David Archibald on Climate and Energy Security

David Archibald

Below is a slide presentation given by David Archibald in Melbourne on February 5th. He’s asked me to repeat it here for the benefit of all. I’m happy to do so. He covers climate issues, oil and coal, plus Thorium reactors in this presentation of 110 slides.

He also touches on his upcoming book, which we’ll have more on later. In the meantime, his current book is still available here

Slides below, be patient while they load. There is a wealth of information here. A PDF is also available. – Anthony

Archibald NCC 5th February 2010 (PDF file 6.2 MB)

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172 thoughts on “David Archibald on Climate and Energy Security

  1. great slides! and continuing on that theme TonyfromOz has a very timely post at http://papundits.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/shh-misconceptions-about-placing-a-price-on-carbon-dioxide-you-wont-hear-about/
    (quoting the opening paras)
    Here in Australia, the Labor Government under Prime Minister Julia Gillard is seeking to impose a ‘Price on Carbon’.

    Some of you may think that this is exclusively an Australian problem, but the same applies everywhere something of this nature is going through the processes of implementation.

    There are many misconceptions about placing a price on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions, and what I hope to do here is to explain some of those things, because the bland term ‘A Price On Carbon’ is easy to understand, while what it actually means is almost impossible to try and explain.

    The single most difficult thing to even attempt to explain is just how much money something like this will raise for Governments who introduce it, and that is what is most definitely not being explained to people, because if it was, then people would see it for exactly what it is, nothing more than a new revenue raising tax, and a whopping great huge tax at that.
    (end of quote)
    check out the post; it’s all about the money

  2. Excellent summary! And such readily digestible slides. If only Archibald could or would do an Al Gore style tour or movie.

  3. It seems to me that the US President’s “Sputnik Moment” needs to be linked directly to the thorium reactor challenge and opportunity.

    These were good slides. My quibble is the oil decline is too dramatic. Roll the clock back 20 years and you’d see the same draconian decline. Six years ago LNG was seen as a growing industry, yet today the shale gas improvements are making LNG investments look like white elephants. 50 to 100 TCF of gas has been stranded above the N. Am Arctic circle for 40 years and will be stranded at least another 20, thanks to shale gas.

    The supply line slide is excellent and the public must be made aware of how finely tuned the energy delivery process is. The Golden Goose can be killed so easily through neglect and poor policy.

  4. I have a copy of an article titled “The Fuel Situation” from Scientific American in October 1956 that predicts “peak oil” (within a few years from 1956) and predicts that the world will run out of oil by the 1970s. I didn’t believe it then and am skeptical now, but I agree with techniques such as Thorium and Fischer-Tropsh as real alternatives. Wind and corn and grass are all tooth fairy approaches.

  5. I always appreciate graphs. Thanks for this.

    The United States has a lot of oil and coal in the ground. Let’s get it out of the ground and use it.

  6. No one can accuse David of not doing his homework.

    1000ppm CO2 minimum, is about where I would put it also, but only as a minimum.

    This came out too late for David to include it, today actually.
    Shale gas is going to be the deal breaker.

    Global Panic as Green Sector Collapses and Investors Face Ruin

    Governments, investors and even the World Bank are rushing for the exits in the Great Escape from the green energy bubble.

    Solar energy appears to be the worst affected sector so far. Dow Jones reports on a startling U-turn by Britain’s ultra-green government has caught investors off guard and shock waves across the markets will likely precipitate the further rush from green energy projects to shale gas.

    The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change made the shock announcement as it revealed a comprehensive review of its Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program. Indications from data provider, Prequin are that over $1bn in earmarked funds may be lost as Britain now promises it will only hold tariffs until April 2012.

    http://johnosullivan.livejournal.com/30603.html

  7. paulc

    Freeman Dyson, Tommy Gold, and others hypothesize that petroleum is not a ‘fossil’ fuel but is generated through natural processes deep in the mantle of the earth. You can see Freeman Dyson talk about in this video starting at 0:57

  8. The only thing I would change is the Probabilities of a Quiet Period.
    Similar to a Maunder is now possible, and a non-event is not going to happen.
    No two Grand Minimums are the same, and it’s the falling edge of the overall cycle progression that holds out the worst for agriculture. The Sun is still not ramping.

  9. jrwakefield says:
    February 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Peak oil is real, and upon us now.

    So we’ve been told for 60 years. I imagine 60 years from now we will be getting told the same. That is, if we haven’t found a better alternative before then.

  10. The link below is a private company that makes portable nuclear power plants that can be transported on a semi-truck. It produces about 25mw, sits underground is about the size of a garage, runs 15 to 20 years, is factory sealed, impossible to meltdown (they tried). Start it up, continuous power for 20 years, whatswrongwiththat!

    http://www.hyperionpowergeneration.com/product.html

  11. jrwakefield,

    From the link I get clicking on your name, I suspect you may be just a little bit biased.

    The world is far from running out of oil. It’s true that the low hanging fruit has been picked, but if oil hits $300 a barrel we’ll have plenty.

  12. A minor quibble: They are properly called the Canadian oil sands. The term “tar sands” is used by radical environmentalists to imply something dirty and infinity thick and sticky, and therefore evil. But tar is a processed material, and the oil sands are composed of bitumen.

  13. I have been invited to speak as one of three panelists on Peak Oil in April 2, 2011 at Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Lousisiana. My presentation will show why Peak Oil is a myth and will not happen. The other two panelists will take the opposing view.

    Every Peak Oil alarmist discussion discounts or dismisses these two critical elements: 1) technology advances in petroleum production, and 2) political in-accessibility to known oil deposits world-wide.

    History has shown time and again that oil scarcity predictions have been false. The reason for a false prediction is a model that is wrong. This has parallels in the climate change / global warming context, and in many other well-known false predictions.

    Roger E. Sowell, Esq.

  14. I will say this, David is closer to the truth than most on t’interweb.

    But, having spoken at length with two of the industry’s busiest, most repected assayers….

    The subject is entirely political. Oil is not even close to peak. We cap nearly every find. We only look where it is “acceptible” to look.

    “We only ever find oil where we look for it.”

  15. Most of the discussion of “Peak Oil” is just flatulence. Given the huge fields of oil/gas bearing shale worldwide, and the rapidly evolving technology of extraction, energy concerns are really non-existent. The world will happily pay $40-70/bbl for oil, and $4-$5/mmf for natural gas. At these prices there are simply too many sources of oil and gas around for “Peak Oil” to be reached quickly.

    Watch the price of land rigs, not the price of deep water rigs. When the land rig price starts heading up, you know that people are frenetically drilling. In particular, try to find a horizontal drilling rig today. Check the rigs on the ground in Texas, the Americal Petroleum Institute keeps track as do sites like the Rigzone.

    Coal to liquid is going to be a rough market, if oil stays below $70/bbl and gas <$6/mmf. Oil is currently $14+ over, but gas is almost $2 under. Gas will stay there, check for the total amount of gas flared at wellsites worldwide and you'll see why. The cost of LNG is basically the cost of the transport, the gas is actually free.

    To bring the thread back to CAGW, we will put additional CO2 in the atmosphere, but not enough to come anywhere close to modifying the climate. We will change land use, we will change vegetation types, and we will blacktop and pour concrete over a minuscule fraction of our planet, and this will change at least the microclimate in those areas. This will not stop the world from revolving, nor the galaxies from spinning, nor the universe from doing what it pleases. Gaianetics not withstanding.

  16. Dr Archibald,

    The price of steam coal FOB Newcastle, Australia is currently $120/tonne.
    According to the slides 1 tonne of coal = 2.2 barrels of oil.
    $120/2.2 = $54 for the cost of the coal for 1 barrel of oil.
    How then can coal to liquids then be profitable at a price of $60/barrel?

    Not to be difficult, but the $60/barrel CTL numbers I’ve seen are based on using $12/ton Wyoming coal, not $120/tonne Australian coal.

    The solar people use ‘sun at the equator’ numbers, the wind people use wind based on the windiest place on earth and the coal people use the price of coal in Wyoming.

    As they say in Real Estate, location,location,location.
    Could we raise the level of the level of the discussion to the point of discussing real costs in real locations rather then theoretical costs in ‘optimum’ locations.

  17. The solar cycle is actually progressing faster than the predictions show. Check the fourth column (which ends in Avg) of this site. DO NOT use the last column, as the values produce a curve that is too shallow on any time in the last 9.5 months or so (the last column is very similar to a 19-month smoothing of the values, and does not include the future values that are needed to properly compute it for those months). I’m thinking maximum is around March 2012 (+/- 9 months), with a smoothed max around 30 (+/- 10).

    We live in interesting times.

  18. There is a presentation by Howard Hayden, “A Conspectus on US Energy” [May 2, 2009, American Physical Society Meeting in Denver, CO.] which is a good companion piece to Archibald’s.

    http://www.energyadvocate.com/aps.com

    Hayden concentrates on the physics of solar and wind energy and how utterly dilute they are. He has a couple outstanding photos. One is a conventional 500 MW powerplant, right next to a 10 MW solar-thermal powerplant. The solar plant is larger. Slide 28: Solar II, Mojave Desert

    Another picture is Ranco Seco, 900 MW nuclear (retired in June 1989) and a Solar PV array on a bigger footprint in the foreground that delivers peak 2 MW.

    Archibald’s presentation is good, but neglects the economic, dependibility and land use folly of renewable green energy power sources.

  19. jrwakefield says:
    February 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm
    Can someone elaborate on the empty cities in China as an indication of war(?).

    This seems to be something of a non sequitur or similar throw away line in the text/presentation. Here is something to follow up on though. Last year these cities were reported to be a means for folks with money to invest in a manner that fit with the low interest rate building and the low return on other investments open to them. The growing affluence of a growing population means housing has been expected to be a high return investment. People are paying to have houses built in these new cities without any expectation of living in them. Somewhat like the boom in Las Vegas and the buy and flip purchaser. The idea that this is in someone’s war plan is about as useful as my middle school teachers having us hide under our desks when the Soviets were about to bomb the US.

  20. I agree with those who say ‘peak oil’ is definitely not here, and it never will be. Indeed, the existence of the Fischer-Tropsch process that Archibald’s mentions is among the reasons why the notion of ‘peak oil’ is an urban myth. Those reasons are both practical and economic.

    For all practical purposes any commodity can be assumed to be an infinite resource.
    Humans did not run out of flint, antler bone, bronze, iron ….
    And this practical reality is a result of a basic fact of unavoidable economic reality.

    When a commodity is abundant it is cheap so nobody seeks an alternative. But readily available sources of a commodity may start to exhaust. And as the commodity becomes scarcer it becomes more expensive (in time, money and effort) to obtain, so people look for alternatives. The alternatives may be new methods to access previously unobtainable sources of the commodity, or they may be something which can be used instea of that commodity. And the found alternatives often prove to have advantages.

    The ‘oil-from-coal’ processes (including the Fischer-Tropsch process) are merely an alternative source of crude oil. And if they were a cheaper source of crude oil then natural crude oil then they would displace the natural sources.

    Importantly, natural crude oil supplies will not significantly deplete for the foreseeable future. Oil reserves were at about 40 years throughout the last century and will remain at about 40 years throughout this century. This is because oil companies have a planning horizon of ~40 years. Therefore, an oil company does not pay anybody to look for more oil when it has ~40 years of reserves it, but if its reserves fall below ~40 years then an oil company pays people to look for more oil.

    There would be great difficulty in finding undetected oil fields if they were rare but, to date, oil has always been found when people have searched for it.

    The price fluctuations for crude oil are results of political and market effects: they do not derive from the onset of the exhaustion of crude oil.

    And, as Archibald says, there are synthetic alternatives to natural crude oil.

    Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa made synthetic crude oil (syncrude) from coal when they lacked oil supplies because they were embargoed. But they used the old Fischer-Tropsch process.

    Since 1994 it has been possible to produce syncrude from coal at competitive cost to natural crude oil by use of the novel Liquid Solvent Extraction (LSE) process. I was involved in its development when working as the Senior Materials Scientist at the UK’s Coal Research Establishment, CRE (and UNESCO commissioned a paper on it from me). CRE was owned by UK government and the LSE process became the sole property of UK government when CRE was shut by UK government in 1995 as part of the closure of the UK coal industry.

    We proved the LSE technology (both technically and economically) with a demonstration plant at Point of Ayr, North Wales.

    UK Government owns the LSE process and gains much income from Brent crude. And Brent crude is valuable because it provides a good blend with Saudi crude (i.e. the cheapest crude).

    Crude oil is separated into saleable parts (e.g. petroleum and benzene) by distillation in a refinery. The separated parts must be market products that match market demand (e.g. getting an amount of petroleum must also provide an appropriate amount of benzene: too little benzene and the benzene market is under-supplied, but too much benzene and the excess has disposal costs). However, crude oils from different sources contain different amounts of their component parts. So, a refinery takes different crude oils and mixes them to form a blend that has parts which match market demand. It then separates the parts. Saudi crude and Brent crude form a good blend when mixed in the approximate ratio 2:1. Hence, Brent crude has high value as a blend with cheap Saudi crude.

