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2010-03-24, 04:07   #34

"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

22×3×641 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by CRGreathouse Cheesehead, those last two posts seem contradictory -- or at least it seems that accepting both is contradictory.
No, there's no contradiction at all.

Just as the addition of a warming trend from anthropogenic greenhouse gases does not eliminate, erase, invalidate or repeal any other climatic cycle (Milankovitch, summer/winter, El Nino, ...), AGW-deniers' strawmen notwithstanding, so, too, does the occurrence of Peak Oil fail to cancel any other factor influencing the price of oil. People are still greedy, deceitful, short-sighted, manipulative, and so on. Oil markets continue to operate, people still burn gasoline, and so on ...

All Hubbert's theory does is predict that a combination of existing natural and economic factors tends to cause extractive production of nonrenewable resources to reach a peak, then decline. One of the boundary conditions within which the oil markets operate, production capacity, is about to peak then decline in the long term.

Quote:
 If oil is running out soon (peaking 2014 and dwindling thereafter, while population and industrialization increase) then price increases seem reasonable and not like a Ponzi scheme.
Have Ponzi schemes been forever prevented, somehow? Is there some reason why it's not possible to have a Ponzi scheme operating at the same time that oil production is peaking? Was Madoff the last of his breed?

Quote:
 I accept the latter post and reject the former.
Another consideration is that the scheming and the peaking are operating on different timescales -- month and decades, respectively.

So you need not reject either one. They're compatible.

Quote:
 Indeed, I thought the world was already past its peak production of oil.
I think you're premature. The recent global recession has dropped oil production, but there's still a bit more capacity available to be used as the economy recovers.

Quote:
 (There's plenty of oil left in the ground, but it's hard -- and expensive -- to harvest most of it.)
It's a gradual, and fluctuating, trend.

Quote:
 So I was surprised when oil prices dropped so sharply (notwithstanding the economic downturn) and unsurprised at their present return.
Watch out; remember that all the old factors are still in force. Only the balance between, and proportions of, them are slowly changing.

Quote:
 Originally Posted by CRGreathouse * Do you accept, as in #28 and #29, that the price of oil is being dramatically inflated?
Define "dramatically inflated", please, so I can decide whether to agree or not.

Quote:
 * Do you accept, as in #30, that ready oil supplies are being quickly depleted?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-03-24 at 04:14

 2010-03-24, 18:49 #35 ewmayer ∂2ω=0     Sep 2002 República de California 2·5,813 Posts UK Scientist: Oil Reserves Overstated by 1/3 Somewhat related, albeit perhaps in the "allow me to muddy the waters further" sense: Oil reserves 'exaggerated by one third': The world's oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government's former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years.
2010-03-25, 02:59   #36

"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

22·3·641 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ewmayer Somewhat related, albeit perhaps in the "allow me to muddy the waters further" sense:
Not at all -- it's quite directly related!

Quote:
 Oil reserves 'exaggerated by one third': The world's oil reserves have been exaggerated by up to a third, according to Sir David King, the Government's former chief scientist, who has warned of shortages and price spikes within years.
... and this is why Peak Oil will happen sooner than some folks think/wish/hope. You can't fool Mother Nature ... or Dr. Hubbert ... or Sir David.

If you've been basing your plans on the supposition that a certain amount of a resource will be available in the future, based on some group's estimates, then when you find that those estimates were significantly exaggerated you may need to revise your plans ...

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-03-25 at 03:01

2010-08-04, 21:12   #37
ewmayer
2ω=0

Sep 2002
República de California

2·5,813 Posts
NYT: Tracing Oil Reserves to Their Tiny Origins

Nice NYT article on current scientific consensus regarding the origins of oil. Main takeaways:

1. It's the result of a mix of biotic and abiotic processes: Biotic processes work on the decaying seafloor sediments while they are still shallowly buried, then once they are buried sufficiently deeply and sealed inside shaly sediments they get "cooked" abiotically over millions of years at 120-200C into crude oil.

2. Nutrient-and-sediment-rich waters which are warm enough to promote rapid microorganism-ecology turnover (i.e. rapid organic sediment accumulation) are where most oil is formed - that means shallow continental shelves on the margins of seas, or what used to be such. (E.g. the Middle East oil fields were once the shallow continental margins of the great Tethys Sea).

