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From Earth Insight by Nafeez Ahmed, hostsed by the Gardian, Former BP geologist: peak oil is here and it will 'break economies':

Dr. Richard G. Miller, who worked for BP from 1985 before retiring in 2008, said that official data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), US Energy Information Administration (EIA), International Monetary Fund (IMF), among other sources, showed that conventional oil had most likely peaked around 2008.
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:
"We need new production equal to a new Saudi Arabia every 3 to 4 years to maintain and grow supply... New discoveries have not matched consumption since 1986. We are drawing down on our reserves, even though reserves are apparently climbing every year. Reserves are growing due to better technology in old fields, raising the amount we can recover – but production is still falling at 4.1% p.a. [per annum]."

Wait a Minute, I Thought the Peak Oil Theory Was Debunked!

Big Oil has, of course, worked hard on spinning the peak oil argument. After all, if we cannot count on the availability of petroleum as an energy source, then that creates an obvious coalition of interest between those concerned with climate change, who argue for investing in alternatives to CO2 emitting energy sources, and those who are simply concerned with securing a long term energy supply for their economic activities ... which can be secured by investing in alternatives to CO2 emitting energy sources.

Propagandizing the impression that the "Peak Oil" argument has been debunked is therefore an essential political wedge action by Big Oil, preventing that natural coalition of interest from coming together.

Of course, when engaged in a well-financed spin campaign, what one does is take all the arguments one can find, based on whatever partial or misrepresented evidence one can muster, and send them through focus groups to find the arguments that appear to be most effective. And then put them out there in as many channels as required, including direct issues advertising, various propaganda mills willing to reach a conclusion for hire, and by giving both money and messaging support to politicians available for lease in both the Republican and Democratic party.

Dr. Miller punctures a key talking point here: growing reserves prove that the "Peak Oil" hypothesis was wrong.

The Peak Oil hypothesis is based on the fact that new discoveries are lagging behind depletion of existing fields, so that given the normal production profile of an oil field, a certain time after the peak of new discoveries, we will arrive at the peak of new production. And, as Dr, Miller reminds us, the growth in reserves is not due to new discoveries outpacing consumption ... it is due to new production techniques that are more effective at extending the production lifespan of existing oil fields and recovering more of the petroleum contained in the field.

Now, slowing the rate of decline and postponing the retiring of existing oil fields could defer a production peak ... if new discoveries were being made and exploited rapidly enough to bridge the now smaller decline in what the existing fields are producing. That plausibility may well be part of why this talking point would have done well in focus groups.

But according to Dr. Miller, the actual facts on the ground are that new production of conventional oil coming on stream is not outpacing the declines in production in existing fields. And so, plausible or not, that link between increasing reserves and increasing total production just is not happening.

 
Shift the Goal Posts: Change The Object of Discussion

Another element of the messaging strategy that I have seen coming from, among other sources, the current administration, is to shift the topic of the conversation from the actual target of the Peak Oil hypothesis, which is directed toward conventional oil production, so start talking about "liquid supply". As Dr. Miller notes in this article, conventional oil production has been flat, with all increases in supply coming from natural gas liquids and oil-sand bitumen.

But conventional oil is still the largest component of that "liquid fuels" production. Changing the focus of the political debate does not, in fact, do anything to change the predictive power of the Peak Oil hypothesis. And that means that we can still expect conventional oil production to begin to decline on a world wide basis just as they have been lower (and except for a few years when production from the North Slope of Alaska increased the total, declining) than our domestic peak in 1958 ... first relatively slowly, and then more rapidly. And just as with the US, there may be production breakthroughs that temporarily halt or slow the decline, but since those gains are standing on top of a sinking foundation, they are unlikely to bring us back to the original peak.

As we slide down the steepest part of the downward production decline, the production of natural gas liquids ~ ethane, propane, butane, pentane ~ can only partially compensate, since they are no perfect substitutes for petroleum. And as we slide down the steepest part of the downward production decline, a major factor determining the volume of liguid fuel supplies other than conventional oil will be the price that can be extracted.

So for petroleum dependent economies, the "good news" of non-conventional replacements for what will sooner or later be rapidly declining conventional oil production is that there may be some price that is painfully high enough so that the combination of increased production of non-conventional liquid fuels and the economic slowdown due to the liquid fuel price shock will avoid a supply shock.

