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Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

General discussions of the systemic, societal and civilisational effects of depletion.

Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby Marklar » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 12:14:43

I know why we peak oilers get laughed at and ridiculed and it's for good reason. The definition of Peak oil is that we have used up half of the oil that the Earth holds.

Kind of like a glass of water sitting at half empty.

That glass was full once but ever since you started drinking it, it began it's decline.

The thing about the glass of water is that you knew how much was in there in the first place and was able to accurately measure how much you drank and how much you had left.

Unfortunately we don't have that luxury when it comes to oil in the ground. For all we know, there's hardly any left, or there's tons of it. In my opinion there is alot left, but like that glass of water there are still limits.

When I make the arugument for peak oil, I call it peak oil however I use that as just a phrase and not it's literal definition.

My argument is the overshoot problem. Those that scoff at us or throw the abiotic oil theory in our face are only focused on arguing that there is alot of oil under the ground. For some reason they never seem to want to talk about how to get it out of the ground or how to pull enough to meet daily demand.

Analogy: Xbox360. Are we out of the xbox360s? No.. But demand has outstripped the current supply so we must wait for more to be produced. (maybe that's outdated... I dont keep up with the xbox360 anymore since all the fun is gone. That is until punches start being thrown again)

In my opinion the literal definition is just silly and that's why its hard to make the arugment. Our real argument should be rate of consumption vs rate of production even considering abiotic oil theory, which if true still does not solve any problem unless someone discovers a gusher constantly producing thousands or millions of barrels a day... but in that case there would probably be a rivers and oceans of oil.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby clv101 » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 12:32:34

The Hubbert/Campbell theory of peak oil is only one argument that indicates trouble ahead, there is another argument totally unrelated to oil reserves that leads to a similar conclusion. See my discussion here: Peak Oil: Two Approaches, One Answer
"Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen." The Emperor (Return of the Jedi)
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 12:36:54

I have no trouble winning arguments about petroleum depletion. . . off this board. I hardly even try. Most people are so caught up in the mechanics of their own lives-grades, promotions, family, the commute, holidays, cnn, msnbc, abc, etc. etc. that they have no clue about this topic and are not consitutionally capable of arguing the point.

On this forum it is very different. Here only study and clear thinking win arguments. Pompous loudmouths become very apparent and loose by nature. Practice your thinking and debating skills here at Peakoil.com and then when the time comes and you are needed to win a major battle, you will know what to do.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby malcomatic_51 » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 13:50:55

There is a serious conceptual trap with Peak Oil. Most people who stop to think about "when the oil will run out" think automatically in terms of just taking known reserves and dividing by global production to get roughly 30 years' oil left. Well, I recall they've been saying "there's only 30-40 years oil left" for the whole time I have been aware of these things, say since the 1979 oil crisis. I am not sure if that was what was actually being said, but that has been my impression, and it seemed to me that 30-40 years' oil just stayed the same because they were finding oil all the time.

Now, since the spring of this year I have discovered that this is quite wrong, for some reason I was getting quite the wrong impression; this despite my having worked for large corporations engaged in power plant or prime mover design and manufacture. Well, I might be dumber than average, but it's my strong impression from my fellow engineers that this myth of "constant 30-40 year horizon" is quite widely held and is viewed a bit like inventory, rather than anything we need to worry about.

The logic trap in peak oil is, of course, that the crisis is likely to start not when the tank is reading "low" but far earlier, when it is reading about "half". That is not something you will understand by casual interest, you have to look into the detail of oil field depletion, and that is quite a speciality. I find it is terribly difficult to get people to grasp that the trouble starts when we have more oil than we have ever had, and still have half or so left; but we'll never be able to produce as much again.

Even folk who have the patience to follow through the reasoning just don't get the idea that Peak Oil is more than a speculative model. They don't have the sense of danger. This is not about lack of intelligence or lack of education. It's about how humans feel danger; basically they can be very poor at sensing danger. A group may be doomed, yet feel safe and hopeful if they have a feeling of group security. Most people are not worried about Peak Oil because they have never heard of it; therefore Peak Oil is nothing to worry about.

Only solution is when authority starts to get serious about it and telling people there is a big risk over their lifestyles. Authority is in no hurry to do that. In the UK, authority is desperately trying to stave off incipient recession by diddling about with the interest rates.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby TommyJefferson » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 15:49:04

Good summary Malcom.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby BW3 » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 16:01:07

People should stop saying peak oil is when half of the oil is used. An artifact of the production method. With modern drilling and development, peak oil in a specific field may be when 70% of the oil is extracted.