    The surprising economics of LSE syncrude derive from two facts:
    (a) The LSE process can be tuned to provide a product with parts that match (varying) market demand and thus eliminates expensive blending.
    And
    (b) An oil refinery has high disposal cost for sulphur-rich refinery ‘bottoms’ but the LSE process can consume the ‘bottoms’ and so eliminates this cost.
    Hence, LSE product is competitive with natural crude when the LSE product is 14% more expensive than natural crude.

    The LSE process can use any coal (even lignite) as its feedstock, but UK has negligible coal production. However, use of the LSE process would collapse the price of Brent crude. So, it is in the economic interest of UK government to keep important details of the LSE process as a state secret.

    But two important facts remain.

    1. The existence of the LSE process constrains the maximum oil price: if oil became too expensive then it would pay the UK to start producing LSE syncrude instead of Brent crude with resulting drop of crude oil cost.

    2. There is sufficient coal for at least 300 years (probably 1000 years) so oil production will not ‘peak’ from supply exhaustion for at least 300 years even if natural crude oil supplies were to exhaust.

    And nobody can know what fuel will be needed 300 years in the future. Hay as feed for horses was the major fuel 300 years ago, but hay is not considered to be a significant fuel today.

    Conclusion:
    The idea of ‘peak oil’ is bunkum.

    Richard

  21. Moderators:

    Please check to see if you can find the post I have just provided. It has vanished. And I do nt know why because it contained no links. Perhaps it was too long?

    Thanking you in anticipation.

    Richard

  22. harrywr2 says:
    February 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm
    “The solar people use ‘sun at the equator’ numbers,”

    If you want really high sunshine hours, nothing except LEO tops the Andes.

  23. okie333 says:
    February 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm
    The solar cycle is actually progressing faster than the predictions show.
    The polar fields have been changing of late. There are several points to make here:
    1) because of the large pixel size [1/11 of the solar diameter] the polar fields measured at WSO will be seen to reverse about a year before they actually do. See paragraph [7] of http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20Smallest%20100%20years.pdf
    2) the polar fields in the two polar caps are not strongly correlated, one can change a year or more before the other one.
    3) the reversal is not a slow, regular progression, but proceeds in random jerks or ‘surges’ of opposite polarity moving towards the poles. On average there are about five such surges.
    4) the total polar flux is small, only a one thousandth of the sunspot flux [over the cycle].
    5) the past few months have seen a very powerful surge of positive polarity towards the north pole [but none so far towards the south]. Because the polar fields were already weak, this surge has completely cancelled the north polar fields, even to the point that the polar coronal hole that normally lives there has virtually disappeared. You can see that here: http://stereo-ssc.nascom.nasa.gov/beacon/beacon_secchi.shtml
    6) since we expect more surges in the year(s) to come it thus seems possible that the north polar fields might build to be stronger than they have been at this last minimum, thus presaging a large cycle 25. We don’t know this for sure, of course, but it seems very possible to me. This is somewhat unexpected, so, yes, these are interesting times

  24. This is an EXCELLENT summary, and taken from an Australian point of view, too (Go OZ!) so I am very pleased with this, but I note two “flies in the ointment” – the spelling on two of the slides are a little off. For example, “Arctic” is spelt “Artic” is the slide about the “Artic” sea ice.

    Also, the abbreviations are a bit confusing for us beginners, and do need to be explained a bit better.

    These are two small points, but otherwise an EXCELLENT presentation.

  25. GREAT slides; definitely a ”save-local”.
    Doesn’t change value, but curious:
    Were these slides really presented 5 Feb 2010 as stated, and NOT 2011 ??

  26. Very good summary.

    Regards coal economics for displacing petroleum via Fischer-Tropsch, dead on target.

    Peak oil timing? Not that sure, but coal provides backup.

    Insanity of displacing coal with natural gas? Dead on target. Natural gas is far too valuable as transport fuel and for industrial and agricultural chemical production (methanol & ammonia) to be thrown away for electrical production.

    Kforestcat

  27. It would be nice if the mods could ‘cut the deck’ of these slides, making a post for the slides that directly counter the AGW argument, and a separate post for the peak oil and thorium arguments. This would make it easier to refer to Archibald’s argument on AGW, which doesn’t automatically imply the thorium advocacy.

    Then, it would be fun to challenge the group of Carbon Cultists who claim to be eager to communicate and debate. The dare: Take each one of the slides in the argument and show us, with real data and real logic, why it’s wrong.

  28. I agree with Amino and Roger, Peak Oil is never going to happen. How come no one talks about Peak Copper, Peak Gold, Peak Iron, Peak Stones, we have been mining these for far longer than oil.

  29. I have a copy of an article titled “The Fuel Situation” from Scientific American in October 1956 that predicts “peak oil” (within a few years from 1956) and predicts that the world will run out of oil by the 1970s.

    And the US did peak in 1970. What’s the big difference between then and now?

    – the grandady superfields found then are all in terminal decline today: Ghawar, Cantarell, North Sea, Indonesia.

    – No new fields today have been found in comparable size to those found in 1970

    – we didn’t have to rely on any nonconventional sources like the tar sands and deep offshore in the 1970′s because then we were not desparate for oil.

    – the entire planet has been searched, there isn’t anything left to find

    – we use 3 times as much oil today that we did then.

    – ERoEI was 100:1 then. Today it is 25:1 and falling.

  30. Importantly, natural crude oil supplies will not significantly deplete for the foreseeable future. Oil reserves were at about 40 years throughout the last century and will remain at about 40 years throughout this century. This is because oil companies have a planning horizon of ~40 years. Therefore, an oil company does not pay anybody to look for more oil when it has ~40 years of reserves it, but if its reserves fall below ~40 years then an oil company pays people to look for more oil.

    That is just false. The largest oil fields are all in tertiary recovery and are in terminal decline. The UK now has to import oil for the first time since oil was found in the North Sea. Mexico will soon not be able to export any oil once Cantarell is exhausted (down to 400K/day from 2.3m/day). Oil fields found today are small, rare, and extremely difficult to extract (low ERoEI).

    There would be great difficulty in finding undetected oil fields if they were rare but, to date, oil has always been found when people have searched for it.

    That is also false. More than half the locations suspected to have oil in Saudi Arabia were dry. That’s one example. Read Twighlight in th Desert, Simmons explains this in detail.

    Today finding an oil field is a very rare event since the entire planet has been searched. Anything left to find will be small and very difficult to extract.

  31. At these prices there are simply too many sources of oil and gas around for “Peak Oil” to be reached quickly

    Just remember that our petroleum consumption grows at 3% per year, that’s a 25-30 year doubling period. That means in as little as 25 years we will need to extract double of every FF we do today.

  32. I agree with Amino and Roger, Peak Oil is never going to happen. How come no one talks about Peak Copper, Peak Gold, Peak Iron, Peak Stones, we have been mining these for far longer than oil.

    There is. Google them. We have peaked in copper, gold, uranium and other important metals. Understand that the core commodity is the limiting factor of all society, for without oil we don’t grow food, we don’t mine other essential materials.

  33. “Peak oil” is just a scare phrase. As drilling necessarily must be at greater depths, the cost of extraction will rise. But the earth still has plenty of oil.

    The real problem is government, which needs to get out of the way. The free market will then provide plenty of supply, as it always does when left alone to work its magic.

    Right now Cuba is negotiating with China to allow drilling only sixty miles from Florida. Cuba won’t even have to drill. It will get a cut of the oil produced by China. We dither while hostile countries suck up oil off our coast – countries that have little in the way of pollution protection. If a blowout happens on a Chinese deep water well, is President Urkel Obama going to force them to clean it up?

    The “peak oil” scare has been going on since oil was first discovered. But it has always been a false alarm.

    OIL RESERVES:

    - 1885, U.S. Geological Survey: “Little or no chance for oil in California.”
    
- 1891, U.S. Geological Survey: “Little or no chance for oil in Kansas and Texas”
    
- 1914, U.S. Bureau of Mines: Total future production limit of 5.7 billion barrels of oil, at most a 10-year supply remaining. 

    - 1939, Department of the Interior: Oil reserves in the United States to be exhausted in 13 years. 

    - 1951, Department of the Interior, Oil and Gas Division: Oil reserves in the United States to be exhausted in 13 years. 

Reserves: 

    - 1.3 Trillion barrels of ‘proven’ oil reserves exist worldwide (EIA)
    
- 1.8 to 6 Trillion barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Oil-Shale Reserves (DOE)
    
- 986 Billion barrels of oil are estimated using Coal-to-liquids (CTL) conversion of U.S. Coal Reserves (DOE) 
- 173 to 315 Billion (1.7-2.5 Trillion potential) barrels of oil are estimated in the Oil Sands of Alberta, Canada (Alberta Department of Energy)
    
- 100 Billion barrels of heavy oil are estimated in the U.S. (DOE)
    
- 90 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the Arctic (USGS)
    
- 89 Billion barrels of immobile oil are estimated recoverable using CO2 injection in the U.S. (DOE) 

    - 86 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (MMS)
    
- 60 to 80 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in U.S. Tar Sands (DOE) 

    - 32 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in ANWR, NPRA and the Central North Slope in Alaska (USGS)
    
- 31.4 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the East Greenland Rift Basins Province (USGS) 

    - 7.3 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the West Greenland–East Canada Province (USGS)
    
- 4.3 Billion (167 Billion potential) barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Bakken shale formation in North Dakota and Montana (USGS) 

    - 3.65 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Devonian-Mississippian Bakken Formation (USGS)
    
- 1.6 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Eastern Great Basin Province (USGS)
    
- 1.3 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Permian Basin Province (USGS) 

    - 1.1 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Powder River Basin Province (USGS)
    
- 990 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Portion of the Michigan Basin (USGS) 

    - 393 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. San Joaquin Basin Province of California (USGS) 

    - 214 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Illinois Basin (USGS) 

    - 172 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Yukon Flats of East-Central Alaska (USGS)
    
- 131 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Southwestern Wyoming Province (USGS) 

    - 109 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Montana Thrust Belt Province (USGS) 

    - 104 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Denver Basin Province (USGS)
    
- 98.5 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin Province (USGS)
    
- 94 Million barrels of oil are estimated in the U.S. Hanna, Laramie, Shirley Basins Province (USGS) 

For Comparison: 

    - 260 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in Saudi Arabia (EIA)
    
- 80 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in Venezuela (EIA) 

  34. jrwakefield says:
    February 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm
    Today finding an oil field is a very rare event since the entire planet has been searched. Anything left to find will be small and very difficult to extrac
    =============================================
    You mean like the oil field that was just discovered in the Caribbean?

    ….or the massive oil field just discovered off Brazil?

  35. @ jrwakefield on February 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm re why US oil production peaked: cheaper oil was found overseas. It became far more advantageous for the US to import foreign oil rather than drill and produce it domestically. There was no shortage, it did not run out, there was no Peak Oil causation.

    Re not finding any more oil: of course not, not at $80 per barrel for world price. Many untapped oil deposits are known, and have been for many decades.

    You stated “finding an oil field is a very rare event since the entire planet has been searched.”

    I disagree on this point. One may consider the Earth’s crust to be like a stack of pancakes, and our drilling to date has been much like sticking a fork into the top pancake. There are many, many layers yet to explore. Where drilling is accessible, price alone has prevented such drilling. Where drilling is off-limits due to political reasons, no price is high enough. Many, if not most, areas of the globe have never been explored, especially those areas under the seas.

    Many more areas with known oil deposits have never had modern extraction technology applied, thus there is a huge amount of oil yet to be extracted.

  36. Smokey says:
    February 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm
    Right now Cuba is negotiating with China to allow drilling only sixty miles from Florida.
    =======================================
    Smokey, that’s 30 miles from Florida. In the straights between Key West and Cuba.

    Isn’t that stupid??
    We can’t drill off the coast of Florida but they can.
    and if anything happens, because of our embargo with Cuba, we can’t even fix it.

    The fear of the Horizon spill reaching Florida, and we still can’t drill off the coast of Florida.

    There’s plenty of oil, only it’s where we can’t drill…………..

  37. I’ve been personally promised for 4 decades now that oil is running out soon.
    “Peak Oil” is just the other side of the CAGW medal. If the supply is not dwindling try to muffle the exhaust. Thats why they dreamed up the “climate catastrophe”.

    By the way it looks bad for “Peak Oil” again: New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-10/new-drilling-method-opens-vast-oil-fields-in-us.html?nstrack=sid:5038680|met:100|cat:675991|order:1
    And this method is cheap and available too.

  38. The “peak oil” scare has been going on since oil was first discovered. But it has always been a false alarm.

    Peak oil isn’t about how much is in th ground, it’s how fast it can be extracted and ERoEI.

