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Presidents speech on oil dependency

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Presidents speech on oil dependency

Old 02-05-06, 11:42 AM
  #51  
some_guy282
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Originally Posted by pedex
Another thing that scares me is the time frame, I have a suspicion its going to be much quicker than anyone is ready for.

Britain is a great example, theyve been caught literally with their pants down, the North sea fields declined sharply and quickly, and they were faced with becoming an oil importer in under 3 years time, natural gas too. 3 years isnt long enough to prepare for much on this scale. Add to this that OPEC overstated its reserves by about 100% with the stroke of a pen about 20 yrs ago and we have the makings for a disaster. Kuwait just got busted and their reserves have been corrected unofficially, the rest of OPEC will follow, so much for the illusion that we have at least 35 yrs left at current rates.
I have been saying since early last year that before the end of 2007 is when we will see something start to happen. I mentioned this in the cars and peak oil thread. After an oilfield is discovered it takes on average 4 or 5 years to start producing and bring that oil to market. We know what major oilfields have been discovered earlier in this decade. 2000 and 2001 had some big finds. In 2004 not one major oil field (500 million barrels or more) was discovered. I think it was the same for 2005. We also know what the decline rate is for existing fields that have already peaked. Put those two things together and you have a pretty good idea on what production will be. Chris Srebowski (sure I miss spelled his last name) has done a lot of work with this in his Mega Project updates. When you factor in demand for oil increasing as the economy increases, it's clear that their wont be enough oil to meet demand if it keeps growing at its present rate by 2007. So either one of two things happens. Either the demand increase slows down or stops (which means recession), or it keeps increasing and there is a shortage.

As for the North Sea, I think that's a really good point. I brought up the North Sea in the cars and peak oil thread when I was debating that economist optimist. The North Sea peaked in 1999, and just a few years later the decline rate was more than 25%. I forget the exact #, but I linked to an article about it in that thread. And the North Sea is one of those fields where so many people were touting the new drilling technology. Matt Simons related a story in an interview once where he was talking about an analysis he gave back in 1996 to some oil executives, and he predicted the north sea would peak in 1999. They looked at him astonished and said "Matt, you just don't understand technology." Well, he must have understood it better than them because production peaked right when he said it would. This is the same man who is saying that Saudi arabia is either at or very near peak production today.
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Old 02-05-06, 12:00 PM
  #52  
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http://www.peakoil.ie/downloads/news...r62_200602.pdf

the latest ASPO newsletter link, its has an estimated total of remaining known proven reserves corrected for the OPEC overstatement done in 1985, scary stuff

Ya, new technology thus far has just allowed drillers to extract oil faster but hasnt done much in the way of actually increasing the total amount extracted from any one field, also ultimately in many cases actually decreases the total amount that can be extracted. Oil fields can only be pushed so hard, oil is trapped tween bedrock and porous sandstone or other rock, isnt like a gas tank you can stick a straw into. Saudi Arabia scares me, so does the rest of OPEC save for venezuela, I think they are gonna experience world record declines, maybe 30% or better annually and soon, thats huge when your pumping 9 million bpd or better. Theyve been pumping 12 million barrels per day of salt water into the ground for a long time, they certainly wont live up to their promises, methinks we are gonna have an "oh sheot" moment shortly.
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Old 02-05-06, 12:45 PM
  #53  
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One thing to keep in mind is that as the price of oil goes up, there will be greater demand for alternatives. Higher prices will make investment in R&D attractive, and new technology will get a big boost when a lot of smart people turn their sights to alternative energy.

A couple things would speed this process: high petroleum taxes and a freeze on new power plants, for example. But these measures are (understandably) politically unpopular, and probably don't have a chance of implementation.

I'm thinking that we just have to wait patiently until market forces kick in. And of course, keep riding our bikes and encouraing conservation!
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Old 02-05-06, 01:31 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Roody
I'm thinking that we just have to wait patiently until market forces kick in.
The Hirsch report prepared for the department of energy had a different conclusion. It didn't try to determine or discuss when production would peak, just what would happen when it did. It said that if we waited until market forces kicked in, we would have a liquid fuel shortage for two decades. In order to avoid shortages and ensure a smooth transition to a post petroleum economy, we would have to start serious conservation efforts and alternative R&D two decades before the peak. If not, we face disruptions in the economy not seen since the 1920's. In an interview on Global Public Media (which you can listen to here ) Robert Hirsch said that two decade minimum preparation time assumed a 2% annual rate of decline once we peak. 2% annua decline rate is very optimistic. The North Sea is experiencing decline rates upwards of 6% per year. Hirsch said that for every 1 or 2% decline in addition to the first 2, we would need an additional 10 years to prepare and insure the smooth transition.

