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PEAK OIL: The 'fix' for the transportation half of emissions.

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by pingnak, Mar 12, 2010.

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  1. pingnak

    pingnak New Member

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    CO2 emissions from transportation aren't the big, bad bogeyman of the era. PEAK OIL may be the thing that will 'fix' it. As well as 'globalization'.

    I don't drive a Prius to 'save the world' from pollution. In the short term, until all of those electric cars come online and are affordable, my Prius acts as insurance against spiking fuel prices. If I can maintain my 60MPG fuel economy, then transportation will remain affordable, even if gas creeps up to $10 a gallon. And that's not only entirely possible, it's not as high as fuel prices can go.

    This little 4-part video is an absolutely fantastic primer on PEAK OIL, at least after the first two minutes of introduction. Jeff Rubin explains Global Peak Oil and some of the global impacts it is already having.



    If we import half our petroleum from overseas tyrants, then I will be content to burn the 'other' half that is still produced here and be 'powered by America'. At least until I can afford a real electric car.
  2. Poptech

    Poptech New Member

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    Peak Oil is a Myth,



    Oil, Oil Everywhere... (The Wall Street Journal)
    'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy (The New York Times)
    Political Peak Oil (Reason)
    The World Has Plenty of Oil (The Wall Street Journal)

    - 1885, U.S. Geological Survey: "Little or no chance for oil in California."
    - 1891, U.S. Geological Survey: "Little or no chance for oil in Kansas and Texas"
    - 1914, U.S. Bureau of Mines: Total future production limit of 5.7 billion barrels of oil, at most a 10-year supply remaining.
    - 1939, Department of the Interior: Oil reserves in the United States to be exhausted in 13 years.
    - 1951, Department of the Interior, Oil and Gas Division: Oil reserves in the United States to be exhausted in 13 years.
  3. pingnak

    pingnak New Member

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    Yeah. Energy security is no big deal.

    One nuke in a Saudi oil field later, how will things look through those rose-colored glasses as we go to war for oil AGAIN?

    Maybe they just sink a couple of super tankers? You know, something a couple of clowns with a zodiac, half a ton of explosives and a promise of 'virgins' could pull off.

    Yes, every oil well produces only a fraction of the petroleum available to it. This is because it becomes exponentially more expensive to extract 'more' oil once the 'easy' oil is gone.

    There is lots of that oil sand in Canada. It only makes economic sense to exploit it if oil is well over $100 a barrel. In other words, not CHEAP oil. Even worse, no matter how many facilities you build to get that sand and cook the oil out of it, no matter how many mountains you overturn and how much water you pollute and how much oil you burn to get oil (yes, they burn a LOT of oil to extract that oil), they can not possibly KEEP UP WITH DEMAND producing oil as other 'easy' reserves run out. They can't build all of that stuff fast enough, and the energy needed to cook, refine and transport that fuel begins to reach the 'break even' point with what is produced. And gosh, you have to dismantle and move those facilities near where the sand is collected, as the local supplies are depleted, too. Eventually, a huge swath of real estate turned into a lunar landscape of toxic waste lined pits poisoning the ground water, with derelict sand refineries and equipment all over it. Just what every Canadian desires.

    There is lots of oil under the oceans. Once again, they can't keep making floating oil platforms fast enough to keep up with demand as other reserves become unavailable, and they're INCREDIBLY expensive to build.

    Alaska! Alaska still has oil. Of course, if they got the green light TODAY to rape those nature reserves, it would take them ten or twenty years hauling machinery and people up there and building expensive infrastructure north of the arctic circle, then pumping for more than a decade to add ONE year to the petroleum supply.

    If it's too expensive for consumers to buy, the oil will just stay where it is, and your gasoline powered car will become a lawn ornament, because if your car is too expensive for you to drive, it will probably be a bit too expensive to tow away for scrap, too.

    Oil Production to Peak in 2014, Kuwaiti Scientists Predict | LiveScience
  4. pingnak

    pingnak New Member

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    More symptoms:
    COSCO CEO Wei Jiafu advocates nuclear power for cargo ships

    The biggest shipping company in the world is looking into nuclear power for their cargo vessels. Another sign that petroleum is not expected to remain reliably 'cheap and abundant' in the coming years. If oil shoots back up again, and they're the only substantially nuclear powered cargo carrier, they could become the ONLY carrier.

