A look at oil production

Saudi Production Profile

Guest post by David Archibald

World conventional oil production peaked in 2005 and has been on a plateau at about that level ever since. This graph suggests that the market changed from inherent over-supply to inherent tightness in June 2004:

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Figure 1: World Oil Production and Oil Price 1994 – 2011

World conventional oil production will at some stage tip over into decline. That may be this year or it may be as late as 2015. The decline in US production began over four decades ago in 1970, as predicted by King Hubbert in 1956.

The next big one to tip over into decline will be Saudi Arabia. In determining what that will look like and its consequences, the first thing to do is a logistic decline plot of Saudi production history. Figure 2 shows the result:

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Figure 2: Saudi Arabia Logistic Decline Plot

Figure 2 shows that the Saudis have produced about half of their ultimate recoverable reserves. When half of a nation’s oil has been depleted, production rate decline is inexorable. From this plot, total ultimate recoverable reserves for Saudi Arabia are estimated to be 275 billion barrels. From this plot, Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of decline. So what will that decline look like?

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Figure 3: Saudi Arabia Conceptual Crude, Condensate and Natural Gas Liquids Forecast

This figure was produced by Euan Mearns in 2008. The red volume on the bottom right is the Ghawar Field and the green is the rest of the heritage super giants. The steep fall in projected Ghawar production from about 2012 would be due to an expectation that the field is watering out on its crest as shown in this figure:

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Figure 4: Two cross sections of a reservoir simulation of the northern part of the ‘Ain Dar region of the Ghawar Field

Figure 4 shows the progressive displacement of oil by water over the sixty years from 1940 to 2004. SW is water saturation. The reds are high oil saturation and the green shows where oil saturation is now down to about 50%. To recover further oil from the green areas requires enhanced oil recovery (EOR) tehniques such as carbon dioxide injection.

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Figure 5: Regional cross section through the Ghawar Field

This figure is from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. The Ghawar Field is developed from a north-south trending horst block. It is 174 miles long by 16 miles wide. The producing horizon is the Arab D reservoir at about 7,000 feet.

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Figure 6: Saudi Arabia Production Profile 1938 – 2040

From the foregoing, Figure 6 shows the production profile generated for Saudi Arabia. The production decline is 3% per annum which amounts to about 300,000 bopd per annum from the current level. The world can cope with that, but will the Saudis?

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Figure 7: Saudi Arabia Population 1960 – 2040

Back in 1960, there were only about 4 million Saudis, now there are 27 million with population growth at 2.4% per annum compound. So, if the current trend continues, there will be 50 million of them by 2040. With population rising at 2.4% per annum and production falling at 3% per annum, we are starting with a net 5.4% per annum contraction in per capital oil production. The effect of that is captured by Figure 8 following.

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Figure 8: Saudi Arabia cash available per capita

The forecast in Figure 8 is based on the oil price running up to $200 per barrel by 2018 and then plateauing at that level. The Saudi Govt increased social welfare payments in response to the Arab Spring. As a consequence, their budget is just about break even at the current oil price. If social outlays aren’t increased further, they pontentially have a lot of cash to play with for the next eight years or so, though they are also propping up Yemen with whom they share a land border. The crunch point is reached about 2026 when income falls below constant per capita outlays. As a society and as individuals, Saudis will then find their standard of living falling by 7% per annum compound. None shall weep for them.

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188 thoughts on “A look at oil production

  1. Funny that all Peak Oil theorists always present future oil production at Saudi Arabia declining from exactly the point from where they make the prediction. This has been the case for ten years already. Mind you, being skeptical of PO theories is exactly what made me slightly think that I should be skeptical of every long-term predictions, like, Global Warming. PO theorists have been wrong for 3 decades now. Not that PO won’t “happen”, it just will be a complete non-event.

  2. “The decline in US production began over four decades ago in 1970, as predicted by King Hubbert in 1956.”
    Of course USA oil production has been increasing lately due to new technologies. We have cut our imports dramatically, with some predicting USA being energy independent in a decade or so.

    The Malthusians have been wrong time after time, usually because of their ignoring man’s ability to solve problems. They also tend to think the world’s resources are flat instead of multidimensional: We not only have not yet explored the entire surface of the earth, but there is a whole new dimension in going deeper. A fourth new dimension is provided by improved extraction techniques. A fifth dimension is provided by increased efficiency in the use of resources. That is why man is unlikely to EVER run out of natural resources.

    BTW: increasing world population provides more Eiensteins to solve problems.

    Thanks
    JK

  3. Love your model projections David. I’m sure all the assumptions are spot on and that this is not just mental masturbation.

  4. There is also strong evidence that oil is produced from much deeper than we can drill, so on occasion, fields which have become depleted and then can refill from below and become productive again. I have not seen the abiotic oil theory destroyed either.

  5. “Figure 4 shows the progressive displacement of oil by water over the sixty years from 1940 to 2004. SW is water saturation”
    Does this imply that the “deserts will bloom” … water may be more valuable than oil in the Middle East… there has been talk of wars for water… Israel tried to control southern Lebanon for Litani River water and takes water from the Syria’s Golad Heights currently

  6. jim says:
    May 31, 2012 at 3:35 am

    Well said Jim! I’m getting sick and tired of doom and gloom. Life is much more pleasant when one is optimistic. When you dig a little, most of these doomsday predictions never come to pass. We didn’t come out of the stone age because we ran out of stone!

    As you say, the Malthusians have a very poor track record.

  7. just a bit of contrary info

    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2012/05/bakken-2-oil-boom-comes-to-s-kansas.html

    Bakken 2? Oil Prosperity Comes to South Kansas; Could Be Largest Economic Impact in State History

    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2012/05/oil-prosperity-update-for-eagle-ford.html

    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2012/05/center-of-gravity-in-oil-world-shifts.html

    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-frozen-frontier-awaits-offshore-oil.html

    New and Frozen Frontier Awaits Offshore Oil Drilling in Alaska, Might Yield 1 Million Bbls/Day

    North Dakota has increased production by close to half a million barrels a day

  8. “World conventional oil production will at some stage tip over into decline” The key word is “conventional”…
    And it will be a problem for SA more than for the World at large.

  9. A Lovell says:
    May 31, 2012 at 3:58 am

    The stone quote is a great one and very ironic as it is alleged to have been made by a Saudi oil minister in reference to mankind being unable to cope if oil ever ran out.

  10. jim says:
    May 31, 2012 at 3:35 am
    “BTW: increasing world population provides more Eiensteins to solve problems.”

    Saudis?

  11. The problem with using the the logistics curve to forecast is that one has to make an assumption of the total supply. The total supply keeps moving up over time, so that is why these guys are always off the mark.

  12. Jubail Industrial City, KSA is breaking ground on a major expansion called Jubail 2. This wouldn’t be happening if we (or the Saudi’s) were at ‘Peak Oil’. USA oil production, in the lower 48, is currently increasing due to the improved drilling techniques and ‘fracking’.

  13. A Lovell says:
    May 31, 2

    When you dig a little, most of these doomsday predictions never come to pass.
    —————
    Neanderthals
    Romans
    Greeks
    Macedonians
    Persians
    Egyptians
    Mayans
    Incas
    Chinese dynasties many
    Toltecs
    Byzantines
    Ottomans
    Islam
    British Empire
    Amerindians
    Zulus

    I could go on forever about people who thought things would never end. But they did.
    I bet the Romans figured those pesky barbarians could not possibly affect Rome. But they did. The biggest enemy is complacency.

  14. Off-limits places for oil recovery (specifically Antarctica) will be opened as-and-when mankind needs it to be. NOTHING can stand in the way of mankind if mankind wants it.

  15. Lazy Teenager, you should read Nassim Taleb. What will get our civilization is much more probably something that is simply unknown and unpredictable right now to us. To extend some trend lines from 1950-2000 to the future is simply ridiculous. His Saudi graphs telling a narrative on how in “2026″ they will have a “problem” to solve is beyond silly.

  16. @LazyTeenager – What a staw man, so which of them ran out of resources? Islam?

    Go back under your bridge.

  17. Of course the definition of what conventional oil production means changes over time, so any continuity in the graph is really fictional. In the beginning it was lifted out of pits with buckets, after all.

  18. So will someone please explain why the cancellation of the US/Canada pipeline is a good thing? Seems like a crisis is being engineered and the POTUS is complicit. Why is so much alarm over CO2 if we are soon to decline in fossil fuels? GK

  19. There is more oil in the USA and the world than anybody ever dreamed of. Domestically, we lack the political will to exploit it.

    Peak Oil is just another Malthusian fantasy, used by the technocrats to get more people to pay attention to them and exploited by the politicians to get more power.

  20. The problem with the “peak oilies” is that they never seem to account for technological change in their forecasts. If technology gives us a new tool with which to search for oil, or a means to extract more from existing reservoirs, or a way to extract oil that is presently unextractable (fracking, for example), then the whole “peak oil” equation changes completely. US oil production is now rising, not declining. M. King Hubbert was correct, within the bounds of his assumptions.

  21. It appears that the USA is sitting on the largest deposit of Oil Shale in the world, with about half of it recoverable. Equal to the entire world’s reserves.
    GAO: Recoverable Oil in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming ‘About Equal to Entire World’s Proven Oil Reserves’

    “The Green River Formation–an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming–contains the world’s largest deposits of oil shale,”Anu K. Mittal, the GAO’s director of natural resources and environment said in written testimony submitted to the House Science Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

    “USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions,” Mittal testified.

