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Dubious Assumptions Underpin Latest ‘Peak Oil’ Anti-Fracking Report

Dubious Assumptions Underpin Latest ‘Peak Oil’ Anti-Fracking Report thumbnail

David Hughes, a Canadian geoscientist and a fellow of the anti-fracking Post Carbon Institute, has emerged as one of the media’s favorite proponents of “Peak Oil,” the debunked theory that oil production will soon be in permanent decline. Never mind, of course, that there are more proven oil reserves today than there were decades ago, when “Peak Oil” advocates were saying the exact same thing as they are today.

In a new report, Hughes once again gives succor to anti-development and anti-fracking activists with more claims that shale development will “peak” a lot earlier than expected. More specifically, Hughes claims that “tight oil production from major plays will peak before 2020”. He also adds:

“…by 2040, production rates from the Bakken and Eagle Ford will be less than a tenth of that projected by the EIA.”

Hughes is arguing, in effect, that the hundreds of thousands of jobs created, the shrinking deficit of the U.S. trade balance, and the significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that are attributable to unconventional oil and gas development will be short-lived.

These gloomy predictions, of course, are at odds not only with predictions from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) but also from the International Energy Agency, the leadership of the International Energy Forum, notable scholars and experts – and, in fact, almost anyone with credibility in the energy sector.

So, let’s get down to business. Is shale’s future not as bright as it looks? Has Hughes finally proven, after many failed attempts, that all the actual experts are wrong? Will all the leading authorities in the industry be revising their predictions in the light of his conclusions?

You can probably guess the answer (no), but let’s dig a little deeper to see why.

Oil and gas production forecasting models are highly dependent on well productivity inputs, which are themselves largely dependent upon technological innovation and evolution.

In other words, as technology improves, so does well productivity and the increased energy development that goes with it. As Hughes himself put it, “in determining future production rates (for this study), the current trends in well productivity over time were considered.”

As a result of this interdependence, any slight inaccuracy in the inputs of a key variable – in this case, well productivity — gets compounded over time. Even a small error in one’s assumption will result in a major flaw when assessed over a long period. Not surprisingly, this is exactly where Hughes’ analysis gets derailed.

Despite its complexity and extension, the driving force of Hughes’ analysis hinges on one inaccurate assertion:

“…average well productivity has gone flat in all major shale gas plays except the Marcellus”.

To say that this is a mischaracterization would be an understatement. Consider, for example, what the EIA stated just six months ago:

The productivity of oil and natural gas wells is steadily increasing in many basins across the United States because of the increasing precision and efficiency of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in oil and natural gas extraction (emphasis added).

Additionally, the EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report directly and definitively contradicts Hughes’ assertion. With the exception of oil production in the Haynesville shale, which is flat, the productivity in every major U.S. shale play is increasing. Here’s EIA’s latest chart:

EIA’s Drilling Productivity Report

In fact, technological advances have caused a dramatic increase in the estimate of recoverable oil and gas across the United States. Last year, for example, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) doubled its 2008 assessment for technically recoverable oil in the Bakken and Three Forks formations of North Dakota and Montana. In 1995, the USGS estimated that the Bakken only contained about 150 million barrels of recoverable oil. By July of this year, North Dakota had produced more than 150 million barrels of oil in 2014 alone.

In fact, the recent drop in global oil prices has put drilling efficiency (which is, of course, inversely related to production cost) to the test. Just five days ago, the Manhattan Institute’s Mark Mills explained in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

“Shale production is getting more efficient, which means that profits are possible at prices even lower than today. Smart drilling techniques—horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and information technologies that accurately locate where to place rigs and enable precise steering of the drill through meandering horizontal hydrocarbon-rich shales—are far more productive than when the boom started.”

As for the road ahead, experts across the United States are already forecasting and discussing what the next disruptive shale technology will be. To quote Robert Kleinberg, a Schlumberger senior fellow:

“Things are changing so fast it’s very difficult to predict the upside [of production] and it’s going to get harder.”

Altogether, the facts show that David Hughes’ assumption has sorely missed the mark.