    The Incredible Ghost Fleet Off The Coast Of Singapore

    Another thing that has oil down. Hundreds of container ships anchored and idle due to the economic recession. Instead of constantly burning enormous amounts of petroleum EACH to remain in near constant motion, they're parked. About 25% of all of the shipping there is, is idled. And all of the other transport top to bottom over land that these would have represented is also idled.

    When the economy struggles back to life, oil prices will be there to harpoon it through the head again. The only lasting economic recovery and growth possible reduces or eliminates our need for the goop.

    Of course *IF* Iraq remains stable, and EVERYTHING goes right in the Middle East in the years to come, their petroleum reserves may add a few years to the global timetable.

    There's always the 'peak demand' theory that came into vogue as the 2008 prices skyrocketed, and the 'oil cornucopians' needed some kind of excuse, but if (as seems likely) that happens AFTER peak oil, there will be suffering aplenty. Especially since it looks like the 'peak demand' they're talking about means the economy is strangled for decades.
    Peak Oil Demand Is Coming, But Here's Why It's Not Good News
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  5. pingnak

    pingnak New Member

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    Another somewhat damning bit of Peak Oil evidence: Various OPEC members falsifying their reserves. Well, who can blame them? If you want to borrow some cash to build new water treatment plants or power plants (that all burn OIL in OPEC countries), or build more oil wells to try to make up for depletion, you want to show the lender that you'll be able to pay them back.

    [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil]Peak oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    [​IMG]
    Graph of OPEC reported reserves showing refutable jumps in stated reserves without associated discoveries, as well as the lack of depletion despite yearly production.



    And always remember, even if the amazingly inflated '1.2 trillion barrels' reserve figure for proves out, the demand will not remain constant (it is increasing dramatically), and there is no guarantee that they can pump it out of the ground as fast as skyrocketing demand requires it for stable pricing, even assuming no natural (or MAN MADE) disaster stops or reduces production somewhere.
  6. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    I's ironic to me that folks worry about whether man's CO2 causes GW, because PO will be the great equalizer. The other irony to me is that just because we will never run out ... people find comfort in that ... never realizing that the reason we'll never run out is because eventually, the return on investment means it'll be too costly to remove the giant (but VERY VERY EXPENSIVE to remove) 'last half'. It's like saying, "there's and endless supply of gold in the ocean". Big deal, extraction costs make it pointless.

    .
  7. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    Hill's got it right. We won't run out of oil (Venezuela's estimated supply of heavy crude reserves was increased dramatically this year), but extracting it and refining it (particularly in the quantities we expect) will become progressively more expensive. Four years from now $4/gal will probably be considered the good old days. Until 2005, anything over $2.50/gal was considered shocking. Now we're paying more than that in a recession.

    We need natural gas vehicles for long trips (rentals, trucking industry), otherwise electric should work fine for commuting and trips about town. Then we wouldn't be sending our money overseas anymore and propping up oppressive and corrupt governments.
  8. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    Two points: I believe the Canadian tar sands are economical at about $70/barrel, which is where we are now, so they keep them going, but it's only a real profit turner above that. Also, they use natural gas (not oil) to heat the tar to make it liquid enough to go thru the pipelines. But in either case, producing this oil is a primary reason why Canada missed the CO2 emissions that they promised in the Kyoto protocols.



    I don't have the link right now, but our government (EIA) did a study a couple years ago on this, and it would take about 7 years after ANWR is opened before any oil made it to market, and at peak production many years later it would add about 3% of our nation demand. Same for the off-shore developments. On the other hand, conservation methods (such as driving a hybrid, driving slower) can take place much more quickly and can reduce demand by 30% or more.
  9. pingnak

    pingnak New Member

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    Absolutely. You're right. Why burn the precious commodity that you're spending SO MUCH MONEY producing from tar when you can burn a 'less precious' commodity that ALSO could be running cars? Spend a substantial amount of OTHER fossil energy inefficiently producing fuel with only marginally more energy than you put into producing it, to run antiquated engines that can ONLY run on one kind of fuel. At least until the price and/or bulk availability of 'natural gas' goes up for trying to meet that petroleum demand. Then they will burn oil... or coal... or perhaps trees. For 'carbon emissions', it's pretty much a wash.

    If we cut our fuel USE down by 30%, we'd be 'only' importing about 20% of our fuel...

    Or maybe not.

    Realistically, since foreign labor laws are more lenient for working people to death for a pittance, then burying them in unmarked graves, and 'environmental laws' in OPEC countries indicate how cold a corrupt politician's AC should be, we'll import just as much gasoline and idle the 'more expensive' U.S. petroleum production as long as we keep the global price down with reduced demand.

