'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

21 posts / 0 new
Last post
shmoo's picture
shmoo
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 9 2009
Posts: 3
'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

Did anyone catch this op-ed in the NY Times today on Peak Oil? 

I don't think I've ever been as outraged at an oped in quite some time.  This guy must be an energy lobbyist.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/opinion/25lynch.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&emc=eta1

shmoo's picture
shmoo
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 9 2009
Posts: 3
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

More on the author below....

http://www.energyseer.com/MikeLynch.html

he completely sidesteps even the notion that a peak could even exist, let alone the environmental impacts and the fact that we are increasingly reliant on imported oil.  Looks to me like an alcoholic defending his drink.  It's amazing to me that someone who dedicates his life to projecting out known reserves and markets could be so obtuse to the realities of the situation.

 

joemanc's picture
joemanc
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 16 2008
Posts: 834
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

No mention of King Hubbert being right about Peak Oil in the U.S. Oh well, Maybe Chris needs to create a Pompous Prognosticators chart for the Peak Oil Deniers.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5570
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

Yes, I saw it.  

I even took the time to scribble down a response in the reader's comments area at the NYT although by the time I had composed it I was very late to the general scrum of individuals piling onto Mr. Lynch's broken ideas.

Here it is (with a few slight edits to apply bold and italics emphasis because we can do that here):

First, I am disheartened to see that an opinion piece in the NYT was permitted to contain blatant errors.

One example is that the first energy crisis was geopolitical, not geological, and that was well known at the time.

Another is that I have not yet read even *one* estimate of "10 trillion barrels of oil" let alone detected that a consensus exists at that level among geologists. It is overstated by a significant factor.

So this opinion piece suffers from some really poor quality control throughout.

But in terms of comprehension, it suffers even more greatly.

The prime issue is not how much hydrocarbon energy is out there, but what it costs us in terms of energy to get it.

It is surplus energy, the excess of that returned over that used to obtain it, that allows our rich and complex society to exist. In short, net energy is everything.

On this basis, every recent find, from the 28,000 foot deep "mega-find" in Brazil to the low-flow bottle brush wells in the Bakken Shale formation, suffer terribly in comparison to the finds of yesteryear.

Mr. Lynch's argument is akin to someone down to their last rations of food being told everything is just fine because there's a bit more 14,000 feet up a nearby mountain.

But this concept has been around long enough, and is well enough characterized, that someone of Mr. Lynch's caliber should "get it." I often wonder about the basis for such intellectual oversights.

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it." ~ Upton Sinclair

If anyone is interested in seeing the actual data on the energy situation, plus a romp through the net energy argument, in short-video format, I offer these for free at my website in Chapters 17,a,b,c in the Crash Course at: http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse

Or you can visit http://theoildrum.com for a continuous daily diet of hard facts, open dialog, and honest inquiry.

But make no mistake, one should not consume the "facts" slung about in Mr. Lynch's opinion piece without first carefully scrubbing them under clean, running water for 10 minutes and then microwaving them on high for 15 minutes.

(Link)

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Stupid Can't Be Cured.....

It can only be regulated and legislated to protect those who are.

And in the US it is frequently elected to public office.

Another glaring omission from the "depth" of the research in the OPED is any discussion of Energy Return On Investment.

Relative to how much oil they are pumping out:

1.  How much energy are the Saudi's expending to pump water into their fields to maintain the pressure head? 

2.  How much energy are they expending removing the increased amounts of water from the crude they are extracting?

 

It would appear that being the Director of "Some Such" Center For Study at MIT isn't worth much more than an Ivy League MBA either.

Especially if the author is now a pimp for the Energy Sector.

Stan Robertson's picture
Stan Robertson
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 7 2008
Posts: 651
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

There ought to be a special place in hell reserved for people whose consicences are so calloused that they can see the evidence and yet deny the holocaust. There ought also to be reservation of the term "deniers" to apply to them. In any other context it is a loaded term intended as an insult and a barrier to any further communication. When the term is used to say that a debate is over, it means that your mind is closed. How about we find another way to alert folks to the problems that peak oil can cause.