Of course, that price includes not just the financial cost ~ we have, after all, not quite reached the level of total employment we had at the time of the last oil price shock when crude oil prices reached $150/barrel (which is about $3.60 barrel for the raw material cost, so in excess of $4 after refining and distribution) ~ but also the ecological cost, in particular the fact that we cannot afford to burn a majority of the reserves of all carbon-based fuels in existence, and the more coal and oil-sand bitumen we consume, the less energy we can extract within our rapidly dwindling carbon emissions budget.

This is, of course, not the way that the Big Oil messaging wishes you to understand this "good news": "hurray, we have alternative sources of carbon emitting energy which will allow us to avoid a complete lack of supply, at the cost of economic slowdown in the medium term and collapse of industrial civilization over the longer term" is not about to be the topic of a new series of "Energy Happy Talk" advertising from Shell or BP.

 
"I heard that there was a whole lot of XYZ being discovered/exploited"

Another part of Big Oil's messaging is "did you hear about this new discovery, the equivalent of big-sounding-numbers}'s of oil? This exploits the public's difficulty in understanding quantities at the scale of millions and billions, and lack of background context as far as how much we are currently using, and how much we need in new daily production to just keep up with the decline in production from old big fields that are long past their prime.

Dr. Miller puts some of these into context for us, not just in that quote above, were the annual production decline of 4.1% is highlighted, but also with respect to the "shale oil" bonanza:

Although he is dismissive of shale oil and gas' capacity to prevent a peak and subsequent long decline in global oil production, Miller recognises that there is still some leeway that could bring significant, if temporary dividends for US economic growth - though only as "a relatively short-lived phenomenon":
"We're like a cage of lab rats that have eaten all the cornflakes and discovered that you can eat the cardboard packets too. Yes, we can, but... Tight oil may reach 5 or even 6 million b/d in the US, which will hugely help the US economy, along with shale gas. Shale resources, though, are inappropriate for more densely populated countries like the UK, because the industrialisation of the countryside affects far more people (with far less access to alternative natural space), and the economic benefits are spread more thinly across more people. Tight oil production in the US is likely to peak before 2020. There absolutely will not be enough tight oil production to replace the US' current 9 million b/d of imports."
We cannot get to energy independence on the back of shale-oil production, which is likely to peak at 2/3 of current imports ... and even if we could, shale-oil production is not like conventional oil production:
"Greater reliance upon tight oil resources produced using hydraulic fracturing will exacerbate any rising trend in global average decline rates, since these wells have no plateau and decline extremely fast - for example, by 90% or more in the first 5 years."
So if we elect to go pedal to the metal in shale-oil production, when it in turn peaks, the rate of decline in production will be even more rapid than the rate of decline in conventional oil production, which will itself be accelerating by 2020.

 
Peak Oil Is Real. In All Likelihood, the Peak is In Our Rear View Mirror

In less than a decade, the floor falls out from under the whole petroleum-addiction economic system, even if we scrape the bottom of the barrel with shale-oil production as aggressively as we can. And meanwhile, the flood of money from shale-oil production will continue to flow into our political system over the political cycles between now and then, helping to elect representatives willing to sell out their constituents future for a small piece of that money, sheltered by the convenient fictions crafted by the Big Oil messaging machine.

Indeed, the odds are quite high that both candidates in the next Presidential General Election will be at least partly bought and paid for by petroleum-pusher money, to continue the petroleum-pusher policies of the Reagan, George HW Bush, Clinton, George W Bush and Obama administrations.

That suggests to me that those of use who do not wish to see the US economy placed in the rack of oil price shocks in the 20's followed by our collapse as an industrial economy under the weight of climate chaos by the 50's or 60's have to focus below the level of Presidential politics, at the Congressional level and further down into the State Legislatures, Municipal and County governments with zoning authority and, yes, local School Boards to stand up against already-established Big-Oil funded efforts to spread their propaganda among our children.

 
Conclusions & Considerations

Now, that is what I am expecting regarding the bruising political fights ahead. for. What are you expecting to see?

As always, rather looking for a more ringing conclusion that that, I now open the floor to the comments of those reading.