Start saying peak oil is when you will involuntarily start using less oil, most likely by being priced out of some consumption.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby Novus » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 16:12:00

I like to compare peak oil to dehydration in the desert. The human body is 68% water. If you lose more then just 10% of your water you are dehydrated and if you lost more 25% of your water you are dead. Dehydration is not about your body running running out of water. A human corpse even a dehydrated one is still mostly water. It just lacks enough water to sustain life. Our civilization consumes 84 million barrels of oil every day. How much of that can civilization lose before it dies? That is the real question of peak oil. Can civilization survive a 10% decline or 20% decline. Look at all the trouble a 0.2% decline caused by the hurricanes caused. Peak oil is going to be hundreds of times worse.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby smiley » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 16:31:22

Frankly I have given up on trying to convince people. I just tell them how I see things. If they disagree that's fine with me. We'll speak each other in 10 years time and find out who was right.

I guess people need to see first before they believe.

I remember when I first talked about the oil situation a few years ago people didn't take me too serious. They didn't believe me when I predicted a strong rise in the energy prices. They laughed at me when I advised them to get an economy car.

Now that they are paying $1.50/liter at the pump at least some start listening.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby ubercynicmeister » Sat 24 Dec 2005, 21:40:55

I'm saying what I say about "Peak Oil" simply because I'm what's used to be known as a "concerned citizen". That is, I am seeing a problem, in this case a problem that is only starting to manifest itself and I'm trying to alert others - and inform myself - as to who, what, where, in what ways, why, how, when? Quintilian's technical hexametre never had a better application than now, to something like Peak Oil (Quis, quod, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando).

Are you suggesting we say nothing? Do as others in this Modern World are doing - holding their cards so close to their chests the cards are now part of their torso...? Are we to make Peak Oil yet another part of this world-wide Secret Society known as Postmodernism to which we all seem condemned to endure?

Now, you may ask atbthis point: what "qualifications" do I have in seeking such knowledge and in relating such truths as I've learnt?

Why, I have no tertiary qualifications whatsoever. No Uni grad, here! But does a Uni course make me "qualified"? Are we still over-awed by persons with irrelevant University credentialling?

These days we're always confusing "credentialling" with "qualification". To "qualify" as a source of knowledge implies one has learnt something, at least in the Old School it did. Thus anyone who at least tries to inform themselves as to what Peak Oil is, well, they are (in my book) more "qualified" than the academic who may have a triple Doctorate, but who knows nothing on the subject.

In any case, the responses I, personally, get to my innforming others as to what Peak Oil is and a bried summar of that Peak Oil means, well, they are usually a bit skeptical, yet openm to new information. On the whole, people aren't accepting the continually changing cornucopian stories foisted on them by both government and by Big Corporations. The only outright hostility I have encountered is from those with University Qualifications, post-grads and Doctorate level "academics". Admittedly they have other worries, but one told me to basically stop giving him any information, because "it is too depressing", another asked me to stop sending him stuff, because he thought the whole Peak Oil scenario was a put-up by Market Speculators.

One post-grad memorably sent me a reply that, even if we run out of Oil "We'll still have each other." Which is the most smarmy, sycophantic way of telling me 'where to go' I've ever had.

Mostly, those who are open to the idea of Peak Oil are (usually) religious people, then those who are classified as "ordinary"; lastly are those with any form of education in the Tertiary sector. This seems to run completely contrary to all of the other experiences from everyone else here, but, well...I am a steam train enthusiast, so my fellow steam enthusiasts are usually very well informed about the scarcity of Oil (though few of them have heard of Peak Oil).

Can I therefore say that I ought to "not" say anything? That I'm not "qualified"? I honestly cannot answer that question.

I am of the Old School, so I believe firmly in Ethics and Ethical Behaviour - part of which is to provide ample warning of potential problems. Perhaps my belief in Traditional Ethics is all that needs to qualify me to speak on Peak Oil, indeed I beleive it's an obligation to speak the truth, not cover it up.

I must here acknowledge that it is long since Traditional Ethics held sway in this world - and that my answer may seem hopelessly old-fashioned to some.

Yet....isn't the word "honesty" always preceeded by the phrase "old-fashioned" these days?
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby donshan » Tue 27 Dec 2005, 00:57:29

Most people do not thing about oil wells at all. Many think that once you have an oil well it produces oil at the same rate forever.

Getting people understanding that gasoline is a limited finite resource is the first step to understanding why gasoline prices are going much higher.

I have found using the example of the garden hose faucet on a house works. Most people understand they can get more and more water in the hose by opening the faucet until it is "full open" . You can't get any more water out once the faucet is "full open" regardless of how much you want.

I then just explain that all the old oil wells used for decades are now producing less and less oil each year. Even though many new wells are being drilled the oil industry can't get enough extra oil each day out of the earth to offset the losses from the thousands of old wells.- "the faucet is full open". "We will never again have as much oil and gasoline as now"

Then, It is easy to explain how world population growth and more and more cars each year need more and more gas and there will be a coming gas shortage because the "oil faucet is full open" and can't produce any more gas. That alone gets attention. " Gee! maybe we do have a problem coming!" Every parent with a kid who wants their own car TOO, understands the growing demand.