    GAO Report

    This type of oil has been extracted for some time, and very well since 1880 in some countries. So, personally, I wouldn’t categorize this as the GAO does as “unconventional” since Unocal had produces oil from oil shale before being losing its lease:

    Unocal operated the last large scale experimental mining and retorting facility in
    the western United States from 1980 until its closure in 1991. The company produced 4.5 million barrels of oil from oil shale averaging 34 gallons of shale oil per ton of rock over the life of the project.

    I think its time we opened it back up. Also, where were the environmentally concerned citizens and congress then? I guess it was OK then, but not now when we really need it.

  22. Peak oil theory is absolute rubbish, and oil companies know it.

    Oil is not a fossil fuel but an abiotic. It is a natural product that the earth generates constantly rather than a “fossil fuel” derived from decaying ancient forests and dead dinosaurs. The depths at which oil is being drilled clearly puts the ‘fossil fuel’ label to bed.

    Oil production will only decline if governments and oil companies want production to decline.

    The only threat to oil will be the gradual adoption of hydrogen fuel for vehicles, planes and everything else in the future. When the motor vehicle industry e.g. starts making Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles powered by hydrogen (which can now be safely stored) demand for oil will start declining big time.

  23. Eco doomsters and malthusians used to say that every nation could not live like the U.S. Now they say that all nations shouldn’t.

    They do not blink or acknowledge their shift. Very shifty.

  24. It is very unlikely that there will ever be another Ghawar. That’s fact.

    The rest of the assertions are SWAG ( a/k/a “Sophisticated Wild Ass Guessing” ). It’s always amazing to see what solutions arise in response to price signals. Applications of technology and innovation have historically extended original estimates of field and reserve lives.

  25. Re: the statement about US Oil production decline beginning in 1970. Prior to 1980 the price of oil produced from shallower wells in the US was regulated in order to keep prices down. As what usually happens, production of oil was reduced. This changed in the early 80′s when oil price regs were eliminated. Oil production boomed to the point of causing a price collapse and subsequent reduction of production – it was so cheap it didn’t pay to drill. The environmental movement influence also impacted US oil production began to pick up steam around that time, leaving large tracts of land off-limits to drilling. As oil prices recovered there was limited drilling on federal lands. Now we see “slow walking” of permits to drill on gov’t lands or offshore, further limiting drilling.
    Sum: The reduction in US domestic production is as much political as anything else. North Dakota and other new drilling is on private land.

    George V.

  26. Personally, I agree with Douglas Adams prediction of a Vogon Constructor fleet paying us a visit before we ‘run out of fossil fuel’. So I am never without my towel. ;)

  27. Anyone who can’t tell the difference between a physical affect and a political affect, has no credibility when it comes to predicting oil production.
    US oil production in the US peaked in 1970 because that’s what the politicians wanted, it had nothing to do with how much oil is left in the ground.

  28. While there is justifiable skepticism expressed in the comments about long term forecasts in general and Peak Oil in particular, perhaps a better way to look at Peak Oil is that it predicts the end of cheap oil available from conventional reservoirs. With that definition, I believe that Peak Oil offers some very useful insights, particularly for the globally unique Saudi fields like Ghawar. While unconventional fields can add a lot of reserves, albeit at a lot higher finding cost than Ghawar’s couple of bucks a barrel, the unconventional fields cannot behave like Ghawar. Ghawar has been the global swing supplier for the last 30 years, a position that no other field currently can touch.
    The loss of an almost instantaneous swing supply of a million barrels per day will have a huge price impact during periods of shortage. Look again at Figure 2 but change the scale from absolute oil volume to incremental excess supply and you can see why the oil prices have skyrocketed for small over volume changes. With Ghawar losing its swing capacity, the world is entering a brave new oil world.

  29. Mervyn says:
    May 31, 2012 at 5:57 am

    “Oil is not a fossil fuel but an abiotic. It is a natural product that the earth generates constantly rather than a “fossil fuel” derived from decaying ancient forests and dead dinosaurs. The depths at which oil is being drilled clearly puts the ‘fossil fuel’ label to bed.”

    I was going to leave this alone – life’s too short – but I can’t. Absolute rubbish. Sorry.

  30. Ideally peak oil production matches demand. It costs money to produce and store but is free in the ground. Add in strategic reserves and what we see is not “peak oil” but peak demand. Alternative fuels such as shale gas, natural gas liquids and others are having an impact on global aggregated demand as well as recession.

    As we see with the low prices in USA for natural gas, due to difficulty in accessing international markets, the pressure on oi l price is down. The competition is fierce and unrelenting.

  31. LazyTeenager says:
    May 31, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Nobody is claiming that we will never run out of oil. We are ridiculing those who insist that we are running out now.

  32. Wonder of wonders, even on NPR I heard a USGS report of 3 trillion barrels of oil on Federal lands with 1.5 trillion barrels being “economically feasible” to recover. It was also my understanding that, at present, the world’s largest oil producer was Russia. I also recall reading that the Saudis haven’t looked for oil in over a half century because they haven’t needed to. Want to make a prediction about what will happen when they need to?

  33. LazyTeenager says:
    May 31, 2012 at 4:52 am

    ‘I could go on forever’…please don’t, anyway, you won’t be able to. According to your own hypothesis something unexpected will pop up and stop you. Hoist by your own petard young man/lady.

  34. I much appreciate this assessment, and I see it as a kind of ‘what if (fig1 – 7) then (fig8)’ scenario. Fig 8 is frightening, since a similar scenario outcome can most certainly be made for other oil countries.

    However, it is contingent on the assumptions being right, and you were careful to say ‘conventional’ oil production! This does not take away from the severity of fig8, but I would love to see an extended scenario, which includes shale-oil and other unconventional hydro-carbons, and the impact of probably all countries in the world finding some of it on their own territory. Can you do it?

  35. @Jim, Alarmists are wrong. Yes they use Malthusian like arguments, but Matlhus himself was completely right. He only says that exponential growth based on limited resources is bound to collapse. Only discussion is about where the limits are and if we are able to bent down exponential growth ourselves. Archibalds article is pretty good at showing the limits and it appears responders here doesn’t like it at all. Even if Archibald is wrong in predicting the point of decline 10 or 20 years (which he isn’t) the principle remains true. Only if fossile fuel should magically regenerate out of itself as some respondents here seem to imply this wouldn’t be the case, but i hope we will not have to discuss such nonsense.

  36. David,
    These charts are so outdated given the new dynamics in the oil industry, that you do an injustice in presenting them this way. For example, as little as 6 years ago the economic reserves estimates for oil in the North Dakota Bakken shale was less than 100 million barrels. Now there are estimates that 24 billion bbls will be recoverable from the Williston basin, and that is only 5% of the actual oil in place.
    It is unrealistic to not anticipate that future technology will increase these recovery numbers even further. When predicting the future, if you don’t lead a moving target, you will always hit behind it.

    The Bakken is only the first unconventional oil play that has applied the shale gas completion technology to low permeability oil resources, there are many more that are coming on line now and in the future across North America. But the geology in North America is not exclusively unique, much of this technology will be exported to the rest of the oil basins across the world.

    If the US government could just get out of the way, stop blocking western federal lands and open up the offshore resources, North America could well be energy independent in the next 10 to 20 years.

  37. We do not burn crude oil in our cars and airplanes, we burn fuel that is made by breaking down a feedstock of hydrocarbons into its constituent atoms and then reassembling them into the desired product.

    The issue is only the cost of the fuel product, not the supply of crude oil. This is because the free market, supply will follow price. Many studies such as Barna’s report for the Office of the Secretary of Defense [1] show we are awash in hydrocarbons that could be converted into fuel. Barna’s study states the US has over 2x the hydrocarbons that all of Arab OPEC has. All we need is the will to allow the free market to work.

    The issue for transitioning from whale oil to coal oil was one of cost when whales became scarce. Yes, new sources of crude oil are more expensive than sources we are presently extracting. But the market price of diesel fuel is now higher than the break-even costs of converting coal to diesel. The amount of natural gas coming on the market is so much that it has caused a big drop in the price. This also can be converted into liquid fuel. In fact, a firm in Carthage, Missouri used to convert meat scraps into biodiesel, that is until it went bankrupt. Even sewage sludge can be converted into liquid fuels. It is all only a matter of cost.

    We all have all the fuel we want to pay for. And when some less expensive way to power our vehicles, aircraft and ships comes along, we will will adapt and transition to it just like our ancestors did with whale oil.

    [1] http://www.westgov.org/wieb/meetings/boardsprg2005/briefing/ppt/congressionalbrief.pdf

  38. North Dakota is producing more oil than Alaska, and is now the second largest oil producing state behind Texas. No signs of slowing down. In fact on of the limiting factors now is transporting the stuff. No pipeline!

    Running out of oil has never been an issue.

  39. I think WUWT is a bit off the reservation here. It’s like The Oil Drum writing about global warming.

    Incremental capacity in Saudi Arabia looks to be viable at around $40 bn for 1 mbpd of capacity. This does suggest increased costs, but does not suggest an inability to increase production. Indeed, Saudi has increased production by 0.9 mbpd (900,000 barrels per day) to 10 mbpd in the last year. They’re not quite out of fire-power yet. The Saudis have stated a willingness to increase production to 12 mbpd, and I think most would consider this plausible, should the Saudis find it in their interest to do so.

    Last year oil prices, in real terms, were at their highest level since the US Civil War. This suggests an acutely supply-constrained system. When peak oil will occur can be debated; that it will occur cannot. Since late 2004, the global oil supply has been unable to keep up with demand. EIA forecasts suggest a massive shortfall again in the coming 12 months. To meet demand, new technology and new geographies would be necessary. We would need at least 3-4 countries increasing production at the rate of the US shale oils in the Bakken and Texas to keep pace. Right now, we have only two major basins in the US and the Canadian oil sands providing the net increase in the oil supply for the global economy. Thus, it would appear unlikely that, unless shale or other technologies spread rapidly to other countries, the oil supply will keep pace with demand.