    - 260 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in Saudi Arabia (EIA)

    That is a lie. That number hasn’t changed in decades of continuous production. Google saudi oil overstated

    
- 80 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in Venezuela (EIA)

    If all was extracted that’s just 2 years of world consumption. So the rest of your tiny numbers are just that, tiny.

    Canada’s tar sands could have as much as a trillion barrels, but only 15% of it will ever be extracted, the rest is too deep to mine. It will never produce more than 3mb/day (Canada’s yearly consumption) because the limiting factor at the tar sands is natural gas.

    The numbers you show are all in ground (in place), does not mean it’s extractable. For example that “32 Billion barrels of oil are estimated in ANWR, NPRA and the Central North Slope in Alaska (USGS)” is scattered throughou hundreds of small fields. That means difficult extraction, it also means only a small percent (10-20%) will be recovered. Typical conventional fields recover only 40-60%. Bakken will liberate, maybe, 1%.

  39. @jrwakefield,
    “Just remember that our petroleum consumption grows at 3% per year”

    No, that statement is simply not supported by the data. The world demand for oil has increased at a linear rate of 1 million barrels per day per year, from 1986 through roughly 2006. Yet, from 2004 to 2009, the world demand for oil has been flat at 80 to 81 million barrels per day.

    The 3 percent compound growth rate per year is simply false.

    (supporting data is from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2010, from their website)

  40. Not sure where the comment “China coal reserves are 4 times that of the U.S.” comes from. The last I researched world coal reserves the U.S. had the most by far. Is this an artifact of “Proven Reserves” versus “Probable Reserves”?

    Looking about for sources I see the U.S. has about 2 times the proven reserves – if the sources can be trusted, including the Wikipedia link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_by_country

    In any case, the U.S. has vast amounts of Coal, Gas, and Thorium. If we apply just a wee-bit of common sense, we are sitting pretty for a long, long time. We also have more forest now than we did 100 years ago. And cleaner water. And cleaner air. The only really dangerous shortage we seem to be running up against is enough water to support population growth (and agriculture growth to feed everyone).

  41. my favorite plants seem to do best at 1200 ppm co2. here in indiana we have a lot of limestone laying around. i’m wondering if we could burn some of these rocks in those thorium reactors.

  42. why US oil production peaked: cheaper oil was found overseas. It became far more advantageous for the US to import foreign oil rather than drill and produce it domestically. There was no shortage, it did not run out, there was no Peak Oil causation.

    Really? That’s why US oil fields are all in decline including Alaska? They are physically producing less oil now.

    Re not finding any more oil: of course not, not at $80 per barrel for world price. Many untapped oil deposits are known, and have been for many decades.

    You got a list of those fields? The IEA claims we need to find 5 or 6 Ghawar EVERY YEAR to meet demand.

    One may consider the Earth’s crust to be like a stack of pancakes, and our drilling to date has been much like sticking a fork into the top pancake. There are many, many layers yet to explore. Where drilling is accessible, price alone has prevented such drilling. Where drilling is off-limits due to political reasons, no price is high enough. Many, if not most, areas of the globe have never been explored, especially those areas under the seas.

    You need to read the book Oil 101. He goes into detail on what is required for an oil field to form. They are rare because the conditions required to from oil is a rare event. All oil comes from narrow specific periods in geological history. Petroleum geologists understand this, which is why no super giant field has been found since the 1960′s.

    Many more areas with known oil deposits have never had modern extraction technology applied, thus there is a huge amount of oil yet to be extracted.

    Care to list them? I’ve done a lot of reading on the subject including detailed reports. There are no such fields.

  43. jrwakefield,

    Once again I have to point out that you’re selling bird blenders, as we can see by clicking on your name, so you’re probably biased in your cherry-picked opinions.

  44. By the way it looks bad for “Peak Oil” again: New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-10/new-drilling-method-opens-vast-oil-fields-in-us.html?nstrack=sid:5038680|met:100|cat:675991|order:1
    And this method is cheap and available too.

    You are making the same mistake as others do about peak oil. It’s not what’s in the ground, it’s how fast it can be extracted and the ERoEI. Notice the rate they hope to produce,2mb/day. The US consumes more than 20mb/day.

    This is a great achievement, it will push off US peak oil a bit, a decade, but eventually that field will peak (shale deposits deplete faster). The key will be the ERoEI.

  45. Once again I have to point out that you’re selling bird blenders, as we can see by clicking on your name, so you’re probably biased in your cherry-picked opinions.

    You have a problem with my wind turbine blog?

  46. Don’t look now, but light sweet crude is at about $85/b, the price generally rising because world oil production has not been able to keep up with demand.

    Even though all predictions of peak oil may have been early, eventually peak oil will arrive. Perhaps production above 80 mbpd can be sustained for some several years or even decades. Perhaps it can even be raised toward 90 mbpd, but if production falls below 80 for a year or two, most will know the answer re: peak oil.

    Even if there is some abiotic oil formation mechanism, reservoirs are being depleted faster than they can be refilled.

  47. Mr. Wakefield, you can download the data for yourself from this site,

    http://www.bp.com/productlanding.do?categoryId=6929&contentId=7044622

    and download the full excel workbook from 1965-2009 under Historical Data.

    There simply is no compound annual growth rate of 3 percent. Instead, as I wrote above, there is a simple linear growth rate of 1 million barrels per day per year. I would also note that the leveling off of world oil demand since 2004 coincides with the rapid growth in oil consumption of India and China.

    I applaud your zeal, Mr. Wakefield, but there is simply no cause for alarm regarding Peak Oil. The data simply do not support any cause for alarm. You have apparently been seriously mis-lead.

    You question my assertion that “Many more areas with known oil deposits have never had modern extraction technology applied, thus there is a huge amount of oil yet to be extracted.”

    “Care to list them?” The former Soviet Union comes readily to mind.

    Best regards.

  48. jrwakefield says:
    February 12, 2011 at 6:55 pm
    . Petroleum geologists understand this, which is why no super giant field has been found since the 1960′s.
    ================================================
    You would think Petrobras would have hired at a least one……(insert eyeroll here)

    Brazil, Falklands, Namibia, Turkey, Africa, the entire south Atlantic margin….
    Texas and North Dakota are becoming the models for oil and gas shale development.

    Wakefield, this is the internet, people know how to use Google and Bing…….

  49. Mr. Wakefield, again, not a true statement:

    “The US consumes more than 20mb/day.” (where 20 mb/day means 20 million barrels of oil per day).

    No, actually, the US consumption was 18,686,000 barrels of oil per day in 2009, and is on a steady decline since 2005. (see the above-mentioned source, BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2010).

  50. I can’t comment on the energy parts, but all the slides with respect to climate science are horrendously wrong. Archibald should really have passed them to someone who understands climate science to review before publishing them.

    Section 1 of the slides that has the title “Is the world warming?” yet no answer is given and the choice of slides in the section makes no sense. Why not show a graph of GISTEMP or UAH global temperature? Why dance around the question by instead showing regional climate statistics and graphs of sea ice?

  51. This is the most thorough and rational exposition of energy policy I have yet seen, and it puts AGW in its proper minimal place. One can argue about the specific numbers, but the predictions will seemingly come to pass eventually. I know nothing about thorium reactors, so cannot comment on that aspect; but coal to liquids and natural gas to liquids is known technology. Between Canadian tar sands, USA oil and gas from shale, and its coal reserves, North America could become self-sufficient in energy for a long time if it had the political will to do so. Unfortunately, we are being diverted down the garden path of inefficient “green” energy by lawyer-politicians and media fellow-travelers who have little understanding of technology or global geopolitics. In 1940, the Austrian economist Hayak described how the Socialists became so enamored of “the fatherland” that they would do anything (including atrocities) in the belief that they were furthering the ultimate good. It now seems that many of our politicians and scientists have fallen into the same trap with regard to global warming, and will do anything, no matter how foolish, to save the earth from all kinds of ridiculous catastrophes.

  52. onion2 says:
    February 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm
    all the slides with respect to climate science are horrendously wrong.
    I agree, but such is Archibald’s spiel. One could add a similar comment on solar activity.

  53. Peak oil is a myth. Supply and demand are always balanced by price. When the cost goes up we find replacements or use less.

  54. Not to get in the middle of a good mud-slinging contest… :-)

    But…Oil production will lag slightly behind oil prices. As prices go up, the oil in the ground that is economically recoverable goes up quickly. It takes a while to develop production, lay new pipe lines, and get the oil into production so prices can spike – but make no mistake, there is a LOT of oil in the ground if prices support the extraction. The primary hinderance to increased oil production is unstable prices. No one wants to spend a few billion dollars developing oil extraction only to find its not profitable.

    So if you are arguing that peak oil production at less than $80 dollars a barrel is in site – I agree. If you start looking at the proven reserves for $150 dollars a barrel, there’s a whole lot more oil waiting extraction.

    It’s very confusing to most people to understand what is meant by “Proven Reserves”, which is the estimate most used. It represents the resource available using CURRENT technologies at CURRENT prices. In other words, “Proven” to make a profit right now. Just as advances in Fracking has increased Proven Gas Reserves in the U.S., so will other new technologies increase oil reserves. (I am not addressing impact to the environment here, just commenting on available resources).

    The Barnett Shale under my house is a good example of a new proven resource. There is a lot of gas in shale in the U.S., and we have hardly even started the extraction of it. All this gas was known to be there, but no one knew an economical way of getting it out. Now take oil shale… Or methane hydrates… Eventually those will become new reserves of energy.

    I know many visitors of this site are anti-biofuel opinionated, but I think there is a real future there as well. Genetically enhanced algae growing in saline water converting the energy of the sun into high-density energy (bio-oil) just seems obvious to me…in another 20 to 30 years. Meanwhile, oil demand will likely sag as prices go up – I do not buy into the oil demand goes up forever model.

  55. @Robert of Texas on February 12, 2011 at 8:26 pm — well said, sir.

    The most curious thing, to me, regarding oil production and Peak Oil discussions, is why did Saudi Arabia choose $32 per barrel for their oil after the 1979 embargo? The answer, of course, is that the US had just then completed an economics study of coal-to-liquids technology. $32 per barrel was just below the break-even price for the US to convert coal to oil.

    It is even more interesting to consider the present price of oil, which the Saudis have repeatedly stated should be $70 to $80 per barrel. Adjusted for inflation, that $32 in 1980 is almost exactly equal to $80 in 2010. The Saudis are no fools. They know exactly what they are doing, and will keep the price of oil below the coal-to-liquids incentive point. There may be temporary excursions above $80, but these will not last long. The price spike in 2008, driven by speculators in the oil market as the real estate prices collapsed in the US, is a good case in point. The price rapidly declined again to the $70 to $80 range.

    This is nothing new, as it is common in many industries to maintain prices at or just below a threshold point at which a competing technology becomes attractive. The system fails if and when an innovation occurs that makes yet another technology much more attractive. Genetically engineered microbes to produce synthetic oil from sunshine and aqueous nutrients could very well be such an innovation. It will be interesting to watch the Saudis to see if they reduce the price of oil to make such an innovation un-attractive economically.

    Yet another interesting aspect is the resolve of an oil importing nation to subsidize such innovations in technology, when they cannot stand alone on their own merits. The USA has chosen to subsidize many such technologies – wind, solar, hybrid vehicles, green buildings, all are examples. Such subsidies weaken the economy unless there is some way of advancing the individual technology to become self-supporting within a reasonable time frame. Again, the Saudis know all this and price their oil accordingly.

  56. onion2 and Lief S,

    It is contingent upon you to state explicity what is factually incorrect with his slides. Name the slide number and the fact. All you did was throw mud, no specifics, so most of the mud blew back onto you. Asking why he did not use your favorite chart is beside the point… it is HIS presentation, not yours.

    For instance, I have stated that I felt the oil production declines were too draconian. Specifically, slide 77 is completely unrealistic about Est. Ultimate Recovery of 57 BSTB for China For anyone to to post this as a ‘known’ value with little uncertainty really detracts from their credibiltiy. We don’t know the US’s EUR, much less that of China.
    P99 for China might be 55 BBO, but it’s P10 could be >120 BBO

    @JRWakefield, etl all. I’m not going to quibble about whether we have passed Peak Oil for the first or four time. Let’s just say that we passed Peak Whale Oil in the late 19th century and we survived the crisis. We passed Peak Pennsylvania Oil and found East Texas. We passed Peak US oil, but found a lot more internationally.

    Back in 1982, at the SEG convention, I made a statement: “We are not running out of oil. we are running out of $30 oil. But with Athebasca, Orinoco, Oil Shale, we know today where there are TRILLIONS of Barrels equivalent of hydrocarbons, which can be brought to market AT THE RIGHT PRICE. ” That was almost 30 years ago and the situation is nearly the same.