Perhaps the best way to underscore and illustrate this point is by examining a graph in Hughes’ report that he claims to be supportive of his argument. In reality, it raises several questions.

Hughes Report Graph

Why are increasing lines (time series) compared on a yearly basis, while decreasing ones are compared on a four-year basis? Was it just to make a 37 percent decrease – which fits his argument — look more impressive than the other two pieces of evidence in the graph that refute him? Why not also emphasize that the graph shows that the average twelve month initial production of oil is up by 180 percent? Or that the combined indicator for oil and gas has increased by around 20 percent?

It is important not to get trapped by ideological assumptions of static technology, especially in an industry like oil and gas, where innovators have proved over and over – in fields from North Dakota to West Texas – that the recoverability of resources increases over time and will for the foreseeable future.

After all, as Mr. Hughes should know, the quality of the outputs of a study – as well as its usefulness and value – is directly determined by the quality of its inputs. Obviously, the Post Carbon Institute has a vested interest in its studies coming to particular conclusions. Working backwards from those claims is the opposite of a scientifically rigorous analysis — and as this short post shows, it also yields some pretty embarrassing errors.

energy in depth

43 Comments on "Dubious Assumptions Underpin Latest ‘Peak Oil’ Anti-Fracking Report"

  1. MSN Fanboy on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 6:15 pm 

    You forgot to mention price…

    Trying to describe an apple by describing the tree.


  2. MKohnen on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 6:41 pm 

    “Obviously, the Post Carbon Institute has a vested interest in its studies coming to particular conclusions.”

    Oh, this is unlike EID, which approaches the debate in a balanced manner. That brings tears of laughter to my eyes. I notice that they completely ignore the EIA graphs that David includes in his report. Those graphs show a peak occurring in 2019. David is only saying it could occur sooner. These yokels state that, because David doesn’t take into account magic technology that might come along, both David and the EIA must be wrong, even though they praise the EIA drilling report. Talk about picking and choosing to support your argument. When you go to the EID website, you’d swear that clean air occurs *because of* fracking. Without this incredible boon, thousands of jobs would be lost, the US trade balance deficit would balloon, and greenhouse gas emission would soar.

    Turns out, people seeking to make a few billion bucks from something will say damn near anything. Who knew?

  3. Plantagenet on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 6:43 pm 

    Its hard to know who to trust here. The EIA is part of the obama administration, so no doubt they are doing their best to be “transparent” with the public, as obama has promised would be the case in his administration. Nonetheless the EIA seems to imagine that BAU can continue forever and may be OVERESTIMATING future shale production. And David Hughes has been a complete flop at trying to predict oil production from fracking of shale, consistently UNDERESTIMATING shale production.

    My best guess is future tight oil production will be somewhere between these two extremes—not as high as the EIA predicts, but also not collapsing by 90% as Dr. Hughes predicts.

  4. westexas on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 7:18 pm 

    It’s interesting events have unfolded since David Hughes’ report on the Monterey Shale Play.

  5. westexas on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 7:18 pm 

    Should read: It’s interesting HOW events have unfolded since David Hughes’ report on the Monterey Shale Play.

  6. dashster on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 7:35 pm 

    “The debunked theory that oil production will soon be in permanent decline. ”

    I would love for the Cornucopians to be right about this, but you can’t debunk a theory that a finite depletable resource that is used massively won’t decline in production soon with anything but large discoveries or sharp declines in usage. And we haven’t had either.

  7. Plantagenet on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 7:36 pm 

    Yes good point, west. No doubt that Hughes understood the geology of the Monterey Fm better then the EIA did. But I’m referring to his predictions about the Bakken. Hughes predicted the Bakken would produce, and I quote “Ten years at levels above say half a million barrels per day.” But the current Bakken production is much higher than that—the numbers are clear—Hughes significantly UNDERESTIMATED oil production from the Bakken.

