Peak Oil still just Theory?

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
Ready's picture
Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Peak Oil still just Theory?

Recently in conversations with folks who understand most or all of the issues we currently face, I have been bludgeoned by arguments that find Peak Oil less reality and more theory.

A quick google search for strings like “peak oil debunked” finds many folks from different backgrounds who attempt to discredit those who put forth PO as real and upon us.

This thread is an attempt to understand the mindset of those who believe Peak Oil is

1)                  Not real, or too many years off to worry about now

2)                  Bad science

3)                  Data does not support the conclusions

4)                  Data has been manipulated

5)                  Oil is abiotic and a renewable resource created while we use it

6)                  Natural gas, electrical grid,  and coal are viable replacements for crude oil

7)                  Just an agenda to enrich a certain part of the population

8)                  Not believable due to the crackpots trying to sell it

9)                  Insert your reason here

This thread is not an attack on those who are not fully convinced. So many of the decisions we make are tied to our beliefs, I simply want to make 100% sure I am making wise decisions.

In terms of full disclosure, I personally find energy to be the most important and potentially daunting of the 3 E’s, and have structured my life around this belief. I have recently challenged this personal belief and looked at both sides again.

I realize there may be very few people here who would pick up the torch to put forth reasons why a central tenet of this website may be incorrect, so thanks in advance for those brave souls who do, and thanks in advance to the others who refrain from attacking them!

To start things off, I personally have concerns about #4. After all, there is no real way to check this number, and the whole peak can move back by decades, giving us time to adapt, if in fact the numbers being given to us are “massaged.” We certainly have never seen that done by any government or corporation (cough cough).

Cheers,

R

plato1965's picture
plato1965
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2009
Posts: 615
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

One possibility I occasionally mull over.. 

Deliberate.. (anthropogenic) peak oil.

Means: US has close ties with House of Saud, and fair amount of influence..  ( petrodollar arrangement..)

Possible Motives: 2 noble ones, 1 less so.

to save us hitting a natural peak with no time to adapt ?

a backup strategy to prevent Climate change ?

a strategy to maximise economic power.. get the world hooked, then choke off supply.. with enough price volatility to make alternatives uneconomic / risky.

note: These thoughts are purely hypothetical..  I don't necessarily assign a high probablity to any of them

In a way I hope I'm right.. and that the world is managed more wisely than we tend to assume..

Whether P.O. is natural, artificial, imminent or 50 years away, it still makes perfect sense to aim to minimise consumption personally, if only to save money.. and maximise independence.

Ready's picture
Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

plato1965 wrote:

One possibility I occasionally mull over.. 

Deliberate.. (anthropogenic) peak oil.

By this do you mean that the data has been modified to reflect less oil reserves than what actually exist and that we are no where near peak in reality?

Do you find any potential validity in any reason other than #4?

Lemonyellowschwin's picture
Lemonyellowschwin
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 22 2008
Posts: 541
Yes, Peak Oil is Just a Theory

In the same way that evolution and relativity are just theories.

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2490
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

How I love to fear, let me count the ways.....

  • Inflation.
  • Deflation.
  • Currency Crisis.
  • Financial Crisis.
  • Global Warming.
  • Global Cooling.
  • Peak Population.
  • Bond Market Manipulation.
  • Stock Market Manipulation.
  • Silver Market Manipulation.
  • Gold Market Manipulation.
  • Hyper-deflation Depression
  • Hyper-inflation Depression
  • Peak Gold.
  • Peak Silver.
  • Peak Water.
  • Peak Fish.
  • Peak Air.
  • Peak Sun.
  • Peak Weather.
  • No guns.
  • Too many guns.
  • No Healthcare.
  • Too much healthcare.
  • No Jobs.
  • No retirement.
  • China.
  • 2012.
  • Food Shortages.
  • Soil Depletion. 
  • Food Supply Degradation.
  • Swine Flu.
  • Terrorist Attacks.
  • Nuclear War.
  • Trade Wars.
  • Bond Market Dislocation.
  • Housing Market Crash.
  • E-Coli.
  • and last, but certainly not least.....Peak Freaking Oil

I humbly submit that the only thing we have to fear is Peak Fear itself.

I need a vacation.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Hey JAG, who's afraid...?  The big bad wolf maybe...?