    For those interested in a solid primer on the matter, see my 2009 article, “Peak Oil Economics”. http://www.douglas-westwood.com/files/files/474-PeakOilEconomics.pdf

    For those interested in the oil supply and demand outlook, I recommend this conference on June 19th in New York. It has an excellent speaker line-up. I will be talking about the Arctic and deepwater outlook. http://oilsymposium.net/

  40. MarkW says:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Anyone who can’t tell the difference between a physical affect and a political affect, has no credibility when it comes to predicting oil production.
    US oil production in the US peaked in 1970 because that’s what the politicians wanted, it had nothing to do with how much oil is left in the ground.

    Costs. The Sauds & there buddies have exceptionally low production costs, & of course they own the ground so they don’t have to pay leases & rights to third parties. Also, the Saudi EPA is probably a tiny bit weaker than the good ol’ USA’s EPA (America: #1 again!).

  41. Mervyn says:

    May 31, 2012 at 5:57 am

    Peak oil theory is absolute rubbish, and oil companies know it.

    Oil is not a fossil fuel but an abiotic. It is a natural product that the earth generates constantly rather than a “fossil fuel” derived from decaying ancient forests and dead dinosaurs. The depths at which oil is being drilled clearly puts the ‘fossil fuel’ label to bed.

    Oil production will only decline if governments and oil companies want production to decline.

    The only threat to oil will be the gradual adoption of hydrogen fuel for vehicles, planes and everything else in the future. When the motor vehicle industry e.g. starts making Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles powered by hydrogen (which can now be safely stored) demand for oil will start declining big time.
    ———

    Can you let me know at what point the Oil Companies tell their geologists this because they haven’t told me yet and I’m making all the exploration decisions based on the fact that it is a fossil fuel.

  42. “World conventional oil production will at some stage tip over into decline. That may be this year or it may be as late as 2015.”

    Why such certainty?
    No one knows, it depends of too many variables.

  43. What they said. Define ‘conventional’. Deepwater sure wasn’t conventional when compared to the 70′s, and drilling a horizontal well 1 mile deep and 3 miles long into a 10 meter zone wasn’t conventional 5 years ago. But we’re doing it now.

    As to abiotic origin – there are these things called biomarkers. The molecular structures of the plants and algae that went into making the oil, condensate and natural gas. Not to mention the isotopic signatures. Disproved.

    The argument on ‘filling the reservoirs from below’ is predicated on the assumption of the initial size of the accumulation. If the Gas-in-Place is poorly known (and assumed to be small) – the production that comes from that reservoir might seem like manna from heaven. Deus ex Machina kind of explanation….

  44. No one ever discusses Herbert’s theory here, so I’m doubtful that it is really understood. It is not about running out of oil. It is about energy return on energy invested (EROEI). Once you reach parity you are done. That is why they stop pumping some oil fields even though there is still oil in the field.

    Oil fields follow a production curve. Herbert realized that the same principle applies to world oil reserves that applied to individual fields. He knew that “easy oil” was disappearing and that eventually it would happen everywhere on Earth.

    It’s time to find new sources of energy.

  45. The volume of the outer 5 miles of the earth’s crust is about one billion cubic miles. The entire volume of oil used by the entire world in its history is about 40 cubic miles. The world presently uses about 1.3 cubic miles of oil a year. Just sayin’.

  46. I’ll just make a small correction to this statement
    There is more oil in the USA and the world than anybody ever dreamed of. Domestically, we lack the political will to exploit it.

    There is more oil in the USA and the world than anybody ever dreamed of. Domestically, we lack the finanacial will to exploit it.

    Peak anything is a financial question. Peak anything occurs when the cost of production exceeds the price people are willing to pay. I would note Hummer sales tanked when the price of a gallon of gasoline in the US went over $3.

  47. Why would the Saudis explore when they don’t have to? If information leaked about them finding more reserves that would negatively influence their profits. Being just at the cusp of not being able to meet oil demand is the sweet spot for crude pricing after all.

  48. Peak Oil proponents always bring up the domestic (USA) oil production peak in the 1970′s but they conveniently overlook the energy policies in place at the time. Remember the Carter Administration? Remember the windfall profits tax? Remember the heavy regulation of the oil industry?

    Besides, we’ve advanced technologically in the last 40 years. We can extract oil now that we couldn’t extract then.

  49. Jimmy Haigh. says:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:16 am
    I was going to leave this alone – life’s too short – but I can’t. Absolute rubbish. Sorry.
    =====
    Water + Iron + Heat ===> Hydrogen
    Limestone + Heat ====> Carbon

    The earth has an iron core. Iron being the stable waste product of fusion. We know that water and limestone are being continually subducted into the earth along the plate boundaries. We know that the interior of the earth is hot. It would appear that all the materials necessary to make hydrocarbons are at hand, using limestone, water, iron, and heat.

    This doesn’t mean hydrocarbons must be produced in this fashion. Rather that it is possible that they are, and being lighter than water and rock, they float up to the surface of the earth and are consumed by microorganisms unless trapped by rock formations. The sort of formations created by sedimentation. The sort of formation that also traps fossils.

    The earth has been running out of cheap oil for quite a long time. I’ve never seen any evidence that it is running out of expensive oil. Whatever the source of oil, the limiting factor appears more the existence of suitable rock formations to trap the hydrocarbons, and our ability to exploit them. Not the source materials. Carbon and Hydrogen we have plenty of. It is everywhere around us.

    Much of the problem in modern science is the “certainty” folks have that things are one way or the other, when history shows repeatedly that for the most part the theories of the day turn out to be rubbish. Five hundred years from now people will look back at this time in history and laugh at how primitive we are and how superstitious our beliefs. Exactly as we do looking back at folks 500 years ago.

  50. Oh for heavens sake! David, as we find more and more conventional oil, and more and more non-conventional, Saudi is becoming less and less relevant. The U.S., Canada, and Mexico, have enough to supply N.A. and export some. More will be found. Finding the oil is no longer a concern. And, so, extracting the oil will only be a matter of when.

    It’s a whole new ballgame. Once the eco-nuts get out of the way, our societies can, once again, start thriving.

  51. For many of the oil giants, particularly, Venezuela and Iran, they have been so violent toward their oil companies–expropriating assets, arresting employees–that foreign companies don’t want to work there. Much of their declining output is due to lack of investment and use of old technology. It is already pinching severely in Iran.
    Unconventional oil (from shale especially) is booming. Right now the US has gone from importing 60% of its oil to only 42% (as of last month) in just 4 yrs. Drilling in shale accounts for most of it, and in many regions 100% of drilled wells hit oil (one can pretty much guarantee where the shale deposits lie).
    Canada’s oil sands likewise are gushing oil.

  52. First off the very idea of abiotic oil is so far flung and completely without either experimental, empirical or theoretical sense that to even spout such nonsense on what is supposed to be a science blog is contemptible. I speak from knowledge, I have an organic geochemistry background and have worked in the oil industry for some 30+ years.
    More specifically to the Saudi production. You have to remember that SA had pretty much stopped exploration and/or development up until 2005/06 at which point world demand increased and the Saudis were caught short with not enough spare capacity. They embarked on the megaprojects with a goal to increasing spare capacity to 12 MMb/d which they achieved as of a year or so ago.There is a lot of bad information available in the blogosphere on Saudi production and reserves. Twilight in the Desert contributed to this misinformation considerably as it was pretty clear that the author either did not read the articles he quoted properly or did not really understand what it was he was reading. The Saudis have been quite effective in controlling water coning and hence improving recovery from many of their fields through application of MRC (maximum reservoir contact) wells, SMART completions and expandable liner applications. They have probably done more for advancing full field simulation than any major oil international company. As a consequence their recovery factors have improved. That being said they have not discovered large amounts of new oil. The hope that is still there for them is in liquids and oil trapped in the shale source rocks. They are just starting to look at this. There is also importance in the potential for unconventional shale gas in these same rocks given that currently the Saudis burn a lot of fuel oil which could be offset by gas which would leave additional liquids available for export. It isn’t a bottomless well and until such time as the unconventional story is understood it is premature to herald the collapse of the Saudi oil industry.

  53. There can absolutely be no discussion of peak oil, conventional or unconventional, as long as large areas of known and potential oil reserves are off limits. It’s like telling the divorce court judge that the cash in your bank accounts are off limits to your spouse.

  54. Saudi Arabia oil is of marginal relevance to the USA today.
    In a crisis, the US could make up Saudi shortfall from elsewhere.

  55. SteveE says:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:52 am
    The depths at which oil is being drilled clearly puts the ‘fossil fuel’ label to bed.
    ======
    If natural gas is created from fossils, then discoveries should fall off exponentially the deeper you drill. However, this is not what has been observed. Costs go up the deeper you drill, but discovery rates do not decrease.

    http://www.gasresources.net/AlkaneGenesis.htm

    Abstract:
    For experimental verification of the predictions of the theoretical analysis, special high-pressure apparatus has been designed which permits investigations at pressures to 50 kbar and temperatures to 1500°C, and which also allows rapid cooling while maintaining high pressures. The high-pressure genesis of petroleum hydrocarbons has been demonstrated using only the solid reagents solid iron oxide, FeO, and marble, CaCO3, 99.9% pure, wet with triple-distilled water.

  56. LazyTeenager says:
    May 31, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Neanderthals
    Romans
    Greeks
    Macedonians
    Persians
    Egyptians
    Mayans
    Incas
    Chinese dynasties many
    Toltecs
    Byzantines
    Ottomans
    Islam
    British Empire
    Amerindians
    Zulus

    I was referring to ‘doomsday predictions’. Even the Mayan’s calendar goes to 2012.

