Peak Oil, Peak Credit, and Peak Problem!
We can’t “make” more of it, from what?
Yes we can.
There is no limit to the amount of oil we can manufacture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_oil
We can pump it faster but that just compounds the issue; there are two known possible sources thermal depolymerization and conversion of sequestered Carbon dioxide with hydrogen into methanol then to gasoline.
Gasoline is different than oil. The germans in ww2 created tons and tons of synthetic gasoline that was far superior to what we use today. It can be done. Profitablity is another issue.
So there are no current cost effective solutions for a replacement.
1. Would if we used legislation like the MTA to produce fuel factories to create the fuel needed to keep our soceity functioning? That would solve the cost effective solution correct? When it comes to synthetic diesel almost anything can be used (except radio active material, glass, porcalean, metals, and dirt). Basically anything that can be grown.
2. Why should we limit the creative ability of mankind to those kinds of fuels?
Nor are biofuels the cornucopia purported, check out http://www.eroei.com/articles/2007-artic… for some background.Even if biofuels can achieve an ERoEI of roughly 1 for the fuel used to prepare, plant and harvest, transport and convert to fuel, where do we get the necessary fertilizers, pesticides (remember these are mostly petroleum derivatives, or require large energy investments made by fossil fuels), and lets be honest actual food production from when as described in the article the 35 billion gallons of biofuel target in 2030 will consume 70% of the US arable land, and that would be split into two huge monocultures of likely corn (ethanol) and soy (Biodiesel). Add in to that soil degradation in most of the US farming belt and the achieving 35 Billion gallons on 70% of US Arable land begins to look shaky (we “only” consume 298 Billion gallons per year [2008 EIA figures 7.1 B bbl at 42 gallons per barrel]), so how far do we push that? 80% … 100% and who is going to bear the cost of feeding us, when we need all of our agricultural production solely for fuels? What makes you think those “others” are not doing the same? Then there’s the fact that 71% of that 298B gallons of oil is consumed in transportation including cars, trucks and air so that works out to be 211B gallons needed assuming no increase in demand, or a 176B gallon shortfall that must be filled by post peak oil production.
What happens when we add wind and solar, and other emerging sources of energy? You might be willing to accept living without a warm home, or a vehile to move you from place to place, but I can’t find any logical reason why that has to happen. I’ve got a bit of an aviation background and if you know eventually something isn’t going to work you better start looking at a way to correct the problem, because crashing isn’t an option, unless no other option is available. I know there is other options. The problem is the people who own and control our monetary system do not want us to have an ever increasing standard of living. It’s proof positive by what has happened to our country in the last 200 plus years.
Why stick to trying to make current technology carry us when it’s well known that far superior technolgies of ways of moving people around exsist or can exsist. The only problem again….is the money…we just don’t have the money…….Ok, how can we every be short of money when it’s just a number in a bank account. There is no logical reason to ever have a society short on money. The only reason we are short on money is because our beloved banking system has engineer the system to work that way, at our expense.
If mankind could fund all of his creative energies into improving our world and increasing our standard of living do you really think we would sit around waiting until “it’s to late”?
If we have a money shortage, lets figure out why and fix it and why not at the same time as we fix that money shortage begin working on improving our society as a whole.
Basically the economy is driven by oil,
Our economy is driven by interest bearing debt created by the banking system.
Oil is just something that is used to lubricate machinery.
when that goes it’s all going to hell, we can’t replace it and maintain our current growth (which will have a drastic impact on our economic system which requires exponential growth),
So lets start working on creating a sustainable monetary system? Lets start talking about the root cause of the problem (interest bearing debt) and figure out what can be done to fix it. If the problem is that all the money only comes into exsistance as an interest bearing debt wouldn’t the solution be the opposite?
or living standards
Living standards have always decreased for the many as the interest load has increased. If we want to increase the standard of living lets get rid of this interest bearing debt??????
no oil means no cars
We can manufacture all the oil we need but we do we have to have cars that run on 100 plus year old technology?
no or limited air travel,
Have you heard about the hydrogen powered aircraft in devolopment? Hydrogen can be created at little or no cost.
higher transportation costs which will be reflected in prices, higher non-petroleum power costs (because we use do use petroleum for power generation too, and the US is post peak coal extraction too!).