Mike

Ready's picture
Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Cool

JAG, you can borrow my sunglasses for your vacation.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

4)                  Data has been manipulated

IMHO, if there's ANY data manipulation, it's to make us believe there's more oil available than really exists!

Mike

.'s picture
.
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 22 2008
Posts: 167
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

FWIW:

An interview with Max "Mad Max" Keiser.  At the 5:35 point in the interview while talking about Dubai he mentions that his sources in Saudia Arabia have told him that the Ghawar oil field complex has been declining at 10% per year for the last three years. 

  This could be part of the bigger picture from the whistle blower that came forward from the IEA earlier this year that stated (paraphrase) "there had been pressure from the U.S. to intentionally overstate oil reserves to prevent an oil hoarding panic and further collapse of the finacial system".

Woodman's picture
Woodman
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1027
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

My experience is when I introduce the average person to Peak Oil fundamentals they don't think it is a big concern because "somebody will think up new technology" or "I believe in the resourcefulness of the human race".

Data demonstrating Peak Oil, such as US oil production peaking around 1970 or that no super large oil fields have been found since the 1960's, seem reliable and conclusive  Data such as reported remaining oil reserves seems very suspect and difficult to verify.

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 240
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Peak oil is just an observation on how oil fields tend to follow a similar production and decline curve. This has been shown time and time again. This can also be an observation of a collection of fields or the world's oil fields. I don't see how that's a theory? Of course timing is where the arguments start to ensue. Discoveries have dropped way off, while production has stagnated. Infrastructure is rusting out, petroleum engineers and workers are retiring. The net energy return on new fields are somewhere around 3 to 1, all the way down from 100 to 1 in the early 1900's. The signs are all around us, the peak has come and gone, it just doesn't look like people imagined it. I think people thought that the price of oil would just spiral up indefinitely. Now with oil struggling to stay over $70, and reports of oil gluts and offshore tankers everywhere, people think it is a hoax. People believe what they want to believe, and it is easier to believe that it is not something we have to worry about in our lifetime. We have seen a drop off in demand, but as soon as depletion catches up, I would hold on to your gas can.  

pseanthebull's picture
pseanthebull
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 7 2009
Posts: 12
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Here is something that cannot be disputed.

The supply of Oil in the Earth is finite.  You cannot refute that.  And no science is necessary to support the statement.  Only so many Dinosaurs, only so much oil.

I will follow that up with the fact that annual usage of oil is increasing.  This too is not refutable.  Sure there may be slight expansions and contractions from year to year but the usage trend is excelerating.  More people means more usage of energy and no one disputes the population numbers.

So we have irrefutable easy numbers, and a logical conclusion on usage and population growth.

The key question is will the transition from Oil to other energy sources be abrupt and chaotic, or will it be smooth and seamless?  That really is what the Peak Oil debate is all about.  It will probably be somewhere in between but wisdom counsels one to take steps, however small, to prepare.

Ready's picture
Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

pseanthebull wrote:

Here is something that cannot be disputed.

The supply of Oil in the Earth is finite.  You cannot refute that.  And no science is necessary to support the statement.  Only so many Dinosaurs, only so much oil.

Were you aware that a significant amount of folks, especially Russians, believe oil to be at least partly abiotic (created by processes within the earth, no dino input) and because of this renewable?

The real purpose of this thread is to challenge our convictions and beliefs. As it would seem, I have failed to properly set the stage to do so.

pseanthebull's picture
pseanthebull
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 7 2009
Posts: 12
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Ready

Questioning the validity of ones beliefs is a mark of wisdom.  However, questioning all belief just for the sake of questioning can be dangerous.  But let it be said that you stated that a "Significant amount of folks".. I would ask what is a significant amount of folks?  10,000 or 100,000,000?

As far as the efficacy of the Abiotic theory we then get into the realm of scientific debate. And just because it has not been proven does not mean it is so.  But there is significant scientific data regarding the source of oil being fossil related and there is very little data to support the theory that the Earths magma creates oil on an ongoing basis.  Again it does not mean it is not true, but very hard to substantiate.

