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The media is filled with people chanting, "peak oil is dead, peak oil is dead." It is particularly popular among conservatives, egged on by the oil industry and Wall Street. The reasons are not complicated. The shale oil "boom" seems to validate the "drill, baby, drill" meme. Investment firms are always looking for over-hyped areas to inflate a bubble or two. It also serves the "free market" mythology, our hero flexing its glorious muscles to "solve" the energy needs of the nation while "freeing" us from our dependence on foreign markets, particularly those nations with an affinity for Islam or run by dictators not to our liking. And who can resist a little flag-waving nationalism as America proudly emerges as a new force on the energy market? Finally, there is the satisfaction of shouting down the "doom-sayers" that dared question the fossil emperor's elegant robes.

On the one hand, it is an impressive propaganda campaign, with articles timed to appear almost simultaneously in media outlets, each spouting the same talking points, and drawing from the same sources. Before long, heads are bobbling everywhere.

Of course, there is one small problem with the narrative. It is all bullshit.

What is peak oil?

Peak oil is the idea that the production of conventional oil, light crude, will peak and decline in coming years across the globe. The prediction came originally from M. King Hubbert in a 1956 presentation to the American Petroleum Institute. (See also this 1971 Scientific American publication.) At that time, he was chief of geology for Shell. Hubbert had been studying oil production and well depletion rates, observations that led him to predict that conventional oil production would peak around 1970 in the U.S. and around 2005 globally. Those predictions have held up.

Hubbert used an island metaphor to explain his ideas. Oil exploration is a search for new islands of oil. The big islands, continent-sized giant fields, have largely been found and exploited. To maintain production, the industry has to find an many more smaller islands, which increase costs because you are drilling more wells.

He did not consider shale oil, tar sands, and deep ocean deposits as conventional oil because the productions costs were much higher and energy return on investment much lower. These were sources you turn to when conventional supplies are depleted and crude oils prices rise to the point that exploiting these unconventional sources is profitable. In other words, Hubbert accurately predicted the end of cheap oil.

His ideas were controversial at the time because the oil industry wanted to count unconventional sources of oil as part of their stated reserves even though they were not profitable to develop when oil prices were low. This 1982 discussion with an Exxon executive lays out Hubbert's reasoning (emphasis added).

DR. HUBBERT (in response to remarks by David Nissen - Exxon): Your kind remarks with regard to my previous studies of the evolution of the U.S. petroleum industry are greatly appreciated. However, you suggest that my estimates of the ultimate amounts of oil to be recovered is questionable for reasons of classification and because I have not taken into account the effect of the price of oil on ultimate recovery. You mention oil shale, coal, and the Orinoco heavy oils of Venezoela.

With regard to classification, if unintelligibility is to be avoided it is essential that one define his terms and then adhere rigorously to those definitions. In the present study I have been concerned with the techniques of estimation as applied to conventional crude oil and natural gas in the U.S. Lower-48 states. This excludes consideration of shale oil, coal, Orinoco heavy oils, natural gas from unconventional sources, and also oil and gas from Alaska.

My analyses are based upon the simple fundamental geologic fact that initially there was only a fixed and finite amount of oil in the ground, and that, as exploitation proceeds, the amount of oil remaining diminishes monotonically. We do not know how much oil was present originally or what fraction of this will ultimately be recovered. These are among the quantities that we are trying to estimate.

Your statement that the fraction of the original oil-in-place that will be recovered is correct, but the effect may easily be exaggerated. For example, we know how to get oil out of a reservoir sand, but at what cost? If oil had the price of pharmaceuticals and could be sold in unlimited quantity, we probably would get it all out except the smell. However there is a different and more fundamental cost that is independent of the monetary price. That is the energy cost of exploration and production. So long as oil is used as a source of energy, when the energy cost of recovering a barrel of oil becomes greater than the energy content of the oil, production will cease no matter what the monetary price may be. During the last decade we have very large increases in the monetary price of oil. This has stimulated an accelerated program of exploratory drilling and a slightly increased rate of discovery, but the discoveries per foot of exploratory drilling have continuously declined from an initial rate of about 200 barrels per foot to a present rate of only 8 barrels per foot.

In other words, when the price of oil is high enough to justify going after shale oil, tar sands, and deep ocean wells, conventional oil is in terminal decline. Hubbert did not predict an end to hydrocarbons you can refine into oil, but rather the decline of cheap conventional oil.

The spin machine in action

Meet Daniel Yergin. He is an economist, founder of Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), and the oil industry's favorite supply-sider. Whenever the media is talking about oil supply, almost invariably you will find quotes from Yergin or some lackey from CERA (now part of the IHS family of consultants) gushing about oil production and minimizing the growth in global demand. The same is also true when Congress wants to push "drill, baby, drill" energy policies. For example, Yergin was the star witness in recent hearings held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in their drive to dramatically increase oil and gas leases on federal land. Here is a taste of his hyperbole.

The United States is in the midst of the “unconventional revolution in oil and gas” that, it becomes increasingly apparent, goes beyond energy itself. Today, the industry supports 1.7m jobs – a considerable accomplishment given the relative newness of the technology. That number could rise to 3 million by 2020. In 2012, this revolution added $62 billion to federal and state government revenues, a number that we project could rise to about $113 billion by 2020.2 It is helping to stimulate a manufacturing renaissance in the United States, improving the competitive position of the United States in the global economy, and beginning to affect global geopolitics. This revolution has also engendered two debates -- about the environmental impact of shale gas development and about the role of U.S. energy exports. All this sets the framework for the Subcommittee’s hearings.
Yergin is a clever and effective propagandist in his attempts to discredit peak oil predictions. By 2005, peak oil discussions were becoming more common. Asia was beginning to drive global oil demand and oil production was not keeping pace, which would force oil prices to record levels. At the time, oil prices were hovering around $60 a barrel and many analysts were predicting prices would soon hit the $100 mark.
 photo Oil-Consumption-1024x696_zps6c7e4d61.png

The past 46 years has seen oil consumption grow by 63% in the U.S., 60% in the EU, and 777% in Asia Pacific. Oil consumption in the U.S. and the EU has been trending downward since about 2005. But the reason there has been little relief from high oil prices — despite the drop in demand in the West — is that global oil consumption continues to climb on the back of very strong Asian demand.