Davos's picture
Davos
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

Hello Chris:

You have the patience of a saint. People like this and people like Bernanke and those who applaude them are, in my never so humble opinion 99.9% of the problem.

In the financial arena these people impede the cure, they mask the problem so it will only be repeated centuries from now.

In the energy arena they impede change and new technology. Few do anything until there is a crisis.

Sadly, these two areneas are dependent on one another, for without money there would be no empire to secure the oil we thirst for.

Take care, and I applaud you. If I read that the M-Word would have been in caps. Take care

Dante's picture
Dante
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 22 2009
Posts: 30
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

As a 30 year Petroleum Engineer who is very aware of PO and very well versed in geology and reservoir mechanics, I can most definately say that this man has absolutely no clue what he is talking about. ........................... Nuf-said!

That's why it is called "Op-Ed" - This is nothing more than an uneducated opinion.  Too bad many will read this and mistake this man as an expert.

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Dogs_In_A_Pile
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2606
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed
Dante wrote:

As a 30 year Petroleum Engineer who is very aware of PO and very well versed in geology and reservoir mechanics, I can most definately say that this man has absolutely no clue what he is talking about. ........................... Nuf-said!

That's why it is called "Op-Ed" - This is nothing more than an uneducated opinion.  Too bad many will read this and mistake this man as an expert.

Dante -

Perhaps it should be renamed an UnEd-Op??

Glad you are not afraid to throw rocks at your profession.

Would you consider writing a rebuttal and posting it here?  A lot of us here only have casual knowledge of your industry and would welcome a technical assessment. 

machinehead's picture
machinehead
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 18 2008
Posts: 1077
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

Distributing highly-perishable news by printing it on paper and distributing it in trucks is also a waste of energy.

When the ancient grey-hairs that still buy newspapers croak, this form of news distribution will cease. So, hopefully, will that great fount of foolishness, the New York Times ...

Also known as the 'Saddam's WMDs' fishwrapper. Why are these clowns still in business?

Davos's picture
Davos
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed
machinehead wrote:

Distributing highly-perishable news by printing it on paper and distributing it in trucks is also a waste of energy.

When the ancient grey-hairs that still buy newspapers croak, this form of news distribution will cease. So, hopefully, will that great fount of foolishness, the New York Times ...

Also known as the 'Saddam's WMDs' fishwrapper. Why are these clowns still in business?

+1

And my friends and family say I'm nuts to listen to blogs. Anyone of us who watched the CC could do a better job reporting about the 3 E's than these papers do.

VeganDB12's picture
VeganDB12
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2008
Posts: 731
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

Since the Times is a mouthpiece for the current administration I take this to be a reflection of how the White House will approach this issue.

D

idoctor's picture
idoctor
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 4 2008
Posts: 1731
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

Few do anything until there is a crisis.

This country has been all about management by crisis so nothing new here. I wish we were management by intelligent true leadership but that always seems to be lacking or might offend someone. Need to be politically correct at all costs I guess LOL.

Dante's picture
Dante
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 22 2009
Posts: 30
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed
Dogs_In_A_Pile wrote:

Glad you are not afraid to throw rocks at your profession.

Would you consider writing a rebuttal and posting it here?  A lot of us here only have casual knowledge of your industry and would welcome a technical assessment. 

Dogs

One of the issues I think is missed along the way is that probably the biggest supporters of PO are indeed those in my proffession.  They see the data and witness examples all across the world everyday.  I think the scientists are aware and knowledable, it is the front offices that somehow feel threatened and give our biz a bad name.  Unfortunately the engineers and scientists are rarely seen on the news, just the execs.

I do not know anyone in my profession who opposes the advance of alternative energies because we all know what the final story looks like.  I believe where the conflict starts is when forces collide that want to tear apart our industry before our jobs are complete.  The guys in the board rooms are making way too much money, I agree, but they are a very tiny part of this industry.  Most of the oil in the US is produced from small independents that are making very common livings.  There is a tremendous amount of money spent for exploration and development that the average viewer from outside the industry never sees.  The investment numbers would absolutely astonish anyone.  The math is pretty clear, we are still going to rely on oil for some period of time so every ounce we can effectively utilize buys time for other advancements to take its place.  If we destroy the industry before we have a replacement then we are making the situation worse.