I disagree with your final statement, I DO think you laid out very well that you were trying to challenge our conviction and beliefs and YOU DID set the stage properly.  It is always good to ask oneself "How could I be wrong?" and more people need to do this.  But as in any debate of an economic and physical nature it is most important to rely on the best data you can get your hands on, theories like  the "Abiotic" one in my oppinion tend to waste valuable time more than they add to the knowledge of the situation (interesting though they may be) as they are very hard to substantiate in a geologic sense and so they become fodder just to be on the other side of the argument rather than providing real insight into the situation (with all due respect to any citizen, Russian or no, that subscribes to this oppinion).

So in the end, like your Avatar Neo, do you want the Red pill or the Blue one?  I for one want the Red Pill as I want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes, and I want to be challenged.  But I dont want to be distracted by the blue pill.

But if you can hook me up with Trinity that would be great.

Thanks.

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2490
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

pseanthebull wrote:

Here is something that cannot be disputed.

I just bought gasoline for $2.39/gallon, four years after the projected peak.

When there is a human in the equation, all things should be disputed.

Ready's picture
Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Thanks to Plato and Wood for playing along.

Seeing how there are dozens of other threads about peak oil, it's validity, proof by numbers, etc, we should probably just let this one die so as not to dilute the others and keep the forum tidy.

Cheers,

R

EDIT:    Well maybe not! JAG's post came in at the same time as mine.

This is what I was trying to get at to a tee.

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2490
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Ok....lets get this ball rolling.....before Ready takes it homeSurprised.

The Matrix Damner said:

IMHO, if there's ANY data manipulation, it's to make us believe there's more oil available than really exists!

Given that the Oil business is the biggest business on the planet, why would big oil want to project the perception that more oil exists than there really is? If they are looking to maximize profits, wouldn't they want the public to believe that supplies are running out (aka Peak Oil)?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, there is the puzzling little matter of oil dropping from $147/brl to $34/brl last year. How does that fit in with your Peak Oil identity, opps I mean theory? Never mind, I'm sure we have all come up with excuses for that one by now.

I don't believe in Peak Oil, but I do believe in making the changes to become more self-reliant. So if that is what happens in response to all the PO hysteria, I'm all for it. A better world awaits us. 

[Ready, I think your Mom is calling you, must be dinner time. Don't forget your ball :)]

All the best...Jeff

Ready's picture
Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

I can probably get this in before I get in trouble with Mom...

I know you are not alone in your distrust of Big Oil, however it is often difficult to discuss stuff like this openly on these forums because the viewpoint of PO being upon us is just so prevalent here, contrarians are quickly jumped on. In your case, you deserve it. 

So, if there is anyone here who actually has used their brain to come up with their position, I'm still interested.

As far as the fall of the price of crude, it is a good point. On a daily digest a long time ago, I linked to a report in the WSJ about how the regulators found that speculation drove the price to $147 in the first place, not a supply and demand issue as we are often led to believe. That report was subsequently removed. There is something to this, but we are working with less than all the facts and no way to check much of what we are told. You can also search on Oil Speculation and find over a dozen articles and threads dedicated to this point on this site alone.

To Whom It May Concern: JAG and I are friends engaged in banter, don't read too much into this. We would be speaking this way to each other if sitting across the dinner table.

 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Ok....lets get this ball rolling.....before Ready takes it homeSurprised.

The Matrix Damner said:

IMHO, if there's ANY data manipulation, it's to make us believe there's more oil available than really exists!

Given that the Oil business is the biggest business on the planet, why would big oil want to project the perception that more oil exists than there really is? If they are looking to maximize profits, wouldn't they want the public to believe that supplies are running out (aka Peak Oil)?

NOT NECESSARILY......  an oil company is only worth as much oil as it pertains to have........

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, there is the puzzling little matter of oil dropping from $147/brl to $34/brl last year. How does that fit in with your Peak Oil identity, opps I mean theory? Never mind, I'm sure we have all come up with excuses for that one by now.

Excuses?  How about 26 airlines biting the dust in the last 18 months?  How about three bankrypt US car companies?  How about the millions of unemployed who can't afford to put gas in their SUV'?

The big drop in oil prices fits in EXACTLY with what experts predicted, spiking prices killing the economy, recession/depression killing the high prices, followed by an attempt at economic recovery, spiking the oil price yet again, causing an ever deeper recession/depression, etc etc etc....

Mike

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2490
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Damnthematrix wrote:

NOT NECESSARILY......  an oil company is only worth as much oil as it pertains to have........

