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Such a peak may be involuntary if supply is unable to keep up with growing demand. Alternatively, a production peak could be brought about by voluntary reductions in oil consumption before physical limits to continued supply growth kick in
US Auditor: Energy Dept Should Develop Plan For Peak Oil Era
By Ian Talley, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agencies need to develop a strategy to mitigate the effects of a peak in oil production, which studies show could occur by 2040, a federal oversight body said Thursday.
While there was a great deal of uncertainty over the timing of peak oil because members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries don't open up their crude reserves for audit, the U.S. would be one of the hardest hit by a such a peak due to the nation's dependency on oil for transportation, according to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office.
Congress' attention to the potential problem of peak oil illustrates how worries over energy prices have come to the forefront, especially after gasoline prices rose past $3 a gallon in many parts of the nation last year. The GAO recommendations come amid other government initiatives, such as targets for biofuel consumption, aimed at reducing U.S. dependency on crude.
The GAO report also says the push toward alternative fuels and transportation technologies face challenges, including cost, that may hurt their ability to mitigate the consequences of a decline in production.
"For example, although corn ethanol production is technically feasible, it is more expensive to produce than gasoline and will require costly investments in infrastructure, such as pipelines and storage tanks, before it can become widely available as a primary fuel," it says.
It notes that key alternative technologies supply only about 1 percent of U.S. consumption of petroleum products, and by 2015, they could displace 4 percent of projected U.S. annual consumption.
studies show could occur by 2040
The U.S. economy depends heavily on oil, particularly in the transportation sector. World oil production has been running at near capacity to meet demand, pushing prices upward. Concerns about meeting increasing demand with finite resources have renewed interest in an old question: How long can the oil supply expand before reaching a maximum level of production—a peak—from which it can only decline?
GAO (1) examined when oil production could peak, (2) assessed the potential for transportation technologies to mitigate the consequences of a peak in oil production, and (3) examined federal agency efforts that could reduce uncertainty about the timing of a peak or mitigate the consequences. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed studies, convened an expert panel, and consulted agency officials.
Most studies estimate that oil production will peak sometime between now and 2040. This range of estimates is wide because the timing of the peak depends on multiple, uncertain factors that will help determine how quickly the oil remaining in the ground is used, including the amount of oil still in the ground; how much of that oil can ultimately be produced given technological, cost, and environmental challenges as well as potentially unfavorable political and investment conditions in some countries where oil is located; and future global demand for oil. Demand for oil will, in turn, be influenced by global economic growth and may be affected by government policies on the environment and climate change and consumer choices about conservation.
Leanan wrote:The report is now up at the official GAO site:
You can download an abstract and highlights, as well as the full report.
In addition, in response to growing peak oil concerns, DOE asked the National Petroleum Council to study peak oil issues. The study is expected to be completed by June 2007.
Item Effect on Production/Consumption page
Enhanced Oil Recovery 1 mbpd by 2015, 2.5 mbpd by 2025 54
Deepwater Drilling .7 mbpd by 2015 56
Oil Sands 1.9 mbpd by 2030 57
Heavy Oil 50,000 bpd in 5 years 59
Oil Shale 1 mbpd by 2015 60
Ethanol 9-18 billion gallons by 2015, 60 billion gal by 2025 63
Biodiesel increase 2.5 billion gallons by 2015 64
Coal GTL 80K bpd by 2015, 1.8 mbpd by 2030 65
Biomass GTL 1.4 mbpd by 2030 (none by 2015) 66
Natural Gas displacement 1500 million gallons per year (current) 67
Advanced Vehicle Technologies 20K b/d by 2010, 1.07 mbpd by 2025 68
Hydrogen vehicles .28 mbpd by 2025 70
chuck6877 wrote:From the GAO study:In addition, in response to growing peak oil concerns, DOE asked the National Petroleum Council to study peak oil issues. The study is expected to be completed by June 2007.
So we'll have to look forward to the National Petroleum Council study in June 2007 now I guess.
This one is a major disappointment.
dinopello wrote:Yea, I would say disapointing but not all that much. The GAO now has their oar in the water saying hey this is an issue. Its up to other parts of the government to come up with policy. It does emphasize the uncertainty and the need to reduce this.
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