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Peak Oil and The Blibbit Principle

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Podunk was a small town Arkansas. Back about a hundred years ago Podunk had no sewage plant, everyone just used outdoor toilets. But a problem soon developed, Podunk’s water supply became contaminated. That’s when they decided to build a blibbit* in which they would store their crap. This blibbit was built out of wood and placed on a hill in a convenient location, right in the middle of town.

The blibbit was almost circular, about 100 feet in diameter. Poles, similar to utility poles, were placed in the ground about 10 feet apart and boards were nailed to them to form the sides up to about 10 feet high. Then every few days everyone in town would haul their crap to the blibbit and dump it in. After a few years the blibbit was full so they added a few more boards to raise the sides higher.

But then someone noticed that the bottom boards were bulging out and appeared about to rupture. “She’s gonna burst” the person shouted to everyone in town. “Nah, maybe it will hold a bit more” was what most people said.

Then a few years later the blibbit was full again so they nailed a few more boards a little higher up on the poles and continued to dump in their crap. The bottom boards became even more strained and looked like they would pop this time for sure. “She’s gonna burst” a couple of more people started yelling. Naw, that’s what you said five years ago you were wrong. So we should not listen to you.

Then about five years later the blibbit became full again. More boards were added and more crap was dumped in. “She’s gonna blow this time for sure. The blibbit has reached peak crap for sure.” “Listen stupid”, was the reply, “that’s what you said 10 years ago, then again 5 years ago, and you were dead wrong. “And because you were wrong in the past means you have to be wrong now.”

Now here is my question: Because the peak blibbit crap people were wrong in the past, does that mean it is more likely they are wrong now? Or, is it even more likely they are right now because the situation has deteriorated even more since the early days of peak blippit crap predictions?

We are all asked, from time to time, what do we think is going to happen to this or that down the road. No one gets asked that question more than peak oilers. And every peak oiler seems to have a slightly different opinion. I have, in the past, reframed from making predictions as to when crude oil extraction will peak. I did so out of fear that I would be wrong and cornucopians would throw it up to me later. But I have now gone out on a limb and now predict that Crude Oil, or rather C+C will peak no later than 2017. I strongly believe the peak will be in 2016 but it could be a year or two earlier but no later than 2017.

World

In spite of all the hoopla about the US shale boom world C+C has been relatively flat for two years.

 

I have examined every major producing nation in the world. Only two, Libya and Iran, have any significant amount of oil held off the market because of sanctions or war. I expect that these two, combined, could possibly add 1.3 mb/d within two or three years.

Three others,  Syria, South Sudan and Yemen, have a combined total of about .5 mb/d offline due to civil conflict. And all three were in decline before their civil problems. It is unlikely that there will be any significant increase in production from any of these three within the next three years.

Outside political outages there are only four nations that could add significant production by 2017 Iraq, Kazakhstan, USA and Canada. Iraqi production will likely rise to 4 mb/d and possibly 4.5 mb/d within the next few years but is unlikely to go much higher than that. Kazakhstan is a big question mark but even if they ever get  Kashagan’s problems ironed out it will only produce about 180,000 bp/d for many months then eventually ramp up to 370,000 bp/d. Not really a big game changer. Canada can and will increase production from where they are today but not fast enough to make a real difference in world output.

And what about the USA? AEO 2014

Even the EIA is predicting the US will peak or at least plateau in 2016. There is no way that world C+C can show increased production beyond 2017.  Likely the peak will happen by 2016 but after 2017 Peak Oil will be in the rear view mirror.

Also notice that actual USA production in 2013 was 300 kb/d below what AEO 2014 predicted. Their prediction was made well before the end of 2013.

*Blibbit: The word was dates from back in the days when all shopping bags were made of paper and the weight limit was stamped at the top of the bag. A typical large grocery bag held 20 pounds. A blibbit was officially described as ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag.