Robert Rapier, Energy Trends Insider

Yergin countered with a forecast of a 30-year plateau in supplies with declining demand that would eventually bring oil prices down to $40 a barrel. At the time, he was also chairman of the Energy Department's Task Force on Strategic Energy Research and Development. The Bush administration was pushing shale oil drilling and Congress was creating the "Halliburton loophole" to protect drillers using hydraulic fracturing. He even took to the pages of the Washington Post to mock the idea of peak oil.

When oil prices broke into the $100 a barrel range in 2008 as many analysts had been predicting, Yergin again went on the offensive for the oil industry. He blamed high prices on analysts talking about peak oil.

One of the parting gifts of the Bush administration to the oil industry was a dramatic revision of what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allowed oil companies to count as reserves for investment disclosure documents. The SEC previously only allowed reserves to be counted as "proven" if drilling had begun, a practice Yergin resoundingly criticized in his 2005 editorial in the Washington Post. The new rules expanded the proven designation to undeveloped sites if the company promised to drill within 5 years. Suddenly, oil company reserves were growing rapidly on the strength of hand-waving over leases. (Remember all of those leases the oil industry has held in its pocket while clamoring for more? Those are useful for the industry to inflate its reserve estimates for the purpose of inflating its stock prices.)

Yergin used the burgeoning estimates of oil company reserves as the basis for his 2011 book ("The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World”), in which he again attacks the notion of peak oil, much to the delight of the gullible media.

He considers the notion of “peak oil” — the idea that the world’s supply is rapidly running out — and mostly dismisses it. Thanks to new technologies, estimates of the world’s total stock keep growing.
Yergin is working hard to spin fracking for shale oil as our economic savior, cheered on by the "drill, baby, drill" crowd. Conservative pundits are echoing the "peak oil is dead" mantra and regurgitating Yergin's talking points on shale oil. Recent examples include David Frum in CNN and Tracy Mehan in American Spectator, both of which appeared on March 5.

The oil industry needs the American people filled with the false beliefs that shale oil, tar sands, and other expensive hydrocarbons will create economic prosperity and lower transportation energy costs. It keeps down opposition to covering the country with shale wells and tar sands pipelines. Yergin and others have been very successful in convincing many that happy days and cheap oil are here again.

The shale oil rush is proof of peak oil

The oil industry wants you to focus on the amount of oil being produced from shale wells and not look closely at how individual wells perform. The devil is in the details. Geologist David Hughes examined production data for more than 65,000 shale oil and gas wells. The moral of the story is simple. These wells have rapid depletion rates. Here is a summary of the data for the Bakken formation in North Dakota.

 photo 130206_SCI_OilGraph02jpgCROParticle568-large_zps097e21a1.jpg

Why does the depletion rate matter? Simple. In order to maintain current heavily-hyped rates of production, new wells have to be drilled at the same ridiculous pace, if not even faster. Using Hubbert's island metaphor, these shale wells are itty-bitty islands. It takes a great many of them to match the production of only a few large strikes during the golden age of American oil between 1930 and 1960.

Why should you care? Because the shale oil and gas frenzy will be one of the most environmentally destructive initiatives in our history. Millions of acres will be cleared for well pads, drilling roads, and a mind-boggling web of pipelines, much of it on federal lands. Much of this acreage will include those carbon sinks known as trees. This industrial wasteland will likely never be reclaimed, certainly not by the oil industry. When a well becomes unprofitable to produce, the industry will close it in and move on to greener pastures to destroy. Let's also not forget the enormous consumption of water, often in arid regions, toxic emissions from drilling equipment and rolling stock, methane released or flared, and the uncertain effect of hundreds of thousands of wells and fractured shale formations on groundwater supplies.

All of this destruction will never bring broad-based prosperity or cheap prices at the pump. Wells are quickly drilled and crews move on to the next hole. Industry employment numbers are a shell game. Pump prices are set on the global commodity market, not by how much oil is produced in America. Because of the high production costs associated with fracturing shale formations to squeeze out a few barrels of oil, the industry is only going to produce when oil prices are high enough to guarantee a decent profit margin. There is nothing revolutionary, evolutionary, innovative, or even sane about the shale binge. It is peak silliness aimed at a poorly-informed populace so the oil industry can plunder public lands.

The drill, baby, drill propagandists have even discovered a cute trick to promote shale drilling as environmentally responsible. Shale gas will save us from climate change.

Here is David Frum:

One of the technologies developed by the oil industry -- fracking -- has made available vast new supplies of cheap natural gas. Gas has become so cheap that it can be substituted for coal as an electricity-generating fuel. In just eight years, coal's share of the U.S. electricity market has tumbled from one-half to one third -- and still falling. Gas emits only half the carbon per unit of energy of coal.
Here is the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology:
Support continuing expansion of shale-gas production, ensuring that environmental impacts of production and transport do not curtail the potential of this approach. Continuing substitution of gas for coal (and in some instances for oil) will remain an effective short- and middle-term decarbonization measure and an economic boon only insofar as methane leakage from production and transport is held to low levels and drinking water is not adversely impacted. The Federal Government has an important role to play in both of these respects, through collecting and distributing reliable data and through strengthened regulation where the data indicate this is required.
Shale gas is better than coal if you ignore all the negative impacts of extraction.

As Hubbert predicted, cheap oil is gone for good. Peak silliness, however, is here to stay.

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Originally posted to Climate Hawks on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 10:13 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here's the problem (15+ / 0-)

    All of the portrayals of peak oil (including the term) imply that there's one top and then a decline.  The trend is much more complex.

    We're in a countertrend started by several factors: (a) the willingness of developed nations to externalize the costs of oil production onto their own citizens, rather then exporting them to developing countries (see: Pipeline, Keystone XL); (b) high prices that tend to shake loose marginal capacity.  Some of that potential "marginal" capacity is rather large (deep water Gulf, under-the-ice oil made accessible by global warming -- we definitely are at peak irony, and alas shale oil and tar sands), (c) conservation measures and alternative energy decisions driven by prices.

