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View Diary: Sunday Train: The Rumored Death of Peak Oil Was Greatly Exaggerated (81 comments)

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  •  You do realize that there would have to be ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... no new production brought online at all for a 4.1% decline in production from existing fields to show up as a 4.1% decline in total production?

    Also note that you are linking to a Wikipedia graphic that is not even the Wikipedia entry itself but the Wikimedia commons page for the graphic illustrating a Wikipedia article, so its on you to spell out what precisely is included in that graphic.

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    by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:46:56 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  i know we like to slam Wikipedia (3+ / 0-)

      but the data are real and comes from here.

      I certainly don't count myself in the crowd that says Peak Oil isn't here but production has not declined at all worldwide since 1980, using EIA's data.

      Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility

      by terrypinder on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:48:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And as you can see ... (3+ / 0-)

        ... in that link, "total oil supply" in those figures include natural gas liquids, and "Crude Oil including Lease Condensates" does not break out conventional oil, shale-oil and tar-sands bitumen.

        The reference to Wikimedia was more to the linking strategy that seemed aimed at hiding details like that by linking to the graphic illustrating a Wikipedia article rather than to that section of the Wikipedia article itself, which was likely to have additional details.

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        by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:09:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But all of those things are factored into (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          terrypinder

          the (alleged) decline, per the quote you give:

          Dr. Miller critiqued the official industry line that global reserves will last 53 years at current rates of consumption, pointing out that "peaking is the result of declining production rates, not declining reserves." Despite new discoveries and increasing reliance on unconventional oil and gas, 37 countries are already post-peak, and global oil production is declining at about 4.1% per year, or 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) per year:
          As the EIA's data shows, that is not the case.
          •  If you had a breakout graph ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            davidincleveland, ek hornbeck

            ... the decline would jump out at you. He is speaking more precisely than that figure ... given that he is retired from BP, he is more free to speak precisely than the official US & International agencies, which are part of the targets of the Big Oil campaign to shift the goal posts on Peak Oil.

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            by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 03:58:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So your / his argument is the * conventional * oil (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MGross, Claudius Bombarnac

              is declining at that rate?

              To me that's a meaningless distinction when non-conventional sources are more than picking up the slack - apparently at the rate of more than 3.5 million bbl/day per year.

              Which, btw, is scarily close to the output of fully developed Alberta Tarsands - but IN ONE YEAR (and then every coming year; which emphasizes the point I try to make on this site over and over about how futile things like opposition to the KXL pipeline are w/o addressing demand - as long as the demand exists, supplies will come from * somewhere * !)

              •  It is a meaningless distinction... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Roadbed Guy

                ...and one they invariably cling to.  Hence the reason you often see "refinery gain" split out in spite of being a net gain in end-user product.

                •  I'm not sure what the technical meaning of (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Claudius Bombarnac

                  "refinery gain" might be - but in a generic source I suspect that the Gulf Coast refineries are experiencing a "gain" from  the recent (e.g., post 2006) rapid increase in recoverable heavy crude from South America (e..g, this ).

                  So, if they don't get the Alberta tarsands crude via the KXL pipeline or even rail, it's not like they're likely to shut down or anything like that, they'll just use the South America crude (which is even worse for the environment, btw, there's an extant diary about that that I'll be happy to look up if anyone's interested).

                  Plus there are reports of huge amounts of recoverable crude much closer to "home" :

                  Yet there it was, a remarkable stat buried among many that should have made everyone at the Dallas Convention Centre take a deep breath. According to the source, just one oil play in the Texas Midland Basin, the Spraberry/Wolfcap shale, may have a total recoverable resource of up to 50 billion barrels using new tight-oil extraction technologies.
                  link from the Canadian press that sees this as a threat to their own crude-oil-extracting aspirations
                •  The technical reason for splitting out refinery .. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ek hornbeck

                  ... gain ought to be obvious ~ that is technological progress in the refining process, and the amount of refinery gain will be determined by the volume and composition of primary fossil fuel production. So no sharp decline in both conventional oil production, a number of years out from a conventional oil peak, and tight-oil production, which would follow immediately from a tight-oil peak, can be "made up" by refinery gain, as the refinery gain requires the primary feedstock.

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                  by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:30:47 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ok, I'm not quite following you. (0+ / 0-)

                    If you think unconventional sources are going to lead to the refinery gain being a smaller and smaller part of the end product, that's fine.

                    There's no need to split it out, however, seeing as if that's the actual case, refinery gain will shrink naturally as conventional sources decline.

                    •  But remember what refinery gain is, ... (0+ / 0-)

                      ... when you heat thick components of heavy crudes to break them down, they break down into products with the same gross hydrogen and carbon content, but simpler structure and less density. Since petroleum products are measured by volume, less dense product measure as a greater volume than the original heavier crude.

                      IOW, refinery gain exists be we add them up by volume rather than by weight, and when density declines in processing, we may have the same weight as before (except for refiniing emissions), but greater volume.