  8. coffeeguyzz on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 8:31 pm 

    Dashster, I do not know if the Utica dry gas play would qualify as a ‘new discovery’ as its existence has been recognized for some time, but the fact that Mr. Hughes did not even include the Utica’s potential in his report is only one of several aspects that may raise questions on the report’s soundness. Recent wells – drilled 400 miles apart – have had 24 hr IPs of 26 and 46 million cubic feet of gas flows in the formation. Even a cursory Google search would show that the Utica is vastly larger in thickness and areal extent than even the shallower Marcellus.
    As an aside, I will verifiably donate one hundred bucks to the charity of choice to anyone who can steer me to the official EIA report that downsized the Monterey’s potential. (NOT a press account quoting or referring to employees/personnel of the EIA.) I wanna see the actual report.

  9. mbnewtrain on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 8:58 pm 

    The idea that per well production will continue increasing in the Bakken is unfounded. The author is correct that the horizontal legs can be more accurately steered than ten years ago, thus keeping the bore in the middle of the producing layer. But it is also true that simply amplifying the existing technology by using longer horizontals and more frac stages has produced higher flows from wells. The limits of technology will be reached and as thinner layers with less porosity are produced the initial flows and lifetime production will decrease.

    Author uses one month’s data to say wells will continue to produce more oil year after year, which is not an accurate analysis. An accurate prediction would be based on application of technology and examination of oil in place for remaining areas to be drilled. The author apparently does not know that at a given point oil fields decline in production, even if more wells continue to be drilled. This is because the shale holds less oil per given volume and the layers tapped are thinner.

    A period of low oil prices will simply mean sooner peak for the Bakken, but longer overall production period and less total oil produced.

  10. mbnewtrain on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 9:16 pm 

    One big error in this report: Stats for production increase per well are for Oct 2014 to Nov 2014. Since we are still in Oct. 2014 the chart is obviously someone’s prediction, not a factual database.

    With that realization I dismiss the whole premise of this article.

  11. Nony on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 9:39 pm 

    mbnew: it’s correct that the Drilling Productivity Report is an extrapolation into the future. But the story is still the same if you look at past data. The “I dismiss everything since I found a nit wrong” is typical Internet tediousness.

  12. MKohnen on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 10:48 pm 


    Good catch on that chart.

  13. MKohnen on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 10:54 pm 

    OMG, Nony,

    “The ‘I dismiss everything since I found a nit wrong’ is typical Internet tediousness.”

    You’ve got to be kidding!?! Your meme is “peak oilers have made wrong predictions in the past, so they should all be dismissed.” So what are you saying now, karma sucks?

  14. Political Economist on Thu, 30th Oct 2014 11:06 pm 

    The author does not understand the different between “new well production per rig” and “new well production per well”

  15. rockman on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 12:02 am 

    “But the story is still the same if you look at past data.” Once again the silly assertion that the past productive history of any play can predict its future productivity. I don’t want to offend anyone here by sounding patronizing. But the projection of future production of any shale play, Deep Water trend, conventional reservoir play, etc. cannot be projected by past or even current productivity.

    A simple but completely accurate analogy: our favorite bag of colored marbles. You begin pulling them out. Just as not every well drilled in a play is profitable not every marble pulled will be white. So you begin: after pulling out 4,000 marbles you have accumulated 3,600 white marbles and 400 black marbles. When you started you posted the cumulative number of white marbles. A few wiggles in your plot, just as there are in the plot every shale cornucopia loves to post. But it shows an obvious and very predictable future of white marble count as you continue drawing from the bag. Just like so many of the future shale well counts folks plot.

    So it’s rather simple math to predict how many future white marbles you’ll have by pulling another 4,000 marbles out…about 3,600, right? No…that’s not even close: you only pull out 90 white marbles and 10 black marbles. Why? Because after pulling out the first 4,000 marbles there were only 100 hundred marbles left in the bag. So there’s no way you could have predicted the future? Of course there was: you look down into the bag and it’s obvious there isn’t anything close to 4,000 marbles left.

    So if I haven’t lost your attention exactly how the hell does this relate to drilling shale wells? Easy: where is the f*cking map that spots each of those future wells that must be drilled to create those nice smooth well count and production curves? Those wells have to physically exist in the future and thus each one has to match an X on a map. So again, where are the maps that have those tens of thousands of X’s posted on them? The maps needed to imports those curve projections.