    The deep water discoveries were only dreams, but giants have been found there. They are expensive and the elephant hunt there is getting tougher. Brazil is doing well. But ten years ago the shale gas boom was also a dream. In a decade we have added 100 years of undeveloped gas reserves in the US.

    It is unrealistic to belive the oil and gas is inexhaustable. We may very well have had Peak Oil. But it is also completely unrealistic to expect production to fall off a cliff. Price will rise, more supply will be made available and demand will drop to restore the market equilibrium.

    With the expectation of rising prices, people will develop alternatives, be it Gas to Liquids, Coal to Liquids, Fission-to Hyrodgen, or some other portable energy source.

  57. ” Leif Svalgaard says:
    February 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm
    onion2 says:
    February 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm
    all the slides with respect to climate science are horrendously wrong.
    I agree, but such is Archibald’s spiel. One could add a similar comment on solar activity.” unquote.

    Slinging mud doesn’t wash it here for either of you, no matter who you are. Please elaborate your criticisms with data so everyone can see and discuss, rather than pontificating from on high. This sort of dismissive attitude without backup arguments, is why people are distrustful of AGW proponents.
    I have no opinion either way on the slides, but I have strong opinion on people making dismissive comments without being prepared to argue their case.

  58. Stephen Rasey says:
    February 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm
    onion2 and Leif S,
    It is contingent upon you to state explicity what is factually incorrect with his slides. Name the slide number and the fact. All you did was throw mud

    It should be clear to most people what is wrong. The mud flowed freely from Archibald himself.

    But here are some specifics. Undoubtedly you can find more things that are wrong:
    3: Is the World warming: most of the red curve since 2004 is below the line, so there has been change [less ice]
    5: What has happended in Alaska: cherry picked regional data
    6: US Record High Temps: ’66% … are before 1940′. Were there no records before 1880? Bad statistics
    8: Perth 1910-2009: single location only
    9: Central England: Dalton Minimum not outstanding in any way. Record truncated so not to show recent warming
    10: December Central England: single data point doesn’t mean anything and an upwards trend is visible, anyway
    11: Much Warmer 1000 years ago: no source or scale
    12: Borehole: very poor match to 11
    16: Vostok interglacials: shows Holocene was unusual [land use, perhaps]
    25: More logical reason: cycles 24 and 25 are just extrapolations [perhaps based on analogy with 5 and 6]
    27: The Be10 Record: poor match: E.g. Spoerer Minimum. Only one record [Dye 3] which correlates poorly with other Be10 records
    28: aa index: is known to be too low below 1957 [artifact]. Values 2007-2010 as low as 1901-1902, but temperatures very different
    29: Oulu: cherry picked station, most other stations do not show the latest minimum as much higher
    31: Dalton Minimum: just extrapolation by analogy. No physics
    32: Cycle Length: Regional only. Comparing with Northern Hemisphere shows no correlation [or statistically insignificant opposite correlation]
    33: Hanover: One locality only
    34: Norway: regional only [that there are many stations doesn't mean much as nearby stations are strongly correlated]
    35: Consequential Climate Shift: very shaky conclusion
    36: Solar physics community: self-agrandizing
    37: Ability to look forward: cycle 19 suspiciously left out. The model has a very short cycle 24, hence a very warm period is coming
    43: Lake Victory: years where it didn’t fit left out
    44: Colder is driver: just one locality

  59. harrywr2:

    “The price of steam coal FOB Newcastle, Australia is currently $120/tonne.”

    I believe the article is referring to Lignite coal (brown coal) – a much lower grade and somewhat better than compressed peat moss. It is a fraction of “steam” bituminous coal’s price. One may purchase it for $40-$50/T out of the Karachi port: http://www.alibaba.com/product-free/101420065/Lignite_Coal.html

    This fuel is not worth transporting and these plants would need to be built “in situ”. GK

  60. Sea ice has decreased a little bit, but even then that’s because of natural variations. Really nicely and easily presented case as to why you believe we’re going into an ice age/a period of global cooling

  61. xyzlatin says:
    February 12, 2011 at 11:08 pm
    Please elaborate your criticisms with data so everyone can see and discuss
    I think your comment also applies to these posts:
    Al Gored says:
    February 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm
    Excellent summary!
    jrwakefield says:
    February 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm
    Very nice presentation.
    Bill Junga says:
    February 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm
    Thank you for this fabulous post.

    So you would ask these people to elaborate on what was excellent, nice, and fabulous, and to give specifics, rather than just wholesale praise, right?

  62. Roger Sowell and Stephen Rasey:

    Thankyou for your comments at February 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm and February 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm, respectively, which concur with my post at February 12, 2011 at 4:56 pm.

    I now write to draw attention to the salient points because – as several posts above demonstrate – ‘true believers’ in Peak Oil are as as blind to the importance of these points as ‘true believers’ in CAGW are blind to the importance of the missing ‘hot spot’ and Trenberth’s ‘missing heat’.

    These salient points are the only significant considerations concerning ‘peak oil’, and all other points – whether numerical or not – are irrelvant. So, I iterate them and I add a further explanatory point here.

    Roger says;

    “It is even more interesting to consider the present price of oil, which the Saudis have repeatedly stated should be $70 to $80 per barrel. Adjusted for inflation, that $32 in 1980 is almost exactly equal to $80 in 2010. The Saudis are no fools. They know exactly what they are doing, and will keep the price of oil below the coal-to-liquids incentive point. There may be temporary excursions above $80, but these will not last long. The price spike in 2008, driven by speculators in the oil market as the real estate prices collapsed in the US, is a good case in point. The price rapidly declined again to the $70 to $80 range.

    This is nothing new, as it is common in many industries to maintain prices at or just below a threshold point at which a competing technology becomes attractive.”

    Yes, as I said;

    “The ‘oil-from-coal’ processes (including the Fischer-Tropsch process) are merely an alternative source of crude oil. And if they were a cheaper source of crude oil then natural crude oil then they would displace the natural sources.”

    And I also said;

    “But two important facts remain.
    1. The existence of the LSE process constrains the maximum oil price: if oil became too expensive then it would pay the UK to start producing LSE syncrude instead of Brent crude with resulting drop of crude oil cost.
    2. There is sufficient coal for at least 300 years (probably 1000 years) so oil production will not ‘peak’ from supply exhaustion for at least 300 years even if natural crude oil supplies were to exhaust.
    And nobody can know what fuel will be needed 300 years in the future. Hay as feed for horses was the major fuel 300 years ago, but hay is not considered to be a significant fuel today.”

    Stephen rightly says:

    ““It is unrealistic to believe the oil and gas is inexhaustable. We may very well have had Peak Oil. But it is also completely unrealistic to expect production to fall off a cliff. Price will rise, more supply will be made available and demand will drop to restore the market equilibrium.

    With the expectation of rising prices, people will develop alternatives, be it Gas to Liquids, Coal to Liquids, Fission-to Hyrodgen, or some other portable energy source.”

    Yes! That is exactly the point.

    The only issue worthy of discussion is the time frame that would be required for the transition from crude to syncrude (e.g. oil-from-coal) in the improbable event that oil reserves were to exhaust. In that unlikely event, the oil supply would not suddenly stop but would decline for one or more decades. Hence, the need for the transition would be obvious.

    And there would be plenty of time for conduct of the transition which energy companies would conduct because they do not want to go out of business. The transition would be driven by the desire of energy companies to continue their business and, thus, to make profits.

    The required growth of the required coal supply to obtain syncrude as oil-from-coal would be similar to the growth of the oil industry that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s, but it would be easier to achieve because no new coal fields would need to be found.

    Are oil companies building oil-from-coal plants?
    No.

    What does that prove?
    Oil companies know there is no foreseeable ‘peak oil’ crisis that threatens their business. (They are not fools and they would not want potential competitors getting oil-from-coal plants operative before they did if they saw their existing product supply were exhausting).

    Richard

    • Your “formula 2003″ graph looks just like a damped oscillation , as in say a spring. What do you suppose injects the energy to start up a new oscillation and will that happen before this one flat lines?

  63. Richard Telford says:
    February 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Don’t quote tamino/foster. Waste of time. Note ‘rate’

  64. Smokey

    When I visited ajwakefield (just checking as usual) I found:

    This site is going to challenge the following:

    * That Wind is a viable source of power;
    * That the wind industry is telling the truth on their stated claims;
    * That Wind can replace other sources of energy; and,
    * That Wind will save the planet.

    Sounds like you would agree with this?? or have I missed something?

  65. I still don’t buy this sea-level rise business.

    These are the cliffs east of Antalya, Turkey. The Med is a good model for sea level monitoring, because it has no tides to confuse the issue.

    Note the size of the wave-scoured undercut. The sea level is normally exactly level with the lower platform – I had to wait ages for a low swell to pass and reveal the lower platform. There is only one undercut, none above or below.

    For this undercut to form like this, with a very precise lower platform and single undercut, the sea level will have to have been very stable for some considerable time. For how long? Well this is an image of the calcite deposits that have formed on the cliff-face itself.

    Now I think a calcite deposit that thick will take a long time to form. Say 500 years?? In which case, these cliffs have been in their present state (not retreating) for at least 500 years. So the undercut is at least 500 years old. So therefore sea levels have not changed for 500 years.

    The only wild card here is land movement. However, for sea levels to have really risen over the last centuries, then we must imagine a case where the land and sea have risen in precise unison – otherwise the undercut would be deformed. This is an unlikely state of affairs.

    In summary, the evidence from the Med seems to show that sea levels have been steady for some considerable time.

    .

  66. >>Smokey says: February 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm
    >>“Peak Oil” is just a scare phrase.

    No. Peak Oil is an absolute given. It will happen, because oil is a finite resource, and our usage is not diminishing. So I can say with absolute certainty, that peak oil WILL happen.

    The difficult bit is guessing when the peak will occur, because yes, higher prices will generate more exploration. (Peak Oil is peak production, not the end of oil itself.) But you will have to note that all the new fields being discovered are tiddlers. There are no new Middle Eastern-type fields coming on stream.

    Remember the great bally-hoo about North Sea oil, and how it would save us? Well, North Sea oil is already on its way out, in just one generation. One would hope that man will be here for many more generations to come, so you can be absolutely sure that a decent (nuclear) replacement for oil will be required.

    The thing I do not like, is that we are BURNING a valuable resource. Oil is also the primary feedstock for the chemical industry, which we will need for thousands of years in the future. And we are simply burning it! Absolute waste, if you ask me.

    .

  67. David, great presentation though I’d like a commentary and a little more clarity in some of the slides.

    My mind still reels over Peak Oil and I mistrust both “deniers” and “alarmists” and wonder if vital parts of information are lacking, if the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and whether the polarized debate is helping or hindering ultimate resolution. What I would like to see is something that looks at both sides, FAQ-style for idiot newcomers. Clearly this is the next issue I need to take time off for. Taking time off to look at the issue really pays in spades, as I found with both Electric Universe and MMR/Wakefield, and obviously with Climate Science itself. But it does take time to get past that initial barrier, to find and examine the best evidence BOTH FOR AND AGAINST, and the best evidence of how each side “defends” itself against the other, or “attacks” the other – ie the proper fourfold investigation of evidence that is rightly upheld by all courts of law – and it takes time to explain all this.

  68. @ajwakefield
    I would suggest Sir, that you are posting on the wrong site, http://www.kiddiescorner.com is hosted by a Tony Whatthatfore Esq, as you can see from the tittle page it is for the 6-10 age group, and the little windmills in the flower beds on the tittle page would surely give you inspiration along with the friendly little gnomes who seem to be praying for the wind to blow.
    (sarc off)

  69. jrwakefield, thanks for your detailed posts on oil depletion,which have clearly upset a few who believe the world can continue with business as usual. The IEA late last year stated that Peak Oil was reached in 2006. It’s all downhill from here. KSA (along with all other mid-east producers) has faked its reserves and even Aljazeera has aired the latest wikileaks revelations, which should be making headlines around the world.

  70. Roger Sowell

    Thank you for making the points that I would have made – but you were quicker on the draw and expressed it better. It would be helpful if politicians and academics (and climate scientists) actually listened to those of us who have worked in or advised the energy industries and who advise policy makers – all too often on vain in recent years. My MP in the UK is fond of talking of “broken fossil fuels”- he is otherwise quite a sensible person.

  71. Lucy, after following the note you supplied on Canada here’s an exerpt from a very curious article I must have missed:

    When the wind don’t blow, the power don’t flow. Even more devastatingly, as this analysis shows, the wind not only don’t blow an awful lot of the time. It tends to not blow ‘everywhere’ at the same time…

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/the_fraud_of_wind_power/

    I had also assumed that with enough windmills some surely would always be ginning but by the historic power logs this just isn’t the case. Whoops!! That is a big problem. Maybe instead of hiring rain-makers they can spend even more money and conjure up some wind-makers.