If you have an issue on some other area of sustainable transport or sustainable energy production, please feel free to start a new main comment. To avoid confusing me, given my tendency to filter comments through the topic of this week's Sunday Train, feel free to use the shorthand "NT:" in the subject line when introducing this kind of new topic.

If you have a topic in sustainable transport or energy that you want me to take a look at in the coming month, be sure to include that as well.

And no need to introduce yourself or justify your participation first: just jump right in and start participating. Your presence here is sufficient justification.

Originally posted to Sunday Train on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Hawks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Reduced Energy Return on Energy Invested (14+ / 0-)

    Is a key way to measure more difficult fuel to extract. Given desperate effort and shifting goalposts, it will likely be possible to maintain extraction levels for some time - but at increasing costs both as measured economically and in environmental and climate costs.

    •  True ... referenced in the ... (8+ / 0-)

      ... Earth Insight Piece is:

      According to another study in the Royal Society journal special edition by professor David J. Murphy of Northern Illinois University, an expert in the role of energy in economic growth, the energy return on investment (EROI) for global oil and gas production - the amount of energy produced compared to the amount of energy invested to get, deliver and use that energy - is roughly 15 and declining. For the US, EROI of oil and gas production is 11 and declining; and for unconventional oil and biofuels is largely less than 10. The problem is that as EROI decreases, energy prices increase. Thus, Murphy concludes:

      "... the minimum oil price needed to increase the oil supply in the near term is at levels consistent with levels that have induced past economic recessions. From these points, I conclude that, as the EROI of the average barrel of oil declines, long-term economic growth will become harder to achieve and come at an increasingly higher financial, energetic and environmental cost."

      Current EROI in the US, Miller said, is simply "not enough to support the US infrastructure, even if America was self-sufficient, without raising production even further than current consumption."
      (1/EROI) is the fraction of energy generated consumed in the process, so the net energy yield is (1 - (1/EROI)). AT an EROI of 20, the Net Energy Yield is 95%, at an EROI of 10, the Net Energy Yield is 90%, and at an EROI of 5, the net energy yield is 80%. So its not the decline in EROI from 100 to 20 that bites, its the declines in EROI below 10.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:30:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The storms are converging (7+ / 0-)

    I had never heard that 'Peak Oil' had been debunked. The arguments supporting it are too straightforward and just common sense.

    Then there's this story at the top of the Front Page now telling us about Peak Water.

    Add in climate change with its increasing frequency of progressively more cataclysmic storms and upheavals.

    And then of course there's the completely stupid ways in which we are impoverishing ourselves with our ridiculous austerity programs.

    It's going to be a very bumpy century that will probably make the 20th look very tame in comparison.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:30:02 PM PST

    •  You must not wander in too close ... (6+ / 0-)

      ... proximity to the Very Serious People who know these kinds of things implicitly.

      I doubt that the Big Oil messaging much affects those who already had a clear understanding of Peak Oil, it rather muddies the waters when it comes to getting the word out more widely.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:34:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You said a mouthful there (9+ / 0-)

        I was much struck by this passage from the end of Jill Lepore's article on political polarization in the Dec. 2nd issue of The New Yorker:

        But intellectuals, as Bruno Latour once pointed out, are nearly always one critique too late: "entire Ph.D. programs are still running to make sure that good American kids are learning the hard way that facts are made up, that there is no such thing as natural, unmediated, unbiased access to truth, that we are always prisoners of language, that we always speak from a particular standpoint, and so on, while dangerous extremists are using the very same argument of social construction to destroy hard-won evidence that could save our lives."
        As long as we can create confusion about basic, measurable facts, we can defer taking any actions that might be indicated as a response.

        "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

        by Demi Moaned on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:53:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Peak population is also on the way (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Demi Moaned, HiKa, divineorder, Albanius

      some time in this century.

      It used to be supposed that the Demographic Transition from as many as seven children per fertile woman to a little more than two required the full economic development of a country. It turns out that education of girls and empowerment of women, plus ready access to family planning services and products, is sufficient. Various projection methods give different peak dates and peak populations, ranging from about 8 billion in 2040 to 10 billion around the end of the century.