                      This process is energy consuming not energy producing, so while it creates more useful products from less useful products, it reduces the EROI of the system if it is relying more heavily on the heavy crudes. So, as I said, the amount of refinery gain depends on composition ... if we rely more on thick heavy crudes, we will have more refinery gain, if we rely more on quickly depleting tight-oil, we will have less, but when we have more, it will be a marker of declining net energy yield of our liquid fossil fuel industry,.since without heating to a high tempergature, you can't decompose the heavy crude into lighter fractions with a lower API.

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                      by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 06:13:20 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  That's still a net gain, however. (0+ / 0-)

                        Output density doesn't change.  

                        This process is energy consuming not energy producing, so while it creates more useful products from less useful products, it reduces the EROI of the system if it is relying more heavily on the heavy crudes. So, as I said, the amount of refinery gain depends on composition ... if we rely more on thick heavy crudes, we will have more refinery gain, if we rely more on quickly depleting tight-oil, we will have less, but when we have more, it will be a marker of declining net energy yield of our liquid fossil fuel industry,.since without heating to a high tempergature, you can't decompose the heavy crude into lighter fractions with a lower API.
                        Wouldn't this show up in the refinery "gains" themselves?  

                        Or do you feel the natural gas they're using in the refining process is making things look artificially rosy?

                        •  Yes, its maintaining output density ... (0+ / 0-)

                          ... in the face of refining more and more unsuitable inputs, which happens because we've already consumed much of the large fields of light sweet crude.

                          When I characterized it as technological progress, I should have qualified that it is technological progress in terms of allowing us to use lower quality inputs than we would have been able to use previously, not "pure" technological progress in the sense of getting more outputs out of the same inputs.

                          First you get the naturally useful component out of the thick crude, and then you have this thick tar that must be heated to decompose into more useful refinery intermediate products ... indeed, must be heated in order for it to flow at all ... otherwise the output would be much less gasoline and diesel and much more asphalt.

                          And, yes, cheap natural gas makes it cheaper to heat the thick tarry intermediate product when cracking it down to lower density products to increase the output of diesel and gasoline from thick crudes. Natural gas production would not continue at the current price of natural gas, but the $100/barrel for oil means that the "wet" shale-gas that includes shale-oil (that is, "tight-oil", not so-called "oil shale", which is neither) and natural gas liquids are lucrative even if the natural gas component is being sold at a loss in terms of production cost from "dry" shale where it is the primary product.

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                          by BruceMcF on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 06:33:17 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  On the main point ... (0+ / 0-)

                          ... the refinery gains are volume gains due to using denser inputs than previously to produce the same volume outputs (in particular, gasoline, diesel, and aviation kerosene) ... but they are energy losses because of the energy input required to break the thick tarry component of thick crudes down into less dense and more usable outputs.

                          When we see that in the 20's the energy output relative to 1 energy input in production, processing and distribution (EROI) was in the range of 80-100, then falling to 20, and now falling to 10, that increasing reliance on thick crudes is part of that decline in EROI.

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                          by BruceMcF on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 06:37:36 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

              •  Its a substantial distinction ... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ek hornbeck

                ... given the difference production profiles for the two different types of wells. It is precisely the distinction that Dr. Miller explains quite clearly in the piece, and its a part of the piece that I quoted directly from, so its not clear that you've read all of the essay that you are commenting on.

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                by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:15:40 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  But it is NOT peak oil that is important. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep

          It is peak LIQUID hydrocarbons. The world is far from running out of hydrocarbons that can be liquified.

          •  But you cannot understand what is going ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... on with liquid hydrocarbons, neither the rates of depletion we are exposed to nor the EROI from liquid hydrocarbon production if you pretend that conventional oil, shale-oil, bitumen and natural gas liquids can all be lumped together as perfect substitutes.

            The peak of conventional oil is an essential part of understanding both of those ~ both why our EROI in liquid fossil fuels is dropping precipitously and why our exposure to the risk of seeing 25%-50% declines in production of liquid hydrocarbons over a 5-10yr horizon is increasing.

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            by BruceMcF on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:32:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  The blurb says that despite new discoveries (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terrypinder, Claudius Bombarnac

      and fields being brought online, global production is declining by 4.1 annually.  

      Meaning that that new production is factored into those numbers.  

      And yeah, you can criticize the data I provide (which were clearly identified to be from wikipedia, which makes find the entire article rather easy), but at least I actually provided * something * to back up what I was saying . . .

      •  I provided the arguments of the ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... former BP geologist responsible for providing in-house projections of oil supply for BP from 2000-2007, and co-editor of the oil supply special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society ~ and indeed already covered in the essay the answers to the questions you have raised.  This is not a view from the fringes of oil geology, it reflects an emerging consensus.

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        by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:23:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did you read current BP statistics? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          Note difference between 1992 and 2012.

          BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2013

          Proved world reserves oil: thousand million barrels

          1992 - 1039.3
          2002 - 1321.5
          2011 - 1654.1
          2012 - 1668.9

          Production: Mbbl/day

          2002 - 74948
          2011 - 84210
          2012 - 86152

          •  Yes, and in large part the increase (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Claudius Bombarnac

            between 2002 and 2011 is due to a rise in crude oil prices and ongoing technology advances that added Venezuela's heavy crude (aka tar sands) to the "proven reserves" category.

