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Where are all the Peak Oilists?

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

Where are all the Peak Oilists?

Unread postby Robert Espy » Sat 13 Mar 2004, 18:15:51

My possibly incorrect understanding was that Peak Oil was a real concern with a great many people. Public concern for some, secret concern for others, rising concern for most.

Is this not the case?

Did something happen in the short time between the creation of this forum and now?

Are the proponents simply tired of educating the masses? Tired of defending an indefensable position, or at an unprovable one? Tired of banging their head against the concrete wall of economic reality?

Seriously, sup?

I'd love to read some real debate on the subject because personally, my mind is not yet made up.
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Unread postby Lugal » Sun 14 Mar 2004, 16:47:00

Well, first of all this site is very new if I'm not misinformed. And also, many people like myself have just recently stumbled on the concept of Peak Oil and want to see what other people, who know more, have to say about it. But wait a few weeks and I guess there will be more discussion around here!
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Unread postby Robert Espy » Sun 14 Mar 2004, 17:04:25

Lugal wrote:And also, many people like myself have just recently stumbled on the concept of Peak Oil and want to see what other people, who know more, have to say about it.


Why would they say anything if not prompted to do so?

I'm on the fence but I'm leaning toward it being just another Chicken Little rant. Sort of like global warming, CFC's, and most notably, nuclear power.

Sure, if we keep using oil like we currently do, we'll start running low of the easy-to-get stuff eventually -- maybe even as soon as the scare mongers suggest.

That's where economics 101 kicks in and starts driving the price slightly higher, which in turn decreases the oil demand and increases the demand for alternate energy sources. Likely a very smooth transistion that wouldn't make much more than a blip on the life-style radar.

Unless someone can explain to me why that is not so in the case for this particular commodity then I've got no choice but to call this spade a spade.
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myth

Unread postby Kenny » Tue 16 Mar 2004, 13:16:21

You have to read the literature before you decide. "Out of Gas" is the latest book, written by a physicist. The thing to know about this book is that is doesn't really make the peak oil argument. All it does is assume the truth of peak oil, and then explore the possibility of whether there is any feasible alternative energy source.

Basically, he says, if peak oil is true, can we:

1) convert to wind - maybe but it would require the biggest capital investment in the history of the U.S.
2) hydrogen fuel cells - no, it's a net energy loss
3) coal - no there's not enough coal and the pollution consequences in the short term will be severe.
4) nuclear - no, there's not enough Uranium 235. That leaves the possibility of breeder reactors using plentiful 238 to make lots of Plutonium 239.

The other book is Kenneth S. Deffeyes's "Hubbert's Peak."

This is the geological explanation of oil resources, from a guy who worked for Shell and taught at Princeton, and it is a good read. His argument boils down to "there are no major oil finds left because petroleum geologists know how to look for oil and they've looked almost everywhere." If you take nothing else from this book you can take an entertaining history of oil exploration technology.

Economics can tell us when alternatives become cost effective, but not when they become energy-effective. That's a technology problem and there are no easy answers.
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Re: myth

Unread postby Robert Espy » Tue 16 Mar 2004, 19:56:03

Thank you for your thoughts, Kenny. Regarding the literature you cite, I haven't read it but perhaps I shall -- even if only to get a better understanding of why nuclear is not a viable option. U238 is abundant and turning it into U/Pu239 doesn't seem like a bad thing to me. Sure, you can make a nuke out of it but so too can you make a nuke from U235 (albeit not as big a boom) That seems like a management issue to me and no more dangerous than the situation we currently have with oil.
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Unread postby Kenny » Wed 17 Mar 2004, 13:39:39

The January 2004 "Petroleum Review" offers what seems to be a very sensible look at the short-term oil supply and concludes that supplies will be able to meet demand through at least 2008.

The year 2005 continues to be the peak year for new mega projects coming onstream. Some 18 projects with a potential peak capacity of 3mn b/d are due onstream in 2005. For 2006 the pace of development eases back a little to 11 projects, with a capacity of around 2mn b/d.
...However, the bottom line is that between 2003 and 2007 some 8mn b/d of new capacity will have been brought onstream to meet global oil demand growth and to offset the decline in oil production from those areas that are already in decline.

Currently 21.3 mn b/d or around a third of the world's oil production is already in decline, the best estimate of the likely decline rate going forward is about 4%, made up of a typical onshore decline rate of around 3% and an offshore one of around 5%. On the basis of a 4% decline rate for one third of the world's production, global capacity declines by over 1 mn b/d each year. Global demand growth is once again expanding at over 1 mn b/d...