      A decline can be expected to follow, as has already happened in a few countries, and then a vigorous public policy debate will result in various measures being attempted to adjust populations down further or in some cases up, and then to attempt stabilization.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:51:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are other ways to approach ... (4+ / 0-)

        ... peak population, and as the severity of climate change keeps ratcheting up, those are likely to kick in as well.

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        by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:04:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That seems to be a euphemism for (0+ / 0-)

          what scientists call the death rate solution.

          It is still possible to avoid that, but it will require all of:
          a rapid transition to renewable energy and
          sustainable agriculture worldwide,
          education of girls and access to birth control,
          limits on the resource gluttony of the super rich,
          and some luck.

          All of which are reasons to work harder and smarter to make it happen.

          There's no such thing as a free market!

          by Albanius on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:42:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I am not so certain about this at all. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, davidincleveland

        Where do you get your evidence?

        USA population is growing at a very healthy (unhealthy for the planet)  clip.

        And I don't think this earth can hold ten billion people.  I don't even think the earth can hold seven billion.

        The peak is all too likely to come because of very unpleasant consequences of population growth- Like peak oil.

        •  The birth rate in Europe is below replacement (6+ / 0-)

          Their population is growing only due to immigration. The population in Russia and many former Soviet satellites is in actual decline. China is growing more slowly than the US, at less than 0.5% annually, with improved health and longer life expectancy almost entirely offset by the one-child policy.

          Have a link:

          World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision

          The 2012 Revision of World Population Prospects represents the latest global demographic estimates and projections prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.
          In particular, the PDF Key Findings and Advance Tables has multiple scenarios, with very different dates for peaking in the low and medium scenarios. The high fertility scenario is definitely to be avoided. Overall,
          According to the 2012 Revision, fertility in the less developed regions as a whole is expected to drop from 2.69 children per woman in 2005-2010 to 2.29 in 2045-2050 and to 1.99 in 2095-2100. The reduction projected for the group of 49 least developed countries is even steeper: from 4.53 children per woman to 2.87 children per woman in 2045-2050 and to 2.11 in 2095-2100.
          This is below replacement everywhere. Speeding up economic growth in general and poverty elimination in particular will improve things commensurately. We know how that could be done, but we do not yet have the political will to do it.

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:56:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  And speaking of Peak Water, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, NoMoreLies, BruceMcF

      according to this month's issue of Fortune Magazine, our beloved Koch brothers are planning on capitalizing on Peak Water.

  •  Very, very, important. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Wells, BruceMcF, divineorder

    And, since energy is the basis for our ability to confront and surmount the challenges we face, we will also confront the limits of our ability to make changes rapidly enough, especially with the population that we now have.  Our actions may be severely constrained.

  •  I'm confused about the 4.1% per year (3+ / 0-)

    decline in petroleum production mentioned in the diary.

    Just saying, it doesn't show up in the data

    •  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 ]

  •  I think I can see peak carbon coming (7+ / 0-)

    Oil is getting harder to extract, and costs too much for electricity generation. We are well started on electric and hybrid cars, and can think about replacing diesel in trucks and trains, and jet fuel for air transport, with carbon-neutral biofuels. Much further R&D is required, but it is getting funding.

    Fracking has greatly reduced the price of natural gas, but only temporarily.

    Goldman-Sachs is advising against investments in thermal coal for electricity production, and in coal export terminals. Coal for making steel is still important, but the emissions from the steel-making process have been sharply cut back, and will continue to be cut further. You want the carbon to go into solution in the iron to make the steel alloy, and then stay there, and not to escape to the atmosphere.

    China is trying to ramp up wind and other renewables to the point where it can stop building coal-fired plants, and reverse its horrendous pollution problems. The biggest coal company in India has installed renewable power at some of its mines, because it costs less than conventional electricity there.

    Renewables cost less than carbon fuels in a number of countries, and in growing parts of the US, a condition known as Grid Parity. Removing carbon subsidies would greatly extend that area. Any sort of cost offsetting carbon externalities , whether real cap-and-trade or a carbon tax, would go much further. Even in the US, EPA has begun to issue rules to cut back on fossil carbon fuels, and is considering more.

    Many fights continue. KXL is the best known. I have some knowledge of Indiana's Rockport and Edwardsport Coal Gasification Boondoggles. There are many others like them, where increasingly environmental forces are winning more and more, but obviously not everywhere.