    So when you hit a peak, there is a tendency for more capacity to come about.  But the trend becomes more and more marginal.  The tar sands in Alberta will have a comparatively small long term impact on supply, although there's enough to definitely soften the spot market.

    And since the media and VSPs don't do complex analysis very well, every time the supply situation improves or significant new capacity is found, they go back to "no problem here, move along" mode.

    •  The back and forth is only going to last so long (16+ / 0-)

      Eventually all the tricks are going to run out and oil supplies will start down their terminal depletion curve. It's happening slower than I expected as well, but then again, it's hard to predict with the feedback systems in place.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 10:32:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not quite (18+ / 0-)

      The trend is not complicated. The oil coming to market today has much higher production costs, much lower energy return on investment, and much larger carbon footprint than that produced was several decades ago. As Hubbert predicted, the age of cheap oil is over. Period.

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 10:37:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The point is... (6+ / 0-)

        ...that there is a lot of noise around the trend (and a tendency to not take a long series of data; remember $10/bbl oil and $1/gal gas from the Clinton era?  That ain't coming back.)

        This makes it possible to put up short term arguments (that crappy shale oil and tar sands oil is being paid for by socializing the safety and environmental costs, which are quite quantifiable, so it looks cheaper than it is; because these things are now economical and the proved reserve numbers have lots of zeros in them, nobody thinks about how much effect it's really going to have on global supply.)

        •  How Resource Limits Lead to Financial Collapse (7+ / 0-)

          How Resource Limits Lead to Financial Collapse

          Resource limits are invisible, so most people don’t realize that we could possibility be approaching them. In fact, my analysis indicates resource limits are really financial limits, and in fact, we seem to be approaching those limits right now.
          The financial collapse is related to Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) that is already too low. I don’t see any particular EROEI target as being a threshold–the calculations for individual energy sources are not on a system-wide basis, so are not always helpful. The issue is not precisely low EROEI. Instead, the issue is the loss of  cheap fossil fuel energy to subsidize the rest of society.
          When a company decides to extract a resource such as oil, gold, or fresh water, it looks for the least expensive source available. After many years of extraction, the least expensive sources become depleted, and the company must move on to more expensive resources. It always looks like there are plenty of resources left; they are just increasingly expensive to extract. Eventually an extraction limit is reached; this limit is a price limit.
          Part of the confusion is that many people completely miss the fact that there is a close connection between cheap energy supply of the exact type needed (for example, gasoline for cars, diesel for trucks, electricity for many factory applications) and the ability of the world economy to make goods and services.

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:22:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And then there is the oil shale (not shale oil)... (7+ / 0-)

      ...of the Green River formation, which is even worse than the tar sands for dirty and water consumption and environmental destruction (of the non-climate change type).

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 11:57:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But... (8+ / 0-)

        ....if you can make someone else incur the environmental costs against their will, it looks much cheaper.

      •  Besides... (4+ / 0-)

        ...what that shale holds isn't even oil, it's kerogen. We're a long ways away from that being thermodynamically feasible as an economic product.  So the Green River formation hydrocarbons are classified as resources, not reserves.

        •  Four booms and busts in oil shale since the ... (4+ / 0-)

          ...1890s and not a drop of commercial oil shale being produced now. I got to witness the 1980s boom-and-bust up close. Cities bonded themselves for new infrastructure from sewers to schools because Exxon told them in 1980 that by 2000, there would be 2 million additional workers in western Colorado and eastern Utah making oil from that kerogen, 8 million barrels a day of the stuff. Those towns would have gone bankrupt if they state hadn't paid off their bond debt.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:08:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It is a lot more feasible than you think. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bigjacbigjacbigjac, yuriwho, chira2

          Shale oil was the original source of oil in Lothian, Scotland in the 1830s. The oil industry we recognize came with the invention of seamless steel pipe around 1900 when the first oil tankers were built and oil wasn't stored in wooden barrels. It is a very simple technlogy and very practical.
          The problem is our world addiction to oil guzzles about 1 cubic mile of oil per year.
          Oil shale kerogen must be cooked, release lots of CO2 and a ton of oil shale produces about 1/4 barrel of oil, so you'd have to dig up a huge amount of material. That's a lot more money and energy to just pump it out of the ground.

          It is better to just get off oil alltogether.

      •  The Reason Its Not The "Green River OIL FIELD" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac, chira2

        because it's not "oil."

        There are some sweet spots where the petroleum content is pretty high, but it has to be strip mined and after the oil is extracted the toxic rubble is not reduced in volume.  There would literally be mountains of shit to dispose of.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:03:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I always read "new technology" is making (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GayHillbilly, bigjacbigjacbigjac

      new fossil fuel resources available.

      If you replace "new technology" with "higher crude prices" you get a better picture of what is happening.

      And the "Green River Formation"? That's Kerogen not fuel. Submerge it below a continental plate for a few hundred million years at high temperature, sequester it in oil bearing rock, have everything go just right, and the next species to inherit the Earth might just have another big oil reservoir.

      Or you you could listen to Sarah Palin et. al. Anybody else seen the video of her wafting the Harley fumes into her face saying "Hmmmm! Smell the emissions."?

      Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

      by FrY10cK on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:49:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  good diary - thanks (13+ / 0-)

    the hype about shale oil is nutty. BS is everywhere.

    A prime example - the other day this NBC news article said:

    Without fanfare, China passed the United States in December to become the world's leading importer of oil – the first time in nearly 40 years that the U.S. didn’t own that dubious distinction. That same month, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania together produced 1.5 million barrels of oil a day -- more than Iran exported.
    Which claim is EASILY disproven by US Energy Information Administration stats that show combined crude oil production from these three states in December 2012 to be < 800,000 million barrels per day. Almost all of it is from ND.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 10:27:45 AM PDT

  •  Peak Oil is so f***ing obvious. (15+ / 0-)

    We live on a finite planet, that contains a finite amount of oil and gas. The more we extract and use the less that remains.