Unfortunately, I fear the replacements are never going to make it here until the cost of energy drastically increases to motivate people.

As far a rebuttal. 

He mentions Matthew Simmons - this guy knows what he is talking about.  He should not be knocking him down, he should be listening to him.  I have not read or listened to anything he addresses that I disagree with when it comes to PO.  Follow his work and you will get a great education.     http://www.simmonsco-intl.com/research.aspx?Type=msspeeches  Google him for a whole lot more.

The ASPO, Energy Bulletin and Oil Drum sites all give a great deal of data that simply can not be argued with.  http://www.aspo-usa.com/

http://www.energybulletin.net/                 http://www.theoildrum.com/

Specifics - OK a few IMHO

Saudi water cuts are increasing because of water injection and he states this is not a concern - wrong (water injection is a secondary attempt to preserve reservoir pressure).  By definition it is to fight depletion.  As water "breaks through" it will only get worse.  Ask Mexico about Canterell - same story.

He states that when a field is found and as time passes that estimates almost always go up. I do not know what he is talking about here.  Reserve writedowns are a constant battle in every field.  When new technology does benefit it is usally very small in proportion to the original reserves.

He disputes "easy oil".  Believe me the easy stuff is gone.  We are drilling in places, under conditions and pulling off technological feats that most average Americans could not even imagine.  If he thinks things are easy today, I think I could find him a cushy job.

He disputes the effect of political risk - tell that to the guys in Nigeria that wear a flack jacket.

Finally, I agree with Mr M, where is he getting his 10 trillion number?

I guess only time will tell.  Mr M King Hubbert fought the same battles a few years back.  No one questions his data anymore?

BJ

 

r's picture
r
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 2 2008
Posts: 262
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

I think it is very, very important that the rebuttal be added to the NY Times comments for the piece.  It does not matter how many comments are already there -- many people read the last ones first (I do).  There is way too much "preaching to the choir" and not enough reaching out to the main stream in the blogosphere.  People need to be fully informed and they are not when they read only one side.

xraymike79's picture
xraymike79
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 24 2008
Posts: 2040
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

 

 

Depicts 28,000 42-gallon barrels, the amount of oil consumed in the United States every two minutes (equal to the flow of a medium-sized river)................Isn't it just common sense that this river of oil will run dry some day

Dante's picture
Dante
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 22 2009
Posts: 30
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

Great picture Mike

Here are some points to rebut Lynch posted on The Oil Drum.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/5711

BJ 

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed
Stan Robertson's picture
Stan Robertson
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 7 2008
Posts: 651
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

BJ

Let me offer a hearty endorsement of your remarks. I agree that those of us in the science and engineering areas of the oil patch have no problems with supporting new energy technologies. We know that there is painful adjustment in our near future, but we also know that presently known alternative energy technologies are going to be quantitatively inadequate for a good while. I received my 25 year membership certificate for SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) this year. I have been doing reserve studies for years.  It is pretty clear that peak oil troubles are staring us in the face and that technology is not going to bail us out on the short term.

Stan

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 3998
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

"Saudi water cuts are increasing because of water injection and he states this is not a concern - wrong (water injection is a secondary attempt to preserve reservoir pressure).  By definition it is to fight depletion.  As water "breaks through" it will only get worse.  Ask Mexico about Canterell - same story."

This chart was posted on TOD's rebuttal..... blew mw away!

So much for technology saving the day!

Mike

dchrys's picture
dchrys
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 6 2009
Posts: 20
Re: 'Peak Oil' Is a Waste of Energy - NY Times Op-Ed

 

Well, it's getting hard to even track the responses opposing the NYT article all around the Internet.

I assume that if Michael Lynch can really put his money where his mouth is, somebody must challenge him to short crude oil shares with his savings so he makes a fortune when it drops "to the historical level of $30 a barrel"

 

-=dchrys=-

 

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