    Unfortunately, people in China and India are buying up cheap little cars like hotcakes. GM is selling more cars in China than in the U.S. Millions of people who used to walk, ride a bike or take a bus/train are getting behind the wheel as their income and standard of living increases. What we can gain when we 'conserve' is NOT what it used to be. For every Prius in the U.S., they'll LITERALLY sell a Buick in China.

    That'll take up the slack as long as fuel prices stay low enough for them to afford to operate those cars, no matter what we do to conserve and keep the price affordable HERE.

    What WILL make an impact is alternative fuels. If the applications that currently require petroleum derived fuels can be re-powered in the coming years, then the price of petroleum eventually won't matter.

    Like mass producing diamonds... it's just carbon (well carbon+water for oil - without getting into chemistry). ALSO like mass-producing diamonds, there is a whole chain of corporate and national interests which demand the petroleum remain the ONLY viable energy source for transportation. That petroleum remain a vital commodity. Just... affordable... enough... no matter what happens to civilization when the 'affordable' stuff runs short of demand.

    Another bright light is that competitive, highway capable electric vehicles are finally to be built, globally. In real numbers. Even if the American car companies want to cover their ears and scream 'La-la-la!!!' at both U.S. consumer demand for electric vehicles AND U.S. consumer loathing for petroleum companies (remember ALL TIME RECORD PROFITS in 2007 and 2008?), the electric cars will be produced. Because in China and India and Japan and Europe, they know that petroleum is not a promising long term investment to make. They'll re-power, and U.S. consumers might have to buy up 'foreign' cars if 'American' companies like GM insist on doing 'limited run' production, as they did with the EV1.

    I think what you power your car with should be a CHOICE. Like 'classic' phone, wireless or VOIP. EVDO/DSL/Cable for internet.

    Gasoline, electric, CNG. May the best technology WIN.

    (No Hydrogen will NEVER work.)
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  10. pingnak

    pingnak New Member

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    Absolutely agree with most of this, too.

    It's just that your statement is basically that you don't believe in 'Peak Oil' because you believe in peak oil.

    No credible 'Peak Oil' proponent will ever say we'll 'run out'. Petroleum becomes UNAFFORDABLE. Production does not keep up with demand 'forever'. There could be a thousand years' supply stuck underground, but if it's too expensive or difficult to suck up and sell to 'Joe Sixpack' and his SUV, it doesn't matter how much oil there still is. 'Joe Sixpack' will park it, or become filled with impotent rage for 'owning' a big car that he can't afford to drive to work anymore, but having to drive it to work anyway.

    Every OPEC nation routinely 'increases' their reserve without any new discovery of petroleum. Not only that, they never show a decrease in their so-called 'reserves'. Millions of barrels a day, pumped up for decades... and only MORE oil down there? Even when reports leak about increasing returns of salt water in the oil Saudis pump out of their fields (they force sea water into the ground to get oil up... and they force more and more sea water to get less and less oil.) They won't EVER come anywhere close to running out of oil until nothing at all comes out of the ground.

    What? The market's not hot enough for oil? People are talking about 'alternative fuels' AGAIN? Well... CLAIM WE HAVE MORE TO SELL!

    Keep buying! Depend on us! We'll keep your SOUL safe for you! Promise!

    What seems more realistic... that we get MORE of a fossil fuel that took a billion years to accumulate no matter how much we use... or that certain people are inflating their numbers? A perfect, eternal cornucopia sounds wonderful... but we don't have one.

    The U.S. hit 'Peak Oil' in 1970. It's hit in other former petroleum exporters, like Indonesia. It will peak globally long before it peaks locally 'everywhere'. Three NEW barrels of supply discovered for every nine consumed, worldwide. And that ratio shows no sign of improving.

    Video: Gorgeous Flowers | The Daily Show | Comedy Central
  11. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    There is a new peak oil analysis

    Forecasting World Crude Oil Production Using Multicyclic Hubbert Model
    Ibrahim Sami Nashawi,Adel Malallah,and Mohammed Al-Bisharah
    Energy & Fuels (in press) DOI:10.1021/ef901240p

    and I happen to have a copy if you're interested.
    Here's your out-of context money quote:
    "The world production is estimated to peak in 2014".