    Not to be mean but any f*cking “expert” can draw a plot and say it’s correct because of blah blah blah. Now show me the map with an X for every one of the wells that has to be drilled for the plot to be correct. Everyone here has collectively read hundreds of reports making such projections. So everyone that has seen a map showing where each one of those future wells is spotted raise your hand. Not a big surprise to not see a single hand raised.

    Have folks thought about what we geologists and geophysicists are primarily paid to do? It’s to put those X’s on a map and explain why we think a well should be drilled there. Which also explains why none of you haven’t seen such maps and never will: the urge drawers ain’t paying anyone to do it. And that’s why you’ll never see any of these predictors of future drilling activity include a map supporting their work: they ain’t going pay anyone to do it.

    So who pays to have such maps created? Easy answer: exploration companies. So why don’t they make such maps public? Do I really need to answer that? There has never been a well drilled in the entire history of the oil patch that didn’t get its start as an X on someone’s map. Someone who told a convincing story why a well should be drilled on that X. And guess what: every well drilled in the future will have the same origin. Which is why the curve drawers can’t show a map that supports their prediction: they don’t have one.

    The dynamic really is that simple.

  16. meld on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 3:04 am 

    It really is useless trying to get people to understand peak oil and it’s effects to anyone these days. The propaganda is so overwhelming it’s like arguing that the moon landings were faked, people just smile and pat you on the back.

    Their lives are becoming more difficult but hey Microsoft is bringing out a new wristband that tells you if you’re tired or fat so we must still be progressing right. Just close all peak oil sites down, it;s a waste of resources from here on out. Build your networks, learn your trade and be there for people when their own “apocalypse” comes in the from of Job or house losses. You’ll make much more difference being a valued member of your community than you will be writing articles to combat such recklessness as shown in this article. Let them “win” and by doing so you can use that spare time to change your own world for the better.

  17. mike on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 3:30 am 

    “The EIA is part of the obama administration, so no doubt they are doing their best to be “transparent” with the public, as obama has promised would be the case in his administration” – Plantagenet.

    Interesting that Plantagenet dignifies people’s names, like David Hughes – with initial capital letters – except Obama’s, which he writes as obama. Is this pig ignorance of the rules of grammar, or to show his disdain for “obama”, or perhaps because Obama is black and David Hughes is white? Tell us, plantagenet.

  18. fry10ck on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 5:18 am 

    Great comment by meld:

    “You’ll make much more difference being a valued member of your community than you will be writing articles to combat such recklessness as shown in this article. Let them “win” and by doing so you can use that spare time to change your own world for the better.”

  19. westexas on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 5:24 am 

    As I frequently point out, the year over 20% decline* in Louisiana’s annual marketed natural gas production from 2012 to 2013, presumably because of a decline in gas production from the Haynesville Play, is pretty strong support for the Citi Research estimate that the underlying decline rate for existing US natural gas production is about 24%/year.

    At 24%/year, just to maintain current production for four years, we need to replace roughly 100% of current US natural production in four years.
    Of course, it’s when, not if, that the production from new wells can no longer offset the declines from existing wells, i.e., Peaks Happen.

    Year over year, from July, 2013 to July, 2014, the industry was able to offset declines. US dry gas production was 70 BCF/day in July, 2013 and 70 BCF/day in July, 2014. However, at about a 24%/year decline rate, we need about 17 BCF/day of new dry gas production, every year, just to maintain current production.

    To put this in perspective, Canada’s 2013 dry gas production was 14 BCF/day. Based on the Citi report, in order to maintain current US dry gas production we need to put on line the productive equivalent of all of Canada’s current dry gas production, every single year, times 1.2. Or, over the next 10 years in order to maintain current dry gas production, we need to put on line the productive equivalent of 12 Canadas.

    *This was the net decline; the gross decline from existing wells in 2012 would be even higher.

  20. Davy on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 7:12 am 

    I want to mention the enjoyment I get from reading these hard science comments. I will not comment on the material due to my lack of ability but after so many years I am able to spot someone who knows what they are talking about. There are quite a few above so too long to mention.

    NOo, I have figured you out partially. You are highly capable in your analysis. I would have more respect for that analysis if you acknowledge some plain to see PO issues even with your favorite shale plays.