    Several million children of the Angry White Guys on the Right fall away from the old hatreds and denials every year, making it harder and harder for them to keep their coalition together as the crazy becomes more concentrated. The factions on the Right are now in open warfare on each other as well as on all of the rest of us, and are in various ways starting to energize Democrats against them.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:38:08 PM PST

    •  Sadly, though, ... (6+ / 0-)

      ... it is the cheap natural gas that is responsible for the shaky financial position of coal power plants, and we has sufficient petroleum and natural gas reserves to ride the road to ruin even if we completely stopped using coal tomorrow.

      Among the big polluting countries, the hardest fight is not in China, its in the US, which is still a substantial oil producer, with all of the political influence that that entails. China is expanding its renewable energy production near as fast as it can, since so many Chinese are choking and dying on the pollution from coal power and heat, but the US is dragging its feet.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:50:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not only gas is undercutting coal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happyshadow, divineorder

        Wind, too. Certainly where I am in Indiana.

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:08:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You may have noticed this week that Alaska Sen (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, BruceMcF

        Murkowski has started calling for the repeal of a statute which forbids certain sorts of fuel produced in the USA, probably that on public lands, you know the ones which the Rs insisted and demanded be leased to Big Energy, no matter what the environmental effect or the character of the land involved,  from being exported. Apparently, the law now states that if it was mined or produced here at least produced in certain places, , not coal of course, it has to stay here,

        Since the point of doing the gutting of national parks and wild lands for big energy was US self sufficiency and since even the oil companies are now promoting on TV that the US gets most of its fuel at home now, it is interesting that she on behalf of her state and its various deals with various big energy companies, wants to gut the protection of the US obtained by abusing national lands and uneconomic deals and leases favoriing the private producers, so private entities can profit abroad.

        I'm sure the reason is not simply that gasoline for cars are now in the cheap winter gas formulation stage, and not in the stage which will hit again in April or May as it does ever year wherein the gas is reformulated for summer use and the related  per gallon price goes through the roof ,and pols complain about who other than them is responsible for it - an opportunity not to be missed in a non Presidential election year.

  •  U.S. Government statistics note that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnnygunn

    world production of crude oil for 2012 was 75.5 million bbl/day - over 1.25 million bbl per day higher than the previous year and 2011 was higher than 2010 which as itself a record high.

    Now, a lot of this was from America and presumably represents tight oil.  Even if you are correct that gives about a decade more before peak oil and presumes no other relevant technological changes.

    •  Except if it is shale-oil and bitumen from ... (7+ / 0-)

      ... tar sands and possibly also Natural Gas "Petroleum" Liquids (as you do not link to your figures, its guesswork what exact definition of "petroleum" is being used), it does not imply that Peak Oil, which of course refers to conventional oil, is a decade away.

      It is, indeed, a consequence of Peak Oil that there is likely to be increasing resort to more or less close substitutes ... including the suicidal resort to tar-sands bitumen, which is typically as bad in GHG as coal itself.

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      by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:02:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention oil shale (NOT shale oil)... (3+ / 0-)

        ...the kerogen in the Green River formation in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Another nasty bit of  "unconventional" petroleum that, so far, fortunately, has eluded those who want to make its extraction and refining commercially viable.

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

        by Meteor Blades on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:09:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  NGPL does not appear to be included in those (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnnygunn, MGross

        numbers.  EIA International Energy Statistics

        If you include NGPL (and "Other Liquids") they show 87,000 bbl per day.  

        More importantly, if peak oil refers to conventional oil only, then I'm not sure how much meaning it has.   I agree that conventional oil will be less important relative to other liquid fossil fuels and this may well have negative GHG effects, but  that it will have the catastrophic economic effects previously associated with the idea that we would reach peak oil and have nothing roughly equivalent to substitute for it.

        •  The bulk of production is conventional oil ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justanothernyer, ek hornbeck

          ... and the production profile for conventional oil implies that conventional oil has a peak, then a period of fairly slow decline, then a period of more rapid decline.

          If we were before Peak Oil, the unconventional sources would be net new energy sources, on top of growth in conventional oil, and so their ability to take over the majority of the liquid fossil fuel demand would not be at issue. Since we are likely past Peak Oil, the unconventional sources have to first replace declines in conventional oil, which will be starting out slower, and then accelerate.