    Of course it is possible to have a discussion of when that peak will, or has arrived, but the inevitability cannot  be questioned.

    It has taken 100's of millions of years to create those oil reserves, and a little over 100 years to deplete a major share of the stock.

    And what many people fail to understand is that oil isn't just used to power their SUV's but is the basic component of all plastics.

    In the future we are going to have to prioritize the uses of the dwindling oil supplies. You can't fly from NY to San Francisco in a solar powered plane, but you can drive your chevy volt based on solar power.

  •  Data on the issue. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ender, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    2012 was another record year in world oil production

    My question is, how many consecutive years can the Peak Oilers be wrong and still get media coverage?

    The world is now producing more oil at under $100/barrel than we were when it was $140/barrel, and we're barely at the beginning of the oil shale era.

    •  And how many times (9+ / 0-)

      will the oil industry ignore rapidly growing global demand driven by Asia that keeps prices high, along higher production costs from unconventional sources? And how many times will the industry ignore well depletion rates for shale wells? And how many times will the oil industry ignore the number of active rigs necessary to maintain production? And how many times will the oil industry ignore rapidly falling levels of energy return on energy invested?

      Be radical in your compassion.

      by DWG on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 12:19:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is not much of a slope (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies, bluegrass50, mightymouse

      after 2004.  Yes, there is a 3 year run of slight increases, but on the order of 2% recent average production rates.  A decade ago or so we saw a 5% increase from year to year.

      And how much of this production is dependent on newer technologies - some of that oil will fit in the "not cheap oil" bucket.

      And if you look at the 30 year trend it seems we are in a period of slight production gains, but it seems to be a slower pace than previous production increases, and could easily be rendered as statistical noise if rates go down of level off again for 4 or 5 years.

    •  MGross, your facts don't matter! (0+ / 0-)

      Because Asia is using more oil!

      Never mind that oil production increases every year. Repeat after me, "Asia is using more oil!"

      There was never any evidence that we were at peak oil production. That is the cool thing about the peak oil doomsday scenario; It requires no evidence whatsoever.

      We were not at peak oil last year. We won't be next year. It is unlikely to happen in our lifetime.

      •  According to MGross' link (11+ / 0-)

        2005: global C+C production 74.6 MMb/day
        2012: global C=C production 75.5 MMb/day

        Price: 2005 = $40-$50 per barrel
                  2012 = $90-$100

        So, let me get this straight.  The price goes up by 100%, yet production increases by 1.2%.  You're telling me this is no sign of a problem?  

        If there were "no peak in sight" and that the entire peak oil scenario was bunk, shouldn't a doubling of price bring on a lot more new production than that?  

        I think the data is stating the obvious: the price is staying high precisely because the only new production that is available is THAT EXPENSIVE.  Expensive fracking, deep water, tar sands... they are low grade sources being chased now because that's all we got.

        You know what: THAT is precisely the peak oil thesis.

        Please, try again with your sophistry.  I ain't buying it.  I'm going to trust my own common sense and what my lyin' eyes are telling me.

        The intrinsic nature of Power is such that those who seek it most are least qualified to wield it.

        by mojo workin on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 03:55:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I guess that you slept through the great recession (0+ / 0-)

          Hello! There was a drop in demand.

          The U.S. is now the largest oil exporter in the world.

          We will produce more oil next year than this year.

          Your predicted peak is nowhere to be seen.

        •  Mojo, the world doesn't have to obey your equation (0+ / 0-)

          You might think that if the price goes up by 100% that production should go up by 100%, but that's just not how the world works.

          Oil production follows demand for oil.

          If you double oil production, who is going to buy it?

          If oil production increases by 1.2%, then oil production has increased and we are not at peak oil.

          •  I Partly Agree... (0+ / 0-)

            ...but again, we're talking about a big system here--basically, the entire world economy.  Global oil production has been up and down since 2005, and is only a few percent higher now than then.  Meanwhile, oil prices have continued to stymie most beginnings at economic recovery since 2008, and prices remain around $100.  There is little doubt that, if oil were available at $50/barrel, there would be ample market.  But oil is not available in sufficient quantity to justify that much of a price cut.  In other words, price is by and large well-adjusted to demand.  And price over the last decade has increased fourfold, while production has ticked up only incrementally.  So yes, scarcity is increasingly upon us.  Why do you think China is becoming so belligerent over the Senkaku Islands and the South China Sea?

      •  Wrong. You ignore a basic tenet of Peak Oil. (11+ / 0-)

        Hitting peak oil doesn't state that oil production itself immediately decreases. Rather it states that every subsequent barrel of oil requires more and more extreme extraction processes.  We are clearly there. Example: Obliterating countless acres of wilderness for tar sands as opposed to poking a glorified straw in the ground.

        Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

        by bigtimecynic on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 05:01:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Increasing Marginal Costs For Us, Profit For Them (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peregrine kate

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:05:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, competition, rather than lowering the price (0+ / 0-)

            will cause reduced production? That's not how they tell us The Free Market is supposed to operate.

            Because of the high production costs associated with fracturing shale formations to squeeze out a few barrels of oil, the industry is only going to produce when oil prices are high enough to guarantee a decent profit margin.

            -- We are just regular people informed on issues

            by mike101 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:34:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  News flash: Oil doesn't bubble out of the ground (0+ / 0-)


          You can't just walk up and fill your bucket like you could a hundred years ago.

          Oil has been getting harder to extract for a century. And yet we keep extracting more each year.

          You doom sayers don't have a leg to stand on.

          Things are the same as they ever were.

          •  Ho Hum... (0+ / 0-)

            Yet another head-in-sander.

            Global production has been largely flat--fluctuations within a few percent, and certainly no monotonic upward trend--since 2005.  

            Glad to see you're hip to the basic premise of peak oil, though--that oil is in fact getting more difficult to extract.  A few numbers? A century ago, EROEI was roughly 100-to-1. Now it's roughly 10-to-1.  Energy-intensive oil types like tar sands are more like 3 or 4-to-1.  In other words, overall production only tells part of the story, when much of that production is effectively reinvested immediately just to keep up production. There isn't going to be some miraculous reversal of this tred.