    Who predicted the downfall of these civilizations, and for what reasons? References/sources please.

  57. Gerard says:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Malthus was wrong for two reasons, resources are never limited, and demand is never geometric.

    Both may appear that way over short periods of time, but over longer periods of times, other things always intervene.
    For resources, as supplies run lower, prices go up, this causes people to be more carefull in their use of that resource, which lowers demand, it also cause producers to produce more, and to search for alternatives.
    On the demand side, changing prices always reduces use.

  58. State Geologist of Pennsylvania said in 1885 that “The amazing exhibition of oil is a temporary and vanishing phenomenon.”

    Thus spoke the first Peak Oil prediction.

    This author ignores the fact that the 1970 peak in US production had little to do with the amount of oil available to drill. US oil production went lower because of restrictions placed on oil by those who want to cause Peak Oil so that we have to find an alternative.

  59. Andrew Newberg says:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:37 am

    North Dakota is producing more oil than Alaska

    That could easily change if the Feds would allow production at ANWR.

  60. jbird says:
    May 31, 2012 at 7:00 am

    The production curve assumes that technology remains constant.
    It doesn’t.

  61. The Universe is packed with hydrocarbons – it is among the Universe’s most abundant molecules.
    And our world is awash in oil – we couldn’t run out of it in thousands of years.

    There is no “Peak Oil”.
    There is “Peak Cheap Oil”.

    The proper question should be:
    “What oil … at what price?”

  62. Malthusian-linear. The underlying shales contain more than the conventional reservoirs. Even UK is believed to have a few centuries worth. Resources from a formation 400 km across are presently being produced from a Texas shale formation. Leave these dire predictions for the linear thinker, alarm raisers. It reflects a hapless view of human capabilities held by central planning types. Other topics you have covered here have been great.

  63. About 2 1/2 yrs ago the Saudi’s released information to the industry that they had mapped a massive natural gas reserve that covers the peninsula all the way up to Israel. The reserve is below 5500 M and temperatures/pressures, at the time, were at the extreme limit of drilling capabilities. I have been told that Saudi’s intentions are, once this gas becomes recoverable, to replace all internal oil consumption, about 1/3 of production, w/ natural gas, thus releasing this production for sales. This will certainly be well underway before 2026.

    It is game changers like this discovery, horizontal drilling w/ fraking+propends, et al that have repeatedly pushed peak oil off into the future since the 70′s and they will continue to do so,… unless market forces are restrained by centrally planned governments in their attempt to “do good”.

  64. harrywr2 says:
    May 31, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Are you claiming that the reason we aren’t drilling in ANWR, off the Florida and California coasts, is because oil costs too much, and not that the politicians won’t let us?

    • No, that is political decisions – which DO increase the costs of oil.

      By political denying of “less expensive” oil reserves, the only outlet left is to extract from “more expensive” oil reserves – raising the price.

  65. Steven Kopits says:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:40 am
    “I think WUWT is a bit off the reservation here. It’s like The Oil Drum writing about global warming.

    “The Oil Drum” seems to be about hockey! WUWT has been there too:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/06/climate-hockey-stick-threatens-pond-hockey/

    Perhaps you have not noticed that WUWT is a blog with a list of topics that begin “Commentary on puzzling things in life, . . .”
    Both “peak oil” and “David Archibald” are puzzling things and so for you to think this post is somehow misplaced is a mystery to me.

    Your insights are appreciated. I do wish for you to further explain these issues, however:
    Since late 2004, the global oil supply has been unable to keep up with demand. EIA forecasts suggest a massive shortfall again in the coming 12 months.
    Since “late 2004” I have purchased gasoline at least once a week and cannot recall a single time that it was not available at local stations. Thus, it is hard for me to notice the effect of your statement with regard to the facts that I find locally. Am I supposed to believe you and not my own “lying eyes?” [Groucho Marx quote; I think.]
    So, during the “coming 12 months” when can I expect the local stations to not have gasoline? Based on you comments, I should buy a Chevy Volt or a fully battery-only auto — but it gets mighty cold here and the nearest grocery store is 15 miles away. I do have a big Tennessee Walking mare and she goes in snow deep enough to stop a 4X4 and doesn’t use gasoline. So while not really worried, I am curious.

  66. http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/supress1.html

    Cognitive Processes and the Suppression of Sound Scientific Ideas
    Galileo was branded as a heretic and sent to prison for declaring that the earth traveled around the sun (Manning 1996)..

    The Experts Speak (1984)
    “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” -Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology France, 1872 (p.30)
    “Fooling around with alternating current in just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” -Thomas Edison, 1889 (p.207)
    “I laughed till. . . my sides were sore.” -Adam Sedgwick, British geologist in a letter to Darwin in regards to his theory of evolution, 1857 (p.9)
    “If the whole of the English language could be condensed into one word, it would not suffice to express the utter contempt those invite who are so deluded as to be disciples of such an imposture as Darwinism.” -Francis Orpen Morris, British ornithologist 1877 (p.10)
    “Airplanes are interesting toys, but of no military value.” – Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre (p.245)
    “To affirm that the aeroplane is going to ‘revolutionize’ naval warfare of the future is to be guilty of the wildest exaggeration.” -Scientific American, 1910 (p.246)
    “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers Studios, 1927 (p.72)
    “The whole procedure of shooting rockets into space. . . presents difficulties of so fundamental a nature, that we are forced to dismiss the notion as essentially impracticable, in spite of the author’s insistent appeal to put aside prejudice and to recollect the supposed impossibility of heavier-than-air flight before it was actually accomplished.” -Richard van der Riet Wooley, British astronomer (p.257)
    “The energy produced by the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.” Ernst Rutherford, 1933 (p.215)
    “Space travel is bunk” – Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik (p.258)
    “But what hell is it good for?” -Engineer Robert Lloyd, IBM 1968, commenting on the microchip (p.209)
    “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” -Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977 (p.209)

  67. SteveE says:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:52 am “. . . it is a fossil fuel.
    ————–
    Mervyn says:
    May 31, 2012 at 5:57 am
    “. . . fossil fuel” derived from decaying ancient forests and dead dinosaurs.
    ————–

    SteveE,
    It sounds to me like you have the knowledge to correct Mervyn’s (and others) trees and dinosaurs notion as to the source of “fossil” fuel.

  68. The Peak Oil curves only predict outcome assuming a given technological approach.

    One way to look at this is human life expectancy. A graph in 1850 would show 35 years whereas one now shows 80 years. The same goes for agricultural yield.

  69. The debate as to whether oil is a fossil fuel or an abiotic geological product ignores a sensible middle possibility. The theory of oil as a biological product always seems to be portrayed as biomass getting buried, compressed, heated and–after unbearably long periods of time, converting into oil. The abiotic theory has deep heat and pressure working on simple chemicals to produce constant streams of oil. Why can’t organic mater be pulled down at subduction faults, broken down quickly due to the high depth it gets pulled to, and forming oil in a process which looks abiotic but is fed via biomass for the raw carbon and hydrogen?

    Anyway. It doesn’t really matter. It is becoming obvious that there is a lot more oil (and coal and gas) than we thought and any increase in price from slightly increased expense of extraction merely fuels demand for nuclear, hydro and other power sources as well as efficiency gains from new tech and investment. Also, while the many criticisms of solar power, biomass and other alternative technologies are true, they are also only applicable to today’s level of technology combined with a socialist economic model. It is possible to develop new ways to store energy, convert energy and harness energy. It just requires an absence of bureaucratic “support”, a genuine financial benefit (not from subsidies that are where if you succeed or not) and some time and effort.

    No peak oil soon; if it does peak we will have plenty of time to adapt; you can never successfully predict populations by extrapolating from current and past fertility rates. It always fails.

  70. Fraccing technology has indeed been transferred to the rest of the world including Europe and India, where Oilex Ltd has, with US technological assistance, drilled and fracced a pioneering well in the Cambay Province. Pressures encountered were however so high that they struggled to control the well for six months and have still not been able to put it on test. They are nonetheless proceeding with a field development plan.
    The Cambay basin covers a massive area and has stacked layers of gas producing tight sands.
    It will not take long for this technology , now proven as effective in India, to spread to other basins across the sub continent.

  71. Typhoon says on May 31, 2012 at 7:44 am:

    Saudi Arabia oil is of marginal relevance to the USA today.
    In a crisis, the US could make up Saudi shortfall from elsewhere.

    The question is not, “What does the US do if Saudi Arabia doesn’t pump oil”, but, “What does the WORLD do if Saudi Arabia doesn’t pump oil”.

    See, oil is traded on a world market basis, and, our OTHER sources of oil in the world would be affected as the other nations in the world seek out those other oil sources too … so not only would we _not_ have access to Saudi oil, but less _Venezuelan oil_ as well as others bid competitively for that crude oil …

    .

  72. There certainly was a combination of govt action and cheap SA oil to account for the drop in the 70s.

    Peak oil theories have been around for a long time and they present many interesting graphs and charts – many of which deliberately fail to provide the whole picture.

    Fact – we don’t know when peak oil will hit but any prediction of it hitting in most of our lifetimes are developed by narrow thinkers. Sometimes with less than altruistic motivations, though I don’t believe that to be the poster’s position in this case. I have spoken with peak oil advocates in the financial industry mostly, which is where many of them seem to reside. They all seem to fail to remember Mr. Simon, to their own financial detriment.

    Technology in oil exploration always improves three things – access, cost, and energy required to obtain. Since none of the charts in this post reference any of these well documented truths – this is a nice article on a specific episoidal issue of supply demand mismatch – which is driven by multiple things, including US monetary policy.

