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Peak Oil Matters

A fresh perspective on the concept of peak oil and the challenges we face


Category: Peak Oil: Worth Pondering





Bear in mind the huge scale of the industry and the production infrastructure required. The vast bulk of production is coming from conventional oilfields, the majority of which are past peak and whose production is in decline. A consideration of the discoveries waiting to be developed and the timescale to put them into production reveals a significant gap, apparent even on close consideration of the work of the IEA, which masks this gap as production that will come from as yet unidentified, undiscovered fields. It is totally unrealistic to anticipate future discoveries on the scale required to fill this gap, given the historical record (especially this century) and the fact that most promising oil provinces have already been well explored and developed.

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In last week’s post, I asked what seems to be a reasonable, fair, and obvious observation and inquiry in light of assertions offered by the author of the second article serving as the focal point of this series:

Imagine if we actually engaged in meaningful conversations with ‘the opposition’ which involved honorable considerations and discussions of both the merits and the disadvantages of policy proposals and the many factors in play before solutions were proposed! Who might benefit? Who might not?

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I began last week’s post with a variation of these questions:

How do optimistic projections from ExxonMobil’s “The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040report—which I highlighted in that post—square themselves in the face of the oil production challenges suggested by the news excerpts which were also included in that piece? How long do those opposed to climate change and peak oil implications dance away from the unpleasant truths?

What is the benefit beyond avoiding painful discussions today? At what point do those contrarian viewpoints give way to a recognition that there is more than enough evidence already in play to make those challenges both very real and quite formidable now?

How does postponing not just acknowledgment but any and all efforts to come to mutual understandings and a commitment to work cooperatively in addressing these matters make it any easier or better for anyone?

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I suggested at the outset of this series that I did not want it to turn into yet another exercise in mocking those who do not accept the implications of peak oil. A legitimate argument could be made that I’ve failed in that objective.

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We will have to transition to a post-fossil-fuel economy eventually, either out of wisdom or chaos [1]

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An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Neil Peirce:

Is all economic growth always a good thing? continue reading…





An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Earth Projects [quoting comments from David Demshur,  Chairman, President, CEO of Core Laboratories]: continue reading…

If you read nothing else about peak oil in these next few days, this article is the one: continue reading…






An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Robert Hirsch:

The peak oil story is definitely a bad news story. There’s just no way to sugar-coat it, other than maybe to do what I’ve done on occasion and that continue reading…







An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Michael T. Klare.

In energy terms, we are now entering a world whose grim nature has yet to be fully grasped.  This pivotal shift has been brought about by the disappearance of relatively accessible and inexpensive petroleum — ‘easy oil,’ in the parlance of industry analysts; in other words, the kind of oil that powered a staggering expansion of global wealth over the past 65 years and the creation of endless car-oriented suburban communities. This oil is now nearly gone….
Those who claim that the world remains ‘awash’ in oil are technically correct: The planet still harbors vast reserves of petroleum. But propagandists for the oil industry usually fail to emphasize that not all oil reservoirs are alike: Some are located close to the surface or near to shore, and are contained in soft, porous rock; others are located deep underground, far offshore or trapped in unyielding rock formations….
The simple truth of the matter is this: Most of the world’s easy reserves have already been depleted — except for those in war-torn countries like Iraq.  Virtually all of the oil that’s left is contained in harder-to-reach, tougher reserves. These include deep-offshore oil, Arctic oil and shale oil, along with Canadian ‘oil sands’ — which are not composed of oil at all, but of mud, sand and tar-like bitumen. So-called unconventional reserves of these types can be exploited, but often at a staggering price, not just in dollars but also in damage to the environment.

Not good, but this is where we are now.

Pleasant? Hardly. No one—not the most ardent of Peak Oil advocates—enjoys any of this. Knowing what we know, dealing with the facts and the realities of the current and future state of oil production rather than the misleading and disingenuous offerings by those unwilling or unable to deal with the truths, leaves us with more than a few concerns.

What kind of a nation will we be? What are doing now, and what will we bequeath to our children if we fail to make it abundantly clear to the public that “awash” is good PR but bad truth? Those of us committed to sharing information and encouraging both our leaders and the public to recognize what’s ahead and to begin planning remain convinced that there will be some semblance of reasonable adaptation if we make the collective effort.

We’re all in this together, and difficult and harsh as it is, the only way we reach those levels of successful adaptation is to start the process of critical thinking courage demands. Happy Talk has a short shelf life; facts remain. This is not rocket science or even model rocket science. The facts are telling us that our energy supplies are going to impose changes on us all.

Crisis, or opportunity? We have a say … if we choose.

~ My Photo: Gray Whale Cove, South Coastside, CA – 09.15.04

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