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Don't Believe The Peak Theories

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Peak oil, peak gas, peak uranium, peak phosphate, peak lithium, peak coal, peak food, etc.. they are popular online theories, but they are consistently wrong. Basically they make a fundamental mistake in the idea that using today's technology extraction will peak by such and such a date. Which is often true, for example in oil if the industry was still using technology from 1980 and only developing the type of fields developed in 1980, production probably would have peaked in about the year 2000.

So lets look at oil..

Global bpd production in 1980: 63.9 million

1990: 66.3 million

2000: 77.7 million

2009: 84.3 million

Does that look like its peaking? I see solidly rising production.

What about natural gas, there has been quite a bit of fear in the UK about the future of natural gas, because in many ways it is the primary energy source of our nation now. It fuels 40% or more of electric generation and heats a growing percentage of houses.

Global output in trillion cubic feet:

1980: 53.3

1990: 73.7

2000: 88.3

2009: 106.4

Again I'm not seeing any peak there. Instead solidly rising production. What I do see is elites telling the average person to accept a much lower standard of living because allegedly teh world is running out resources. (while the same elites live a bizarrely extravagant lifestyle).

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What is it you are expecting to see to represent the peak when you are using such a small dataset?

Edited by the.ciscokid

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Peak oil, peak gas, peak uranium, peak phosphate, peak lithium, peak coal, peak food, etc.. they are popular online theories, but they are consistently wrong. Basically they make a fundamental mistake in the idea that using today's technology extraction will peak by such and such a date. Which is often true, for example in oil if the industry was still using technology from 1980 and only developing the type of fields developed in 1980, production probably would have peaked in about the year 2000.

So lets look at oil..

Global bpd production in 1980: 63.9 million

1990: 66.3 million

2000: 77.7 million

2009: 84.3 million

Does that look like its peaking? I see solidly rising production.

For a more nuanced view, try:

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7349

Adding a few more data points gives a better picture. The graph of total Canadian production should give pause to those who think that tar sands will save us, as well. It's also worth mentioning that Crude oil production (given at the link) is in many ways than 'Crude oil+Condensate+NGL+Synthetics+Biofuels'; where you are not adding like to like.

As far as Natural gas goes.. well, we don't seem to have hit resource constraints globally. On the other hand, import dependence in the UK has gone from zero to around 20-30% and rising over the last few years, which means that we now depend on importing the stuff in LNG form as well as pipeline. Which is fine as long as there are no interruptions; the supply chain for natural gas will always be more fragile than that for oil.

Furthermore, you may also trying dividing all global production by population, if you want a clearer picture of what the man-on-the-street will percieve.

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Peak oil, peak gas, peak uranium, peak phosphate, peak lithium, peak coal, peak food, etc.. they are popular online theories, but they are consistently wrong.

Are you proposing peak erroneous theory? :lol:

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For a more nuanced view, try:

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7349

Adding a few more data points gives a better picture. The graph of total Canadian production should give pause to those who think that tar sands will save us, as well. It's also worth mentioning that Crude oil production (given at the link) is in many ways than 'Crude oil+Condensate+NGL+Synthetics+Biofuels'; where you are not adding like to like.

As far as Natural gas goes.. well, we don't seem to have hit resource constraints globally. On the other hand, import dependence in the UK has gone from zero to around 20-30% and rising over the last few years, which means that we now depend on importing the stuff in LNG form as well as pipeline. Which is fine as long as there are no interruptions; the supply chain for natural gas will always be more fragile than that for oil.

Furthermore, you may also trying dividing all global production by population, if you want a clearer picture of what the man-on-the-street will percieve.

For oil I would like someone to make a graph showing the Energy value of the total world production(so those natural gas liquids showing less), minus the energy value it took to extract each one.

Dividing by global population is also a good idea, although might distort things. As most population growth is in nations that hardly used any oil in decades past and still use hardly any oil.

For the man on the street another factor is the useful work energy. So if he moves from a car that does 20 mpg, to one that does 30 mpg with all the same utility that is a 50% increase. The man on the street also can throw in the towel on some applications like heating with oil.. and instead going to gas or electric.

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what you need, is the Famous Precision Bloo Loo Peak Detector, a precision made straight edge ( patented) designed that with a flick of the pencil, a researcher can see in an instant where a trend of graph points can be extended to.

recently, we have been pleased to release the hockey stick attachment for temperature graphs, in response to a special request from Tax Authorities around the World.