    When peak oil really shows up and prices move accordingly – we will find something else to power our mobile transport. I’m not worried and neither should you be – just play oil long against the peak oil fanatics and you will profit handsomely.

  73. @lazyteenager: “I bet the Romans figured those pesky barbarians could not possibly affect Rome. But they did. The biggest enemy is complacency.”

    Where is this “complacency” you speak of? Why are so many countries and companies continuing to seek and find new sources of oil and natural gas, expending billions in the process? In the face of dire predictions about “peak oil”, why haven’t they all just given up?

    Please don’t tell us it’s “society” that is complacent. The demand for ending government restrictions on searching for, drilling and distributing petroleum and natural gas remains front-page news in America. It’s our government that is “complacent”, in that they believe “alternative energy” sources such as wind and solar can replace oil and natural gas. Experience has shown this belief to be chimerical.

  74. As the relative price of oil rises, more oil is available, and alternate energies become more economically attractive. Peak oil will be a very gradual turn, lasting perhaps numerous decades, with plenty of time to adapt to alternate energies.

  75. While there won’t be a peak oil before we are well ready for it, some of the traditional petrostates are in for some nasty days ahead. They need to keep present infrastructure up to snuff (something many have been lax in doing) while investing in newer forms at a time when the price is down and not soon to rise (due to others competitors). They have also, as mentioned, had high spending on their elites, terrorists, preparing for war with each other and propping up weak allies. As chemistry advances, biomass will start to eat into the market for non-fuel petrochemicals and power from nuclear, hydro and other energy sources can be used to drive chemical reactions in directions which would not be possible otherwise; further displacing oil and transforming it into just another commodity.

  76. rockdoc says:
    May 31, 2012 at 7:21 am
    “First off the very idea of abiotic oil is so far flung and completely without either experimental, empirical or theoretical sense that to even spout such nonsense on what is supposed to be a science blog is contemptible.”

    Careful, this sounds like a “man-will-never-fly” statement – which was also made by experts of the day. I don’t have a position on abiotic oil one way or the other, but I caution you, “solid” experts are prisoners of their education and yours was 30yrs ago.

  77. Snake Oil Baron says:
    May 31, 2012 at 8:40 am

    I think you are right. Especially because the carbonate needed for the reaction with water and reductive metal catalysis is mainly of organic origin, probably. As the seashells accumulate on the sea bottom, kilometers deep, ocean floor spreading brings it to subduction zones, where friction provides the heat and pressure needed.

    Even Vietnam, doing deep well drilling using the Russian yardstick for fault zone hydrocarbon sourcing, has uncovered all the hydrocarbons needed for their development. In N America, we have just scratched the surface, literally.

  78. Peak oil, not for a while yet. New technology means old fields can now be re-visited. Fields once impossible are now coming on stream. As for US production falling. Environmental issues prevent the drilling for oil in many locations.

    The US will start drilling soon,

  79. LazyTeenager says:
    May 31, 2012 at 4:52 am
    The British Empire evolved into the Commonwealth in a gentlemanly manner over time,and as far as I can tell the countries that make up the commonwealth took with them the UK building blocks of civilisation and remain a part of the civilized world that exists today.
    Many citizens of Commonwealth countries are regular contributors to this blog and seem quite civilised to me, but I could be convinced about the demise of neanderthals were it not for the AGW supporters…………

  80. Wow, this place is full of “supply siders” this morning. As one who has been in the oil fields since I was born, I have no difficulty in believing that crude oil is getting harder and harder to find. The potential reserves are in deeper and deeper water and in more remote, difficult, locations such as the Chukchi Sea.

    Growth in technology, such as horizontal drilling and vertical fracturing, has opened up new, almost impermeable zones, such as shales. However, drilling 10,000 feet vertically, then 10,000 feet horizontally, then isolating 35 zones for sequential fracturing is costly. The breakeven price is about $7 per mmbtu in these wells. Cessation of drilling the shales is already started. Prices will have to rise from near $3 per mmbtu to above the $7 per mmbtu breakeven to keep drilling ongoing, except for those wells that must be drilled to hold the leases.

    There is talk of exporting natural gas as LNG but this is just talk at this point. The theory of oil being generated by heat in the calcareous subduction zones, especially in the Middle East near Saudi Arabia has been around for a quite a while but has not been proven as yet. Figure 2 of David’s study belies this theory.

    We do need to feel good about shale gas but we would do ourselves a disservice to think that oil will not become more costly and will not go into decline in the next decade — provided the world continues to develop, especially China and India.

    JFD

  81. Austin says:
    May 31, 2012 at 8:36 am

    The Peak Oil curves only predict outcome assuming a given technological approach.

    One way to look at this is human life expectancy. A graph in 1850 would show 35 years whereas one now shows 80 years. The same goes for agricultural yield.

    Austin is right.

    Hubbert had no way of knowing what technological advances would be 50 years in the future.

    Also, the oil prices are based in dollars (that will be changing), and as the value of the dollar falls, the price of oil rises.

  82. Gary Pearse says:
    May 31, 2012 at 9:00 am

    I am a scientist in life sciences, and have come to realize that abiogenic oil has the science on its side. It is a misstatement, to the extreme, that there is no science behind Abiogenic oil. The Ukrainians actually made oil in high yield (3-4%) in a very short time from carbonate, water, and iron/cobalt catalysis. Not only that, but they clearly explained that “dinosaurs” could not be buried as deeply as oil is found, and proved that the thermodynamics for reduction of organic detritus was totally wrong. Organic matter has a high oxygen content, and all of these compounds must be completely reduced, going energetically uphill!

    Ask the genius “Rockdoc” where the seas of ethane, methane and higher hydrocarbons on Titan come from? Prehistoric dinosaur aliens? Must have been a whole slew of them…

  83. jim says: @ May 31, 2012 at 3:35 am
    …. Of course USA oil production has been increasing lately due to new technologies. We have cut our imports dramatically, with some predicting USA being energy independent in a decade or so.

    The Malthusians have been wrong time after time, usually because of their ignoring man’s ability to solve problems….

    BTW: increasing world population provides more Eiensteins to solve problems.
    ________________________________
    Spot on _jim

    Whenever I hear this I think of the The Great Horse-Manure Crisis of 1894

    We commonly read or hear reports to the effect that “If trend X continues, the result will be disaster.” The subject can be almost anything, but the pattern of these stories is identical…. The conclusion is, to quote a character from a famous British sitcom, “We’re doomed, I tell you. We’re doomed!” Unless, that is, we mend our ways according to the author’s prescription. This almost invariably involves restrictions on personal liberty.

    ….Nineteenth-century cities depended on thousands of horses for their daily functioning…. London in 1900 had 11,000 cabs, all horse-powered. There were also several thousand buses, each of which required 12 horses per day, a total of more than 50,000 horses…

    …..A horse will on average produce between 15 and 35 pounds of manure per day….. In New York in 1900, the population of 100,000 horses produced 2.5 million pounds of horse manure per day…

    In 1898 the first international urban-planning conference convened in New York. It was abandoned after three days, instead of the scheduled ten, because none of the delegates could see any solution to the growing crisis posed by urban horses and their output.

    Writing in the Times of London in 1894, one writer estimated that in 50 years every street in London would be buried under nine feet of manure….. It seemed that urban civilization was doomed…. http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/our-economic-past-the-great-horse-manure-crisis-of-1894/

    Peak oil is another ” Great Horse-Manure Crisis” Mankind is very capable of thinking his way out of problems if he is given the freedom to do so.

  84. John H. -

    When supply cannot keep up with demand, prices increase, thereby rationing available supply. Those who can’t afford oil, don’t buyt it. (And many people buy a little bit less.) But in a market economy there is no shortage unless the government creates one (through price caps, for example). Of course, you will have noticed that you are paying a lot more for gasoline than you did in 2004. This price means that the US is now consuming 16% less oil per capita than it did in 2005 (the first year the oil supply failed to grow at trend). Statistically, it means that 1 vehicle in every 7 is missing from the roads compared to trend; and 1 commercial airline departure is missing in every 3. I think that’s pretty close to a social and economic disaster.

    As for WUWT, I am a big fan. This site tends to handle nuances on climate issues better than most non-specialist sites, and non-specialists tend to have incomplete or off-target assessments of climate trends.

    The same is true for oil, in reverse. I could spend a couple of hours writing rebuttals to many of the comments I read here on oil because this is a non-expert community wrt oil. (It is a quite expert community with respect to climate issues.) Most the people on this stie have not read three or four articles on Saudi Arabian oil; they don’t know the relationship of Saudi to other countries; they don’t have a feel for demand and pricing trends in oil. If I write here that UAH is a superior source for temperature data than GISS, a lot of readers will know what I mean, and why. If I say that the EIA forecasts the the oil supply will be 350 kbpd higher next April than today, most WUWT readers will not know what that means, or whether it is good or bad, and why. (It is bad.) They don’t know who the EIA is, and whether their bias is low or high. (Low, in this case, I think.) Most people here don’t have a deeper and contextual sense of what’s going on in the oil business. Readers at the Oil Drum do. That’s the point I was trying to make about being “off the reservation”.

  85. No LazyTeenAger, the biggest threat is corruption and moral decay. Just look at DC and the US media!

    Bill

  86. LazyTeenager says: @ May 31, 2012 at 4:52 am

    I could go on forever about people who thought things would never end. But they did.
    I bet the Romans figured those pesky barbarians could not possibly affect Rome. But they did. The biggest enemy is complacency.
    _________________________
    Actually if you dig a little the biggest enemy is cold weather and overburdening with increasing parasitic bureaucracy and red tape.

    I am stealing this from CHIEFIO

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

    lists the Bond Events as:

    Most Bond events do not have a clear climate signal; some correspond to periods of cooling, others are coincident with aridification in some regions.