    In a more subtle way it suggests that most non-OPEC producers have already passed peak. If you don't like Hubbert Models, you probably won't go for this one either :)

    BTW globally transportation, electricity and buildings are about 1/3 each.
  12. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    Perhaps I should say I believe in peak oil production, and that it is fairly imminent. There are large discoveries of unconventional oil (Venezuela primarily), and we may not have produced 50% of our total oil reserves when production starts declining (the typical Hubbert curve). We are definitely running out of conventional oil (pumpable crude). But while I don't think production won't fall off a cliff as some have suggested, it will again be priced out of reach for much of the world's poor, and our standard of living will definitely be affected.



    Just as background, the people who wrote the paper you mention work at Department of Petroleum Engineering of Kuwait University, and the Kuwait Oil Company, so they have some knowledge of the subject. If anything, they might be overstating the amount OPEC has left, but I haven't read the full paper. Here's another link.
    Toyota's
    COO Jim Lentz has publicly said Peak Oil will happen around 2020. Privately he might agree with the Kuwaiti timeline, but you can't scare your buying public too much.



    Now you're talking total energy (coal, nuclear, etc.), not just petroleum. Transportation takes about 2/3 of all petroleum, I believe.
  13. pingnak

    pingnak New Member

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    Again we agree. Oil won't just 'stop'.

    It's ALREADY doing what it will do.

    When supplies run low, the price shoots up, and the economy crashes, which kills demand.

    This gives the available oil production 'breathing room' to fill up the storage and 'glut' supply, and then the price drops... and it sets up the next mirage of abundant oil when the economy recovers, then heats up enough to start outstripping production again.

    There is little to no 'surplus' production of petroleum. One accident or 'accident' or outright attack on production is all it would take. The likelihood that 'all will go well' in the coming years is slim to none.

    Of course, then we'll have something else to blame an oil shortage on. "It's not that we can't keep up with demand, it's that we can't keep up with demand because 'xxxx' happened!"

    It's just that if ANYTHING happens, and the oil supply is throttled, and the prices will go up very rapidly.

    Some kind of 'ANYTHING' will eventually happen. The oil supply is a house of cards.
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  14. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    See the one & only sticky here in the Environmental topic? It was posted by 'ewhanley' and he's part of the oil industry / very knowledgable. PM him & perhaps he'll end all of the "I think it IS / I think it IS'NT an issue" thinking with an equally informative response similar in quality as the stickey.

    .
  15. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Anybody who thinks that TarSands Oil is a viable economically, or environmentally has not looked seriously, (or even casually) at the reality.

    Tar sands oil takes huge quantities of water, leaving millions of gallons of polluted waste water just waiting to spill from it's containment, it involves clearing vast acreages of boreal forest (and it's carbon sink ability!) uses huge quantities of natural gas to make tar liquid, all emitting huge quantities of CO2.

    The only reason that it is being pursued is that the Alberta and Canadian governments have had a misguided image that it is good for the economy because of the jobs it creates.

    It is a Hobson's choice, and the quicker we realize it the better!
  16. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Hill, Hanley's #22 in that thread addresses the point but not in a fully conclusive way.
  17. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    It's a circuitous problem. The U.S. almost uses half its electricity for irrigation / water pumping. The electricity for THAT, comes from the hydrocarbons. Thus, it takes off a huge amount of the return on investment. Wind mill water pumps are looking better & better all the time.

    .
  18. Tom183

    Tom183 New Member

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    It depends what you mean by "peak" oil...

    We are long past the peak if you're talking about easy to find, abundant, cheap to produce sources.
    We are nowhere near the peak of you're talking about difficult to find, limited, expensive sources.

    In other words, wealthy countries/people won't run out of oil anytime soon. (poorer countries/people, on the other hand....)
  19. rpatterman

    rpatterman Thinking Progressive

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    ??Huh?? I would be surprised if it is over 3-4%.
  20. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Hugh?
    We pump a lot of water in the U.S.
    The ratio turns on how many sources you take into account, population, dry areas you have to pump to ... mountains you have to pump over etc. Take china for instance: 3.7 trillion K wh last year ~
    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_policy_of_China"]Energy policy of China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    Of that, 87.6 billion K wh towards water/agriculture.

    Electricity consumption in agriculture by country. Definition, graph and map.

    A bit more that 3 or 4% ? what is that ... 30 % my math may be bad - no scratch paper near by ...

    We're higher. (sigh) I'll try & find the links. But yes, it IS a huge chunk.
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