          As Dr. Miller points out, whether or not they can do that is a price issue. We do not have an economy that is designed to thrive at $150/barrel for oil and oil substitutes ~ and to get one, we need to not only take measures to increase fuel efficiency, but also, given our heavy reliance on liquid fossil fuels in transport, take measures to increase the opportunities for individuals to choose fossil-fuel independent transport.

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          by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 04:05:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  What gets me about this whole thing... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF

    is that the only way to actually deny the certainty of peak oil is to pretend oil is something it's not, e.g. renewable. Only the looniest fringe element goes there. Right? So we know it's coming and the only question is when.  

    How selfish is it to think that the possibility that you might be dead before the affects are felt is a reason to think it's nothing to concern yourself with?

    One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain -Bob Marley

    by Darwinian Detritus on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:34:43 PM PST

    •  But corporations are psychopaths with ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ek hornbeck

      ... no certainty of mortality but foreshortened decision horizons, so "this pushes the peak off by a decade, which we are already partway through" is quite a long postponement for their focus on the quarterly profit statement.

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      by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 04:07:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oil is most certainly renewable... (0+ / 0-)

      ...just not at anything approaching the rate at which it is extracted and consumed.  The geological processes continue.

      Oil gains come from technologically locating and recovering oil quantities not commercially viable previously.  Oil recovered remains a tiny percentage of oil in place.

      •  Our technical term for renewable ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... is an energy flow that is produced by recurrent processes.

        The fact that geological process can make more petroleum if we wait enough millions of years for it to happen does not mean that the existing stocks of petroleum are themselves renewable.

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        by BruceMcF on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:39:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hence Obama's All of the Above policy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, BruceMcF
    Of course, when engaged in a well-financed spin campaign, what one does is take all the arguments one can find, based on whatever partial or misrepresented evidence one can muster, and send them through focus groups to find the arguments that appear to be most effective. And then put them out there in as many channels as required, including direct issues advertising, various propaganda mills willing to reach a conclusion for hire, and by giving both money and messaging support to politicians available for lease in both the Republican and Democratic party.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:46:37 PM PST

  •  Latest EIA projections for oil 9.5 MMbbl/d 2016 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, Roadbed Guy

    Very different graphs in this report by the US Energy Information Administration.

    AEO2014 Early Release Overview
    December 16, 2013

    Executive Summary

    Projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case focus on the factors that shape U.S. energy markets through 2040, under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain generally unchanged throughout the projection period. The early release provides a basis for the examination and discussion of energy market trends and serves as a starting point for analysis of potential changes in U.S. energy policies, rules, or regulations or possible technology breakthroughs. Readers are encouraged to review the full range of cases that will be presented when the complete AEO2014 is released in 2014, exploring key uncertainties in the Reference case.

    Major highlights of the AEO2014 Reference case include:
    Growing domestic production of natural gas and crude oil continues to reshape the U.S. energy economy, with crude oil production approaching the historical high achieved in 1970 of 9.6 million barrels per day.

    Ongoing improvements in advanced technologies for crude oil and natural gas production continue to lift domestic supply and reshape the U.S. energy economy. Domestic production of crude oil (including lease condensate) increases sharply in the AEO2014 Reference case, with annual growth averaging 0.8 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) through 2016, when it totals 9.5 MMbbl/d (Figure 1). While domestic crude oil production is expected to level off and then slowly decline after 2020 in the Reference case, natural gas production grows steadily, with a 56% increase between 2012 and 2040, when production reaches 37.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). The full AEO2014 will include cases that represent alternative oil and natural gas resource and technology assumptions.
    ...

    When oil hits $150 bbl we can expect coal liquefaction. There's a 1000 year supply in the US alone at todays consumption. Of course the world will be fucked well before then.

    There will be no "peak hydrocarbon". The only solution is to stop burning the shit.

    •  You don't link to the source for your ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ek hornbeck

      ... 1,000 figure for coal liquifaction, but given that the 200 year supply of coal is hype, it would not be surprising if that is hype as well.