Wouldn’t the best way to lower transportation costs right now would be to start funding all the transportation infrastructure debt free and eliminate all road/fuel/registration/any other tax on it?
Why would wind power, solar, ocean, or any other power cost increase change with the availibilty of a hydrocarbon fuels? Last time I looked all electricity was delivered via permanant infrastucture (power lines) into my house. Those lines do not need not petrolium to function.
We won’t need someone to turn out the light when oil goes, because the oil lamp will burn out by itself.
Everything I’ve read shows that we can create more gasoline, diesel, oil, ect….We can always create more…..So it will always be there, and the synthetic versions are always better than the mineral versions but why should we limit mankind to only using that once source of fuel?
My only guess is that the petrolium industry enjoys a monopoly (huge profits) over what the world is using for energy and they are the only ones who would fight tooth and nail to keep the regular guy from enjoying all of the possible technologies out there to enchance his standard of living.
Maybe I’m one of those guys where if there is a problem, we need to clearly identify the problem, find out what is causing it, and work towards fixing it.
This thread was started because on another, Tom Hedin made statements that I and (and Gungnir?) think need addressing. I propose to do this one item at a time.
[quote=Thomas Hedin]There is no limit to the amount of oil we can manufacture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_oil
To begin with Tom, we weren’t talking about lubricating oil, we meant PETROLEUM, the black gold that comes out the ground for free. Free except of course for the increasingly larger investment commitment to build all the gear necessary to explore, find, and exploit the stuff. Lubricating oil is the least of our problems, because the main uses of oil are as fuel, and feedstock for this short list of what’s made with oil…..
Adhesives, air-conditioners, ammonia, anti-histamines, antiseptics, asphalt, aspirin, balloons, bandages, boats, bottles, bras, bubblegum, butane, cameras, candles, car batteries, car bodies, carpet, cassette tapes, caulking, CD/DVDs, computers, chewing gum, combs/brushes, condoms, contact lenses, cortizone, crayons, cream denture adhesives, deodorant, detergents, dice, dishwashing liquid, dryers, electric blankets, electrician’s tape, non-natural fabrics, fertilizers, fishing lures, fishing rods, floor wax, footballs, glycerin, golf balls, guitar strings, hair coloring, hearing aids, heart valves, heating oil, house paint, hydrogen, ice chests, ink, insect repellent, insulation, jet fuel, life jackets, linoleum, lip balm, lipstick, loudspeakers, mascara, medicines, mops, motor oil, motorcycle helmets, movie film, nail polish, oil filters, paddles, paint brushes, paints, parachutes, paraffin, pens, perfumes, petroleum jelly, plastic furniture, plastic wrap, plastics, refrigerators, roller-skate wheels, roofing paper, rubber bands, rubber boots, rubber cement, running shoes, saccharine, seals, shampoo,shoe polish, shoes, shower curtains, solar panels, solvents, spectacles, stereos, sweaters, table tennis balls, tape recorders, telephones, tennis rackets, thermos, toilet paper, tyres, TV cabinets, umbrellas, upholstery, vaporizers, vitamin capsules, volley balls, water pipes, water skis, wax, wax paper, etc. etc.etc. etc. etc.etc. etc. etc.etc.
[quote=Thomas Hedin]Gasoline is different than oil. The germans in ww2 created tons and tons of synthetic gasoline that was far superior to what we use today. It can be done. Profitablity is another issue.[/quote]
Tom, gasoline is gasoline….. a hydrocarbon with chemical formulas between C6H14 and C12H26, but a good “average” compound is C8H18.
Gasoline comes out as C8H18 whether made from petroleum, turkey guts or coal, that’s it, C8H18. If you want improved gasoline, then you add other things to it. German gasoline as NOT superior to American gasoline, in fact I would argue it’s the other way around, because yours was way more energy profitable……
Hitler lost the war because he had no oil and had to make do with the abundant coal deposits Germany was and is still endowed with. In effect, OIL won the war, because you guys were on our side, and at that time the USA had the world’s largest known oil fields, and you knew how to exploit them to the max, and it was cheap cheap cheap!
Thanks Matrix for putting this into a specific thread.
In response to Thomas, who wrote the threads starting comment.