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Planet earth - an endless source of resources that is well equiped for a constant expansion in its population and money supply, simples

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My money is on the term "peak" really means the transformation in leading consumption form one energy source to another. So Peak Wood was when we started the Coal age and Peak Coal was when we started the Oil age and Peak oil will be when we start the Methane age. Peak Methane may be when we start either the Hydrogen or the Nuclear age. The one common theme is that none of the energy sources were depleted or exhausted at each peak ie wood, coal and oil they were merely over taken by a higher performing and more cost efficient energy supply.

Coal consumption has gone up about 50% in the last decade. So the coal age is still going strong.

Crude oil production appears to have peaked in 2005.

Methane.. we'll see.

Wood.. I suspect we use more now than ever.

The idea, however, that X has displaced Y has displaced Z is, well, wrong.

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I live in the UK. The UK's natural energy resources are all clearly past peak; coal in 1913, oil in 1999, gas in 2000.

What this will do to our balance of payments is quite frightening.

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Peak oil, peak gas, peak uranium, peak phosphate, peak lithium, peak coal, peak food, etc.. they are popular online theories, but they are consistently wrong. Basically they make a fundamental mistake in the idea that using today's technology extraction will peak by such and such a date. Which is often true, for example in oil if the industry was still using technology from 1980 and only developing the type of fields developed in 1980, production probably would have peaked in about the year 2000.

So lets look at oil..

Global bpd production in 1980: 63.9 million

1990: 66.3 million

2000: 77.7 million

2009: 84.3 million

Does that look like its peaking? I see solidly rising production.

What about natural gas, there has been quite a bit of fear in the UK about the future of natural gas, because in many ways it is the primary energy source of our nation now. It fuels 40% or more of electric generation and heats a growing percentage of houses.

Global output in trillion cubic feet:

1980: 53.3

1990: 73.7

2000: 88.3

2009: 106.4

Again I'm not seeing any peak there. Instead solidly rising production. What I do see is elites telling the average person to accept a much lower standard of living because allegedly teh world is running out resources. (while the same elites live a bizarrely extravagant lifestyle).

Peak Oil is not a theory, it is a description of an extremely well characterised process and you are confusing the issue. Peak production does not align with peak oil.

The other parameter you have missed out is the price of crude oil. In 1990 (your first datapoint) crude was trading at around $30bbl, today it is $90bbl.. and this is whilst we are in the mother of all structural recessions with huge potential future demand upside from emerging markets yet to fully feed into prices. This shows that the cost of production has increased (deepwater drilling, energy security, tar sands etc), and that demand is also increasing.

As for the extreme oil sources like tar sands, they are the desperate attempts to use technology to make previously unthinkably expensive oil available at just incredibly expensive prices. They are also never going to replace the scale of modern near surface deposits... no way you are going to get 5 million barrels a day out of the tar sands, because you cannot scale it up. The energy returned on energy invested is extremely low, and essentially it's an arbitrage between natural gas and syncrude. So the energy you're putting in, in the form of natural gas, is not that much less than the energy you're taking out in the form of liquid fuels. So yes, you are creating liquid fuel from gaseous fuel, but it's really not an energy source.

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My understanding of peak oil was that it was the point at which the cost of extraction was higher than the value of said oil. Ie if oil sells for £10 a barrel, then the oil which is on the surface which only costs £1 to extract will go quickly. For oil underground that costs £8 to extract will still be extracted, but the oil which is deep underground will cost £11 to extract will not be extracted because it will not be worth it.

I've always thought that this misses the idea that the price of oil will rise with the ever increasing costs of deeper and deeper extraction. As I Type this I realise I may have misunderstood and they are taking about the energy costs, ie if it takes as much energy to extract the oil as the extracted oil supplies then there is no benefit or point in getting it. Although machinery is getting ever more efficient and so the energy cost of extraction is getting lower, which will push the peak further into the future.

We will get there eventually. Though since energy is neither created nor destroyed our energy requirements will come from elsewhere, we just got to work out where!

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It may well be a very nationalistic flag waving emotional real fear for you, but the reality is that the global energy market is the biggest most integrated, most competitive and most transparent market ever created.

The reality is that the UK will be outbid for available resources by the pan-pacific region. OK for you guys in Oz sitting on a huge deposit of coal, especially as China have now started to export it in quantity.

And it's not transparent, nowhere close. Resource figures have been inflated and manipulated for decades, for political and commercial reasons. Nobody knows how much oil the Saudis have left, they keep it close. Nobody really knows how the new gas shales will work out, preliminary reports tell of shocking decline rates after the first year or so, after all the investor's money has safely been sucked into the play.