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18 Comments on "Peak Oil and The Blibbit Principle"

  1. Nony on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 12:21 am 

    I think you should try to learn from why you were wrong. What did you miscalculate? Are you not dimensioning the problem properly (e.g. a straight resource eating model ala Hubbard, versus a cost curve of depletable resources)? Are you listing all the factors (demand segment changes with time, substitute changes with time, technical evolution of extraction/discover technology AS WELL as simple depletion)? Are you allowing your biases (even political ones, such as environmentalism) to affect your analysis?

    If you don’t try to learn and just keep screaming louder and louder, people will think you are hysterical. And they will think you lack intellectual honesty (to face your old predictions) and lack analytical curiosity. And they will have a point.

    P.s. Get outside of the peak-o-sphere. Listen to both sides. Go to a real petroleum engineer or geology conference. Read some of the analyses from EIA and consulting firms. Look at them not only to scoff, but also to learn. And step back and look at the quality (imperfect as the work is) compared to the amateur analyses in the TOD-sphere. That 6-play monthly drilling report from EIA is good work…I wish the blog posts here had the depth of thought and of data gathering and of helpful presentation.

    And that’s not to say everyone here is useless. There are occasional insights and even good articles from the “other side” (y’all are the other side). Here is a fellow with some excellent articles:

    https://medium.com/@masoninman

    P.s.s. I was just thinking how there is sort of a mirror thing with peak oil believers and climate deniers. In climate sphere, you’ve got a bunch of old retired mining engineers and internet bloggers who try to fight the established view. In peak oil, similar.

  2. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 12:57 am 

    Noo, you’re a kettle calling the pot black.

  3. GregT on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 1:10 am 

    Ron: “I have, in the past, reframed from making predictions as to when crude oil extraction will peak.”

    Nony: “I think you should try to learn from why you were wrong”

    Ron: “I did so out of fear that I would be wrong and cornucopians would throw it up to me later.”

    Nony: “If you don’t try to learn and just keep screaming louder and louder, people will think you are hysterical”

    Ron: “Even the EIA is predicting the US will peak or at least plateau in 2016. Also notice that actual USA production in 2013 was 300 kb/d below what AEO 2014 predicted.”

    Nony: “Read some of the analyses from EIA and consulting firms……… And that’s not to say everyone here is useless.”

    No Nony, not everyone here is useless. Most of us actually pay attention to what we are reading, as opposed to the one person who is trying to fight the established view. That person Nony, would be you.

  4. noobtube on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 1:12 am 

    What’s wrong with black, or any color for that matter?

    Or, do you think color automatically entitles you to other people’s land and resources?

  5. rollin on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 1:14 am 

    Since we know there is a problem and what will probably occur, there will be no problem.
    Ooops, for a minute I forgot we are in a society that operates on the other side of the looking glass.

  6. Jimmy on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 1:21 am 

    I find Nony to be intellectually offensive. Nony lacks a good argument and makes up for it with personal criticisms, ad hominem and red herrings. What a troll.

  7. rollin on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 1:21 am 

    Everybody else calls it a blivet.

  8. GregT on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 1:25 am 

    noobtube,

    Take a chill pill dude. The kettle calling the pot black, is a reference to soot from being heated over a fire.

  9. Makati1 on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 1:45 am 

    Ah, sometimes the comments here are more entertaining than the articles. The desire to avoid reality is rampant in the West today. So many have made life choices that now are proving to have been based on false info or they did not notice a fast changing world that will make them obsolete. So many who need to change are still fighting the tide.

    Reminds me of the story of a certain English king who went to the beach and commanded the tide to stop coming in. When it didn’t stop, he told his subjects that it was proof that even kings are not able to change some things.

    I suppose today, he would command more oil or an eternal internet or more wealth for everyone. It would again prove that man is not able to change some things no matter how much he believes oe desires.

  10. GregT on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 1:57 am 

    Makati,

    “The desire to avoid reality is rampant in the West today.”

    Speaking of which, on the 6 o’clock news tonight, for the first time I just heard a media report on climate change. The IPCC said that no person will be unaffected, we are just starting to see the effects of climate change and it is going to get much worse, and our food supplies will be greatly undermined.