      And confer above to the case of oil shale (kerogen hydrocarbons, which are neither oil nor contained in shale, hence the name) ... the original projections were that they would become financially sustainable when oil hit $30/barrel. Oil is at $110/barrel, which is at least equivalent to $30/barrel in 1980 dollars, and due to the changing economics of a low EROI process when the cost of energy rises, it doesn't seem to have hit financial viability yet.

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      by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 04:13:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Coal liquefaction is now economical in SA (0+ / 0-)
        1,000 figure for coal liquefaction, but given that the 200 year supply of coal is hype, it would not be surprising if that is hype as well.
        The current production of oil from fracking, “You can’t swing a cat without hitting a barrel of oil in North America”, was thought to be "hype" less than a decade ago
        WVU Says Oil From Coal Could Sustain Us For 1,000 Years
        Wednesday, 06 November 2013

        We repeat, with only some rearranging and paraphrasing:

        West Virginia University says, in a report primarily devoted to the fuller range of Carbon products that could be realized from a direct Coal liquefaction process, that:

        Our "North American coal" "could ... satisfy" our "liquid product needs" "for the next 1300 years". And, the "coal liquefaction process described herein" could enable "the United States to reduce or eliminate the 12 million barrels per day of liquid crude that it currently imports".

        "Peak oil" is important only because liquid fuel is absolutely necessary in the economies of the world. Once other sources of hydrocarbon liquids from coal or gas liquefaction come on stream, "peak oil" losses it's meaning.

        Sasol is currently producing hydrocarbon liquids from coal in South Africa. Take careful note of UCG. If and when that becomes economical viable, all bets are off on American coal. Coal seams could be fracked and ignited.

        Sasol Mining’s coal-to-liquids horizon extending to 2050
         25th October 2013

        Sasol has unveiled plans for an initiative known as Project 2050, which is designed to sustain and expand its integrated value chain in South Africa until at least the middle of the century.

        Coal and coal-to-liquids (CTL) form an integral part of this long-term plan and key to its success is group company Sasol Mining, which has already gone virtually all the way to secure the required coal reserves to the half century point.

        On the coal-mining front, Sasol Mining aims to continue supplying coal to the Sasol Synfuels plant at the constant rate of 40-million tons of coal a year.
        ...
         GTL Favoured over CTL

        Given the availability of low-cost natural gas in the world, GTL is currently favoured over CTL.

        GTL is considerably more lucrative under current market conditions and does not require the upfront capital investment of

        CTL, where coal first has to be mined and then turned into gas.

        GTL is also significantly less carbon intensive than CTL and thus less exposed to the upcoming carbon tax.

        Sasol Mining is also keeping abreast of developments in underground coal gasification (UCG).

        Should UCG be commercialized at scale, bringing gas in from the coalfields to the plant beyond the gasifiers may be an option, with the cost of coal mining eliminated in the process.
        ...

        Sasol is building a new gas liquefaction plant in the US to take advantage of the cheap natural gas from fracking. This technology brings the US one step closer to coal liquefaction.
        South African Company to Build U.S. Plant to Convert Gas to Liquid Fuels

        WESTLAKE, La. — In an ambitious bet that the glut of cheap natural gas in the United States will last for many years, a South African energy company announced on Monday that it would build America’s first commercial plant to convert natural gas to diesel and other liquid fuels.

        The only solution for this is to stop consuming the shit. BTW, GM sold twice as many cars in China as in the US. While the US was bailing out GM, the company was investing billions in China.

        As long as there is demand, there will be production. The only way to stop this is with action against the real polluters - the consumers. For starters, double the price of gasoline in the US to bring it up to current world prices.

    •  So true . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Claudius Bombarnac
      There will be no "peak hydrocarbon". The only solution is to stop burning the shit.
      I've posted it before, but it's scary enough to bear repeating:  What If We Never Run Out of Oil?
      New technology and a little-known energy source suggest that fossil fuels may not be finite. This would be a miracle—and a nightmare.
      Yeah, no kidding!
  •  "Shifting the goalposts" (0+ / 0-)

    ...and right next to it is a graph showing us oil production through only 2006.

    Right, showing the updated graph would be somewhat inconvenient to your argument.

    •  If you had read the text of that section ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ek hornbeck

      ... (or, indeed, the commentary above your own where this issue was raised), Dr. Miller addresses some of the critical differences between conventional and non-conventional oil production which that consolidated graph without breakdowns by type of product obscures.