Tracing Oil Reserves to Their Tiny Origins
Quote:
 In 1913, as the automobile zoomed into American life, The Outing Magazine gave its readers a bit of background on what fueled the new motorcars in “The Story of Gasoline.” After a brief vignette describing the death of “old Colonel Stegosaurus Ugulatus,” the article explained that “yesterday you poured the remains of the dinosaur from a measuring-can — which, let us hope, held five gallons, full measure — into your gasoline tank.” The idea that oil came from the terrible lizards that children love to learn about endured for many decades. The Sinclair Oil Company featured a dinosaur in its logo and in its advertisements, and outfitted its gas stations with giant replicas that bore long necks and tails. The publicity gave the term “fossil fuels” new resonance. But the emphasis turned out to be wrong. Today, a principal tenet of geology is that a vast majority of the world’s oil arose not from lumbering beasts on land but tiny organisms at sea. It holds that blizzards of microscopic life fell into the sunless depths over the ages, producing thick sediments that the planet’s inner heat eventually cooked into oil. It is estimated that 95 percent or more of global oil traces its genesis to the sea.

2010-08-10, 00:29   #38
ewmayer
2ω=0

Sep 2002
República de California

2×5,813 Posts
Matt Simmons Found Dead At Home in Maine

Matthew Simmons, Peak-Oil Advocate and Simmons & Co. Founder, Dies at 67
Quote:
 Matthew R. Simmons, an energy investment banker and a leading proponent of the “peak oil” theory that claims the Earth is running out of crude, died yesterday. Simmons, 67, died in an accidental drowning at his home in Maine, local officials said. Simmons started Houston-based Simmons & Co. in May 1974 with a focus on the oil-services industry, according to the company’s website. The firm expanded to offer research, institutional sales and investment banking in the energy industry. Simmons promoted the idea that world oil reserves are peaking, and he explored the implications in a 2005 book called “Twilight in the Desert.” “In the history of the petroleum era, Matt Simmons will be remembered for calling attention to ‘peak oil,’” T. Boone Pickens, chairman of BP Capital LLC, said in an e-mailed statement. “You had to admire his advocacy and his ability to focus on the need to better prepare for a new energy future.” Emergency medical workers responded to Simmons’s home a little before 10 p.m. local time yesterday, said John Dietter, a crew chief in North Haven, Maine. The official cause of death is drowning, and he was found in a hot tub, said Tara Harrington, medical associate at Maine’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner. “It was an accident,” Harrington said today in a telephone interview. She said “heart disease” was listed for the category of “other significant conditions” on the death certificate. ‘Very Good Analyst’ “He was somebody that was very comfortable challenging conventional wisdom, someone that thought beyond the near term and was a very good analyst in terms of identifying big trends,” said Dan Pickering, who worked at Simmons & Co. from 1996 to 2004 and is now co-president of the Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. investment bank in Houston. On a tour of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry in 2003, Simmons was inspired to estimate the world’s largest oil reserves, and from research that included poring through neglected engineering data, determined that the country was close to or nearing peak output, Peter Maass wrote in his book, “Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.” “He built his own energy firm and, having done that successfully, used his knowledge of the industry to challenge one of its biggest accepted truths -- that there are nearly unlimited quantities of oil in the world,” Maass said today in an e-mail. Demand Concerns Demand for energy has become a “runwaway train that cannot be easily slowed or reversed,” Simmons said in a slide presentation in May at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston. “We are in early stages of a global train wreck when demand outstrips supply and shortages begin,” according to the slides on the website for the Ocean Energy Institute, which Simmons founded in 2007 to explore opportunities for harvesting energy from the seas. He is survived by his wife Ellen and their five daughters. In May 2008, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts said crude might rise to between $150 and$200 a barrel on increased demand from developing countries that supply could fail to match. Simmons said July 16 of that year that oil was more likely to hit $200 per barrel than drop to$50 over the next six months. Record Oil Price Oil did touch a record, hitting $147.27 a barrel in July 2008 in New York futures trading. Crude fell to$44.60 at the close of 2008 and hasn’t returned to triple digits following a global recession that cut demand. Rising prices raised awareness of peak oil, said Ted Harper, who helps manage about \$6.8 billion in assets at Frost Investment Advisors in Houston. Harper said he thinks the industry is at or near peak output capacity, though he didn’t fully endorse peak oil, which has seen its prominence fade. Interest in whether global oil production has plateaued or peaked has waned as prices have remained well below their 2008 high, Harper said. Arthur Berman, a geologist who lives near Houston and writes for the Oil Drum energy website, said he shared Simmons’s views on peak oil. Simmons did have “some peculiar ideas” on the BP Plc spill such as the size of the disaster, Berman said, and he’d hoped to talk with Simmons about the reasons for some of his thoughts. Simmons was a frequent critic of BP’s efforts to stanch its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, suggesting at one point that the best option would be to detonate a small nuclear bomb undersea to kill the well.
My Comment: Simmons correctly called BS on BP's early ultra-lowball estimates for the Deepwater Horizon spill, but lost me when his predictions became stridently apocalyptic ... 20 million Gulf-coast residents evacuated to concentration camps, toxic clouds of benzene killing thousands, that sort of stuff. In recent weeks his stridency diverged evermore from what was actually happening, and it sounded increasingly like a man desperately trying to spread gloom and doom in order to salvage the put options he publicly announced as having on BP shares. While we here at Peak Oil Central do not
subscribe to the waggish (and tasteless) speculation of critics that Mr. Simmons drowned "while searching to see how far underwater his BP puts were", it is certainly possible that stress due to his recent losses both of credibility and financial capital may have been contributing factors in his death.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2010-08-10 at 00:32

2010-08-10, 00:53   #39
Jeff Gilchrist

Jun 2003

3×17×23 Posts

Quote:
 Simmons, 67, died in an accidental drowning at his home in Maine, local officials said.
I'm sure that is what big oil wants everyone to believe...

I'm sure the conspiracy theorists will have a field day with that one... That is too bad he seemed to start losing it before he died.

2010-09-09, 01:11   #40

"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

170148 Posts

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ewmayer 1. It's the result of a mix of biotic and abiotic processes: Biotic processes work on the decaying seafloor sediments while they are still shallowly buried, then once they are buried sufficiently deeply and sealed inside shaly sediments they get "cooked" abiotically over millions of years at 120-200C into crude oil.
Just a note:

There have been a few geologists and chemists who use "abiotic" to refer to the theory that some petroleum did not originate with plant or animal matter, but instead with naturally-occurring hydrocarbons that were not created within living beings. "Abiogenic" is more specific to this theory and more properly used to refer to it, but "abiotic" is also often used in this context. E.g., see Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenic_petroleum_origin

2010-09-09, 01:48   #41

"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

22·3·641 Posts
Peak C-O-A-L ... *before* Peak Oil ?????

Quote:
 Originally Posted by MooooMoo Spell LAOC backwards, and you get the solution to peak oil: COAL. That's right, the world's abundant resources of coal
Whoa, there ... coal may not be quite as abundant as some think ...

Quote:
 Originally Posted by fivemack Please don't propose burning all the coal in China;
China may not have quite as much coal as ... um ... feared.

Now, I haven't read nearly as much about Peak Coal as I have about Peak Oil, and I don't know how reliable the study quoted by the article is, but:

The same factors that lead to inadvertent or deliberate overestimation of oil reserves can also lead to overestimation of coal reserves,

and

Hubbert's theory applies to coal just as much as to oil.

"Global Coal Supplies: It Might Be Worse Than Anyone Thinks - Scitizen
A new study on global coal supplies suggests a worldwide peak in production from existing fields in 2011."

(Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants: Peak Coal before Peak Oil? -- cheesehead)

http://scitizen.com/future-energies/...a-14-3558.html

Quote:
 Claims that the world has 200 to 400 years of coal left at current rates of consumption have blinded policymakers and the public. The claims are based on two questionable notions: 1) That official coal reserve estimates are accurate and 2) that the world will experience no growth in the rate of consumption of coal over the period cited.
Re 2): Duh ... that's what "at current rates of consumption" means.

Quote:
 In a new study published in the international journal Energy researchers Tadeusz W. Patzek and Gregory D. Croft suggest that actual historical coal production is a better indicator of the future trend of worldwide coal output than stated reserves which are notoriously unreliable. They note, for example, that the state of Illinois, despite its rank as second in reserves in the United States, has seen its production decline by half over the last 20 years. In the meantime Illinois' estimated recoverable reserves have actually increased from 32 billion tons to 34 billion tons between 1987 and 2006. They mention the work of David Rutledge at the California Institute of Technology who has detailed the sharp downward revisions in the official reserve estimates in recent decades and who believes ultimate production will fall far short of the current reserve estimates. The trajectory for reserves, Rutledge shows, has largely been down as planners include constraints both technical and practical such as coal in seams too thin to mine economically or the presence of a large city over a shallow coalfield. Rutledge also applies Hubbert Linearization to the production data to obtain a truly startling picture of ultimate future recoveries: 50 percent less than current forecasts.
I don't know anything about the referenced publication "Energy - The International Journal", and on first glance at its website I suspect it may have some bias one way or the other.

(Also, I'm naturally biased in favor of Caltech profs -- but I could be wrong.)

But if the figures can be confirmed, they might interfere with some folks' plans for coal.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-09-09 at 02:09

 2010-09-09, 03:26 #42 cheesehead     "Richard B. Woods" Aug 2002 Wisconsin USA 22·3·641 Posts Apparently, Rutledge has been saying these things for a few years now: http://rutledge.caltech.edu/
2012-02-02, 08:03   #43

"Richard B. Woods"
Aug 2002
Wisconsin USA

22×3×641 Posts
"Tipping point" in 2005?

Two scientists (James W. Murray, University of Washington professor of oceanography and David King, director of Oxford’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment) appear to be claiming, in a commentary ("Climate policy: Oil's tipping point has passed" http://www.nature.com/nature/journal...l/481433a.html) of the Jan. 26 issue of the journal Nature, that something similar to "peak oil" (they call it "oil's tipping point") has already occurred -- about 2005.

I don't have access to the Nature commentary itself, but there is a University of Washington article about the commentary at http://www.washington.edu/news/artic...-have-in-store

Quote:
 The “tipping point” for oil supply appears to have occurred around 2005, says Murray, who compared world crude oil production with world prices going back to 1998. Before 2005, supply of regular crude oil was elastic and increased in response to price increases. Since then, production appears to have hit a wall at 75 million barrels per day in spite of price increases of 15 percent each year.
Their claim that world oil production no longer increases in response to price increases is similar, but not identical, to the Wikipedia definition of "peak oil": "Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline."

Note that the usual definitions of "peak oil" refers to an absolute inability to increase production, but apparent price inelasticity could be brought about without such an absolute peak -- through deliberate withholding of some production by oil-exporting countries, for example. i suspect that the latter is going on now (but I could be wrong).

The University of Washington article about the Nature commentary continues:

Quote:
 “As a result, prices swing wildly in response to small changes in demand,” the co-authors wrote. “Others have remarked on this step change in the economies of oil around the year 2005, but the point needs to be lodged more firmly in the minds of policy makers.” For those who argue that oil reserves have been increasing, that more crude oil will be available in the future, the co-authors wrote: “The true volume of global proved reserves is clouded by secrecy; forecasts by state oil companies are not audited and appear to be exaggerated. More importantly, reserves often take 6 - 10 years to drill and develop before they become part of the supply, by which time older fields have become depleted.” Production at oil fields around the world is declining between 4.5 percent and 6.7 percent per year, they wrote. “For the economy, it’s production that matters, not how much oil might be in the ground,” Murray says. ...

 2012-02-07, 04:43 #44 Christenson     Dec 2010 Monticello 5·359 Posts Looking at this, the question is if OPEC, in the form of George Bush, has succeeded in substantially restraining production. Specifically, Iraq is, for the moment, not producing much oil, and it is a very oil-rich place indeed. I'm not so sure about Iran, but the same discussion holds...there's this war-like thing going on over there, so it may be substantially interfering with production. The argument is similar to that of deBeers....which artificially keeps diamond jewels scarce, and the price high. Bad things happen to competitors... now we can talk about oil production, and big oil producers....and bad things happening in places where lots of it is produced. Time to look up some numbers and see what they tell us, instead of the interpreters of numbers......

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