    I’m sure some people will talk about this at work tomorrow morning, and return right back to BAU by tommorrow afternoon.

  11. andya on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 2:35 am 

    No such place as Podunk, and because of this factual error I rate the article a ‘steaming pile of shit.’

  12. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 10:16 am 

    Greg, how many years and wild climate later has it taken??? My family is in the 1%’er class, you know Fox news lovers. For a few years their friends that are hard core fox news types which I equate to people with money and position but little grey matter on life except in their narrow range of expertise. These folks were throwing around emails extolling the virtues of climate denial. This denial was on the grounds that climate has always changed. They mentioned of course political intrigue by the liberals against the conservatives to get money and taxes out of the rich. Well AGW is becoming very apparent now and the level of denial going way down after a few Sandy events.

  13. GregT on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 3:01 pm 

    Davy,

    I thought last night’s newscast would at least wake people up for a day or two, before returning back to complacency. I guess I was overly optimistic. The main editorial comment in this mornings news-rag reads; Climate debate is nowhere near over.

    http://blogs.theprovince.com/2014/03/31/editorial-climate-debate-is-nowhere-near-over/

    “Many citizens likely feel that even if the climate is changing, they’re not interested in ruining their comfortable, affluent lives to follow the radical, expensive economic changes proposed by the always well-funded climate-change industry.”

    Getting out of the cities and learning to live sustainably might be a solution to the looming economic/ energy crisis, but the longer the masses refuse to accept that we are radically altering our climate, the more difficult survival will be, even for those of us who get it. The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion, that we are truly done for as a species.

    Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life on this planet. Only a species ultimately lead to it’s own destruction, by it’s inherent greediness.

  14. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 3:09 pm 

    Greg, like Rock says, look at where the money goes. No one wants to lift a finger if it involves THEIR money and some sacrifice. You know they expect the government to handle it! Besides AGW will happen down the road and the GP attention span is measured in weeks not years.

  15. GregT on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 3:19 pm 

    Davy,

    I swear that many people’s attention spans, would be better measured in seconds, than in weeks.

  16. ghung on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 3:33 pm 

    From GregT’s link:

    “Many citizens likely feel that even if the climate is changing, they’re not interested in ruining their comfortable, affluent lives to follow the radical, expensive economic changes proposed by the always well-funded climate-change industry.

    We need debate, not imposed unpopular “solutions.”

    I left a response, though it hasn’t appeared yet:

    “Kind of like GM waiting to see if another accident will occur from a faulty ignition switch, except this debate involves everyone, everywhere. Those of us who’ve made “radical, expensive ” changes to react to the obvious weren’t doing it meerly for ourselves and our egos. We do these things because the costs of not doing them will be far greater, and will affect those who haven’t been given a choice,, for generations. Some of us have chosen to not discount other folks’ futures. It’s the less sociopathical choice. I suppose the editorial group here are fully in touch with their inner sociopath. Wouldn’t want to push folks out of their comfort zones, eh?

    The crazy part is, it’s not that hard. Reducing our personal carbon footprint dramatically has had very little impact on our lifestyle. It just takes a little imagination, something that seems to be lacking these days. And we’re at the lower end of the income bracket.

    Your descendants are going to hate your guts.”

  17. steveo on Tue, 1st Apr 2014 5:45 pm 

    “If you don’t try to learn and just keep screaming louder and louder, people will think you are hysterical.”

    Or you will be able to get a job on Fox News as commentator for a solid 6 figure salary.

  18. Bost on Wed, 24th Dec 2014 7:18 pm 

    You folks act like nothing has happened in the last 100 years. From almost no plumbing to plumbing to the new tipping point desalination. From almost no insulation to paper on the walls to now foam insulation with windows and doors that require little energy to heat andool a house. Yadda yadda yadda. What you call BAU is really rapid constant change. Have no fear, humans will prevail.

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