  72. Enjoyable post. Great slides. When I see things like ‘at $60/barrel, shale oil becomes worth doing’ or ‘…thorium reactors are worth building’ (not exact quotes but that is the gist), it makes me think the problem isn’t that oil is running out, but how to make the changeover from oil to shale/thorium/whatever as smooth as possible.

    A lot of money is invested in the oil undustry, a lot of jobs are in the industy, so ways have to be figured out how to move the money into the replacements for oil and how to re-train oil workers to be thorium workers or whatever they have to be.

    It would be interesting to see some detailed scenarios as to how that will be accomplished.

  73. The Saudis are no fools. They know exactly what they are doing, and will keep the price of oil below the coal-to-liquids incentive point….Genetically engineered microbes to produce synthetic oil from sunshine and aqueous nutrients could very well be such an innovation. It will be interesting to watch the Saudis to see if they reduce the price of oil to make such an innovation un-attractive economically.

    Maybe I am terminally ignorant, but why would any country capable of these innovative technologies, not build them because a seller is manipulating the price of his commodity? And when the buyer knows what is going on, and that the commodity can only become scarcer over time?

    Surely, when it comes to something as important as a country’s energy supplies, the people that make the decisions look beyond the price of oil this week.

  74. I side with the critics of David Archibald’s presentation, as I usually do. He seems to use scientific research much the same way that the IPCC crew do (cherry picking and manipulating data) and he tends to want to be an alarmist. He does work to make his “crises” sound scientific and reasonable. Roger Sowell and others clearly show the problems with his arguments.

    Stop all subsidies of “green”, “sustainable” (there is nothing sustainable), crony-corporate fuels and let the market decide — as long as the market includes a reasonable discussion of pollution and necessary environmental “changes” (we are not China, afterall). Do not let anyone, no matter how reasonable they seem, outside those in the various industries who must make a profit, tell you how we can change in a more reasonable fashion to superior fuels. The market will include governments (the U.S. government market should be our own natural resources) and their needs for defense and domestic supply. If a government (not bureaucrats, not well-meaning scientists or citizens) does not behave according to citizens’ best interests, vote them out of office. Tea party, anyone?

  75. Peak oil, Anthropogenic Climate Change, Green Energy, all birds of a same feather.

    I am with Roger Sowell and Burt Rutan on this.

    As long as we have rocks, we have energy.
    As for the costs to retract oil, these costs stay relative low thanks to technological innovation.
    Just have a look at the “Peak Oil” Scare chart in Rutan’s presentation.
    Compare it with the the Non Scare Chart, the real world oil reserves, which is the next chart after the Peak Oil chart.

    http://rps3.com/Files/Ochkosh_2010_talks/Electric%20flight%20keynote.pdf

  76. Smokey, guess you didnt ead my wind blog. I’m against wind turbines, not only for the reason of the clip, but their output is pathetic, which I show in my analysis.

  77. Oil companies know there is no foreseeable ‘peak oil’ crisis that threatens their business.

    Actually they do. BP has hinted at it,. So has Shell. Can you imagine the market chaos if Exxon announced today that future oil production will fall world wide? Governments know about it. Look up the JEO 2010 report. http://www.peakoil.net/files/JOE2010.pdf

    Peak oil won’t be a cliff, no one is saying that. It will be a slow decline in production. The economic and social effects of loss of fuels, rising food prices, is a different matter.

    Before you dismiss this out of hand, you should at least read these:

    http://www.tsl.uu.se/uhdsg/Publications/GOF_decline_Article.pdf

    https://www.msu.edu/~ralsto11/PeakOil.pdf

    http://www.tsl.uu.se/uhdsg/Publications/PeakOilAge.pdf

    http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6912#more

    http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/tiki-index.php?page=Global+Oil+Depletion

  78. Zorro
    “The IEA late last year stated that Peak Oil was reached in 2006.”

    The truth or otherwise of ‘peak oil’ does not come from the fact that an organisation wrote a report.

    “It’s all downhill from here. KSA (along with all other mid-east producers) has faked its reserves and even Aljazeera has aired the latest wikileaks revelations, which should be making headlines around the world.”

    A dramatic statement. The fact that an oil producer faked their reserves also has no scientific bearing on whether or not we have reached ‘peak oil’.

    These peak oil arguments are begining to sound like a record stuck in a groove. Nobody yet knows with certainty that the abiogenic oil theory is false. Sure, critics can always point to some papers that have been written against it, but that doesn’t make it ‘settled science.’ There are also those who claim that a paper by Ahman & Wahl falsifies M&M’s hocky stick paper.

    The very definition of scepticism is to look objectively at all arguments. Too many will link to their favorite paper and shout “Nope – it’s all been debunked. See here!” These people have already made up their minds, which is sad. The truth is, nothing has been debunked, and nothing had been proved. The chemistry of abiogenic oil is not even controversial since it has already been carried out in the laboratory. However, whether or not oil has actually come about from these reactions 20km under the Earth’s crust, we are still a long way off from knowing.

  79. jrwakefield says:
    February 13, 2011 at 8:12 am
    I have been looking at the global data on temperature. Summer TMax is not increasing, there is no increase in heat waves.
    I’m not disagreeing with you or the analysis. Although just concentrating on summer Tmax is perhaps not enough. I was commenting on Archibald’s sloppy presentation with all the problems I pointed out. The cause deserves better.

  80. @JRWakefield, etl all. I’m not going to quibble about whether we have passed Peak Oil for the first or four time. Let’s just say that we passed Peak Whale Oil in the late 19th century and we survived the crisis. We passed Peak Pennsylvania Oil and found East Texas. We passed Peak US oil, but found a lot more internationally.

    And by extension, where do we go next? Titan? Yes, humans will survive. But what the next version of civilization (after oil) will look like is anyone’s guess. It’s not just about loss of oil, it’s the economic and social consequences of loss of oil. Everything in society is dependant on that one commodity, food production/transportation, as well as the ability to produce other items. It’s all interconnected. It can’t be flipped on a dime to something else (which we keep hearing about be never stated what that “something else” is.) The fact is there is no alternative energy source with the energy density and ERoEI as oil.

    I wish this was not the case, I don’t want peak oil to happen. I want nothing more than for my grandchildren to have the society I grew up in, and better. Unlike those who WANT global warming to happen, I don’t want peak oil to happen. I’m sure we will do our best to try and mitigate the effects of dropping oil production, but regardless of our inovation abilities we cannot sidestep the laws of physics.

  81. The chemistry of abiogenic oil is not even controversial since it has already been carried out in the laboratory. However, whether or not oil has actually come about from these reactions 20km under the Earth’s crust, we are still a long way off from knowing.

    The best evidence against abiotic oil is the fact that an oil deposit has a unique chemical fingerprint, which can be traced back to the source rock, which has always been a biological sedimentary bed. The biological horizon of the deep Bazillian Tupi field has been found just under the deposit. The Bakken is an in situ deposit, the oil is in the source rock (it’s too tight for the oil to migrate into it.). Plus not all oil is the same. The Green River “oil” shale is in fact not oil, but kerogen. That material has close relationship with marine organism lipids.

    The fact is, not one depleted oil field has been replenished from mantle rock. The fact is, the super giant fields are all in terminal decline. The Ghawar field has some 3000 wells around the periphery to pump in millions of barrels a day of sea water, which comes up the production wells cutting the oil. That is only done when a deposit is on its last legs. The days of gushing oil wells is over.

  82. I’m open to the possibility of some fraction of crude oil being “abiotic,” but I have personally performed analyzes for biomarkers in crude oil sources and reservoirs. I worked for a major oil company and know that these analyses and information derived thereof yield profit. Biomarkers are real and they are not formed in FT synthesis. Show me some crude oil w/o biomarkers and I would change my mind on abiotic oil.

    This means that even if some oil is produced abiotically, it’s rate of migration into known reservoirs is slower that the rate of extraction.

  83. uh, homework. I appreciate Leif’s posts and Richard Courtney’s posts though I still have sympathy for David Archibald so clearly I need to look at details again. :-(

  84. Hmmmn. Somehow Washington’s “arithmetic” (arythemagic?) does NOT compute:

    In this article reported at http://www.freerepublic.com, our esteemed and highly informed Secretary of Agriculture “expects” a minor 1.8 percent rise in prices while talking about ethanol and federal (ie, Iowa primary voters’) subsidies, but the writer of the article mentions corn prices that have almost doubled since May 2010 ….. Odd math. ( Perhaps he means and increase of 1.8 TIMES the price, rather than 1.8 PERCENT of the price.)

    Ag Secretary ‘Not Worried’ About Effects of Ethanol Subsidy
    CNS News ^ | 2/11/2011 | Christopher Goins

    Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2011 7:53:22 AM by IbJensen

    Washington (CNSNews.com) – Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says he welcomes the extension of the energy policy requiring the extension of tax credits and protective tariffs of corn ethanol and is not worried in the long term about the U.S. economy’s capacity to produce corn for food, fuel, feed, and exports because of it.

    “I’m certainly not worried in the long term about our capacity to produce enough corn to meet our food and feed needs as well as our fuel needs,” Secretary Vilsack said Wednesday in a news conference with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu held in the Department of the Interior building.

    Vilsack said he is not worried about the inflationary effect that the ethanol subsidy might have on food prices.

    “Here in these Unied States, we’re expecting food prices to rise somewhere between 2 and 3 percent, which is relatively moderate,” Vilsack said.

    However, the latest Consumer Price Index report shows that fruits and vegetables rose 1.8 percent in December after a previous decline in November. A two to three percent increase would be nearly double the percentage increase of December prices, according to the latest CPI report.

    Vilsack attributed the rise in food prices not to ethanol subsidies but to advertising, marketing, refrigeration, transportation, and other expenses that happen in the food chain. He said he was confident that U.S. corn ethanol policies are raising the price of corn only slightly, according to USDA studies, and that the policy will not damage exports.

    The agriculture secretary attributed international price increases to weather conditions and export controls.

    “I think there is going to be enough corn for food, feed, fuel, and for export opportunities,” he added.

    Vilsack noted that after the biofuel tax credit was allowed to lapse, there was nearly a 50 percent decline in production and there were 12,000 jobs lost.

    According to USDA and the National Corn Growers Association, the average U.S. farm price for corn increased steadily throughout 2010, going from $3.40 in May to $3.75 in July to $4.40 in September to $5.20 in December to $5.40 currently (Feb. 2011).

    The Agriculture Department says that U.S. corn stocks for 2010/11 are projected 70 million bushels lower this month because of “higher-than-expected food, seed, and industrial use” – including ethanol production.

    The USDA’s latest commodities report says “corn used for ethanol is projected 50 million bushels higher than the November final ethanol production estimate and weekly ethanol data indicate record output for December and January.”

    In December, President Obama signed a bill extending a credit of 45 cents for every gallon of pure ethanol blended into gasoline, as well as protective tariffs for 54 cents per gallon, costing nearly $1 total.

    The corn used in ethanol is only about 5 percent of all production, according to Vilsack.

  85. jrwakefield says:
    February 12, 2011 at 6:59 pm
    “No, that statement is simply not supported by the data. The world demand for oil has increased at a linear rate of 1 million barrels per day per year, from 1986 through roughly 2006.

    “Hard to understand how oil consumption has been flat with a growing Western population which has doubled since 1986.”

    Nothing to do with the marked improvement in fuel-efficiency then? D’oh

    And I wonder, have you ever read the 1972 ‘green’ book: ‘Limits to Growth’? And do you believe it’s all come true?

  86. Although just concentrating on summer Tmax is perhaps not enough.

    That is correct, it isn’t enough. Looking atTmin in winter it’s increasing (getting less cold). Winters are also getting shorter, thus a longer growing season.

  87. R. Shearer says:
    February 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Even though all predictions of peak oil may have been early, eventually peak oil will arrive. Perhaps production above 80 mbpd can be sustained for some several years or even decades. Perhaps it can even be raised toward 90 mbpd

    Nobody is claiming that oil production won’t peak someday. The “Peak Oil” argument is whether or not global oil production has already peaked.

    As more and more new wells are drilled horizontally, I think it’s quite possible to ramp supply above 2006 and 2007 levels.

    Btw, Mexican and Venezuelan production declines have quite a bit to do with government (Pemex and PDVSA) corruption and incompetence.

  88. Citing Tamino, Richard Telford writes,
    Global sea ice – no change over thirty years?
    Look at the red line on the graph – it goes down. And the decline is statistically significant – see
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/monckton-skewers-truth/

    to which stephen richards responds,
    Don’t quote tamino/foster. Waste of time. Note ‘rate’

    Why is citing Tamino a waste of time, when he’s right? And making a point readers here didn’t notice on their own? Contrary to Archibald’s “no change,” the global anomaly actually has been declining. By about 50,000 km2/year, or half a million per decade since 1990, the period shown in Archibald’s graph.