            If you haven't paid any attention to reports on the economics of shale oil and shale gas, you should. They're not nearly as profitable as initially assumed.  

            The fact that oil prices have quadrupled or quintupled in the last ten years, while production has risen perhaps ten percent, should be a clue to you. We are relying increasingly on coal again, because there is not enough oil supply worldwide to feed our economic engines--this should be another clue.  The cycles of recovery, oil price spike, and renewed recession of the past several years should be a third.

            •  If we produce ever more oil, then peak oil is bunk (0+ / 0-)

              Here is the history of US oil production from EIA:

              See how it has been increasing since the economy bottomed out? See how it has been increasing at ever greater rates?

              All that I could find on world oil production is a table for 2007 to 2012:

              72,873.0      73,698.5      72,306.8      74,073.7      74,143.8      75,553.1

              What does it matter what the return on investment is as long as we keep producing more and more oil?

              Profit is profit. The oil companies are the most profitable industry in the history of mankind.

              You might theorize that it is unsustainable, but you can't back that up with any evidence. If you find a hundred dollar bill lying on the ground, but you had to pay ninety dollars to pick it up, you still have ten dollars of free money! Don't you think that you are going to go back tomorrow for another ten bucks?

              Oil prices and oil production are two separate things. Oil production changes very slowly while oil prices can change in a second. The fact that Goldman Sachs owns more oil contracts than the producers or consumers of oil tells me that oil prices are not a good indicator of oil supply.

        •  Wow. That's some sophistry right there. (0+ / 0-)

          You just said that hitting peak oil doesn't mean that oil production decreases.

          You realize that your peak oil theory is therefore impossible to disprove.

          According to your argument, your conclusion that we are at peak oil implies nothing about the present or future.

          The fact that next year it will take more effort to extract a barrel of oil than it did this year is not a prediction of peak oil theory. It is common sense. You are going to harvest the low-hanging fruit first. It is the history of oil drilling, mining, etc.

          •  you do realize that you just said (0+ / 0-)

            that peak oil is common sense, right?  Well I am glad you cleared that up.

          •  There's a Sophist in the Room... (0+ / 0-)

            ...and it's not bigtimecynic.

            I would disagree with him (her) on one thing: peak oil does in fact mean that production rate has peaked, and then enters a period of terminal decline.

            I don't disagree entirely with Yergin's premise that there might be a plateau of oil production, which lasts for a number of years.  In my opinion, we've been at just this plateau since 2005, in which time production has increased only marginally (1.7%, after adjustment for natural gas liquids--see Gail the Actuary's latest post on the Oil Drum).  Prices have increased far more during that time, and show no signs of going down.  

            In fact, economic repercussions of high oil prices are being increasingly felt around the world.  The crown prince of Saudi Arabia has said more than once that $100/barrel is an adequate price for its own economy.  The Egyptian revolution began because of food scarcity.  As the energy basic to our entire economy becomes progressively more expensive, the effects are increasingly obvious in every basic feature of our lives, including the price of food (which is a very energy-intensive industry).

            Again--for what seems like the dozenth time--it is impossible to say that "we are now at peak oil", or will be in the very near future.  This is because production and reserves information from many of the world's leading producers are highly unreliable (look at any history of the OPEC nations--notice what happened to KAS' official reserves estimates after the US left in the late 70's).  These countries have powerful incentives to misrepresent production and reserves, and we have no good way to verify their claims.  So any prediction is of necessity fraught with great uncertainty.

            But a simple observation cannot be avoided: global production has been largely flat, and global exports have decreased, over the past near-decade, while Asia's appetite for oil has dramatically increased and oil prices have gone up by a factor of about 4.  If there were sources of oil to ease this bottleneck and better supply the world, so that prices would fall, those sources would be tapped.  Instead, we are going ever deeper, squeezing ever harder, just to maintain the production we're already used to, never mind increasing it.  It really requires a special kind of blindness to think that's not an indicator of the future trend.

            •  Another ad hominem attack. Imagine that. (0+ / 0-)

              In the table that I posted below to correct bluegrass50's numbers, I show a decrease in production during the Reagan recession in the early eighties. That was the worst recession since WWII, until the current one that is. Any increase in oil production during the current recession should be a miracle and yet you are belittling it by saying that it is too small.

              I will make the prediction that once the economy recovers and we get back to late nineties conditions, you will see oil production ramp up like crazy.

              You seem to agree with me that we are not now at peak oil and will not be in the very near future. You don't define what very near future means.

              At least you have the courage to try to make a prediction, poor as it is. You say that oil production is stuck at a plateau, but you use a screwy definition of plateau such that increases in production are allowed. What definition of plateau are you using?

              You say that other nations are not very open about their oil reserve figures or they are downright deceptive, therefore we cannot predict when peak oil will occur. That reinforces my conclusion that Peak Oil theory is good for nothing!

              The biggest error in logic that you keep making is to jump to the conclusion that since oil is ever more difficult to extract that therefore we are running out of oil. The facts do not support your conclusion. Oil has been ever more difficult to extract every since they started doing it! What is so different now? When did it change?

              I can't believe how you ignore all of the untapped reservoirs of oil that we now have available. They have found huge reservoirs off South America. Due to global warming, the arctic is now open for exploration. Look at all the tar sand!

      •  100% Dead Wrong. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, bluegrass50

        Production has fluctuated since 2005, and as mojo pointed out, price has doubled in that time.

        Coal production is increasing to help fuel much of China's economic rise, along with increased oil imports.  In that same time span--from 2005 onward--global net exports have fallen.  (Available charts seem updated only through 2009.)

        One limitation on predicting peak oil is unreliability of production statistics from OPEC and other nations, like Russia.  For example, Saudi Arabia's official production statistics are a national aggregate, not broken down into field-by-field statistics.  It is impossible to verify their accuracy.  But the country's stated reserves have remained almost unchanged since 1980, despite the billions of barrels produced in that time.  That type of accounting is, to say the least, suspect.  Without accurate production data it is impossible to make reliable predictions of future trends--hence the vagueness in peak oil predictions.  The basic fact of a global peak in oil production is, however, physical reality.  The only question is when it will occur, and a many lines of evidence suggest that we are at it now or soon will be.