    ≈1,400 BP (Bond event 1) — roughly correlates with the Migration Period pessimum (450–900 AD)
    ≈2,800 BP (Bond event 2) — roughly correlates with the Iron Age Cold Epoch (900–300 BC)[9]
    ≈4,200 BP (Bond event 3) — correlates with the 4.2 kiloyear event (correlates also with the collapse of the Akkadian Empire and the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom)
    ≈5,900 BP (Bond event 4) — correlates with the 5.9 kiloyear event (correlates with the end of the Pre Pottery Neolithic B, and the arrival of nomadic pastoralists in the Middle East)
    ≈8,100 BP (Bond event 5) — correlates with the 8.2 kiloyear event
    ≈9,400 BP (Bond event 6) — correlates with the Erdalen event of glacier activity in Norway,[10] as well as with a cold event in China.[11]
    ≈10,300 BP (Bond event 7) — unnamed event (correlates with the beginnings of grain agriculture in the Middle East)
    ≈11,100 BP (Bond event 8) — coincides with the transition from the Younger Dryas to the boreal

    There is some reasonable “slop” in those dates as the events themselves have a duration of a hundred years scale and the exact onset and exit can be a bit vague. Some are worse than others. But first off, notice that they are generally bad times for humanity and for civilization. Cold, arid, prone to crop failures and collapse of empires…..

    I suggest you read his whole post about cold cycles (Bond events and 1/2 bond events) and the collapse of empires.

  87. Richard Lewis says:
    May 31, 2012 at 6:00 am

    WUWThis space and time-wasting drivel on this excellent climate change blog?
    _______________________________________
    It is all part of the same Malthusians “We are all going to DIE if you do not hand over complete control to us” horse manure that goes along with CAGW and therefore needs debunking as well.

  88. The first thing I do when reading an alarmist anything is to cross-check their figures and assumptions, as it is amazing how often not trusting utterly pays off. Sure enough, actually global oil production was 91.0 mbd last month, a figure above and off the chart in this article, when properly counting production from unconventional sources and oil equivalents. That supply figure is mentioned in a more reliable source, the International Energy Agency:

    http://omrpublic.iea.org/currentissues/full.pdf

    The following is the real picture, what articles like this neglect:

    Look at the dark blue part alone, and you are an alarmist.

    Look at more, and you understand how much the alarmists leave out.

    The shale gas boom in natural gas allows more production of NGLs. Estimates of U.S. natural gas reserves doubled in the past several years due to changes in drilling technology. (Also, although relatively uncommon in first world countries so far, there has been exponential expansion of vehicles running on natural gas directly in some countries, millions of them).

    Be careful of “reserve” estimates used for peak doomsaying on anything by the way. Oil is a different situation from elements, but, still, for a few quick examples:

    Tin, copper, iron, lead, and zinc all had both production from 1950 to 2000 and reserves in 2000 much exceed world reserves in 1950, which would be impossible except for how “proved reserves are like an inventory of cars to an auto dealer” at a time, having little relationship to the actual total affordable to extract in the future.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=yIbH4R77OtMC&pg=PA730%7COnline

    If anyone feels they know the future of oil prices much better than the average market expert (where oil futures prices for future years sell for not much higher than now), they can become rich by outbetting the experts. Be careful, though, as matters are far more complicated than alarmists depict.

  89. “The decline in US production began over four decades ago in 1970, as predicted by King Hubbert in 1956.”

    Red flag right there. The US Congress banned oil production within the continental states since 1970s. This has been the main reason for “decline,” which otherwise wouldn’t happen.

    The rest of the article is dubious at best. I’ve seen similar “doom graphs” all my life, and they always found enough of new oil to satisfy demand.

    Oil is ubiquitous, it is the liquid hydrocarbon phase of planetary formation; the question is only of convenience of drilling deep enough. Natural gas is even more ubiquitous, and we didn’t even start to produce it in quantities comparable to “reserves.”

    Oil and gas companies are interested in keeping prices as high as possible; they are not eager, therefore, to publish accurate information about available reserves. They even finance the green hysteria to some extent, to cover their behinds and to keep market prices up.

  90. Global oil demand is probably peaking or may have already peaked. There was this notions the BRICs would cause demand to continue rising but with the Great Recession, so much for that. Now, with the Great Recession, population decline in the places that actually matter and technology / conservation, that’s all she wrote. I would not want to me in the oil business now or for the foreseeable future. One price crash … coming up!

  91. Kaboom says: @ May 31, 2012 at 7:05 am
    ….. Being just at the cusp of not being able to meet oil demand is the sweet spot for crude pricing after all.
    ________________________________
    And that is the reason oil companies are not about to let the cat out of the bag about abiotic oil, nor are they going to clue in their geologists. If they are funding CAGW for financial purposes why in the world would anyone think they would not lie about Abiogenic Petroeum?

    An interesting paper BIOGENIC AND ABIOGENIC PETROLEUM

  92. MarkW says: “Malthus was wrong for two reasons, resources are never limited, and demand is never geometric.

    Both may appear that way over short periods of time, but over longer periods of times, other things always intervene.
    For resources, as supplies run lower, prices go up, this causes people to be more carefull in their use of that resource, which lowers demand, it also cause producers to produce more, and to search for alternatives.
    On the demand side, changing prices always reduces use”

    Malthus looked at nature. He was just observing and formulating a law. That we humans are able to control birth rate or switch to another resource doesn’t make the law faulty. Going to another resource still keeps the other limited. Not growing exponentially means the law doesn’t apply.

    And btw humankind is not very good at the moment at switching to other energy sources or be more careful in the use of oil. The search for alternatives isn’t going to good either. As Ferd Berple above shows. Humankind has made quite good progress with all kinds of inventions and theories. But usually we don’t know beforehand were it is good for. So now we are in need of some new source of energy and economists are not going to help us with that (were are they good for actually) and physicists can’t be pushed. So all reasons to be careful.

  93. We don’t actually need oil if things come down to the crunch. Natural gas is a viable substitute for gasoline and diesel. The conversion cost for an existing vehicle is a bit stiff but will become economic if the price of gasoline doubles.

    T. Boone Pickens is promoting natural gas for heavy trucks. It looks like natural gas is viable right now for applications where fuel price is important.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-29/trucks-run-on-natural-gas-in-pickens-clean-energy-drive.html

  94. Data and new technologies top Malthusian doomsday predictions every time. Peak oil? Population bomb? Limited resources? All predicted made with the current knowledge and technology of the time, even now those “problems” have been, or are quickly, being relegated to the dustbin of history. These Malthusians encourage knee-jerk reactions so they can gain political advantage. That’s why these demagogues offer the same solutions to completely different problems. (wars/global cooling/global warming/sustainable development,etc..) That solution is a big centralized authoritarian government with little individual freedom. When they burn through their credibility they just change names, or issues, or both, and continue on. Read the history of the progressive movement, Malthusian through CAGW scam, it’s a real eye opener.

  95. Friends:

    The above article is the latest in the series on WUWT by David Archibald which make the false assertion of ‘Peak Oil’.

    One of his previous articles in the series is at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/10/27/peak-oil-now-for-the-downslope/

    I gave my view on why ‘Peak Oil’ is nonsense in that discussion. I copy it here to save need for me to write it again or others to find it.

    Richard

    Footnote:
    The incidental fact that since 1994 it has been economically possible to produce synthetic crude from coal at competitive price with natural crude is because the Liquid Solvent Extraction (LSE) process exists. I was part of the team which developed LSE then built and operated a demonstration plant. UNESCO commissioned a paper on it from me.

    ******************************

    Richard S Courtney says:
    October 28, 2011 at 5:26 am

    Andrew McRae:

    At October 28, 2011 at 1:45 am you assert:

    “The oil optimists commenting here should remember one important logical and practical conclusion:
    There is a world of difference between saying that peak oil has not happened versus saying peak oil will never happen. Peak oil is inevitable due to both physical and economic limits. The only question is when.”

    Your mistaken assertion is supported by some others. For example, Mike Bromley the Kurd says at October 28, 2011 at 2:21 am;
    “The truth? It’s a finite resource. It will run out at some day in the future. And the years approaching that time will be some frikkin’ ugly. Then we will adapt.”

    Sorry, but no. The assertion is an error. In the real world, for all practical purposes there are no “physical” limits to natural resources so every natural resource can be considered to be infinite. This a matter of basic economics which I explain as follows.

    Humans do not run out of anything. The usage of a resource may “peak” then decline, but the usage does not peak because of exhaustion of the resource (e.g. flint, antler bone and bronze each “peaked” long ago but still exist in large amounts).

    A resource is cheap (in time, money and effort) to obtain when it is in abundant supply. But “low-hanging fruit are picked first”, so the cost of obtaining the resource increases with time. Nobody bothers to seek an alternative to the resource when it is cheap.

    But the cost of obtaining an adequate supply of a resource increases with time and, eventually, it becomes worthwhile to look for
    (a) alternative sources of the resource
    and
    (b) alternatives to the resource.

    And alternatives to the resource often prove to have advantages.

    Both (a) and (b) apply in the case of crude oil.

    Many alternative sources have been found. These include opening of new oil fields by use of new technologies (e.g. to obtain oil from beneath sea bed) and synthesising crude oil from other substances (e.g. tar sands, natural gas and coal). Indeed, since 1994 it has been possible to provide synthetic crude oil from coal at competitive cost with natural crude oil and this constrains the maximum true cost of crude.

    Alternatives to oil as a transport fuel are possible. Oil was the transport fuel of military submarines for decades but uranium is now their fuel of choice.