    Or going back to the start of the time series, 1979, the rate of decline averaged 38,000 km2/year.

    But since 1999, driven by accelerating Arctic change (where “nothing has changed,” says Archibald) it’s been steeper: 69,000 km2/year. Take your pick.

    I didn’t get those from Tamino, they’re do-it-yourself easy (simple regression). The declines are each a bit steeper if you switch to simple time series models instead.

  89. >>>Richard Telford says:
    February 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    Global sea ice – no change over thirty years?
    Look at the red line on the graph – it goes down. And the decline is statistically significant – see

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/monckton-skewers-truth/

    I tried to post on tamino but it appears he doesn’t allow anyone to post that doesn’t agree 100% with his posting. What tamino has tried to show is that 30 years of sea ice data is statistically significant, using linear regression.

    Linear regression as shown in tamino’s analysis is based on the assumption that the data has a constant mean over the interval. In other words, that there is no natural variability in average sea ice over a 30 year period.

    However, the historical accounts published in newspapers show this assumption to be false. Sea ice coverage has a natural variability on periods longer than 30 years and as such the confidence levels assigned by tamino are statistically meaningless. To yield a statistically significant result, we would need sea ice coverage data for periods longer than the multi-decadal climate cycles.

    For example, say it was september and you recorded the temperature outside from early morning until noon. Using linear regession you would conclude with confidence 99.99% than the temperature in october would be much warmer than september, and the temperature outside in a hundred years time would be too hot for humans to survive.

    This is what has happened with climate science. They have taken readings over a very short period of time relative to natural climate cycles and used incorrect statistical methods to project those readings into the future and arrived at very misleading results.

    The classic example of this is telephone operators. Before the invention of automatic switching, it was projected that everyone on earth would need to be employed as a telephone operator, given the growth rates in the number of operators to handle the number of phone lines.

  90. >>Gneiss says:
    February 13, 2011 at 10:36 am
    Why is citing Tamino a waste of time

    Because his linear regession method relies on the underlying data having a constant mean. When applied to cyclic data like climate it can yields misleading results, unless the sample length is significantly longer than the natural climate cycle length.

    For example, if your data is from a warming cycle, linear regression tells you the climate will keep warming forever. If you data is from a cooling cycle, linear regression tells you the climate will keep cooling forever. Both conclusions are wrong, but the linear regression will tell you with 99.99% confidence they are right.

  91. smokie says:
    “rwakefield, Once again I have to point out that you’re selling bird blenders”
    smokie you are being unfair to him, it is worth to check his windturbine site. from the site:
    “Wind Power does nothing to “save the planet”. When the wind blows we often do not need the power as demand is low. When the wind is low, such as on hot summer days, is when we need usually need it the most.”

  92. Excellent slide presentation. Thanks muchly. A couple of rebuttals if I may. Peal-Oil has been forecast and delayed several times over the past few decades. Most recently, it was the financial melt-down that took us back from the edge. In mid-2008, we were down to less than 1mm bbls/day of spare capacity (hence the $150/bbl price). More recently, it is the advent of horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracturing that will bring previously sequestered supply to market. Here in Alberta, the upper Cadium formation was a well known deposit of over 10 billion barrels of light sweet crude that was largely uneconomic to produce. The new horizontal technology has this 10 billion barrels streaming to market now and drilling is proceeding at a frenetic pace.

    Moreover, Alberta’s oil sands contain 2.5 Trillion barrels of oil. Technology has progressed over the past 20 years that has taken the recoverable qunatity from 70 billion to 180 billion barrels. In time, it is likely that the recoverable will continue to grow and production will progress from the current 3mm bbls/day to 5mm and beyond. And while natural gas is currently the main cost of producing the oil sands, there has been talk and some action toward replacing natural gas steam generation with nuclear and perhaps thorium-electric steam generation.

  93. >>And I wonder, have you ever read the 1972 ‘green’ book: ‘Limits to Growth’? And do you believe it’s all come true?

    I grew up in the 60′s and like many others of my generation believed ‘Limits to Growth’ when it was published. It was what we had been taught in school.

    The Club of Rome promoted this idea, that overpopulation, not government mismangement and/or corruption was the cause of the earth’s problems.

    This was a popular notion with governments of the day as it absolved them of responsibility. It was the people causing the problems, not the ruling class.

    The solution then was to prevent “excess” population. This same idea has been promoted by politicians and scientists in positions of power and responsibility within the US government today, as a means of escaping responsibility for failed policies.

    The concept was first put foward under the label Eugenics which was very popular in the US 100 years ago. It fell out of favor for awhile when it was adopted on an industrial scale by the National Socialist party in Germany under its leader Adolf Hitler to solve Germany’s economic problems. However it still remains popular within academic circles.

    As has been shown time and time again, the “limits to growth” concept is plain wrong. As prices go up for specific commodities due to supply and demand, product substitution over the long run will natural lead to lower prices and increased supply.

    This is self-evident looking at the word around you. As the number of people on earth as increased, so has the prosperity. ‘Limits to Growth’ predicted exactly the opposite.

  94. And I wonder, have you ever read the 1972 ‘green’ book: ‘Limits to Growth’? And do you believe it’s all come true?

    Yes, and no. I don’t believe anything. The problem with predicting the future is the future is unpredicable.

  95. Btw, Mexican and Venezuelan production declines have quite a bit to do with government (Pemex and PDVSA) corruption and incompetence.

    No, production declines in Mexico has everything to do with Cantarell in terminal decline.

    2004: http://www.energybulletin.net/node/1651
    2009: http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/06/16/us-mexico-oil-analysis-idUSTRE55F4HK20090616
    2010: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/09aff74e-3b49-11df-b622-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Ds3TimqA

  96. Gneiss says:
    February 13, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Citing Tamino, Richard Telford writes,
    Global sea ice – no change over thirty years?

    to which stephen richards responds,
    Don’t quote tamino/foster. Waste of time. Note ‘rate’

    Why is citing Tamino a waste of time, when he’s right? And making a point readers here didn’t notice on their own? Contrary to Archibald’s “no change,” the global anomaly actually has been declining. By about 50,000 km2/year, or half a million per decade since 1990, the period shown in Archibald’s graph.
    —…—…—
    Who is claiming the world has NOT gotten slightly warmer over the past 400 years?

    We are (slowly) climbing out of the Little Ice Age of the 1500′s-1600′s-1700′s – despite being ever so “cleverly” hidden by the advocates/propagandists for Mann-Made Global Warming in several mutually-citing “peer-reviewed” scientific papers. The only ones guilty of denying anything are those who deny the Roman Warming Period, the Medieval Warming Period, the Little Ice Age, and the Modern Warming Period all may have a common cause.

    Now, Skeptics are honest enough to admit that we don’t know the theoretical cause of those warming periods, but then again, skeptics are at least willing to look for a cause of those warming cycles instead of trying to kill millions of innocents and harm billions of other lives.

  97. R. Shearer says:
    February 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I’m open to the possibility of some fraction of crude oil being “abiotic,” but I have personally performed analyzes for biomarkers in crude oil sources and reservoirs. I worked for a major oil company and know that these analyses and information derived thereof yield profit. Biomarkers are real and they are not formed in FT synthesis.

    Of 1000 lbs (or kg) of pumped “raw” oil, how many units of biomarkers are found in these samples?

  98. jrwakefield,

    My apologies for not reading enough of your wind power link.

    Regarding “peak oil”, I have more faith in the free market to provide plenty of oil, as it always has in the past. Governments are the problem, not the solution. 71% 0f the earth is covered by water, and we haven’t explored 0.1% of it. I suspect there is plenty of oil under the world’s oceans.

    Encouraging drilling instead of discouraging it will provide whatever we need. Meanwhile, Obama continues to ignore two separate court decisions telling him to open drilling. He is in contempt of court, and rules by decree. I have a problem with people who think they’re above the law. Especially when it is the President.

  99. @ Wagon Lit on February 13, 2011 at 6:05 am

    ” why would any country capable of these innovative technologies, not build them because a seller is manipulating the price of his commodity? And when the buyer knows what is going on, and that the commodity can only become scarcer over time?

    Surely, when it comes to something as important as a country’s energy supplies, the people that make the decisions look beyond the price of oil this week.”

    My take on why countries with innovative technologies don’t build them is that actually, some did and still do, while others don’t due to financial reasons. Cases in point include South Africa and their Sasol coal-to-liquids industry when the country was unable to purchase crude oil due to Apartheid. Also, France chose to “go nuclear” rather than import oil for electric power generation – note that France has very very little coal or natural gas. Canada chose to develop their massive oil sands deposits even before the world price of oil rose enough to make them economically viable. Finally, the USA and other countries subsidize renewables even though they are not economic on their own.

    The USA did not build commercial coal-to-liquids plants in the 80s primarily due to the choice by government not to subsidize that industry, and no private enterprise would engage in a money-losing venture. There were also many concerns over waste disposal from coal mining and the coal conversion process itself.

    Companies, and countries, do look beyond the price of oil this week. Each of the above examples and the decisions that led to them were based upon best estimates of the near-term price of oil, such as over a 10 year horizon. Oil is a rather interesting commodity because there is a production cartel, OPEC which is well organized and has sufficient discipline to make pricing and production decisions.

    Finally, there is absolutely no assurance that oil will grow more scarce over time. Our entire experience with oil is exactly the opposite. The BP Statistical Review cited earlier shows that World Proved Reserves have increased at a linear rate of almost 21 Billion barrels per year since 1980, even after accounting for all the oil production during that period. Proved Reserves increased in each year except for 1990 when it decreased a modest 3 billion barrels out of a total of 1000 billion barrels.

    YEAR Billion Barrels
    World Proved Reserves
    1980 667.5
    1981 687.6
    1982 717.4
    1983 728.3
    1984 761.6
    1985 771.3
    1986 878.0
    1987 910.0
    1988 999.0
    1989 1006.4
    1990 1003.2
    1991 1007.6
    1992 1013.3
    1993 1014.3
    1994 1019.5
    1995 1029.0
    1996 1050.6
    1997 1069.3
    1998 1070.2
    1999 1085.6
    2000 1105.5
    2001 1130.0
    2002 1190.7
    2003 1204.3
    2004 1210.4
    2005 1220.2
    2006 1233.5
    2007 1253.0
    2008 1332.4
    2009 1333.1

    My main point is that oil follows the known laws of mineral resource supply and demand. Cheap minerals are due to abundant, easily extracted mineral deposits. When those reserves are depleted or nearing depletion, another group of more difficult mineral deposits are there to be exploited when the sales price rises sufficiently. Yet another group of mineral deposits exists at still higher prices, and so on. Contrary to all the Peak Oil alarmists, there is no cause for any alarm whatsoever over oil. We have barely begun to develop the oil deposits on this Earth.

  100. ferd berple writes,
    Because his linear regession method relies on the underlying data having a constant mean.

    Er, no, the whole point of a regression in this context is to test whether the data have a constant mean. In the case of global sea ice anomaly, tests say it does not.

    For example, if your data is from a warming cycle, linear regression tells you the climate will keep warming forever. If you data is from a cooling cycle, linear regression tells you the climate will keep cooling forever. Both conclusions are wrong, but the linear regression will tell you with 99.99% confidence they are right.

    Where did you hear that about linear regression? Regression tells us absolutely nothing about trends going on forever. That mistake is called “out of sample prediction,” a point of caution in most intro texts. Regression is appropriately used to describe average rates of change over a particular interval (among other things), and that’s what I did.

    Archibald waved at the same data, and claimed “no change over 30 years.” Tamino, and anyone else who has looked at the data, knows this statement is false. I’m a skeptical guy so I checked it myself, and found significant downward change whether I tried linear regression, fit a curve, used yearly means, allowed for autocorrelation, or did all those things at once.

    What’s driving the downward trend in global anomaly is the steep Arctic decline, which could bring us to Archibald’s next false statement, “Nothing has changed.” And we’re only at slide 4.

  101. I suspect there is plenty of oil under the world’s oceans.

    Can’t be. Wrong geology. It’s all basalt from spreading ridges. Only on continental margines where the prospect of teaming marine life lived more than 100 million years ago. You should read up on the “Oil Window” to see the limitiations on how oil is formed.

    http://oilandgasgeology.com/

  102. racookpe1978 writes,
    Now, Skeptics are honest enough to admit that we don’t know the theoretical cause of those warming periods, but then again, skeptics are at least willing to look for a cause of those warming cycles instead of trying to kill millions of innocents and harm billions of other lives.

    Well, since in your mind scientists are trying to kill millions and harm billions I guess this won’t get through. But for others, it’s easy to show that there is great ongoing effort by scientists to understand the causes of past natural warming, and (sometimes) what role those play in the present. You can find articles on these topics in almost any issue of Science, Nature, Geophysical Research Letters or many other journals.

  103. Richard Telford says:
    February 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm
    Global sea ice – no change over thirty years?