        Ultra-deep offshore and tight oil would hardly be touted as revolutions and game changers if easier-to-produce oil were available.  And it's becoming increasingly clear that tight oil is hardly a game changer.

        •  You didn't state one thing that I am dead wrong (0+ / 0-)


          It's hard to refute your argument when you don't make one.

          •  Oh, There You Are. (0+ / 0-)

            "We were not at peak oil last year. We won't be next year. It is unlikely to happen in our lifetime."

            Just your conclusion, that's all.  We will most certainly see peak oil in our lifetime.  Perhaps we're at it right now, perhaps not quite yet.  It's hard to be certain since so much information on production and reserves is unreliable--basically national security secrets for the likes of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

            Hey, you did get it right that Asia is consuming more than ever.  The economic rise of the BRIC nations has been a main driver of rising oil prices.  Yet per-barrel price has risen so much more quickly than production...perhaps you should wonder why this is so.

            •  So, you want to have a crystal ball fight? (0+ / 0-)

              My crystal ball says:

              1) There will be a major earthquake in California.
              2) Stock prices will fall.

              You know that I am right. Those things have to happen eventually.

              Notice what I left out?

              The predictions are useless without saying when these things will happen!

              It's the same with Peak Oil.

              •  Nope. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Evidence is all around us, if you choose to pay any attention to it, that the oil market has tightened immensely in the last ten years.  Simply comparing change in price per barrel to change in production is a very big indicator.  Increasing reliance on alternatives to oil, whether coal, natural gas or others, is another.  A definite prediction isn't possible because much of the production and reserve data isn't reliable.

                Hey, I'd love to be wrong about this.  But the recent flatness of global oil production, and the steady decline in global net exports, screams otherwise.  If, like Yergin, you want to repose in an evidence-free assumption of a 3- to 4-decade plateau, feel free.  But keep your eyes on production stats for shale gas and shale oil.  We've been drilling the sweet spots at a manic pace for the last several years, and the industry is still losing money.  How likely is that situation to reverse?

                •  The oil companies are not losing money (0+ / 0-)

                  They are enjoying record profits. They know a lot more about this stuff than we do.

                  Shifts to non-fossil fuels should cause a decrease in oil demand or at least a decrease in the rate of its increase. This should cause oil production to increase more slowly. This has nothing to do with the amount of oil in the ground, the supposed scarcity of which is the very basis of peak oil theory.

                  I have tried to show in my other comments that oil price and oil production are only loosely coupled. I feel that reaching conclusions based on their ratio is a fool's errand.

                  •  they are enjoying record profits due to (0+ / 0-)

                    a) monopolistic control in some markets
                    b) tax advantages other industries do not have
                    c) subsidies other industries do not have
                    d) relative price inelasticity of demand in certain uses and markets (billions of gas powered vehicles, oil fired electric plants, airplanes, use of plastics etc etc)

              •  nonsense. Apples and oranges (0+ / 0-)

                Peak oil is based on observable trends and the finite nature of the resource.

                It cannot be compared to unrelated systems that can be predicted to a lesser extent because they are completely different in nature.  Again, this demonstrates either ignorance on your part or willfill disregard of logic and facts.  Either way, not good.

                •  Peak oil belief is just a doomsday cult (0+ / 0-)

                  Peak oil theory cannot produce a single testable prediction about anything. Therefore it is not science.

                  Belief in peak oil could be replaced with belief in an invisible goblin with its hand on the valve that controls the world's oil supply.

                  Peak Oil theory says that one day the goblin is going to start closing the valve and there will be mass hysteria, dogs and cats living together, etc.

                  How is that scientific?

    •  you should look at longer trends (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, helfenburg

      and not overstate small increases in production in a single year as evidence of a trend or lack of a trend.

      From your source:

      2012 was 2.6% more than 2004

      2004 was 9.9% more than 1998

      1998 was 11.5% more than 1991

      That looks like a trend, one you should think about.

      •  You are just changing the subject (0+ / 0-)

        Oil production is increasing, therefore we are not at peak oil.

        The fact that oil production is not meeting your preconceived levels has nothing to do with it.

        •  how is it changing the subject to point (0+ / 0-)

          out that the rate of increase in oil production is slowing dramatically over the last 20 years?  That is what peak oil is about.  If you want to argue we are not quite at the peak yet, fine, but there are comments in this thread suggesting that a small increase last year means no peak oil.  

          •  Suppose we disagree over the speed of a vehicle (0+ / 0-)

            I say that it is speeding up. You claim that it is slowing down.

            I show you the speedometer and point out that it is reading a higher value than it was a few minutes ago.

            Then you say, "But the rate of acceleration is less than it was before."

            You just changed the subject. We were never discussing acceleration before that. The value of the acceleration is immaterial to your original argument about the vehicle's speed.

            •  I'll play that game (0+ / 0-)

              Peak oil says it is going to stop accelerating because it is using up a finite resource.  it will reach a peak and then slow down.  That is what it is.

              You were never discussing acceleration because
              a) you don't understand peak oil, or
              b) you are willfully ignoring ideas and facts to make your point based on a simple and simplistic data point

              •  Why do you have to resort to ad hominem attacks? (0+ / 0-)

                You are only making yourself look foolish.

                Your acceleration argument is a red herring. If you don't know what that means, please look it up.

                Besides that you have a faulty red herring. Your figures are wrong. (Strangely, 11.5 is correct for 1991 - 1998)

                You cherry picked the years. Percent increase in world oil production using half decades:

                1980 - 1985   -9.4%
                1985 - 1990   12.1%
                1990 - 1995     3.2%
                1995 - 2000     9.7%
                2000 - 2005     7.5%

                These figures signify nothing and are still a red herring.

                •  I see you left out the last 7 years (0+ / 0-)

                  of course you did, it would demolish your point

                  •  Still flogging that dead horse? (0+ / 0-)

                    The numbers are publicly available. Do your own math.