    You always seem to lash out with some corny phase for example ““The ‘I dismiss everything since I found a nit wrong’ is typical Internet tediousness” when your religious beliefs are threatened. The above comments walked all over you man. You would show more manhood by being quiet or show grudging acknowledgement.

    I appreciate your cornucopian crowing on PO and critiques of my bent on systematic and financial risk. I appreciate your input because I want the truth not to prove doom. I opine doom I do not wish it. I also have little interest in the doom other than a spiritual element. My spiritual is a feeling we are killing mother earth and her creatures and I feel ethically that should end.

    My life has never been better and more BAU optimistic. I accept this may end in 3-5 years so I enjoy life to its fullest. I hope some of the positives you mention pan out. We need all the help we can get for what appears very dangerous times ahead. NOo bend a little the PO way and I feel your comment strength will significantly rise. I tell this as a friend. I like you. You’re a cool dude.

  21. Perk Earl on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 8:53 am

    Big News: WTI & Brent at present are sub 80 & 85 respectively.

    WTI -1.45 to 79.67
    Brent -1.47 to 84.77

    To have broken through those price points means the trend of oil price dropping has not bottomed out yet. How long can it go?

  22. Perk Earl on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 8:54 am 

    Edit: How low can it go?

  23. Davy on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 9:38 am 

    Perk, I read this on zero hedge this morning. This may be something of interest for those of you digging deeper in the finance side of all this. I have been reading that what is important in world finance market today is mobile capital not free trade so the FX market is what people should really be watching:

    What we seem to be seeing is the policies in Japan leading to a currency war and the resulting deflation that will destroy the equity markets and the solvency of all our debt addicted large economies. The Bank of Japans latest moves are going to stoke markets but at the expense of hollowing them out further setting them up for a hard fall. Here are some details I feel are worth noting:

  24. shortonoil on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 10:57 am 

    Since I’m short on time (no pun intended), this is a re-post from “A Question of Economics” below:

    Well Davy, ever think of going to work for the the Brookings Institution? They could use someone with an IQ that is higher than their bowling average! I’ve been trying to get this page up at the site on the “Price of Oil” for the last two weeks, but it seems that everyone has taken off for the boondocks, or someplace. In the mean time, to keep you posted until either I get it done myself, or someone phases back into this universe, keep an eye out for Chart# 159. Chart# 159 shows the cost of a BTU from petroleum for the end consumer from 1960 to 2013. From 1960 to 2005, when conventional peaked, the cost only increased marginally. From 2005 to 2013 the cost has increased over 400%; from about 0.2 mil per BTU to over 0.8 mil per BTU. The curve is now looking more like a vertical line than a curve!

    The falling cost of oil is not going to do one dam thing for the economy. The price decline is merely a reflection of the effects of that vertical line. For the end consumer to be able to afford oil into the future, it will have to continue on down; and we know where that is going.

  25. Plantagenet on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 11:04 am 


    I had to laugh at your bizarre suggestion that not capitalizing Obama’s name is a sign of racism, rather than being a typographical error.

    Have you ever heard of e e cummings? The man not only didn’t use capital letters, he eschewed the use of the period! My god, he must be a flaming racist by your belief system.

    And how about someone who uses BOLD fonts? Just imagine how racist they must be! (thats sarcasm, by the way).


  26. Plantagenet on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 11:09 am 

    The belief that oil and NG production from tight shale plays will disappear in a few years is an overly simplistic reaction to the face that individual shale wells decline very very rapidly. What these low ball predicitons miss, however, is that production can be sustained simply by drilling and frakking more wells.

    Yes, it is true as West and Rock point out that the Bakken play will eventually run out of good drilling sites—-but another tight shale lies just a few hundred feet lower. When the Bakken oil is produced, the exact same drill sites can all be reoccupried, redrilled and completed in this lower shale unit to begin the cycle all over again.

  27. Northwest Resident on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 11:26 am 

    Plant — If e e cummings never uses capital letters for any person’s name, then that would be equal treatment of all names and not even close to being a “flaming racist”. Your comparative attempt fails spectacularly.

    mike — If you’re reading this, you have to understand that Plant has a very unhealthy and sickly obsession with Obama, and feels a compulsive need to share that mental illness on this forum daily, multiple times, 24/7/365.