    Look at the red line on the graph – it goes down. And the decline is statistically significant – see

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/monckton-skewers-truth/

    —————————————-

    Ok, take a look at the graph at tamino. Where does he start his regression? At a high point in ice coverage some months BEFORE the start of 1980. You can see it better at the site, http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

    The fact that he starts his “significant” downward trend starting with a cherry-picked point where the ice coverage anomaly that was about 1.5 MILLION sq. km. above the average should clue you in that he’s playing fast and loose with the truth. That was one of the highest levels in the entire 30+ year record! OF COURSE he shows a “significant” downward trend! With his starting point, it is impossible to show anything BUT a decline. Note that if he had used 1-1-1980 as the start, of his regression, the ice coverage anomaly would have been exactly 0. Redraw his curve using 1-1-1980 instead of the date he selected, and you do away with virtually all the decline.

    Is the ice coverage below the average, sure, maybe by 6 – 8 %, but it was just as low in mid-1980. If you can’t explain the NATURAL forcings that resulted in such a low anomaly in 1980, then you can’t expect me to put much faith in the theory that CO2 is responsible for a similar decline today.

  104. Contrary to all the Peak Oil alarmists, there is no cause for any alarm whatsoever over oil. We have barely begun to develop the oil deposits on this Earth.

    I will explain this carefully, again.

    Peak oil is not about what is in the ground. It’s about flow rates, it has to be extracted fast enough to meet demand. It’s also about ERoEI. Once it takes a joule of energy to extract a joule’s worth of oil, what’s the point?

  105. Khwarizmi your best bet is to read this:

    http://static.scribd.com/docs/j79lhbgbjbqrb.pdf

    The mantle is just too deep and too hot for oil to be stable. The longer oil is subjected to high temperatures, the more volitile molecules (light chains) are converted into gases leaving tar behind (hence why we have tar formations). The oil window is way above the depth of the mantle under continental plates (20-35km thick).

    There may be some carbon compounds on Titan, but unless there was wide spread marine life in shallow seas on Titan there won’t be oil.

    That said, carbonate rock is subducted back into the mantle

    http://www.earth.edu.waseda.ac.jp/lab_ogasawara/products/abstracts/200108_UHPMWS_1a01.pdf

    http://www.perplex.ethz.ch/papers/kerrick_geology_98.pdf

  106. jtom writes,
    Ok, take a look at the graph at tamino. Where does he start his regression? At a high point in ice coverage some months BEFORE the start of 1980.

    Tamino starts in 1979 because the data start in 1979, he’s not cherry picking anything — he’s using all the data we’ve got from the satellite era.

    And he chose to graph monthly average anomalies, which look a bit different from the more or less daily raw values. But either one yields the same trend.

    BTW, I wrote earlier that the 1979-present trend is 38,000 km2/year, but I should have said 36,000 based on simple regression.

    And as I said, if you start in 1990 (as Archibald’s graph does, though his text says “30 years”), you get a downward trend that’s steeper than Tamino’s, 50,000 by my reckoning. Or if you start in 2000 it’s steeper still, 69,000 km2/year.

  107. @jrwakefield on February 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    “I will explain this carefully, again.”

    Repetition does little good, in fact, it hurts your cause. Peak Oil alarmists have been wrong every time in their prediction of the world’s oil production declining. This is a sure sign that they do not understand the oil markets, and their model is wrong. An accurate model provides a valid prediction. Peak Oil alarmists have neither valid predictions, nor an accurate model.

    Frantic arm waving, noise-making, reading and citing hyped-up reports, and all the rest cannot overcome the hard facts that we are not running out of oil and never will.

    Peak Oil alarmists could make a fortune in the oil futures markets. I will applaud loudly when I read of the instant billionaires who had the shrewd foresight to invest in oil futures. “After all, Peak Oil is real!!!! It will happen REAL SOON!!!!!” [sarc off now]

  108. I’ve read the paper, JR Wakefield. My comment made that clear. Let me quote:

    “A better understanding of pathways” doesn’t overcome thermodynamic constraints until you can specify what those pathways are.

    Please specify those pathways. If you can’t explain what the link says in your own words it means you probably don’t understand it.

    Titan has methane seas and an atmosphere estimated to be similar to crude oil, all of it produced by geological action according to NASA:
    =============
    Based on data collected by Huygens’ instruments, Sushil Atreya, a professor of planetary science at the University of Michigan in the United States, believes a hydro-geological process between water and rocks deep inside the moon could be producing the methane.”I think the process is quite likely in the interior of Titan,” Atreya said in a telephone interview.
    The process is called serpentinisation and is basically the reaction between water and rocks at 100 to 400 degrees Celsius (212 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit), he said.

    http://esse.engin.umich.edu/PSL/PRESS/Titan_Cassini_Huygens/AP_Wire_012705.pdf

    =============

  109. jrwakefield says:
    February 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Can someone elaborate on the empty cities in China as an indication of war(?).

    The book “Energy Security 2.0″ is coming out of a Washington think tank, the International Strategic Studies Association: http://128.121.186.47/ISSA/index.htm

    Yossef Bodansky’s second chapter in that book describes these cities. The financial community thinks that the empty cities are part of China’s real estate bubble, but that could not explain why they are completely uninhabited. The cities are built complete with museums, heroic statues and so on. They are spare cities for when China’s coastal cities get thrashed in the war they are going to start.

  110. rbateman says:
    February 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm
    The only thing I would change is the Probabilities of a Quiet Period.

    Modelling I respect has solar activity going back to normal (as we have known it) by mid-century. The only unknown now is how much snow and ice is going to build up during this minimum and whether or not that is enough to trigger the next glaciation.

  111. Mike Smith says:
    February 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Will David give us permission to use these slides, with credit?

    Please use my stuff as you see fit.

  112. Snowlover123 says:
    February 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Dr. Archibald,

    There was a person on theenvironmentsite.org/forum that claimed that “he was David Archibald.” Was that person you?

    It wasn’t me.

  113. G. Karst says:
    February 12, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Victoria has 208 billion tonnes of lignite which will be made into 120 billion barrels of diesel and the like.

  114. Keith Battye says:
    February 13, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Yes it is a damped spring, paper in press. The force involved is the force that dare not speak its name.

  115. Lucy Skywalker says:
    February 13, 2011 at 2:36 am

    On peak oil, the best source is that link I gave to the American Chemical Society paper from early 2010. It was produced by three Kuwaiti engineers applying the Hubbert model to every major oil-producing country. I don’t believe all of the paper though. For the non-OPEC countries, their production profile matches history. To achieve a different result requires simultaneous changes in trend all over the planet. Found the link: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef901240p

  116. Scintillating set of slides! It might be more effective to break this up into multiple posts and add some text from the presentations to explain the slides. In particular, it would be awesome to have a post about the LFTR section of the slides.

  117. A quick note to explain why horizontal drilling/formation evaluation while drilling (FEWD) are so revolutionary and increase our capacity to recover oil so radically.

    It is common for geological formations to be in layers. Some of these layers have oil. Traditional drilling would punch through an oil bearing layer so that recovery of the oil would not be that efficient if the oil bearing layer was not thick.

    With horizontal drilling and FEWD, the driller knows what kind of formation layer he is drilling through in realtime. He can control the direction of the drilling to stay in narrow oil bearing layers (rather than just punch through them) and increase the amount of oil recovered by orders of magnitude.

    The R&D to make this technology was quite impressive and required the development of new sensors and communications technology to make it possible to analyze what kind of rock the bit was currently drilling through and to get that information back to the surface immediately so the driller can make realtime decisions to optimize his drilling.

  118. ferd berple says:
    February 13, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I tried to post on tamino but it appears he doesn’t allow anyone to post that doesn’t agree 100% with his posting. What tamino has tried to show is that 30 years of sea ice data is statistically significant, using linear regression.

    Linear regression as shown in tamino’s analysis is based on the assumption that the data has a constant mean over the interval. In other words, that there is no natural variability in average sea ice over a 30 year period.
    —————-
    I’m not surprised he wouldn’t let you post your comment – nor am I surprised that you can post it here. Why? Because it’s wrong.

    Linear regression assumes normal errors, independent observations and equal variance. Alternative procedures can be used when these are violated. It does not assume a constant mean. It does not assume that there is no natural variability.

    The null hypothesis is that the mean is constant. This is not an assumption. If you think that it is, you need to retake some statistics courses. Short term natural variability would make it harder to reject the null hypothesis. Long term natural variability is a trend, which is inconsistent with Archibald’s statement.

    Linear regression does not allow us to infer causality. The declining trend in sea ice could be due to purely natural factors, black carbon, leprechauns or global warming. But it does prove that Archibald’s claim that there has been no change in sea ice over thirty years is false.

    [you seem to not understand the tolerance on here for diverse opinions. You are always free to argue against those opinions you feel are wrong as that helps others to understand the flaws which seems to us to be better than simply censoring them out. Furthermore you should bear in mind that being snarky about this website is simple bad manners, Anthony has gone to great lengths to make this the most popular and informative climate website around and if you don't like the way it is run please feel free to embark on your own project and show how it should be done better]

  119. Robert of Texas says:
    February 12, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    In any case, the U.S. has vast amounts of Coal, Gas, and Thorium. If we apply just a wee-bit of common sense, we are sitting pretty for a long, long time.

    There’s the Achilles heel for us, that wee-bit of common sense proves to be so elusive.

    By the way, Archibald’s paper has triggered a very good discussion. I’ve learned a lot, as usual. I really do wish he could be a little less sloppy.

  120. Apologies if someone has already mentioned this, but a couple of weeks back I read somewhere that British scientists have developed a synthetic petrol based on hydrogen that works in todays production cars and should be commercially available in around 3-5 years time at a cost of around 90p per gallon (not litre) before tax.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1351341/Relief-pumps-Revolutionary-hydrogen-fuel-cost-just-90p-GALLON-run-existing-cars.html

  121. [Snip. Strike two. ~dbs, mod.]

    [Also, I did not make the moderator comment above. Mods, please identify yourselves. Thanks. ~dbs]

  122. Please specify those pathways. If you can’t explain what the link says in your own words it means you probably don’t understand it.

    Yes, I have read it, and yes I understand it. If you want a good explanation on how oil forms get it from the horse’s mouth, get the book Oil 101.

    As for Titan. So what if there is methane there? Methane is a long way from complex long chained organically derived hydrocarbons.

  123. Frantic arm waving, noise-making, reading and citing hyped-up reports, and all the rest cannot overcome the hard facts that we are not running out of oil and never will.

    Sorry, but this shows you still do not understand. Of course we will never run out of oil, as we will be leaving more oil in the ground than we will have consumed. We will continue to extract oil for generations. No one is saying oil wil be all consumed nothing left. That is not peak oil.

    It does not matter what the economics says, once we cannot produce what the demand requires, then we have a price increase (2008) until the economy cannot handle the increase in energy costs and a recession starts, dropping demand, reducing the price. Then recovery happens and demand returns to the supply limit, which by that time s lower than the limit prior to the recession due to depletion from older fields and not enough new supply coming on line. Another price spike occurs putting the economy into recession again, and so on down the far side of the supply curve. This does not include the social problems caused by this (specifically food prices).

    Do you not believe in the supply numbers from specific fields? Is Cantarell not in terminal decline? Is the North Sea not in terminal decline?

    The other issue is ERoEI. Do you understand what that means? Economics cannot sidestep the laws of physics. Soon as it take one joule of energy to extract once joule of oil energy, regardless of what’s still in the ground, how is economics going to fix that?

    The Alberta tar sands is very close to break even. Surface mining ERoEI is a mere 6:1 (and that comes from the industry, not speculation), in situ extraction will be lower than that. One proposed mechanism to mobalize the bitumen to flow into a well is to burn the bitumen at depth to liquify the rest to flow. Extraction from that process will yield only 1% of the bitumen. Now that’s getting desparate to burn 99% to get 1%.

  124. jrwakefield, are you claiming that the world will never produce as much oil as it did in 2006/2007? Are you claiming that peak oil production has already occurred?

    Also, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that horizontal drilling ruins your ERoEI argument. The oil industry has actually seen an increase in ERoEI from horizontal drilling.

    I don’t know if we’ve hit peak oil production or not. Do you?

  125. Are you claiming that peak oil production has already occurred?

    Production has been flat since 2005. 2008 production was flat out around the world with no spare capacity. Super giant fields around the world are in terminal decline and new fields are not of sufficient size to offset those declines.

    Also, you shouldn’t ignore the fact that horizontal drilling ruins your ERoEI argument. The oil industry has actually seen an increase in ERoEI from horizontal drilling.

    You have evidence to back that up? Horizontal drilling has been used for decades, common usage in Saudi Arabia, yet ERoEI has dropped from 100:1 to 25:1. If gas shale drilling is any indication, it has a much smaller ERoEI than convensional gas fields. Shale gas fields are also very short lived, depletion starts after 6 to 8 years compared to 25-30 years for convensional fields and take more drilling rigs to produce than convensional fields.

