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Re: Shale Gas and Salty Oil

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  • Tue, Jan 25, 2011 - 03:53pm

    Peak Prosperity Admin

    Peak Prosperity Admin

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    Re: Shale Gas and Salty Oil

[quote=Pops]”Peak oil” says maximum flow comes when half of the extractable resource is used.[/quote]

I don’t agree with this statement.  Peak is when the flow rate peaks, and I don’t think it has anything to do with the amount of oil available.  In fact I would  say that there is probably far more oil still available than we have used.

Oil that remains once we get closer to a 1:1 EROI won’t be used as a cheap energy source because the energy required to extract it is greater than the energy input required.  Then it becomes a utility factor just like all other mining.  Is the resource being extracted worth more than the cost of the energy required to extract it.  For most materials there is some amount that is highly desired and to which we will pay extreme costs to obtain.  Oil is no different – but we will not be using oil as the energy source to do the extraction.  Here is an example where other energy sources, solar and before that natural gas, are being used to extact oil.

In your example for the chainsaw, yes, you may value the portable highly valuable fuel more than the energy costs required to get that fuel because you value the utility higher than the strict energy content available.  However at some point, the cost will get high enough that you will either find an alternative or discover you don’t really need it.

If we had an unlimited and cheap source of electric power, then we would use it to extract far more oil from the various non-conventional sources because the utility factor would be a good trade off for the electricity used to extract it.  However, that is why peak oil is so important, it is the cheap fuel used to obtain many resources.  

Since we don’t have another “cheap” energy source available, we will now have to start making the choice between “growth” and “prosperity” as pointed out in the what I consider the most important chapter in the Crash Course.