    Plant, here’s a question for you: Will that other “tight shale” a few hundred feet below the one currently being fracked in the Bakken be produced regardless of the price of oil, regardless of the unavailability of new debt and regardless of the likely fact that more energy will be required to do the extraction than is actually obtained from getting that “oil” out?

  28. Jared on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 11:40 am 

    author also doesn’t seem to care to mention conventional decline will require tight production to increase even more than he’s suggesting.

  29. Plantagenet on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 11:54 am 


    Your suggestion that typing Obama’s name is a sign of mental illness is as bizarre as Mike’s claim that not capitaizing obama’s name is a sign of racism.

    Obama is the President of the US, for chrissakes. His programs and policies are important. Your belief that his name should never be mentioned and his policies never criticized is utterly bizarre.


    Now, as to your question as to whether shale oil will be produced irregardless of the price of oil? Your question is ridiculous—yes oil prices are down now, but I think your implicit assumption that oil prices will stay low forever is manifestly absurd.


  30. Davy on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 12:10 pm 

    Plant would you agree the trend could be downward in a collapsing economy. Let’s just say this is not the “Big One” like Fred Sanford used to say. Let’s say this is the beginnings of a bear market for oil in what could be a prolonged recession in the making for the global economy.

    In this scenario I will allow for a partial recovery not my usual doom but only partial. We will have hit PO and Peak Price. Planter don’t you think we are going to see some “ugly” in the US shale oil patch?

    Let’s say prices don’t recover to $90 for another 2 years after descending to prolonged $60 that is fatal for a significant amount of production. This scenario is increasingly possible in my eyes.

  31. Northwest Resident on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 12:14 pm 

    Plant — Except I never suggested that typing Obama’s name is a sign of mental illness. Once again, as always, you completely misinterpret and distort to suit your own needs.

    My question wasn’t absurd. What was absurd was your assertion that “production can be sustained simply by drilling and frakking more wells”.

    That absurd assertion by you assumes sufficient oil price, sufficient debt availability and sufficient EROI — all three of which are very doubtful.

    So, it was entirely reasonable to question your absurd assumption, and it is you the absurd Obama-hating shale-cheerleading nitwit who proves himself to be the ultimately absurdity, again, repeatedly, with clockwork regularity.

    CHEERS, whatever that means.

    I await your mimic act, sure to be a central part of your next “thoughtful” response.

  32. Perk Earl on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 1:43 pm 

    Thanks for the links, Davy.

  33. Northwest Resident on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 2:02 pm 

    Speaking of dubious assumptions, has anyone read this report (linked below)? It is from 2011, but still relevant.

    Titled: Shale and Wall Street

    Copying/pasting text from a PDF just looks terrible, so I’ll skip it. But in general, the theme is, the “shale revolution” has been a financial play, NOT an energy play — one of my favorite points to make. Wall Street and banks used shale to churn the market and skim off huge profits. But how much net energy was produced by all that churning? Not much. Read it, if you haven’t already.

  34. Harquebus on Fri, 31st Oct 2014 5:03 pm 

    To debunk something is to prove that it is true. Bunkum is what this article is.
    Peak oil is not a theory, it is an observation.
    EROEI mates, EROEI.

  35. Dubya on Sat, 1st Nov 2014 11:03 am 

    Rockman, let’s see if I understand this:
    Oil companies / cornucopians – we know there are billions of marbles in the bag.
    Peak oilers – but you can only take them out one at a time.
    Ecologists: there are more people every day and they all want a marble.
    Frackers – we have one of those extender grabbers so we can reach further into the bag.
    West Texas: the Saudis are using more of their own marbles.
    Britain: we traded Brent’s marbles for $10 and buying them back for $100.
    Alberta: we have the most marbles but we have to chip them out of the pavement.
    Climate Scientists: you have to stop taking out marbles, they’re too hot.
    Economists: if we don’t have enough marbles the market will substitute baseball cards.
    Abiotic theorists: the bag magically refills.
    Did I miss anyone?