As a rough calculation, by early 2007 production capacity will have declined by 3-4 mn b/d (2004-2006), offset by the 8mn b/d of new capacity - giving up to 4 mn b/d of new capacity to meet demand growth of around 3mn b/d. However, this is before the additional capacity created from the development of all the smaller accumulations and the expansion of production in existing fields. In short, supplying global oil demand up to 2007 appears to be well covered adn, depending on the timing of new capacity and economic conditions, there may even be periods of relative price weakness.

If we look beyond 2007, however, the outlook becomes rather more problematic. Only three mega projects are so far known for 2007 and a further three for 2008. For 2009 and 2010 only the later stages of existing projects are currently known about. Consequently, the volumes of new production for this period are well below likely requirements.”


The article assumes that the IEA's demand projections are correct, then lists all the projects under development and their expected production.

The only caveat would be if they are wrong about 1/3 of all oil production being in decline. For example if Saudi production started to falter, then that 1 million b/d new production surplus over demand might evaporate overnight.

In any case, if the Petroleum Review is credible, then it seems to me there ought to be cautious optimism that the sky won't fall before 2010 and genuine concern that there are no more big projects coming onstream after that.

My feeling is that we'll see steady upward price pressure on oil for the next five years, but that the U.S. economy will be able to absorb it. But if the ultimate downturn starts in 2010, you have to wonder when, if, and how we'll be able to do anything about it.
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peak oil websites

Unread postby roustabout » Wed 24 Mar 2004, 22:53:51

Peak oil is real. Here is the main website that discusses peak oil. Study it because your life may depend on it.

www.hubbertpeak.com

here are others

www.peakoil.net/
www.greatchange.org/
www.odac-info.org/
www.simmonsco-intl.com/Research.aspx?Type=RSArchives
www.dieoff.org
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debate?

Unread postby csommer » Tue 30 Mar 2004, 14:36:25

If it's debate you want then go to Yahoo Groups....Energy Resources.
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Unread postby Royale » Sat 03 Apr 2004, 03:32:36

Peak oil is non-debatable, it's just common sense. Richard Heinberg's book The Party's Over is an excellent book on the topic. Lack of supply creating demand for alternative energies does not apply to this situation as economists have been preaching. At the moment there ARE no alternative energy sources suitable to replace oil. Over 500,000 different products rely on oil. Oil is the most important factor behind modern agriculture. Without oil our population would not have exploded from 1 billion to 6+ billion people. As oil supplies dwindle there won't be enough to create fertilizers (nitrogen) and our grain output will decrease dramatically. The entire food system cannot support itself without oil.

The system will only be able to cope with 2 billion people or so unless we can conceive of a viable alternative energy source. All alternative energies to date have already been written off by the scientific community. Natural gas is on a relatively similar decline as oil which is equally unsettling because we produce most of our electricity from it. One could argue we rely more on electricity than we do on oil. In both situations unless drastic measures are taken right now to limit population growth and reduce our energy consumption by 5% a year starting now, billions of people are going to die.
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Unread postby Pops » Sat 03 Apr 2004, 14:30:09

Hello all,

It seems to me that it is pretty obvious that any finite resource will have a mid point of availability. It isn’t a huge leap them to understand that the high point of discovery indicates the eventual high point of production. While economists can wax about “demand destruction” and “replacement technology” the difference is that this “commodity” is fundamental to our ENTIRE way of life, there is no replacement technology to this fantastically “dense” energy source and the few possibilities will take years and huge investments to even get close. Demand destruction in this case relates to the reduction of the world FOOD supply for kripe sakes!

Believe it or not, I didn’t come to “Peak Oil News” to debate (or rant) about the validity of peak oil, there are lots of sources of information and evidence available for those willing to read and decide for themselves. It is a very scary thing to get your head around, but here are our plans FWIW.

We are going the “Lone Farmer” route; relocating away from large populations, learning more agrarian skills, and preparing for the (hopefully) long slide. In the interim (5,10, ? years) I will continue working as a graphic designer, I can work anywhere there is dependable power and a satellite link to communicate with my rep back in town. This has been our plan for years for early/semi retirement, its just earlier than expected. We don’t look at it as a “bunker” so much as a “school” to teach our kids and grandkids (and ourselves) how our parents and grandparents got by without cheap oil.

We are “Ebaying” and yard-saling our late 20th century technology and replacing it with early 20th century technology; out with the electric guitar and in with the acoustic. Our small budget includes alternative power but also lots of “elbow grease” powered solutions.

I don’t believe there will be an oil “crash” soon, but there certainly could be an economic crash as the cost of oil and virtually everything else begins its inevitable rise. That is the wild card; how long do we have to prepare before the cost of preparing is out of reach or the necessities unavailable?