Yes we can do something but heres the thing is there a will and do we have the time?
In 2008 when we had oil prices peaking, the Saudi’s admitted point blank that they were pumping oil as “fast as they could” which implies that they are at peak oil production Cambridge research calculates that global oil production is depleting at 4.5% per year for the top 811 oil fields. The Hirsch report said to avoid any serious ramifications a transition from oil based energy to more sustainable energies needs to happen 20 years prior to peak oil. Unfortunately it appears we’re there. As the report says
[quote]”The peaking of world oil production presents the U.S. and the world with an unprecedented risk management problem. As peaking is approached, liquid fuel prices and price volatility will increase dramatically, and, without timely mitigation, the economic, social, and political costs will be unprecedented. Viable mitigation options exist on both the supply and demand sides, but to have substantial impact, they must be initiated more than a decade in advance of peaking.”[/quote]
71% of the US oil consumption is in liquid fuels, used mainly in transportation, currently there is no real effective way to replace this, solar, wind, hydro, can generate electricity or hydrogen from electrolysis, but can we convert our fleets of vehicles to electricity or hydrogen power in a reasonable time (BMW, Mercedes and Honda all have hydrogen Internal combustion engines, but currently there isn’t a government that will certify them for public use), at a reasonable cost, with a declining economy? You mention that oil just “lubricates the economy” but does it really, manufacturing requires transportation of goods, sometimes petroleum products and derivatives in the process (Plastics for instance), take that away and you have no manufacturing base (which if I remember from economics 101 is a huge input to the global economy), even if you had a massive expansion of say rail with electric trains running then you still need something to get to the manufacturing plant to take those goods and stick them on the train. Power generation also uses oil based products including diesel and gasoline, not to mention lubricants, so yes if oil ran out today within about 2 months you’d be sitting in your home in the dark, and cold if you rely on electricity, natural gas or heating oil (no power, no gas pumping), of course it might be a lot faster since employees couldn’t get to their places of work including the power plants.
You mention German synthetic oil production during WW2 as an example of how it can be done, yes they converted coal to gas using the Bergius process and the Fischer Tropsch process (and guess what, it was restricted to military and government use), did I mention we’re approaching peak coal here too? Fortunately these can also use biomass, but they run at a cost of approximately $86 per barrel (at current pricing of materials) to hit a profit (I have no idea whether that’s just cost of materials or also cost of capital investment too), and as yet the US has no CTL/CBTL/BTL plants. The first is expected to enter commercial production in 2013 assuming that the construction hasn’t been effected by the economy and only produces 30,000 barrels per day (of the current 86M barrels used, or 0.03%) using the Fischer Tropsch process.
Finally then there’s the big question, what is the energy invested to energy return on these things, Wind, solar, hydro plants to replace and augment coal and oil burning power plants for the additional energy load needed when we need to either power our economies transportation entirely on electricity, or through conversion of electricity to a liquid fuel (CTL/CBTL/BTL/ethanol/biodiesel/hydrogen). If we’re investing more energy than the plant will ever produce in its lifetime that’s a net negative energy production, so from a pure energy perspective we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Fixing the economy will achieve absolutely nothing to try to fix any of these problems, peak oil has been known since 1956, thats 53 years and in that time the economy has done diddly-squat to try to mitigate the issue, of course nor have any other organization. So currently the horse is bolting the stable, do we have time to stop the horse bolting or will be create a bunch of potential unproven solutions that we can’t afford once that horse has bolted?
The thing that amazes me is that in 2001 when I arrived in the US gas was $1.45 a gallon (average all grades), currently it’s $2.69 (average all grades but of course it’s only 90% gasoline) but since 1993 the price has a minimum of $0.949 and a maximum of $4.165 (a 4.3 increase) if we’re prepared to pay that much differential across a 16 year period and not find an alternative I do not see any reason to expect that in another 16 years we’ll not see people paying $18.27 a gallon, if they can get it at all. Since we had a taste of this in 1979 when oil hit its (in real terms) highest price before March 2008 didn’t we learn a lesson then as to the fact we needed to reduce our dependance on oil? So while you have an optimistic outlook, history shows that this is not the case. So I don’t have as optimistic an outlook.
So there are no current cost effective solutions for a replacement.