So even if the optimists are right and peak is 30 years away or more, we should still be preparing right now. We're not. As it stands it looks like we will wait until the price signal arrives and an oil shock occurs. Liquid fuel crisis for two decades at least....

You can read the whole Hirsch report yourself here.
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Old 02-05-06, 02:52 PM
  #55  
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Some excerpts:

I love my oil. For starters, I love my minivan. I love being in the minivan with the kids and using oil. I would probably drive to the bathroom if I could.

When I decided to move my family from the East Coast back to the Chicago area over a year ago, one of my criteria for a new neighborhood was that I had to be able to walk to town. I have actually walked there precisely ... one time. I didn't care for it much.

It's all about time for me. Yes, I can walk to Starbucks in 10 to12 minutes, but I can drive there in one minute. The library is about a 45-second drive, and the school 30. I'm not opposed to walking; I'm opposed to wasting time. I know, I know, exercise isn't a "waste of time," blah, blah. But if I'm going to exercise, I want it in a gym with a trainer bearing down on me. I'm not going to waste time just walking.

I also like a warm house in the winter and, for the record, an air conditioner set to "stun" in the summer, and lots of lights on in my home all the time. Apparently Bush now has a problem with such living.

But, there is no reason, except for price, for me to cut back on any of this. (I'm not even going to deal with the "greenhouse gas" argument here.) News flash: We have plenty of oil (and, of course, coal for electricity). Bigger news flash: We'll come up with more when we have to.

So, hundreds if not thousands of years from now, if oil becomes too scarce and/or too expensive to extract, man's mind will come up with something else instead.

The one thing that will cause me to cut back on my energy use is price.

But I will never cut back just because I'm worried about "using up a natural resource." The real resource is man's amazing mind. And I'm confident that when we need to, when it makes economic sense to, we'll come up with something a whole lot better than burning wood chips.
Wow. It's people like this that make me not like people. Ignorant, and worse, refuses to be educated. "ME ME ME - I don't give a crap about anything else!"
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Old 02-05-06, 05:35 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by pedex
Britain is a great example, theyve been caught literally with their pants down, the North sea fields declined sharply and quickly, and they were faced with becoming an oil importer in under 3 years time.
Actually the UK always did import oil, even whilst it was busy exporting oil extracted from the North Sea. Sounds a little crazy perhaps, the logic works like follows :-

[1] Export better quality (ie: expensive) North Sea oil.
[2] Import lower quality (ie: cheaper) foreign oil.
[3] Spend some of the money you've earned doing [1] & [2], on refining the oil you imported.

The difference is that the UK is now a *net* importer of oil. Of course, with gas prices around about $1.5/litre it was already expensive to fill up your car!
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Old 02-05-06, 05:59 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by some_guy282
The Hirsch report prepared for the department of energy had a different conclusion. It didn't try to determine or discuss when production would peak, just what would happen when it did. It said that if we waited until market forces kicked in, we would have a liquid fuel shortage for two decades. In order to avoid shortages and ensure a smooth transition to a post petroleum economy, we would have to start serious conservation efforts and alternative R&D two decades before the peak. If not, we face disruptions in the economy not seen since the 1920's. In an interview on Global Public Media (which you can listen to here ) Robert Hirsch said that two decade minimum preparation time assumed a 2% annual rate of decline once we peak. 2% annua decline rate is very optimistic. The North Sea is experiencing decline rates upwards of 6% per year. Hirsch said that for every 1 or 2% decline in addition to the first 2, we would need an additional 10 years to prepare and insure the smooth transition.

So even if the optimists are right and peak is 30 years away or more, we should still be preparing right now. We're not. As it stands it looks like we will wait until the price signal arrives and an oil shock occurs. Liquid fuel crisis for two decades at least....