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Unread postby Royale » Sat 03 Apr 2004, 18:33:31

Good question. The earlier the better I say. OPEC statistics are extremely unreliable and the stats coming out of Saudi Arabia are iffy at best. We don't know much about Saudi Arabia's Oil fields and production, but the oil market could come crashing down even now rather than years from now. I think our generation is the last one that is going to have a rather comfrotable life style, those being born from 2005 and on are going to have to deal with a much different world once they begin to age.

Pops- What kind of prerequisites are companies looking for in graphic design emplyees?
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Unread postby Pops » Sat 03 Apr 2004, 19:43:20

Now I get the title of this thread, I’m a “Peak Oilist”! Cool, I thought I was the only a humble “Prophetic Luddite”.

I was just reading “the Myth of Peak Oil” or something like that in the archives and was really amazed to hear the author blithely admit that production may indeed soon peak but the “Magic Hand of the Market” would smooth things out and all will be well. And so it may be… for us. I suppose that is the way it is nowadays; as long as it is good for me let the devil (poor people, my offspring, everyone else) take the hindmost. Increasing prices will indeed reduce demand, which will ease prices somewhat, which will increase demand somewhat… but this isn’t your father’s cycle, this one goes inexorably down.

Royale, The Oil Cos and countries definitely have a vested interest in assuring us and their investors that it’s OK to drive a Hummer to Mickey D’s to buy petroburgers and cheap plastic Chinese toys in happy meals.

I don’t really know how to get in my position in a short amount of time. I have been self-employed in advertising and graphics for years and probably have a fairly unique position; I work at home with a small client base built over time with which I now have little face-to-face interaction thanks to email & PDF. I started out long ago in a print shop but then went in all sorts of different directions until cheap computers came along that allowed me to do the kind of work only dreamed of 30 years ago – or 10 for that matter. I am relocating from central Ca to (probably) Missouri, and will utilize a local rep as much as possible in CA and possibly fly out periodically as long as that is feasible. I have hospital advertising and collateral as well as other industries’ materials in my portfolio and hope to acquire a few new clients out there. With my meager savings, but mostly the hyper inflated profits from my current home (RE bubble is another reason to get out while we can) we will be able to be free and clear of a mortgage - which will trim about 3 grand off my monthly overhead.

I have a cousin in the McAllister, OK area that told me people with computer skills are in short supply in rural areas, could be a possible source of “off farm” income.

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Unread postby dmtu » Mon 05 Apr 2004, 02:11:09

#31, I'm kinda surprised there aren't more here too. The book that started my research in Dec was The Hydrogen Economy. The Author was fairly optimistic in comparison to some but went into the weird politics of the Mideast, anyway, not a bad read.
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Unread postby Atr0p0s » Mon 05 Apr 2004, 11:12:28

Hey, John here. I'm 15 years old but relatively well educated when it comes to Peak Oil. I've read through most of the internet sources and some manuscripts of Peak Oil conferences and the likes. Ever since I heard about this about a month ago I've been preaching it to people, and I've become a firm believer in peak oil. But my views diverge from people who say

billions of people are going to die.


because such an outcome is not logical. We will not see the instant death of 90% of the world population. It will, instead, be a long slow decline that brings us down to the 1-2 billion people level say one hundred years from now. Other "scare mongers" also believe that there will be nuclear holocaust and widespread wars (www.aftertheoilcrash.net). Again I'd have to disagree. America will be involved in so many wars of attrition and occupation that it will be in no position to fight wars (not to mention the manifest increase in oil prices making it near impossible to field an international shock army.)

As much as I like to preach and debate ^^^ the sad fact is there's nothing I can do about it until I'm legally an adult. All I can do is try to walk or ride a bike a lot. And people tell me one person won't make a difference. Shows how active people are in trying to ameliorate things :\
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Unread postby Royale » Mon 05 Apr 2004, 17:58:52

because such an outcome is not logical. We will not see the instant death of 90% of the world population. It will, instead, be a long slow decline that brings us down to the 1-2 billion people level say one hundred years from now.


This is what was meant, I didn't bother elaborating. 100 years from now is a ridiculously short time frame for billions of people to die. There's no need to scare monger when faced with something like that.

Again I'd have to disagree. America will be involved in so many wars of attrition and occupation that it will be in no position to fight wars (not to mention the manifest increase in oil prices making it near impossible to field an international shock army.)


We'll see. America is trying hard to control the world's resources and maintain the dollar in the world economy, in the process stepping on everybody's toes. China will be consuming more energy than America eventually with a population already over 1 billion. There is a possibility of a nuclear war breaking out but it's too hard to say right now.
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Unread postby Pops » Mon 05 Apr 2004, 21:50:44

Hi John,

You raise some good points but let me debate with you. : )

I agree that 90% of the population won’t go in an instant. But consider the following scenario: during the Irish Potato Famine 1 in 8 died in the span of 4 years. Probably more would have died if 2 in 8 had not emmigrated. The root cause (no pun intended – my ancestors were some of those immigrants) was monoculture.

Now at some point in the future imagine the price of pesticides/fungicides/herbicides will have increased right along with everything else and the poor corporate farm board of directors decide to accept a lowered yield instead of an operating loss. They drastically reduce chemical application - they must be able to pay for fuel after all to produce anything.

How many strains of grain do you imagine are grown for export in the world? I don’t know either, but would imagine it is a small number, in fact, I think you could legitimately call it monoculture.

Modern farming allows hybrids (GM and otherwise) to produce amazing amounts of food value based on huge chemical (read petroleum) inputs. Unfortunately those hybrids cannot survive without the inputs, and the ground they grow in has been depleted to the point that it cannot produce anything without the hybrids and inputs either.

Today, right now, at the peak of the oil revolution, perhaps 30,000 people die of starvation every day.

Draw your own conclusions, or better yet research the topic and tell us what you discover.


You may need to restate your point about nuclear holocaust and widespread war. You said: “America will be involved in so many wars of attrition and occupation that it will be in no position to fight wars.” Somewhat of a self-defeating argument wouldn’t you say?

Actually at the end of the last big “War of Attrition” the thing we DID do was use nukes.

Lastly I want to “Preach” a couple of things to you. There is a HUGE amount for you to do. I do believe one person can no longer make an impact, even if you could convince thousands or even millions of people that they should change their ways, the allure of the American Wantocracy is too powerful.

I am fairly pessimistic, I believe that we are at the peak; it extends from about 1998 to 2008, that gives me 5-10 years to acquire the knowledge and resources to provide for the education of my offspring. I am the paternal head of an extended family of 10 - 20 people, I’m not directly responsible for all those folks, but they do place some weight on my judgment (some more than others, LOL). You have, what seems to me, a unique position in that you can devote your mind to acquiring the means to survive the transition. That requires no money, only time to read and plan and practice. It may seem laughable to you, but at your age I was making plans to do exactly what I am doing now, albeit 30 years later and for different reasons.

It seems my time is up.

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Unread postby Atr0p0s » Tue 06 Apr 2004, 23:58:17

Elaborate. You said read. What do I read?
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Unread postby dmtu » Wed 07 Apr 2004, 20:49:57

I'll throw this up because it is written by a fairly optimistic guy who doesn't pass judgment. Only the last two chapters are devoted to hydrogen while the rest of the book speaks on the geo-politics and, mechanics of oil consumption along with it's uses. Easy read.

HERE


I've ordered some others but since they are in the mail so I obviously can't comment on the content.

I'm still sitting the fence to some degree but as a miner I don't have the apocalyptic thing hanging over my head. Coal is hot right now and I think it will get hotter in the future (employment wise). Anyone disagree?
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Unread postby Royale » Thu 08 Apr 2004, 02:21:57

I agree, you should be cashing in big time in the future if you stick with coal mining. There aren't a lot of people who can/will do that job and we're going to need a lot of them eventually.
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Unread postby Pops » Thu 08 Apr 2004, 17:50:24

AtrOpOs,

I certainly have no crystal ball. My guess is that eventually (20-30 years) things will have settled down to something resembling the turn of the last century with many items being manufactured and grown within relatively close proximity to the end users. This is not to say we will forget the advances in technology but the “global consumer market” will be a thing of the past.

My advice to anyone is a “No Regrets” policy: prepare for anything to happen - including nothing happening. IMHO, if you want to be a doctor, do it! Take all the biology classes you can – but also take some ag and shop classes as well. I can’t remember who said “specialization is for insects” but I would add “and Americans of the 20th century”.

Those who believe in the Energy Fairy think all our problems will go away with a backyard still and a plot of corn, and moonshine will certainly make things seem better, especially if it’s not wasted in an internal combustion engine – LOL.

Anyway small-scale farming will be the way I intend to get my family through. But on the other side there will still be docs, vets, lawyers, judges and snakeoil salesmen, but probably only the ones prepared to live in the 19th century.

Get Carla Emery’s book “The Encyclopedia of Country Living”, grow a little garden in the corner of the yard, raise some rabbits, and read about emergency preparedness. Read about the 19th century, I don’t believe we’ll wind up there but it won’t hurt. “The Little House on the Prairie” series (the books) are a surprising window into self-sufficiency if read with an eye to the day-to-day lifestyle challenges. While not very sophisticated they are light reading that I’ve learned much from while reading to my grandkids. Look for old farming books in used bookstores, also there were lots of books printed during the “Back to the land” hippie days: I just read “Small Scale Grain Raising”, Logsdon; and am working on “Practical Blacksmithing”, M.T. Richardson, a compilation of articles from a blacksmithing publication of the late 1800’s.

In other words anything that teaches you how to DO instead of BUY.

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