Shale Company Cost, Debt and Undeveloped Reserves

Shale gas operators have consistently told investors that their projects are profitable at sub-$5/Mcf (thousand cubic feet) natural gas prices. Yet company 10-K SEC filings show that this is untrue. They have invented a new calculus of partial-cycle economics that excludes major capital draws for land costs, interest expense and overhead. They justify these disclosure practices because excluded costs are either sunk or fixed and, therefore, supposedly should not affect their decisions to drill. Their point-forward plans are made at shareholder expense since the dollars spent were very real at the time, and their costs cannot be charged to a profit center other than the wells that they drill and produce.

oildrum

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It may well be a very nationalistic flag waving emotional real fear for you, but the reality is that the global energy market is the biggest most integrated, most competitive and most transparent market ever created.

Anyone who regards massive trade deficits in the nation they are stuck in (and the majority are stuck) as a trivial issue is a fool.

It has nothing to do with flag waving; it is a very real danger to life and livelihood, wether one is emotional about it or not.

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Peak oil, peak gas, peak uranium, peak phosphate, peak lithium, peak coal, peak food, etc.. they are popular online theories, but they are consistently wrong.

They may be consistently wrong in predicting a date, but the are not whong on the basis that we WILL eventually run out.

The idea that the suppuy of these resources is ultimately limitless is complete and utter tosh

tim

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for example in oil if the industry was still using technology from 1980 and only developing the type of fields developed in 1980, production probably would have peaked in about the year 2000.

But didn't US oil production peak in 1971? Don't the Americans have access to the new technology then?

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For the man on the street another factor is the useful work energy. So if he moves from a car that does 20 mpg, to one that does 30 mpg with all the same utility that is a 50% increase. The man on the street also can throw in the towel on some applications like heating with oil.. and instead going to gas or electric.

It's interesting to see the big car manufacturers rapidly introducing smaller more efficient engines.

60+mpg for something like a Polo is now commonplace.

That's more or less 240mpg per person with 4 person occupancy from a bog-standard family car.

If the US can rapidly move to more efficient engines that will make quite a considerable difference.

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Peak oil, peak gas, peak uranium, peak phosphate, peak lithium, peak coal, peak food, etc.. they are popular online theories, but they are consistently wrong. Basically they make a fundamental mistake in the idea that using today's technology extraction will peak by such and such a date. Which is often true, for example in oil if the industry was still using technology from 1980 and only developing the type of fields developed in 1980, production probably would have peaked in about the year 2000.

So lets look at oil..

Global bpd production in 1980: 63.9 million

1990: 66.3 million

2000: 77.7 million

2009: 84.3 million

Does that look like its peaking? I see solidly rising production.

What about natural gas, there has been quite a bit of fear in the UK about the future of natural gas, because in many ways it is the primary energy source of our nation now. It fuels 40% or more of electric generation and heats a growing percentage of houses.

Global output in trillion cubic feet:

1980: 53.3

1990: 73.7

2000: 88.3

2009: 106.4

Again I'm not seeing any peak there. Instead solidly rising production. What I do see is elites telling the average person to accept a much lower standard of living because allegedly teh world is running out resources. (while the same elites live a bizarrely extravagant lifestyle).

+1 Think how much more you can charge for a commodity if you can create all false beleif in scarcity.

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Lindsey Williams, who has been an ordained Baptist minister for 28 years, went to Alaska in 1971 as a missionary. The Transalaska oil pipeline began its construction phase in 1974, and because of Mr. Williams' love for his country and concern for the spiritual welfare of the "pipeliners," he volunteered to serve as Chaplain on the pipeline, with the subsequent full support of the Alyeska Pipeline Company. Because of the executive status accorded to him as Chaplain, he was given access to information documented in his eye opening book, The Energy Non-Crisis.
After numerous public speaking engagements in the western states, certain government officials and concerned individuals urged Mr. Williams to put into print what he saw and heard, stating that they felt this information was vital to national security. Mr. Williams firmly believes that whoever controls energy controls the economy. Thus, The Energy Non-Crisis.

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Peak oil, peak gas, peak uranium, peak phosphate, peak lithium, peak coal, peak food, etc.. they are popular online theories, but they are consistently wrong. Basically they make a fundamental mistake in the idea that using today's technology extraction will peak by such and such a date. Which is often true, for example in oil if the industry was still using technology from 1980 and only developing the type of fields developed in 1980, production probably would have peaked in about the year 2000.

So lets look at oil..

Global bpd production in 1980: 63.9 million

1990: 66.3 million

2000: 77.7 million

2009: 84.3 million

Does that look like its peaking? I see solidly rising production.

What about natural gas, there has been quite a bit of fear in the UK about the future of natural gas, because in many ways it is the primary energy source of our nation now. It fuels 40% or more of electric generation and heats a growing percentage of houses.