            Which is directly important to any discussion of the USA's energy needs considering that the most obvious place for this "new" source to be refined will the the US Gulf Coast.

            Clearly, that's not a good thing (very bad, in fact) but I don't get what the point is of denying that that will happen (already is happening, in fact), as is a favored stance around these parts.

            •  The US gulf refineries have made considerable (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roadbed Guy

              investments (with government subsidies) into refining the heavy oils. Long chain heavy oils can be refined into more product than short chain light oils and so are much more profitable specially when costs for the raw oil is cheap.

              The US has the greatest capacity for refining heavy oils but the Chinese are moving very fast in this area and will become the world leader in a decade or so. China will most likely take the majority of the Venezuelan oil as they are willing to invest there.

              China to Invest $28 Billion in Venezuelan Oil

              Clearly, that's not a good thing (very bad, in fact) but I don't get what the point is of denying that that will happen (already is happening, in fact), as is a favored stance around these parts.
              I got shot down several years ago for saying that stopping the Keystone XL North wouldn't prevent tar sands development because the oil would just be shipped by rail. In the end I was correct.

              It appears we are being "demoralizing".

              The real culprit is conspicuous consumption and chasing the American Dream. The US has gone to considerable effort and expense to export it's turbo capitalism all around the world many times at the end of a gun barrel.

              Most people here are not even willing to pay the world's average price for gasoline which is double America's.

              •  Good points, except this is a tad misleading . . . (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Claudius Bombarnac
                Most people here are not even willing to pay the world's average price for gasoline which is double America's.
                gasoline isn't more expensive elsewhere per se, it is just taxed heavily (such that when somebody buys a liter of gasoline, they also buy them self a flu shot - to use an arbitrary example where the taxes go towards health care . . .)
                •  I agree. Most nations heavily tax gasoline (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Roadbed Guy

                  and so should the US. What the country does with the extra money can be debated. Health care would be great but if the money went to renewables or carbon sequestration then that would also be OK.

                  Here's what Norway did with their nationalized oil company. BTW, the cost of gasoline in Norway is $9.03 US/gal.

                  Every Single Person in Norway Became a Millionaire Last Week. Here's How.

                  The news: On Wednesday, everyone in Norway became a theoretical millionaire as the country’s sovereign wealth fund — the largest in the world — soared to 5.11 trillion crowns ($828.66 billion) due to high global oil and gas prices.

                  Now not only is Norway the second-happiest place on Earth (according to the UN’s World Happiness Report 2013), but they’re also amongst the world's most financially secure citizens.

                  •  That must be in the local currency . .. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Claudius Bombarnac

                    on average, "wealth" is at about the same per capita level in the USA (in the range of US$200K) but not as evenly distributed (of course!!).

                    •  The US gross wealth is similiar. But net wealth (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Roadbed Guy

                      is far, far lower when debt load is deducted. Finland's net debt as a percent of GDP is -50% compared to US's +85%. If America stopped working if would be bankrupt.

                      Finland far surpasses the US in every social benefit for it's citizens.

                      Why Finland's Unorthodox Education System Is The Best In The World

                      •  I'm not really sure how to think about wealth (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Claudius Bombarnac

                        for example, am I wealthier sitting on the sidewalk with nothing (owned or owed) or am I wealthier after I get somebody to loan me $400K to buy a house with $0 down (yeah, probably wouldn't happen today, but let's flash back a decade) - after which my net worth is still $0?

                        I would argue that I would for all intents and purpose be wealthier in the latter scenario.  

                        And sure if I stopped working in that scenario, I might soon be bankrupt.  But what's the chance that America is going to stop working? (not sure exactly what level you were referring to there - i.e., if everybody in the country just up and quit their jobs, or if it just became completely dysfunctional on something like the governmental level (kinda like it is already, I suppose one could say)).

                        •  American's wealth is an illusion. It's now mainly (0+ / 0-)

                          based on debt.

                          I get somebody to loan me $400K to buy a house with $0 down
                          That about sums up America. The US has been running on debt, both domestic and foreign, since the late 70's. If the US can become a net exporter of both raw oil and refined oil products it would help the balance of payments considerably.

                          Exporting scrap steel only goes so far. ;)

                •  Yes, since unlike the US, most parts of the ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... world include a substantial portion of the external costs of motor vehicle transport in the cost of gasoline, where the US subsidizes motor vehicle transport by leaving the majority of the external costs of motor vehicle transport to be covered by other financing or else imposed as direct costs.

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                  by BruceMcF on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:36:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  And Dr. Miller is talking about ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... today's picture.

              As already stated in the essay and repeated in the comments, its conceivable that liquid hydrocarbon oil production may continue to increase slowly, if we see the same price spikes to (or through) $150/barrel (in real terms) that were part of the Great Recession of 2007-2009, which pushed us into our current labor market Depression ... but being caught between either declining supplies at $100/barrel and increasing supplies but $150+/barrel is being caught between a rock and a hard place.

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              by BruceMcF on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:35:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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