil companies to scare us poor simple end users

                            NOT

                            People who are really worried (i.e. with kids/grandkids) would do someting (drive a car with a smaller engine etc. etc.) those who don't give a crap drive a big car & whine,

                            no,

                            really,

                            it's true

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                            • #15
                              There are places on the planet that have not been explored for oil. There are places that have been explored and oil found , but the location makes it unfeasable to drill.
                              "peak oil"is a catch phrase. Nobody knows how much oil is still in the ground worldwide. Phrases like "Peak oil' are political ploys to get people to change their behavior. Sorry I'm not buying.
                              The Russians are drilling over 40,000 feet and finding oil.

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