1. Would if we used legislation like the MTA to produce fuel factories to create the fuel needed to keep our soceity functioning? That would solve the cost effective solution correct? When it comes to synthetic diesel almost anything can be used (except radio active material, glass, porcalean, metals, and dirt). Basically anything that can be grown.[/quote]
“glass, porcalean, (I take it you actually mean porcelain?) metals, and dirt” cannot be turned into fuel……. they contain neither hydrogen nor carbon!
“Anything that can be grown” can in theory be turned into a hydrocarbon, or an alcohol (ethanol/methanol), BUT, and this is a very big but, things that are “grown” are usually grown using…… OIL! Oil and nat gas are necessary for the chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides sprayed in conventional agriculture, and fuel needed for the tractors and harvesters, not to to mention the pumps used to irrigate the fields. It has been calculated that in most cases no energy profit is made, and when a profit is made it is in the range of 10 to 20 % of the energy profit derived from oil.
I am not disputing any of your conclusions, but thought this South African website may interest you. Sasol was set up when South Africa was a pariar state, to turn coal into petrol. It makes interesting reading. Enjoy
Yep, I discussed this, by then end of 2013 the US will be creating 0.03% of its gasoline using a similar method. It can be done, but can enough be done before we feel the bite of falling “natural” oil production, and increasing pricing because of it?
Yes, as Gungnir and I are both saying, it can be done, but why would you, unless….. like SA and WWII Germany you haven’t got any oil!
So now, if R7.57 = US$1, then R7.65 = $1.01, and a gallon is 3.8L, so gas in SA costs $3.84 a gallon. Cheap hey? Here in Australia we currently pay $5.07!
Obviously using slave labor to make the stuff out of coal pays off!
The harm this country could do in the next two weeks will outweigh all the good it has done in a century.
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 20th November 2009
When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind? The world’s peace-keeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This country’s government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzee’s tea party. So amazingly destructive has Canada become, and so insistent have my Canadian friends been that I weigh into this fight, that I’ve broken my self-imposed ban on flying and come to Toronto.
So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petrostate. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush.
Until now I believed that the nation which has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good works.
In 2006 the new Canadian government announced that it was abandoning its targets to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol. No other country that had ratified the treaty has done this. Canada was meant to have cut emissions by 6% between 1990 and 2012. Instead they have already risen by 26%(1).
It’s now clear that Canada will refuse to be sanctioned for abandoning its legal obligations. The Kyoto Protocol can be enforced only through goodwill: countries must agree to accept punitive future obligations if they miss their current targets. But the future cut Canada has volunteered is smaller than that of any other rich nation(2). Never mind special measures; it won’t accept even an equal share. The Canadian government is testing the international process to destruction and finding that it breaks all too easily. By demonstrating that climate sanctions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, it threatens to render any treaty struck at Copenhagen void.
After giving the finger to Kyoto, Canada then set out to prevent the other nations from striking a successor agreement. At the end of 2007 it single-handedly blocked a Commonwealth resolution to support binding targets for industrialised nations(3). After the climate talks in Poland in December 2008, it won the Fossil of the Year award, presented by environmental groups to the country which had done most to disrupt the talks(4). The climate change performance index, which assesses the efforts of the world’s 60 richest nations, was published in the same month. Saudi Arabia came 60th. Canada came 59th(5).
In June this year the media obtained Canadian briefing documents which showed that the government was scheming to divide the Europeans(6). During the meeting in Bangkok in October, almost the entire developing world bloc walked out when the Canadian delegate was speaking, as they were so revolted by his bullying(7). Last week the Commonwealth heads of government battled for hours (and eventually won) against Canada’s obstructions. A concerted campaign has now begun to expel Canada from the Commonwealth(8).
In Copenhagen next week, this country will do everything in its power to wreck the talks. The rest of the world must do everything in its power to stop it. But such is the fragile nature of climate agreements that one rich nation – especially a member of the G8, the Commonwealth and the Kyoto group of industrialised countries – could scupper the treaty. Canada now threatens the well-being of the world.