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How about 26 airlines biting the dust in the last 18 months?  How about three bankrypt US car companies?  How about the millions of unemployed who can't afford to put gas in their SUV'?

The big drop in oil prices fits in EXACTLY with what experts predicted, spiking prices killing the economy, recession/depression killing the high prices, followed by an attempt at economic recovery, spiking the oil price yet again, causing an ever deeper recession/depression, etc etc etc....

Thats a good point about oil companies being valued by their "reserves".  But price does make a huge difference in their bottomline, otherwise XOM would not have reported record earnings, and had the highest share price, during the spike in oil prices in 07-08.

Everything else that you mentioned is more thoughtfully attributed to Peak Credit rather than to Peak Oil.

All that being said...I want to be like you guys. The self-reliant lifestyles of Mike, Ready, and many others here are inspirations to me personally.

To Whom It May Concern: JAG and I are friends engaged in banter, don't read too much into this. We would be speaking this way to each other if sitting across the dinner table.

+ Big 1 

GregSchleich's picture
GregSchleich
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 16 2009
Posts: 187
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Ready wrote:

I know you are not alone in your distrust of Big Oil, however it is often difficult to discuss stuff like this openly on these forums because the viewpoint of PO being upon us is just so prevalent here, contrarians are quickly jumped on. In your case, you deserve it. 

So, if there is anyone here who actually has used their brain to come up with their position, I'm still interested.

LOL!  That's beautiful!   Sorry JAG

Quote:

To Whom It May Concern: JAG and I are friends engaged in banter, don't read too much into this. We would be speaking this way to each other if sitting across the dinner table.

 

Just a wild guess, maybe, but somehow I figured that out for myself.

Thanks Rog. Such a brutal topic can always use a little levity. And BTW, a lot of my posts would surely get pulled if I went by the 'across the dinner table' standard. That's no help to me at all!

Ready's picture
Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Ok, so it would seem that the primary concern about PO is who benefits?

JAG, you may be interested to know that you and Alex Jones are in harmony here. High praise indeed for your argument!

I think the concern about the drastic fall in oil prices from 2008 is something to attempt to fully understand. Based on what I have read in multiple places, the high price of $147 was actually an artificial value created by speculation.

Quote:

In a major U-turn from its claims during the Bush administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is now set to admit that speculation in oil markets — and not the forces of supply and demand — are behind last year’s massive oil price spike.

In the summer of 2008, oil prices on the open market reached an unprecedented $147 per barrel. Many economists argue the spike helped push the US into an economic free-fall last autumn.

So what does this say? It would seem that the spike in oil prices cannot be directly attributed to PO and lack of supply, but the argument could be made that the fear of PO caused the environment where such a price spike was likely. Hmmm. There's that word again, fear and markets do not mix well for everyone, just a certain few who play it right.

The EIA in it's newly released report yesterday suggest a 30MB/D habit for 2010 and a price range of $75 - $82 for the year. Hardly peak numbers if correct. But how much of this is due to less consumption? Are we back to a supply and demand market?

Having read in multiple places that many oil producing nations require the price of a barrel to be at $75 in order to balance national budgets, this seems all very cozy to me. All the oil exporting nations are working together to so closely tie supply to demand to get the price where they need it to be? Again, Hmmmmmmm.

Those that know me realize I am just playing devil's advocate here, but the process has really got me thinking that the timeframe I have been convinced about may be off by a significant margin. At this point, my thrust is to attempt to understand the timing and economics of the down slope. As JAG said, gas is still very cheap and predicted to stay that way for some time. I was clearly wrong in my expectation that by now we would be $100+ per barrel and slowly climbing. We may have more time than I originally imagined. Any thoughts on this statement, and more importantly, what do we best do with this time?

Best,

Rog

JAG's picture
JAG
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2490
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

Ready wrote:

JAG, you may be interested to know that you and Alex Jones are in harmony here. High praise indeed for your argument!

Excuse me while I vomit.

Its official, I'm an idiot.

Ready's picture
Ready
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 30 2008
Posts: 917
Re: Peak Oil still just Theory?

JAG wrote:

How does that fit in with your Peak Oil identity, opps I mean theory?

You are not a complete idiot, this little comment hit it's mark with me and has been rolling around in the old noggin ever sense...

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments