Peak Oil is You

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Page added on November 28, 2009

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Exponential Growth, Finite World

I want to talk about the challenge of exponential growth in a finite world. This is a concept that while on its surface seems easy to get, most people don

… Put another way, right now we use 7.76x as much energy per person as in Asia (keep in mind these figures include relatively rich countries like Japan and South Korea, as well as basket-cases like Burma and Bangladesh), and by 2015 that ratio will fall all the way down to 5.54x as much.

Now, the peak year for actual oil discovery in the world was in 1964, and as you pump oil out of the ground it is gone. Once you reach the point where you have pumped half the original oil in a field, it is basically impossible to increase the annual output from that field without causing serious damage that eventually results in that oil being trapped forever. Most of the currently producing fields are past their peak. As the International Energy Agency (IEA) found last year:

“Output from the world’s oilfields is declining faster than previously thought, the IEA said in its annual report. Without extra investment to raise production, the natural annual global crude oil depletion rate is 9.1%. The findings suggest the world will struggle to produce enough oil to make up for steep declines in existing fields, such as in the North Sea, Russia and Alaska. The effort will become even more acute as prices fall and investment decisions are delayed. Even with investment, the annual rate of output decline is 6.4.”
(See here for full story.)


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