  36. Northwest Resident on Sat, 1st Nov 2014 11:25 am 

    Dubya — What it boils down to is this: Given all the complexities and misinformation related to the world’s oil situation today, a lot of people are losing the friggin’ marbles!

  37. Nony on Sat, 1st Nov 2014 3:52 pm 


    Pretty fricking awesome post. I would only add:

    Doomsteaders: You can’t pry those marbles from my dead hands, damned zombie hordes, you.

    Permaculturists: You don’t need marbles. Little round turds roll around also.

  38. Boat on Sun, 2nd Nov 2014 6:21 am 

    Davey, I am glad you finally came around that a 3-5 year time frame before the collapse is possible. That’s what I think and what I thought last year, the year before, the year before, the year before, etc. Meanwhile the bridge to the future is being built one year at a time

  39. Davy on Sun, 2nd Nov 2014 8:26 am 

    Yea, Boat, but who gives a shit what I say. I am a loud mouth who enjoys talking doom. Predicting and forecasting is natural for my type. I am not claiming any scientific or academic credentials. I am living it though which in some ways puts me at a higher level of seriousness. My free academic time is devoted to this subject. In the sense that I live doom and devote myself to the study of doom this makes me a prophet of doom living on a doomstead preaching word salad shooter like so many other wackos in the world today. With that said probably best to just ignore me.
    Boat you are so right with the time frame. Yet, one year is probably too much. Time seems to be speeding up or maybe I am just getting old. I would say 6 months is all the forecasting and predicting that we can do legitimately. Everything I am seeing points to 3-5 years as a potential crunch time. What I will not predict is degree and duration of a fall down the energy gradient. I will not mention the when, where, and how. I will opine the places that have little future, the lifestyles and attitudes that have no future, and that we live in a finite world, and we appear to be at limits of growth and diminishing returns.

  40. Northwest Resident on Sun, 2nd Nov 2014 9:15 am 

    “Meanwhile the bridge to the future is being built one year at a time.”

    I love the optimism so unencumbered by prevailing fact.

    Global Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as governments binge.

    “The $30 trillion increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a $3.86 trillion decline in the value of equities to $53.8 trillion in the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”

    That $30 trillion increase started about the same time that conventional oil peaked and fracking operations went into full retard mode.

    Hmmmm, I wonder if there is any correlation between massive and rapid growth in debt, super-expensive oil and declining real energy available to the economy?

    Naaa, no way, that’s just coincidence. Right, Boat? Just like on the day that the Fed ends its program of pumping billion$ into the economy to keep those asset (stock) prices inflated, Japan starts up their own version of QE again. Just coincidence…

    People who can’t see the financial disaster we are living in really just don’t have a clue. The ones who can’t figure out the connection between the global financial FUBAR status and severe issues with oil supply are hopelessly clueless. Those that don’t understand that collapse has merely been postponed until some rapidly approaching point in the future by taking on massive debt are really missing the big picture.

    Global Debt Exceeds $100 Trillion as Governments Binge, BIS Says

  41. Northwest Resident on Sun, 2nd Nov 2014 9:59 am 

    And who is paying for that “bridge to the future”?

    BIG MONEY, and the men/women who wield BIG MONEY to buy policies, laws and anything/anybody else they need to buy in order to see their will implemented. Against BIG MONEY, the president — any president — is just a stick in the wind.

    Billionaires Dominate Campaign Spending, Analysis Shows

    “This midterm’s price tag will hit $3.7 billion, according to the latest projection from the Center for Responsive Politics, with outside groups and billionaires playing a larger role than ever while small contributors dwindle in number.”

  42. Apneaman on Mon, 3rd Nov 2014 11:26 am 

    “No doubt that Hughes understood the geology of the Monterey Fm better then the EIA did.”
    The EIA understands the geology just fine. That is not their real job.

    Most of the time “the media” mentions David Hughes is when it is some kind of debunking/minimizing piece. I would love to have just a micro sliver of the oil propaganda budget. It’s bottomless.

  43. GregT on Tue, 4th Nov 2014 9:52 am 


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