Global output in trillion cubic feet:

1980: 53.3

1990: 73.7

2000: 88.3

2009: 106.4

Again I'm not seeing any peak there. Instead solidly rising production. What I do see is elites telling the average person to accept a much lower standard of living because allegedly teh world is running out resources. (while the same elites live a bizarrely extravagant lifestyle).

To create a bubble you need a good story to back it up. The elite wanted a bubble to invest in and they found a good story, now they are promoting it.

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Lindsey Williams, who has been an ordained Baptist minister for 28 years, went to Alaska in 1971 as a missionary. The Transalaska oil pipeline began its construction phase in 1974, and because of Mr. Williams' love for his country and concern for the spiritual welfare of the "pipeliners," he volunteered to serve as Chaplain on the pipeline, with the subsequent full support of the Alyeska Pipeline Company. Because of the executive status accorded to him as Chaplain, he was given access to information documented in his eye opening book, The Energy Non-Crisis.

After numerous public speaking engagements in the western states, certain government officials and concerned individuals urged Mr. Williams to put into print what he saw and heard, stating that they felt this information was vital to national security. Mr. Williams firmly believes that whoever controls energy controls the economy. Thus, The Energy Non-Crisis.

I stopped reading at "an ordained Baptist minister for 28 years".

I won't be getting my rational, evidence based scientific research from someone who has an invisible friend in the sky and also believes that the earth was created about the same time as we domesticated the dog.

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It's interesting to see the big car manufacturers rapidly introducing smaller more efficient engines.

60+mpg for something like a Polo is now commonplace.

That's more or less 240mpg per person with 4 person occupancy from a bog-standard family car.

If the US can rapidly move to more efficient engines that will make quite a considerable difference.

I think that if/when the US move away from gas guzzlers in favour of more efficient engines then it will be time to consider the peak oil theories seriously.

For now I just hope that we have reached the peak of peak theories :)

Edited by richyc

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I think that if/when the US move away from gas guzzlers in favour of more efficient engines then it will be time to consider the peak oil theories seriously.

For now I just hope that we have reached the peak of peak theories :)

The problem is that people in the US seem to have an irrational fear of driving anything smaller than a Honda CR-V, combined with an irrational fear of putting diesel in a passenger car. Despite the fact that modern diesel engines are a far better match to the needs of a SUV driver then your average petrol V8.

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Energy supply is about three things

* Absolute supply

* EROEI

* Speed of flow

In terms of absolute supply, there is no shortage of energy nor will there ever be. Renewables are, as long as the sun shines, effectively infinite. So, absolute supply is of no relevance here in terms of a debate about oil shale or, indeed, a debate about energy supply in general.

EROEI refers to how much energy has to be spent in the extraction of energy. For crude oil this ratio used to be as high as 30:1. These days, it tends to be nearer to 7:1. Nevertheless, as long as the EROEI is positive it's worth harvesting the energy. As soon as it gets to 1:1, however, it doesn’t matter how big the absolute supply is, you may as well consume the energy you already have. A case in point is hydrogen. Because of its tendency to bond strongly with oxygen, the EROEI is negative as it takes more energy per unit to extract the hydrogen than is contained in the hydrogen.

Speed of flow refers to how fast a given quantity of energy can be extracted in a given period of time. This is strongly related to EROEI. In other words, if the EROEI is low, then the speed of flow will also be slow unless there is a significant scaling up of production to compensate.

Oil shale suffers from both a very poor EROEI and also a very poor speed of flow. Consequently, while it will undoubtedly make multi billionaires of the people who control its supply, if you think that it will save our industrial civilisation of 7 billion and rising, you are sadly mistaken. All of the above is quite beside the massive environmental damage that will be incurred as well as the biblically unsustainable quantities of water that would be required to process it at any significant volume.

The best way to view oil shale or, indeed, any alternative to crude oil (including renewables, by the way) is to consider the following analogy;

Imagine a barrel of water with a queue of 100 people waiting to drink from it. The top of the barrel is open and there is a nice big ladle for everyone to take a drink. The queue's length is such that each person is able to make it to the front of the queue before they die of thirst. Any longer and some would die.

One day the barrel runs dry.

But, before anyone has time to worry, someone shouts up that they have found another barrel and this one is even bigger. What this person neglects to mention is that the new barrel has a lid firmly over the top with only a tiny straw to draw the water from. Each person at the front of the queue is still able to take as much as they want, of course. Only now, they must take twice as long getting their water and must expend twice the energy. Not to worry though. As soon as half of the queue has died of thirst, all will be fine.

The above is why oil shale will not save our industrial civilisatyion

And before anyone mentions nuclear fission, take a look at the projected peak of uranium supply if merely the developed world made a wholesale switch to nuclear energy, never mind the developing world as well.

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  • 285 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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