    There is sufficient coal to provide synthetic crude oil for at least the next 300 years. Hay to feed horses was the major transport fuel 300 years ago and ‘peak hay’ was feared in the nineteenth century, but availability of hay is not significant a significant consideration for transportation today. Nobody can know what – if any – demand for crude oil will exist 300 years in the future.

    But you assert;
    “There is a world of difference between saying that peak oil has not happened versus saying peak oil will never happen. Peak oil is inevitable due to both physical and economic limits. The only question is when.”

    That is similar to a neolithic man asserting;
    “There is a world of difference between saying that peak flint has not happened versus saying peak flint will never happen. Peak flint is inevitable due to both physical and economic limits. The only question is when.”

    Your assertion is devoid of any worth.

    Richard

  96. Oh no the sky is falling!!!!! Should I grovel in fear now? Maybe buy some carbon credits? Invest in Solyndra?

    Why crouch in fear worrying about how long oil will last and what its price will be in a few decades. As one comment above said: “the stone age did not end because we ran out of stones”.

    If I really want to be concerned about global warming and the end of all life on earth, how about we talk about what’s going to happen in 1 billion years when the sun’s energy output increases enough to end all life and boil off all water on earth, or a few billion later when it goes red dwarf and swallows the earth? Assuming of course that we manage to beat the odds and that are still here when this happens. Maybe those windmills and carbon credits will come in handy then, right?

  97. Peak oil? I don’t think so but just in case:
    Canada to the rescue = 2000 + years of oil sands available = Plenty of time to tinker with wind ,solar and alien technology’s yet to come.
    And don’t forget The UN 1PPC Ice Age conference scheduled for 2100.
    Long live the force and government grants!!!!

  98. roger says: @ May 31, 2012 at 9:07 am

    ….. but I could be convinced about the demise of neanderthals were it not for the AGW supporters…………
    _______________________
    I can’t let that pass.

    Neanderthals are alive and well and they are we. New DNA test will reveal if you’re part Neanderthal

    (I KNEW my P-Chem Prof. was a Neanderthal he could have posed for the picture.)

  99. Malthus looked at nature. He was just observing and formulating a law. That we humans are able to control birth rate or switch to another resource doesn’t make the law faulty.

    No. Mathus looked at humanity. His failure to account for normal human behaviour when formulating his ridiculous hypotheses makes him wrong. The insistence of his adherents to cling to his absurdly wrong tenets makes them either stupid or evil.

  100. What about the Abqaiq, Safaniyah, Zuluf, Berri and Shaybah oil fields in Saudi Arabia. I spent five years developing the huge Shaybah site and it is still growing. Yep, I was in the pay of the King, now I’m like a lot of the alarmists, a civil servant!

  101. “And btw humankind is not very good at the moment at switching to other energy sources or be more careful in the use of oil. The search for alternatives isn’t going to good either.”

    Wrong on both counts.

  102. The error your average Malthusian makes is assuming that they can track one item, and from it predict gloom, despair, and misery.

    Yes, the ability to switch from one item to another, doesn’t increase the supply of the first, but true wisdom will occur when you finally realize why that so called limit is meaningless.

    Oil, in and of itself is meaningless. What matters is energy. The form that the energy takes doesn’t matter, as long as it is inexpensive and readily available.

    The fact that we are able to switch from one product to another means that limitations in one product are meaningless.

  103. To paraphrase the late, great economist Julian Simmons: The greatest natural resource is the human mind. And we aren’t going to run out of that resource anytime soon.

    Of course the resources available from liberal minds peaked about a hundred years ago and have been in decline ever since…

  104. Andrew Russell says:
    May 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    To paraphrase the late, great economist Julian Simmons: The greatest natural resource is the human mind. And we aren’t going to run out of that resource anytime soon.

    Of course the resources available from liberal minds peaked about a hundred years ago and have been in decline ever since…
    _____________________________
    I thought the only “resource” from the liberal mind was brakes?

  105. Steven,

    I appreciate that you know very much more regarding the details of the oil business than I do; however, I need not know the same level of detail you know to know that alarmist declarations regarding alleged scarce resources have almost always been false – history tells me this. And the examples are there for all to see – some have been recounted in this post.

    I realize we may make a number clarifications regarding what is a shortage of a resource versus the introduction of a better substitute.

    The facts as commonly understood are that peak oil advocates have been making the rounds since Ehrlich started the alarmist biz, perhaps earlier than that. The charts in this post are proof that they have always been wrong – every year our known reserves seem to increase. So are we to believe that the charts finally are right? That is a tough argument to make.

    I grant you we may come to a point where the cost of extraction cannot be overcome by technology versus the demand for the product. But at that point – which there is no reason to suggest is imminent because there are no statistics currently saying known reserves are decreasing – as has always happened, new technologies may become comparatively cheaper and will replace oil.

    Anyone inside the industry has an understandable bias – they see things through the industry lens and by definition struggle to see an alternate reality outside their own. That is why the alarmists have almost universally been wrong – and why peak oil advocates today will also be wrong – as peak oil advocates in the 70s were proven wrong.

  106. The notion that all these new discoveries of oil are based on an increased price of oil is somewhat offbase. While the nominal price has risen, if you look at the price of a barrel of oil denominated in gold the present price is well below the average of the last 40 yrs

    http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2012/03/measured-in-gold-price-of-oil-is-below.html

    That post is from early Mach and showed oil at .0602 ounce of gold per barrel versus an average since 1971 of .0732oz./bbl. As of a few minutes ago the price today is at .0554oz/bbl. While our President is wandering about the country railing against evil speculators driving the price of oil threw the roof, the real villains have have been he and his buddy Bernanke who with massive borrowing and money printing have driven the dollar into the tank. His acolytes will probably say, well look at the great job he has done at reducing the real price of oil. Except of course that he famously announced back in 2008 his intention to do the exact opposite and the huge increases in U.S. production have been accomplished in the face of adamant opposition from nearly every element of his administration.

  107. Steven Kopits says:
    May 31, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Steven,
    You mentioned ‘The Oil Drum’ blog. I am providing the url here, as others may be interested in the articles posted there.

    http://www.theoildrum.com/

    The Oil Drum Mission Statement:
    Conventional political, economic, and media institutions have yet to recognize energy’s role as a key contributor to society, and its importance as a driver for all of our physical processes and economic transactions. The Oil Drum seeks to facilitate civil, evidence-based discussions about energy and its impacts on the future of humanity, as well as serve as a leading online knowledge-base for energy-related topics.

    MtK

  108. Another interesting bit of info on this topic although I’m not really sure what it means to the big picture

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=a103600001&f=m

    U.S. Total Gasoline Retail Sales by Refiner

    I have been watching this metric since last Oct when the first big drop occurred, assuming that it was probably a statistical anomaly. The next update is due out tomorrow for Mar ’12. It will be interesting to see what it says.

  109. Is it possible the human subspecies Neanderthals died out because they were simply LazyTeenagers? Perhaps the ‘biggest enemy’ is just laziness, combined with a ‘know it all’ attitude…

  110. James Sexton says:
    May 31, 2012 at 7:11 am
    Non-conventional oil in the US will peak out at about 2.0 million barrels/day. I wrote this piece on Saudi supply in response to Fred Singer’s call for the Romney campaign to promise $2.50/gallon gasoline, a price target slightly less deranged than Michelle Bachman’s $2.00/gallon promise.

  111. DirkH says:
    May 31, 2012 at 4:32 am
    jim says:
    May 31, 2012 at 3:35 am
    “BTW: increasing world population provides more Eiensteins to solve problems.”

    Saudis?

    You’d be surprised. I work for a company exporting imaging equipment for biomedical and other research. Sales to SA have rocketed in the last 5 years, I have already been on 4 training visits there.

    Whole new Universities are going up like mushrooms, as the Saudis themselves look to a future where they will not rely on oil economically. They are investing hugely in a technological knowledge base with a biomedical focus. Already there are centers of excellence emerging in several fields such as dental research, where the usual young researcher traffic is slowly being reversed – people are coming to SA from Europe and USA.

    Being SA, of course, some of these Universities are ladies-only, still trying to line up a training visit to one of them…

  112. In regard to the linked data in my post above about “U.S. Total Gasoline Retail Sales by Refiner’, it would seem that the numbers would be a pretty direct reflection of consumption, but I’ve wondered if there is something else going on that is distorting the data. Since there seems to be a number of commenters around with experience in this area, can anyone enlighten me about what I may be missing in this seeming downturn?

  113. rockdoc says:
    May 31, 2012 at 7:21 am
    The abiotic people are just noise – every oil sample has the signature of its biological origin. Whatever the current Saudi capacity, they have a significant ongoing capex to replace declining production. The mature fields are said to be declining at 5% per annum. As you see from Figure 3 above, replacing the Ghawar decline will need a host of smaller fields to be developed. In developing that graph, Euan Mearns seems to have taken the view that the crestal wells will water out in the next few years. I could have put in a creaming curve but that may have been a difficult concept for people. Saudi geology looks very simple with big, gentle anticlines – so the big fields were easy to find back in the 1960s. The logistic decline plot is supposed to capture the effect of future discovery anyway. One reason for the post was to counter the Fred Singer idiocy of a call for a promise of $2.50/gallon gasoline. The other was to calibrate the clock on the Saudi regime. There is about half a generation to go before this country implodes and is no longer able to bother other people.

  114. richardscourtney says:
    May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am
    There are none so blind as those who will not see. The oil price has been rising ever since the oil market tightened in 2004. If there is a superfluity of oil as you claim, why has the oil price risen in the face of that, and why can’t Exxon and a host of others bring on more production despite their profit margins ballooning?

  115. “The depths at which oil is being drilled clearly puts the ‘fossil fuel’ label to bed.
    ======
    If natural gas is created from fossils, then discoveries should fall off exponentially the deeper you drill. However, this is not what has been observed. Costs go up the deeper you drill, but discovery rates do not decrease.”