    I don’t know if we’ve hit peak oil production or not. Do you?

    No one knows until after peak has passed. We are just noting the warning signs shows depletion is near. When was the last supergiant field discovered?

  126. jr wakefield – If you want a good explanation on how oil forms get it from the horse’s mouth, get the book Oil 101.
    As for Titan. So what if there is methane there? Methane is a long way from complex long chained organically derived hydrocarbons.

    ———-

    You referenced a deficient paper that pretends to circumvent thermodynamic constraints by invoking “other pathways” that remain unspecified. I asked you to specify those pathways and you replied, “get the book Oil 101.” No thanks. You should get the book “Thermodynamics 101″ instead.
    Titan, contrary to your crude misrepresentation, likely has an abundance of geological hydrocarbons in long chains and other heavy arrangements. Please note:
    ===
    “..huge reservoirs of liquid methane and ethane. Solid carbon-based molecules are also present in the dune region around the equator, dwarfing Earth’s total coal supplies.”

    http://www.universetoday.com/12800/titan-has-hundreds-of-times-more-liquid-hydrocarbons-than-earth/

    Crude oil minus the sulfur is a decent estimate of what the haze is…”

    http://www.space.com/4470-titan-dreary-drizzle.html

    ===

    Biological markers are a consequence of microbes that feed on hydrocarbons extending their reach from the ocean sediments to the deepest layer of the earth’s crust. These microbes are ancient, ubiquitous, and corrosive to the sedimentary hypothesis.

  127. Khwarizmi, how come there are no oil or coal source rocks in any precambrian deposits? How come chemical trace elements can point to the source rock, biological sedementary beds?

  128. jrwakefield says:
    February 14, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Are you claiming that peak oil production has already occurred?

    Production has been flat since 2005. 2008 production was flat out around the world with no spare capacity. Super giant fields around the world are in terminal decline and new fields are not of sufficient size to offset those declines.

    Are you claiming that peak oil production has already occurred?

    Horizontal drilling has been used for decades,

    Horizontal drilling technology has changed quite a bit in the last 5 years. In the past, oil companies would sometimes justify the need to drill a horizontal well instead of a vertical well. Now, oil companies sometimes justify drilling a vertical well instead of a horizontal well.

    Shale gas fields are also very short lived, depletion starts after 6 to 8 years compared to 25-30 years for convensional fields and take more drilling rigs to produce than convensional fields.

    This has nothing to do with peaking oil production, and you know it. An equal number of drilling rigs are now capable of pulling hydrocarbon out of the ground faster which can ramp production levels. The fact that these drilling rigs need to stay on-line in order to maintain production doesn’t mean that oil production can’t exceed historical levels.

    No one knows until after peak has passed.

    So you’re not claiming that we’ve already hit peak production. In other words, you agree that we might be able to boost our daily production and set new historical records.

    We are just noting the warning signs shows depletion is near.

    And this is exactly what everyone has been hearing for the past 40 years.

  129. So you’re not claiming that we’ve already hit peak production. In other words, you agree that we might be able to boost our daily production and set new historical records.

    If the ability to increase production was there, they would have done it by now to take advantage of the high price. It’s percent probability. According to the numbers it does not look good for increased production, ever.

  130. wobble says:
    February 14, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    “So you’re not claiming that we’ve already hit peak production.”

    I am.
    Based on the last five years showing no significant change in production.
    As others have pointed out ‘peak oil’ is not about the amount in the ground or how much we COULD extract per day; its about how much is actually produced.
    That is a product of what it is economically viable. For the last ~5 years the best economic choice was to limit oil production and allow the price to rise.

    The only reason that LNG, shale and oil sands have been a factor in liquid fossil fuel production is because the price of oil with demand increasing rose to the point where substitutes were viable.
    If it had been possible to increase production at less than the present oil price then it would have been done.
    Unless you subscribe to some Illuminati-style conspiracy to fix the commodity price of oil.

    “….you agree that we might be able to boost our daily production and set new historical records. ”

    We COULD boost our daily production and set new historical records. It wouldn’t even need new technology. The point to consider is that for the last 5 years nobody has. Instead it has been better economically to develop subsitutes because of the high price a fixed supply and growing demand has created.
    Increasing oil supply/production significantly above present levels is expensive. It would take much bigger investments than all past oil extraction for lower returns. That is why the alternatives become viable.

    To make increased oil production viable would require new technology with some rather exceptional features. It would have to enable oil extraction from present reserves that was far faster than any past extraction rates, at much better energy efficiencies and for a smaller (or at least equal) financial cost than older extraction methods.
    Most engineering technology suffers from the -
    ‘Faster, better, cheaper; pick two’ – problem, you dont get all three.
    The only exception I can think of it microelectronics…

  131. “In the mean time US Government has become our worst enemy.”

    jrwakefield replies:

    “Always has been, always will be. All governments that is.”

    On that, jr, we are in complete agreement.

    Because government is inherently anti-free market, the incentive to explore for new oil resources is not permitted. The Obama Administration has gone further than any previous administration and put the red areas of this map off-limits – not only to drilling, but even to any exploration. We don’t even know how much oil is there. But in the small green area between Texas and Louisiana there are close to 4,000 producing wells.

    If the government simply got out of the way and let oil companies explore and drill for oil, I have no doubt that the production would be immense. It is true that we would have to drill deeper and go farther off shore, and at greater expense. But the free market would provide; always has, always will.

  132. jrwakefield says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    If the ability to increase production was there, they would have done it by now to take advantage of the high price. It’s percent probability. According to the numbers it does not look good for increased production, ever.

    Wow. So you think peak production has probably already occurred, but you’re not sure.

  133. I agree we need to extract every drop we need, we will need every drop to attempt at changing to the new version of civilization. It is GROSSLY irrisponsible at this point to hold back extraction. Holding back extraction causes oil depletion to rise even faster, hence make food and other essentials more expensive, causing unwanted social consequences. (Then again there are those on the left, and radical environmenalists who WANT a human cull).

    That said, we do have a pretty good idea what’s around the US. It’s small. Small as in relative to current consumption in the US (7bb/year). So for any field, or collections of untapped fields, divide the potential total extraction by that number. When you do you will see it is just a few years worth. That means the deposits are so small that extraction rates will be low. Understand that one of the biggest mistakes in the US in the 1960′s in places like Texas was extraction was too fast. The faster you attempt to get oil out of the ground the LESS you get in total, leaving behind a larger portion that is physically impossible to extract. So those fields once tapped, will have a very small flow rate, less tha 10% of total consumption in the US.

    The big wild card in all this oil consumption is China, now the world’s #2 economy. At this rate will surpass the current #1 ecomony by 2030. By then the US may very well be on the down slope of GDP.

  134. izen says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I am.

    jrwakefield, take note. This is how you strap on a pair and make a clear statement.

    izen, you might be right, but I’m not completely convinced.

    If it had been possible to increase production at less than the present oil price then it would have been done.

    So it wasn’t done at lower oil prices. It probably won’t be done at these higher oil prices, but it might.

    Unless you subscribe to some Illuminati-style conspiracy to fix the commodity price of oil.

    Nope, but I certainly know all about the inefficiency, corruption, and incompetence at the NOCs (government run oil companies – think about than the post office on steroids). It’s hurt their production output. They probably aren’t capable of fixing their internal problems to boost production, but they might.

    ‘Faster, better, cheaper; pick two’ – problem, you dont get all three.
    The only exception I can think of it microelectronics…

    Ha ha ha. “you don’t get all three” – except when you do. There are some incredible new exploration, drilling, and extraction technologies out there. You might know that this industry has been notoriously slow in adapting “new fangled” technology. Well, that’s changing very quickly. It probably won’t change fast enough, but it might.

  135. jrwakefield says: how come there are no oil or coal source rocks in any precambrian deposits?
    When you can explain the “other pathways” alluded to in the paper you referenced, I will consider responding to your latest question.
    I know how to recommend books and deflect from questions too.

  136. Fixating on ERoEI (energy returned on energy input) is not a good approach. I have never seen an energy prospectus where money is not the goal. An investor places his money, perhaps $1 million, into the limited partnership, and is paid money as the partnership creates cash flow from oil discoveries and production. Nobody cares about ERoEI, but they do care about making money.

    As to increasing world oil production, that is simply not done on a whim. Gross overproduction depresses prices. Lower oil prices stimulate demand, which requires more production. OPEC plays a grand game in this, striving to maximize their revenues while keeping competing technologies off the market. There is a good reason (see my earlier comments) why oil is at $80 per barrel, and not $800 per barrel.

    One can look at any world production chart and see the rapid decreases in demand that happened after the price spikes of 1973 and 1979. Technology in the demand sector decreased demand, with more fuel-efficient automobiles, fuel switching from heavy fuel oil to natural gas, improved fired furnace efficiency, and overall lower specific energy consumed (greater efficiency) in industry. (There was also a federal law that decreased maximum speed limits to 55 miles per hour in the US.) I wrote on this on my blog, stating that the technology geeks are always striving to decrease demand.

    Another point that seems to not be taken into account by the Peak Oil alarmists is that overproduction requires increased oil storage. Yet, worldwide, oil storage is very high by historic standards. There have been times recently when OPEC could not ship all the oil they produced, and had to store the excess oil in tanker ships. One could ask why hasn’t demand increased to absorb all this over-supply.

    As to reaching Peak Oil, no, we are not there. However, the Saudis a year ago were quoted as saying they believe we have recently reached Peak Oil Demand. I wrote on this here:

    http://sowellslawblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/saudis-worry-about-peak-oil-demand.html

    For those who want the source document, see this link:

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-02-15/saudi-arabia-says-peak-demand-for-oil-is-an-alarm-update1-.html

  137. One issue I recall about all the CTL technologies was the need for LOTS of water – of what quality is another question. Point being, if it’s fresh water that’s needed, this becomes a major obstacle, as you would need to spend energy to make it. One major resource problem is not so much oil as fresh water. “Resource Wars” talks about this at some length and with some clarity.

  138. izen says:
    February 14, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Unless you subscribe to some Illuminati-style conspiracy to fix the commodity price of oil.

    While I don’t believe in some Illuminati-style conspiracy that fixes the price of oil, I do believe that oil prices are higher than they need to be. No conspiracy required – look at housing prices from 1998 to 2007. No conspiracy required – simply speculation. Many of the speculators are driven by Peak Oil theories.

    The past several years have proven that the price/supply-demand relationship for oil is much more inelastic in the near term than previously believed. That being said, the high prices over the past several years have eventually dampened demand. This has reduced refinery capacity in the world. Tankers often must sit and wait to sell their crude even though they’re willing to lower their price by a few dollars per barrel. At this point, it doesn’t really matter if some speculator in New York is willing to buy next month’s shipment for a few dollars more. After all, the New Yorker has read all the books about Peak Oil and knows he’s going to make money or something.

  139. Nobody cares about ERoEI, but they do care about making money.

    The Laws of Thermodynamics doesn’t care how much money someone wants to make.

    the Saudis a year ago were quoted as saying they believe we have recently reached Peak Oil Demand.

    Hard to image how that will be with China’s ecomony in double digit growth, and India not far behind. The only drop in demand will be that from demand destuction due to lack of supply.

  140. Khwarizmi, there is no oil in precambrian rocks, save that which has seeped in from conventional sources. Abiotic oil defies chemistry because the mantle is too hot, too destructive to long carbon chains. As noted, the chemical trace elements in oil point to the biological source rocks, that does not include the biological tracers, like certain compounds in oil having the same chemical structure as lipids. Not one oil deposit can be shown to be of abiotic origin. That ends the premise there.

    Why the fixation on abiotic oil? Even IF if were true it would in no way allow us to have unlimited oil deposits.

  141. jrwakefield –
    (1) Why the repeated misrepresentation of Titan’s geological hydrocarbon species?
    (2) Why the fixation on circumventing the second law of thermodynamics?

  142. Thanks to Leif Svalgaard for pointing out the many misleading aspects of David Archibald’s presentation. When you realise that someone has set out to deceive, it is very hard to take them seriously afterwards. Or maybe more charitably, not to deceive, but to put their case in the very best possible light ;-)

    As for limits of growth and all that – its basically true. If our population doesn’t stop growing on a voluntary basis, there has to come a time when things go very wrong and the population declines involuntarily. Think of it as a market bubble. They burst, but predicting just when they’ll burst is very hard. Or look at it like locusts. You can imagine a locust in a year when there is lots of food and locust numbers are small scoffing at the Jeremiahs who predict future doom. But a couple of breeding cycles later, when locusts are in plague proportions and there isn’t enough food or all. I’m rather lucky to have been in a generation that won’t see the worst.

    Personally, I’m hoping that predictions of a peak population of 9billion and then a decline are correct, and that we manage to survive through that peak.

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