NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

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NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

maybe this was posted before but... did anyone see this?

 

NY Times says "peak oil is a waste of energy".

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/opinion/25lynch.html?_r=1

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

I believe it was, but it's worth reposting.  I think the NYTs is just feeling hurt because they are living down the back end of the "peak newspaper era" and just want to deny peak-anything. 

The author makes some reasoned arguments, but there is no arguing that oil supply is finite, or that more and more energy is required to extract each additional barrel.  It ends on a very shaky argument about how much oil is estimated to be within the Earth, but does not offer any consideration as to whether that oil is even reachable and if so, whether it would be an EO > EI  proposition.

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

Thanks for reposting because I hadn't seen this before. :)

The authour makes the standard arguments against peak oil, nothing really new or difficult to refute.

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

Here's the thread from a few days ago:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/peak-oil-waste-energy-ny-times-op-ed/25861

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

I've always just felt like, regardless if it's NOW or not, it makes sense to get off oil.  You know, for national security reasons, among other things.  I mean if we don't do it now, we're just sticking our children or grandchildren with the mess.  Oil use is smelly, using it for plastics and such affects human hormones... I just feel like even if you don't go with the "normal" reasons to be against oil use, there's plenty of reasonable reasons to get off oil.  *shrug*

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

Here's today's news about a new find in the Gulf of Mexico:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=adF31W9._rik

Quote:

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, reported a “giant” discovery at the Tiber Prospect in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico that may contain more than 3 billion barrels, after drilling the world’s deepest exploration well.

The well is located about 250 miles (400 kilometers) southeast of Houston, the London-based company said today in a statement. It was drilled to approximately 35,055 feet (10,685 meters), greater than the height of Mount Everest.

The latest discovery will help BP, already the biggest producer in the Gulf of Mexico, boost output in the region by 50 percent to 600,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day after 2020. It’s equal to about a year’s output from Saudi Arabia, the biggest exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as coming close to matching the U.K.’s entire proven reserves.

Of course, it's 7 miles down and article doesn't mention ei-eo or technical difficulties, but they appear to think its a big deal.  Anyone have a sense of what this, and other findings discussed in the article, might mean for PO or prices?

Doug

 

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.
Doug wrote:

Here's today's news about a new find in the Gulf of Mexico:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=adF31W9._rik

Quote:

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, reported a “giant” discovery at the Tiber Prospect in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico that may contain more than 3 billion barrels, after drilling the world’s deepest exploration well.

The well is located about 250 miles (400 kilometers) southeast of Houston, the London-based company said today in a statement. It was drilled to approximately 35,055 feet (10,685 meters), greater than the height of Mount Everest.

The latest discovery will help BP, already the biggest producer in the Gulf of Mexico, boost output in the region by 50 percent to 600,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day after 2020. It’s equal to about a year’s output from Saudi Arabia, the biggest exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as coming close to matching the U.K.’s entire proven reserves.

Of course, it's 7 miles down and article doesn't mention ei-eo or technical difficulties, but they appear to think its a big deal.  Anyone have a sense of what this, and other findings discussed in the article, might mean for PO or prices?

Doug

 

My off-the-cuff response -- and I don't mean to sound surly -- is that it's completely meaningless in terms of the macro picture. Just think about the math. If the world uses more than 30 billion barrels/year, then this discovery would give the world a few more weeks of oil! It may have very short-term market effects -- and briefly inspire cornocopians to wax contrarian -- but not much else.

I think to alter the macro on PO, we'd have to be looking at discoveries in the trillions of barrels.

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

35,000'

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

Mainecooncat

I'm not trying to pick a fight, but if Lynch's article is correct that there are an estimated 10 trillion barrels of oil out there, and 35% of it is economically recoverable, then that pushes PO quite a way into the future.  And, it fundamentally alters the 3E equation.  The need of finding alternative energy sources or adjusting to a less oil intensive lifestyle becomes less urgent, at least outside of an environmental context.  Of course, for me, it brings into sharper focus the need to deal with climate change.  The priorities shift somewhat from finding adequate energy to developing cleaner energy and/or using less energy overall, and having more time to do so.

Doug

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

Let's figure out what we can agree on.

1) Drilling to 35,000 feet requires more energy than drilling to 1,100 feet, the depth of the Spindletop find or 1,800 feet, the depth of Ghawar.

2) The reason we are drilling to 35,000 is not because we especially enjoy such challenges but because that's where the remaining oil is.

3) We can reasonably conclude that there is far less net energy coming to us from these new finds compared to older finds.

4) Existing fields that are past peak are declining at faster rates than anticipated even a year or two ago.

There are really only two things that we really, really need to know about any new finds.

  1. What is the Energy Returned on Energy Invested?
  2. What flow-rates will they deliver over time? 

If the EROEI has slipped onto the energy cliff face (with a reading of less than 5) then we're in the danger zone and we'll need to be exceedingly careful with how and where we dedicate that dwindling surplus.  It really doesn't matter if there are 1, 5, 10,or 100 trillion barrels in reserve if the EROEI slips to 1.

And if it turns out that the new finds can more than replace the lost production from declining wells, then we can carry on and not worry about energy for a while.

If it turns out that new finds cannot keep pace with the declines, then we have to concede that some changes are due in our societal operating software.  Our current mode of economy will not function well (if at all) and we'll have to significantly change our priorities on a lot of issues.

I happen to think these will be good changes, if managed properly. 

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

Chris

Agreed on all counts.  And whether there is lots of or little recoverable oil out there, adapting to a less fossil fuel intensive lifestyle can only be good.

Doug

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

I will coin a new phrase here: There is a pending "GLOBAL ENERGENCY". Only the timing is to be discussed. I appreciate Chris's willingness to stay objective in his writings. The EROEI is a very important concept. The research I have done for deepwater projects predict about a 5 to 1 ratio. However, one could extrapolate further the quality of the oil should be discussed. If the oil is heavy sour this is not comparable to the oil that is light sweet. This further clouds the picture for deepwater EROEI. Many factors must be considered, not just the number of barrels.

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.

It just frustrates me that this is one more problem that people are willing to pass (well, those of us who believe it is something that will come to be later) to our children/grandchildren.  Like the national debt...

Meh.  Seems like our kids are left holding the bag.

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Re: NY Times attacks peak oil concept.
mainecooncat wrote:

My off-the-cuff response -- and I don't mean to sound surly -- is that it's completely meaningless in terms of the macro picture. Just think about the math. If the world uses more than 30 billion barrels/year, then this discovery would give the world a few more weeks of oil! It may have very short-term market effects -- and briefly inspire cornocopians to wax contrarian -- but not much else.

I think to alter the macro on PO, we'd have to be looking at discoveries in the trillions of barrels.

You hit the nail on the head Mainecooncat!  It make great headlines and the number seems massive until the math is done.

These are VERRRY expensive and VERRRY risky wells.  The "recoverable" reserves are not truely known for quite some time and this production will not be brought on line anytime soon.  Great find, congratulations to BP but world decline rates are still mighty hard to overcome.

 

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