I attended a multi-family Christmas breakfast, and almost every teenager at the table was talking about their first car. It was a perfect intro when I asked how they were going to like $5/ gallon gas.

Shocked concern! 8O


I leave it there. The time will come later to discuss the decline phase of oil production. One Christmas morning soon those teens will have paid $5/ gal for gas and THEN they will be ready to hear the rest of the story. Hopefully they will also dismiss the "Oil company gouging" stories.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby AdamB » Sun 24 Sep 2017, 14:16:50

smiley wrote:Frankly I have given up on trying to convince people. I just tell them how I see things. If they disagree that's fine with me. We'll speak each other in 10 years time and find out who was right.


Indeed. Funny how most posters of the era, like you, thought peak oil would be a problem, rather than just another mechanism to get to glut and low prices.

smiley wrote:I guess people need to see first before they believe.


Not really. People at this website knew that what was being claimed was a crock, but they were usually kicked out, by the looks of the names associated with correct prognostications that were perma banned at the time. And nowadays, we can look around and see what the results of peak oil are, quite a few people saying it happened a decade or so ago.

Glut and and abundance just one result, the other being peak oil personal transport solutions so some folks don't even need to use the stuff to commute around on anymore.

I awoke this thread from the dead because peak oil has become such a zombie joke nowadays that the site appears to be mostly interested in climate change and politics and whatnot. I am more interested in the clinical dissection of the idea, to understand why it went so wrong, where the ignorance and poor thinking reside, bad logic, etc etc.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby pstarr » Sun 24 Sep 2017, 14:31:30

Adam, be a good intern and return to your desk. Smiley is gone. So have all your other little friends :cry:
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby asg70 » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 13:47:57

pstarr wrote:Adam, be a good intern and return to your desk. Smiley is gone. So have all your other little friends :cry:


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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby GHung » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 13:58:28

..... and why drag out a 12 years old thread?

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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby AdamB » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 16:17:41

Marklar wrote:I know why we peak oilers get laughed at and ridiculed and it's for good reason. The definition of Peak oil is that we have used up half of the oil that the Earth holds.


Not the only definition. Heinberg wanted to claim price was more important, back in 2008 when price was high. Some might say that terminal declines matters more, others decided that only oils of a certain density mattered, or oils in certain rocks, or under some water depth. When peak oil hit in 2006 and it turned out that all that happened was glut and low prices, folks began claiming that energy investment and returns mattered...and used references that had already discredited the idea decades before. But they were desperate by then, because it was rapidly becoming obvious that peak oil really wasn't the Mayan calendar, Harold Camping, Rapture event that some had hoped for.

Marklar wrote:In my opinion the literal definition is just silly and that's why its hard to make the arugment.


Of course the definition was silly. It ignored the obvious...that peak oil will naturally occur in sync with peak demand, one way or another. And it never was an argument, more like a misguided hope, the foundations of malthusian cult, or maybe just raging oil or economic ignorance?
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby AdamB » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 16:22:02

pstarr wrote:Adam, be a good intern and return to your desk. Smiley is gone. So have all your other little friends :cry:


Smiley is gone? I wonder why? Probably out tooling around in a monster truck yucking it up over your peak oil having led to low prices and as much gasoline as he wants to buy to burn in barrels for heating up backyard barbecues.
Peak oil in 2020: And here is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby AdamB » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 16:25:37

GHung wrote:..... and why drag out a 12 years old thread?


Historical perspective. Can you believe some folks still repeat the same thing over and over, and act like it is a new idea? Shouldn't there be something in the CoC about...LEARNING and stuff? Don't rinse and repeat ideas already proven false?
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby asg70 » Mon 25 Sep 2017, 19:20:25

AdamB wrote:
GHung wrote:..... and why drag out a 12 years old thread?


Historical perspective. Can you believe some folks still repeat the same thing over and over, and act like it is a new idea? Shouldn't there be something in the CoC about...LEARNING and stuff? Don't rinse and repeat ideas already proven false?


You have to know who you're dealing with. PStarr just held up an article from 2007 as if it's somehow still relevant 10 years later.
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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby Revi » Tue 26 Sep 2017, 12:28:21

I call it the Dragon King lately. Nobody understood me when I used Peak Oil anyway. The Dragon King is much scarier and more hip sounding! Or the Net-energy predicament. That does a nice job of describing our present crisis.

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Re: Peak Oil.. Who are you to say?

Unread postby Revi » Wed 27 Sep 2017, 08:14:27

This is what I am talking about. This is a pretty good summation of our situation:
http://www.resilience.org/stories/2017-08-03/whats-really-driving-global-economic-crisis-net-energy-decline/
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