                    Your point is the one being demolished. My only point is that you don't know what you are talking about.

                    You somehow look at this table that shows that we are extracting ever more oil, year after year and then jump to the totally illogical conclusion that we are running out of oil.

                    Your conclusion is not supported by the facts.

                    Now if you could somehow make a graph of these figures and make a testable prediction, I would love to be proved wrong.

  •  To simplify: (11+ / 0-)

    Once some percentage (~50%) of the oil in the ground is extracted, it becomes increasingly costly to maintain production at the same level. More and more costly and esoteric production technology must be employed.
       Eventually, the amount of energy needed to extract a barrel of oil is equal to the extractable energy in the oil, and the field goes into terminal decline.
       This applies for one well field or for the whole world.
       So far, it appears to me that the oil industry is acting like we are approaching or at peak oil. Otherwise they wouldn't be drilling in two miles of water.

  •  Unfortunately, the limiting factor is not supply (6+ / 0-)

    but the stability of the climate system.  

    Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. ("Reasonable," in this case, means four chances in five, or somewhat worse odds than playing Russian roulette with a six-shooter.)

    This idea of a global "carbon budget" emerged about a decade ago, as scientists began to calculate how much oil, coal and gas could still safely be burned. Since we've increased the Earth's temperature by 0.8 degrees so far, we're currently less than halfway to the target. But, in fact, computer models calculate that even if we stopped increasing CO2 now, the temperature would likely still rise another 0.8 degrees, as previously released carbon continues to overheat the atmosphere. That means we're already three-quarters of the way to the two-degree target.

    How good are these numbers? No one is insisting that they're exact, but few dispute that they're generally right. The 565-gigaton figure was derived from one of the most sophisticated computer-simulation models that have been built by climate scientists around the world over the past few decades. And the number is being further confirmed by the latest climate-simulation models currently being finalized in advance of the next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change....

    The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons

    This number is the scariest of all – one that, for the first time, meshes the political and scientific dimensions of our dilemma. It was highlighted last summer by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts and environmentalists who published a report in an effort to educate investors about the possible risks that climate change poses to their stock portfolios. The number describes the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it's the fossil fuel we're currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number – 2,795 – is higher than 565. Five times higher.

    Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone

    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 01:47:33 PM PDT

  •  Shale oil is a money loser (6+ / 0-)

    I read an article the other day (sorry I didn't keep the link) where the energy companies drilling shale oil are losing money hand over fist.
       Why? Because there isn't enough oil coming out of the ground to justify the amount of investment.

      This is just another sign of Peak Oil. Peak Oil isn't about running out of oil. It's about running out of cheap oil.
       Look at the price of gas and tell me that energy is cheap.

    ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

    by gjohnsit on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 04:12:06 PM PDT

  •  that production decline curve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    makes shale gas unprofitable except at much higher prices.

    i expect most of this industry to be gone in another 2-3 years as the investors figure out they are getting robbed

  •  The "truth" is out there..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The problem is, there are so many moving parts, it's just the luck of the draw when anyone predicts anything this complicated. A few facts anyone should know:

    1. Dr. Hubbert, who is revered as some sort of oil prediction god by the PO crowd, began to equivocate very strongly on his predictions a couple of years before his death.

    2. "Engineers" have been predicting peak oil since about 1890, look it up.

    3. It's a good thing prices of oil are staying up, it encourages conservation and alternative development.

    I could go on ad nauseum, but why bother. The simple "truth" is people suck at predicting very complicated things, and for a good reason. PO may happen next year, or thirty years from now, and nobody really knows if it will matter by the time it does.  

    •  There is Truth (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mike101, bigjacbigjacbigjac what you say, that predictions are of necessity vague.  This is due in large part to the unreliability of production and reserves information from OPEC nations, and other major producers like Russia.  They have powerful political incentives to over- or understate their production (depending on circumstances), and it's quite difficult, given the extreme complexity of the global oil market, to verify them.  There are agencies devoted to tracking tanker movements and using that to estimate oil production.  That's one clue to the opacity of the market.  

      But there are occasional glimpses at reality, such as when a very highly placed Saudi (I don't remember his name, and don't have a link, but it's frequently referenced in The Oil Drum) who admitted last year that the KSA is now producing flat-out.  Quotas in OPEC no longer matter because all member nations are running at full capacity.  When Saudi Aramco now talks about spare capacity, they're talking about drilling more and adding more production infrastructure, not opening taps.  All their taps are wide open, now.

      It's not accurate, at all, to say that "peak oil" has been predicted since 1890.  People have been predicting since the 1800's that we would deplete our oil resources, and be left with only coal and wood again.  All of these predictions were laughable by modern standards because they didn't have a very good understanding of geological processes.  The theory of the movement of continents wasn't invented until the early 1900's and this wasn't incorporated into an overall theory of plate tectonics until the late 1960's.  Oil wasn't recognized as a biogenic product until decades after it was first drilled and produced.  By this point we've learned our ABC's on the matter.  Only in the latter part of the 20th century did rate of production, regardless of remaining oil in place, become the prime concern.

      •  There is a fallacy...... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        In always believing that "current science" has the answers. Current Science tends to become outdated "what we thought we knew then" with great regularity.

        It's no doubt true that PO will occur someday, and probably within a few years or a few decades, but no one really knows what the outcome of that will be, other that "we will see rising prices" and "energy alternatives will begin to garner greater interest".

        There could be years of economic stagnation....or it could wind up being about as big a hype as "Y2K". Get over the idea that we know what is going to happen next. The entire history of humanity and "science" proves otherwise.  

        •  I'm a Scientist, Bub. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm quite well aware that we don't have answers to most questions.  Re-evaluating the answers we already have, and improving the questions, is much of our effort.

          Peak oil and economic stagnation are quite related concepts. There really seem to be, as the last few years have demonstrated, real limits to what the global economy can afford to pay for something as fundamental as energy. When prices reach $120-$130 a barrel, recessions have ensued.  Alternatives to oil are already coming to the forefront in many markets, but if peak oil is upon us now--notice that I wrote "if", because we can't be sure, given how uncertain much of our data is--if peak oil is upon us now, alternative energy sources are nowhere near well developed enough to save us from economic calamity.  I certainly hope not, but a long-term severe recession is a real possibility.