      Indeed, your comment stands as a testament to the success of Big Oil in obscuring the Peak Oil argument.

      And he focuses on the differences between "tight-oil" (shale-oil, as opposed to so-called "oil shale" which is not shale and is not oil) and conventional oil in terms of the far lower confidence of projecting from current tight-oil production to future tight-oil production over even a five year period ... he doesn't touch on the difference in ecological impacts, neither consumption by fracking of fresh water supplies nor threats of under-regulated fracking waste disposal both to water supplies and for fugitive emissions.

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      by BruceMcF on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:02:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Peak oil is meaningless if you don't also include (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MGross

        unconventional oil and synthetics.

        The real issue is total hydrocarbon production and consumption - whether it comes from gushing oil wells, tight oil, coal beds or corn fields - and carbon sequestration.

        There will be no "peak" hydrocarbon production in the next 100 years or more. It will plateau based on cost and continuing competition from other sources such as renewables.

        •  Pretending that peak oil does not exist ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... means that you cannot properly understand the significance of unconventional oil exploitation.

          The point of hiding the peak of conventional oil within the figures is to obscure the substantially more rapid depletion profile of tight-oil and much lower EROI on thick crude, since when people see a line labeled "oil" going in an upward direction, they tacitly assume it means oil that is substantially "the same as" the oil that they are used to.

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          by BruceMcF on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:42:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Peak Oil Hit In The 1970's (0+ / 0-)

    I spend 35 years working in the oil and gas fields and continue to be convinced that globally we actually hit "peak oil" in the 1970's. And that is because by then we had already tapped all the easy oil they could get through conventional means and from then on oil was going to be harder and must more expensive to get and could only be done with constantly increasing oil prices. Plus for those in the oil industry we've had 30 or 40 years to see that in almost every case where the oil companies or even a country like Saudi Arabia make their predictions of potential production they never come close to the actual production.

    But to me at least right now we have a glaring and perfect example of us actually scraping the bottom of the world oil barrel. And that example is strip mining for oil sands in Canada. If that's not scraping the bottom of the barrel, literally, I've never seen it.

    Collect Different Days

    by Homers24 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:10:44 AM PST

    •  One could say the US peaked in 'easy' oil when (0+ / 0-)

      it ran out of gushers and had to start pumping. What we think of easy oil now was impossible only several decades ago.

      a country like Saudi Arabia make their predictions of potential production they never come close to the actual production.
      Production in Saudi Arabia has been remarkably consistent since the oil glut in 1985. They have always used their production to help control world prices. Their calculated reserves have held consistent since the late 80's. It is estimated they have currently pumped out about 40% of their reserves.

      Saudi Arabia Crude Oil Production and Consumption by Year

      They have been making some changes and are building huge refineries with China to take advantage of value added products such as refined fuels and chemical feed-stocks.

      Saudi oil refinery deal shows close ties

      RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - In what Riyadh calls "the largest expansion by any oil company in the world", Sinopec's deal on Saturday with Saudi oil giant Aramco will allow a major oil refinery to become operational in the Red Sea port of Yanbu by 2014.

      The $8.5 billion joint venture, which covers an area of about 5.2 million square meters, is already under construction. It will process 400,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day. Aramco will hold a 62.5 percent stake in the plant while Sinopec will own the remaining 37.5 percent.

      Venezuela has overtaken Saudi Arabia in proven reserves since 2011. Having the world's largest reserves of oil will keep that country in America's cross-hairs for another decade at least.

      Hopefully the US will now be satiated with domestic energy production and won't have to send it's military out into the world to secure access anymore.

      •  I Think You Should Read This (0+ / 0-)

        Collect Different Days

        by Homers24 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 10:32:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Saudi Arabia's ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... power and influence in the world hinges on the exploitable reserves that people believe they have. Any time there is such a substantial moral hazard for a party to overstate a resource, the wise person does not uncritically accept what that party says about the quantity of that resource that is not backed up by observable behavior.

        And obviously Saudi Arabian refinery construction is not on its own an increase in crude oil supply ~ though it is a shift in supply from crude to refined products, which makes it easier to mask changes in the quality of the crude inputs.

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Wed Jan 15, 2014 at 08:47:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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