Why? There’s a simple answer. Canada is developing the world’s second largest reserve of oil. Did I say oil? It’s actually a filthy mixture of bitumen, sand, heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals. The tar sands, most of which occur in Alberta, are being extracted by the biggest opencast mining operation on earth. An area the size of England, of pristine forests and marshes, will be dug up, unless the Canadians can stop this madness. Already it looks like a scene from the end of the world: the strip-miners are creating a churned black hell on an unimaginable scale.
To extract oil from this mess, it needs to be heated and washed. Three barrels of water are used to process one barrel of oil(9). The contaminated water is held in vast tailing ponds, some of which are so toxic that the tar companies employ people to scoop dead birds off the surface(10). Most are unlined. They leak organic poisons, arsenic and mercury into the rivers. The First Nations people living downstream have developed a range of exotic cancers and auto-immune diseases(11).
Refining tar sands requires two to three times as much energy as refining crude oil. The companies exploiting them burn enough natural gas to heat six million homes(12). Alberta’s tar sands operation is the world’s biggest single industrial source of carbon emissions(13). By 2020, if the current growth continues, it will produce more greenhouse gases than Ireland or Denmark(14). Already, thanks in part to the tar mining, Canadians have almost the highest per capita emissions on earth, and the stripping of Alberta has scarcely begun.
Canada hasn’t acted alone. The biggest leaseholder in the tar sands is Shell(15), a company that has spent millions persuading the public that it respects the environment. The other great greenwasher, BP, initially decided to stay out of tar. Now it has invested in plants built to process it(16). The British bank RBS, 70% of which belongs to you and me (the government’s share will soon rise to 84%), has lent or underwritten £8bn for exploiting the tar sands(17).
The purpose of Canada’s assault on the international talks is to protect this industry. This is not a poor nation. It does not depend for its economic survival on exploiting this resource. But the tar barons of Alberta have been able to hold the whole country to ransom. They have captured Canada’s politics and are turning this lovely country into a cruel and thuggish place.
Canada is a cultured, peaceful nation, which every so often allows a band of rampaging Neanderthals to trample all over it. Timber companies were licensed to log the old-growth forest in Clayaquot Sound; fishing companies were permitted to destroy the Grand Banks: in both cases these get-rich-quick schemes impoverished Canada and its reputation. But this is much worse, as it affects the whole world. The government’s scheming at the climate talks is doing for its national image what whaling has done for Japan.
I will not pretend that this country is the only obstacle to an agreement at Copenhagen. But it is the major one. It feels odd to be writing this. The immediate threat to the global effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?
2. The government has pledged to match the (feeble) US 2020 target (which in Canada’s case means just 3% against 1990 levels) , but unlike the United States, Canada has proposed no cuts beyond that date.
4. Andrew Nikiforuk, September 2009. How The Tar Sands Are Fueling The Global Climate Crisis.
Greenpeace Canada. ***
6. Lee Berthiaume, 17th June 2009. Government Planned to Split EU On Climate Change Talks. Embassy Magazine. Cited by Andrew Nikiforuk, ibid.
9. WWF, 2008. Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel?, Page 27.
11. Environmental Defence, February 2008. Canada’s Toxic Tar Sands: the most destructive project on earth.
12. Andrew Nikiforuk, ibid.
14. Andrew Nikiforuk, ibid.
17. Ed Crooks, 16th November 2009. Canadian Protest Over RBS Oil Sands Role. The Financial Times.
Based on economic and policy considerations that appear to be unconstrained by geophysics, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) generated forty carbon production and emissions scenarios. In this paper, we develop a base-case scenario for global coal production based on the physical multi-cycle Hubbert analysis of historical production data. Areas with large resources but little production history, such as Alaska and the Russian Far East, are treated as sensitivities on top of this base-case, producing an additional 125 Gt of coal. The value of this approach is that it provides a reality check on the magnitude of carbon emissions in a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario. The resulting base-case is significantly below 36 of the 40 carbon emission scenarios from the IPCC. The global peak of coal production from existing coalfields is predicted to occur close to the year 2011. The peak coal production rate is 160 EJ/y, and the peak carbon emissions from coal burning are 4.0 Gt C (15 Gt CO_2 ) per year. After 2011, the production rates of coal and CO_2 decline, reaching 1990 levels by the year 2037, and reaching 50% of the peak value in the year 2047. It is unlikely that future mines will reverse the trend predicted in this BAU scenario.