  •  Read (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac, mightymouse

    It's heavily moderated. The articles are by oil field professionals, geologists, energy analysts and the like. They are quantitative as is required by their professions and the charts are sometimes hard to comprehend.

    But if you scan the comments (high signal to noise ratio due to the moderation) you'll often find a petroleum engineer or seismic expert who will break it down it plain English. It'ts worth your time. I promise.

    Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

    by FrY10cK on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 06:38:03 PM PDT

    •  The Oil Drum (3+ / 0-)

      ...along with Daily Kos is one of my home pages.

      As here, the meat of the site is in the comments.  I began reading during the Deepwater Horizon incident--a career- and life-changing event for me--and I'm consistently impressed with the intelligence and clarity of analysis.  I'm a big fan of ROCKMAN.  He's kind of their Fishgrease, minus the F-bombs--the knowledgeable folk hero.

  •  GOP Freaked When Obama Said US Has 2% Of The Oil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But fear not, we'll just have rustic bumpkins randomly discharge muskets into the ground.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:18:06 PM PDT

  •  Oil has been a huge gift of nature that we've (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    been able to use to help us make huge societal gains. But we've got to figure out very soon what to move on to...while the supply of oil is still able to power us fairly well.

    It's like how the next stage of a rocket has to fire while the rocket is still accelerating strongly from the stage before it. If you wait until the previous stage has burnt-out and the rocket is decelerating, it is much harder to get going again. And if the delay is too long or the next stage isn't powerful enough, our rocket crashes.

    -- We are just regular people informed on issues

    by mike101 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:51:24 PM PDT

  •  Fugitive methane leakage (0+ / 0-)

    This demands much more attention. While natural gas emits half the amount of CO2 of coal when burned, that advantage disappears due to leakage. Natural gas is about 90% methane. Methane is 25 time as potent a greenhouse gas over a 100-year time horizon and 72 times stronger over a 20-year horizon.

    This working paper was released yesterday from the World Resource Institute:



    Natural gas production in the United States has increased rapidly in recent years, growing by 23 percent from 2007 to 2012. This development has significantly changed projections of the future energy mix in the U.S. Advances combining horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have enabled producers to access vast supplies of natural
    gas deposits in shale rock formations. This shale gas phenomenon has helped to reduce energy prices, directly and indirectly supporting growth for many sectors of the U.S. economy, including manufacturing.

    This paper seeks to clarify what is known about methane emissions from the natural gas sector, what progress has been made to reduce those emissions, and what more can be done. Box S-1 lists the paper’s key findings. Box S-2 describes the scope of this study.

    Shale gas development has triggered divisive debates over the near- and long-term environmental implications of developing and using these resources, including concerns over air quality, water resources, and community impacts. One point of controversy concerns the climate change implications of shale gas development, in part due to uncertainty about emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) that is the primary component of natural gas. Fugitive methane emissions reduce the net climate benefits of using lower-carbon natural gas as a substitute for coal and oil for electricity generation and transportation, respectively.

    Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

    by Just Bob on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 08:51:27 PM PDT

  •  Oh DWG (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You have hit the nail on the head.  So much here I've wanted to write about but haven't put coherent thoughts together to do so.

    The hype over shale gas and oil is driving me nuts. Such BS. When EROI is worse and worse, and drillers have to keep drilling new wells at a too rapid pace just to keep up production levels, you know you've got a long-term supply problem.

    Thanks for putting it all together. When will we ever learn.

    “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

    by SolarMom on Fri Apr 05, 2013 at 09:47:17 PM PDT

  •  You see... (7+ / 0-)

    The theory of "Peak Oil" is based on the ridiculous and HIGHLY controversial idea that if you keep using a finite resource, it will eventually run out. I mean really, who comes up with this stuff!

  •  I wrote a diary about this: (0+ / 0-)  

     Modern day farming is done with huge tractors;
    smaller tractors of past decades
    led the way,
    and the trend has been,
    bigger and bigger tractors,
    to farm more efficiently,
    to feed three hundred million Americans,
    more than enough food,
    food beyond our wildest dreams,
    at least in quantity,
    and efficiency of production,
    leading to low prices.

    And that takes a lot of diesel fuel.  

    I'm no scholar,
    but my contribution to the discussion
    is to remind folks that our food is brought from the soil
    to our mouths
    by way of diesel fuel.

    Lots of diesel fuel in the tanks of farm equipment and trucks.

     I predict that after the period of subsidizing oil companies,
    we will have a period of oil shortage,
    diesel fuel shortage,
    gradually getting worse and worse,
    until we truly have severe famine in America,
    and as the famine progresses,
    since America is the land of guns,

    (three hundred million Americans,
    three hundred million guns,)

    there will be a lot of shooting,
    until everyone runs out of ammo.

    The survivors will be forced to farm the old fashioned way,
    using horses and mules.

    Not tractors.  


    I have a proposal for making it simpler
    to organize society:

      And one more thing:
    to deal with the coming crisis,
    and for all time after,
    we should eliminate money.

    And I have one obvious point
    to completely debunk our capitalist money system:

    The only way we can ever have
    a sustainable civilization
    is by governing ourselves
    with that sustainability
    as our clear, firm goal;
    never letting the desire for more money
    on the part of some of us
    dictate the way we organize ourselves.

    Thanks for reading.

    Bringing a child into the world at this point in history is a crime, the crime of child endangerment.

    by bigjacbigjacbigjac on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 04:11:28 AM PDT

  •  Bullshit, indeed, DWG! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm thankful for your insightful diary. Now my diary ruined. Again. (But also inspired to support the real facts vs. the bullshit. I'll manage.)

    Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

    by richholtzin on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 05:53:52 AM PDT

  •  Peak Oil (0+ / 0-)

    This is a terrific summary of key points on a topic too often trivialized by the noisemakers and know-nothings.
    Peak oil (and denial of same) are frequent subjects of my own blog, and I appreciate your effort to add to the needed dialogue.

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