You can read the whole Hirsch report yourself [URL=http://www.projectcensored.org/newsflash/The_Hirsch_Report_Proj_Cens.pdf]here.[/URL
]
You and the Hirsch Report are probably right about what should happen. I was talking about what I think will happen. I'm pretty skeptical about people voluntarily paying more for energy. I'm also doubting that corporations will spend much to develop technology that isn't going to be profitable for several decades.
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Old 02-05-06, 06:12 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by pedex
There's 2 or 3 basic attitudes Ive run into about energy, most prevalent is "technology will save the day", another one is "there's no problem, its all BS", and occasionally hear someone point out a single tech solution to just one basic problem and then consider it no longer a problem. IMHO, they are all wrong, understandable certainly, but more than likely wrong. We live in a pretty complex system, just in time delivery, infrastructure spanning the globe, everything has been diversified and outsourced---all predicated on cheap energy.

Another thing that scares me is the time frame, I have a suspicion its going to be much quicker than anyone is ready for. I really think we all will get hit and its gonna happen over less than a decade for us to go from where we are now to a point where energy supplies have been cut by 30-40%. Probably see several bumps, some plateau's, but oil fields dont have any mercy when they start declining after being pushed too hard.
Ditto on the attitudes. My view is one of "The Emperor's New Clothes" in that everyone I talk to about it seems to have the attitude that if they just believe everything will work out, we'll be OK, because we always manage to come out on top somehow. Their view of me seems to be "Chicken Little".

Time for technology to save the day may or may not have passed. To me, the biggest issue seems to be incentive to adapt for those who are in a position to. I get that idea from an acquaintence who is neither an economist nor scientist, but a Merchant Marine ship captain. He managed to convince me that even if I could hand over an engine that runs on air, it would get snuffed out one way or another because there's simply too much money invested in and made from the oil economy. When things get "bad" (i.e. high fuel prices, shipping prices), it doesn't change much because of the monopoly (oligopoly, whatever) on trade and distribution. They're all too deep into oil based energy and delivery, so they'll ride it out till the end vs. reinvent their infrastructure. Kind of how Wal-Mart gone bad can continue on, even if people don't like them any more.

I have no conclusion on how to deal with this idea, just prepare myself (my mind mostly) to adapt someday soon. I'm not necessarily interested in defending how things are today, but more interested in the possibilities that could rise from the ashes (i.e. local farming, less sprawl, simpler lives, and a resurection of virtue).
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Old 02-05-06, 09:28 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Roody
I'm also doubting that corporations will spend much to develop technology that isn't going to be profitable for several decades.
You're absolutely right. Our current economic system isn't capable of handling this kind of problem, which is why political leadership would be necessary. But then again, what politician is going to tell the people they have to sacrifice and then get elected? The political system isn't really capable of handling this either...
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Old 02-05-06, 11:04 PM
  #60  
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Here's a decent link that gets into among other things, what Cuba went thru when they literally had their oil cut off with about a months notice when the USSR fell apart.

http://energybulletin.net/4273.html

pretty facinating in my view, it shows there is hope, and we arent gonna just up and die, but it also very much illustrates what the changes look like and how far we will have to go
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Old 02-06-06, 01:57 AM
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I found that article very interesting - nothing like a real world case study. Very informative and hopeful. I sense lately that there is a groundswell of concern about oil that is beginning to bubble up and permeate the conciousness of the average American, slowly, but growing incrementally. I think this is one reason Bush had to mention something about it in his State of the Union address, and it is why Congressmen and even some big business are calling for conservation targets, etc. Climate change is also becoming widely accepted which makes it increasingly difficult for the administration to ignore it. I believe that like technological innovation, as these ideas move from the early adopters to the mainstream, more activity will happen in response.

Also, there seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around on here about the energy bill passed last year. While it certainly contained a lot of the usual support for big oil, coal, nuclear, etc, it also DID contain a significant amount of subsidies and incentives for various renewables such as solar and wind, and for hybrid cars and ethanol-based fuels. About $5B across all of it, which is not peanuts. We need more, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Actually, we could not take much more incentives on solar at the moment - supply is way behind customer demand and installers are now spec'ing wattage, not brand of modules, since they have no idea what they will be able to get. Now that incentives are longer term, more capital investment is going into development of silicon wafer plants (yes, same as chip mfg) so supply is forecast to begin meeting demand again in 2 years, although personally I believe we will be pushing it hard for the forseeable future.
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