    This statement makes no sense at all in terms of the theory or the experimental work. Hydrocarbon genesis is a product of temperature and time of burial (but mainly temperature) with respect to source rocks which are composed of organic matter generally referred to as kerogens. The greater temperature and time these source rocks are exposed to the more bonds are broken and hence hydrocarbons created and expelled. So the deeper a source rock is buried the greater the maturity so you go from heavier unbiodegraded oils through medium oils to light oils and condensates through to wet gas and finally dry gas. As far as I am aware no one has drilled to a depth where you are beyond the dry gas window.

    “Careful, this sounds like a “man-will-never-fly” statement – which was also made by experts of the day. I don’t have a position on abiotic oil one way or the other, but I caution you, “solid” experts are prisoners of their education and yours was 30yrs ago.”

    The science has not changed much on this subject other than to become further refined. I may have completed my doctorate work 30 years or so ago but I have continued to read in the science as is required in my line of work. If you pulled out a recent journal of Oganic Geochemistry you would find articles replicating work done twenty or more years ago. This is science that has stood the test of time.

    “I am a scientist in life sciences, and have come to realize that abiogenic oil has the science on its side. It is a misstatement, to the extreme, that there is no science behind Abiogenic oil. The Ukrainians actually made oil in high yield (3-4%) in a very short time from carbonate, water, and iron/cobalt catalysis. Not only that, but they clearly explained that “dinosaurs” could not be buried as deeply as oil is found, and proved that the thermodynamics for reduction of organic detritus was totally wrong. Organic matter has a high oxygen content, and all of these compounds must be completely reduced, going energetically uphill!”

    Your assertion that dinosaurs have anything whatsoever to do with oil only points to your ignorance on the subject matter. The organic precursors to oil are a combination of algae, bacteria and plant remains…..”dinosaurs” are a figment in the imagination of those without a proper scientific education. As a “life scientist” I would have thought you at least casually ran across this simple fact in your studies. As to dinosaurs clearly not have being buried as deeply as oil forms that is so wrong as to be laughable. One of the main source rocks around the world is mid-Cretaceous in age, it accounts for much of the oil in Africa and Latin America and is younger than many of the dinosaurs. I suggest you venture to Alberta or Montana sometime where you can find dinosaur bones in the same outcrops as shales which form source rocks not far to the west where they are buried. Again not related as dinosaurs do not become oil.

    You also have no clue on the evidence at hand. We have been able to create hydrocarbons in the laboratory through pyrolysis experiments conducted on source rocks for at least fifty years. Oil companies regularly do this work in order to understand how rich a particular source rock is, there are very large companies who make a lot of money doing this work. The conversion of organic matter under temperature is not only proven in the laboratory but it is backed theoretically through equations that are perfectly in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics which has been established in the literature for about half a century. Perhaps you can explain how it isn’t? We also have been able to type reservoired oils through carbon fingerprinting to source rocks which are in communication….this is commonly done and I have yet to see an instance where it has seemed impossible. ON the other hand the Russians have not created anything other than methane and ethane in the laboratory which means they have no way of explaining pentane, propane, hexane etc. Also they fail to point out that for liquids to form at great depth in the crust and then travel to shallow depths to be stored in reservoirs requires that this liquid has to first form in disequilibrium and then continue to remain in disequilibrium until it reaches a pressure and temperature compatible with liquids which pretty much requires throwing physical science knowledge out the window. Also what is completely lacking in evidence is the fact that for abiotic oil to work as a theory you should expect to find oil everywhere in metamorphic and igneous rocks. You do not. In fact the only places that you do find oil in such rocks is where they are immediately adjacent sedimentary source rocks that have been typed to those oils.

  116. flow rate is what it is all about and large reserves do not mean high flow rates or high leverage quality product

    The tar sands mining operation for example has taken a long time to produce what one mediocre conventional crude oil field can do in just a few years. The asphalt like tar deposits in the Orinoco belt are huge too but the flow rate is low and the product is lousy.

    finding more reserves does not invalidate peak oil, just illustrates a misunderstanding of peak oil

    other fallacies seen posted all over this thread include: mistaking all liquid fuels as conventional crude, claiming other liquids are equal subtitutes for conventional crude oil, the effects of technology on production, and the very nature of how oil production is done and works

    Then there’s the “economically recoverable” fallacy, that one is quite prevalent it seems. Flow rate and quality in a business that is pumping liquid fuels at the scale we are doing is everything. Claims of huge new reserves mean little if they can’t be extracted quickly enough and produce a far inferior product which in turn requires even more production to cover the quality shortfall.

    Peak oil isn’t about running out either, in fact under a exponential decline rate the flow never actually stops but you run into trouble long before you ever get close to running out. Every oil field reaches a point where no amount of technology or brute force can increase its flow rate and production. Applying this to the whole world is just straight logic. These traits of oil fields are based on physics which can’t be bargained with or cheated. Hubberts equations and methods which are still in use today are simply based on porosity, pressure, density, depth, and volume.

  117. Smokey says:
    May 31, 2012 at 11:26 am
    Agreed on coal liquefaction potential, but anyone promoting Green River oil shale should do the sums on how much rock you want to move on a daily basis. And where you want to put it because it will swell 30% on processing. Digging up the Green River Formation will create a new mountain range, not that there is anything wrong with that.

  118. commieBob says:
    May 31, 2012 at 10:38 am

    We don’t actually need oil if things come down to the crunch. Natural gas is a viable substitute for gasoline and diesel. The conversion cost for an existing vehicle is a bit stiff but will become economic if the price of gasoline doubles.

    Aye.

    Until it comes to practically fueling say, a Cessna 150 (small trainer aircraft).

    On that note, maybe liquid fuels (with higher energy content and workable storage/transport in use) have a future after all …

    .

  119. @ Dave Wendt

    demand destruction and exports

    US domestic gasoline consumption is down, and down to like year 2000 levels and we are also exporting more gasoline than ever while the total amount of gasoline produced is down to like 2002 levels. Refineries all over especially on the east cost are for sale. They can’t refine high sulfur or heavy oils which are gradually dominating the available oil market while at the same time the refining profit margins are being crushed. People without money can’t buy your product. Oil is fungible up to a point but it is hardly interchangeable. Refineries like a nice steady diet of the same quality crude as they can get if possible. They can be built to handle a range but for them handling all grades and weights of crude simply doesn’t work. The downstream oil operations like refining here in the US got caught unprepared for the economy falling apart and their diet of imported crude changing.

  120. David Archibald says:
    May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm
    richardscourtney says:
    May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am
    There are none so blind as those who will not see. The oil price has been rising ever since the oil market tightened in 2004. If there is a superfluity of oil as you claim, why has the oil price risen in the face of that, and why can’t Exxon and a host of others bring on more production despite their profit margins ballooning?

    See my comment above
    Dave Wendt says:
    May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    In real terms the price of oil has dropped significantly since 2005.

  121. David Archibald says:

    Vying for blog-listing under: “Transcendent Rant and way out there theory” ;^)

    Seriously, there are a number of counter-arguments by posters above that would seem to place a quantity of your posted material, sans further support, as out-dated (literally: ‘dated’), incorrect, narrow-in-view wrt to actual observations, and out-of-the-loop as regards recent studies/experiments/results in both direct and direct fields.

    I’m sure there are others here what would like to see more than one of these counter-arguments addressed, too.

    .

  122. Stark Dickflüssig says:
    May 31, 2012 at 10:51 am
    Malthus looked at nature. He was just observing and formulating a law. That we humans are able to control birth rate or switch to another resource doesn’t make the law faulty.

    No. Mathus looked at humanity. His failure to account for normal human behaviour when formulating his ridiculous hypotheses makes him wrong. The insistence of his adherents to cling to his absurdly wrong tenets makes them either stupid or evil.

    Which normal human behaviour? It turns out psycologists have been wrong to think that US undergraduates are typical of humans worldwide in basic psycology. This from the latest Economist:

    Most researchers used to think the punishment of freeloaders was a universal human instinct that had evolved to promote co-operation. Studies in the West supported this belief. They showed that people band together to reward co-operative behaviour and to punish those who refuse to contribute to the common good. These experiments, which employed what are known as public-goods games to test individual choices, gave players money they could either contribute to the group, raising the value of everyone’s stake, or hold for themselves, ultimately harming everyone if others refuse to co-operate. But they were lacking in two ways. One was their WEIRD [western, educated, industrial, rich, democratic] participants. The other was more subtle. It did not occur to the experimenters to allow participants to punish co-operators as well as freeloaders, even though those who had been freeloading might wish to do so in revenge for having been punished themselves, in previous rounds of the game.

    But that did occur to Benedikt Herrmann of Nottingham university, in Britain. A few years ago Dr Herrmann ran a series of experiments designed to see how public-goods games would play out in 16 countries, not all of them rich and Western. This time, he allowed freeloaders to punish co-operators, a behaviour known as antisocial punishment. His results were striking. Most of the world, the experiments suggested, bears little resemblance to Harvard or, indeed, anywhere else in the West, where antisocial punishment is virtually absent. In places like South Korea, Greece, Russia and Saudi Arabia, antisocial punishment proved to be almost as common as collaboration.

  123. David Archibald:

    Thankyou for your answer (at May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm) to my post at (May 31, 2012 at 10:41 am).

    I address each of your points to me in turn.

    You say

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

    I agree. My post is (as it says) a copy of my post in October 2011 in response to your then article. You did not answer any of its points then, and you have not now. Perhaps you have failed to see them.

    You say

    The oil price has been rising ever since the oil market tightened in 2004.

    There are many reasons for that and, importantly, lack of available supply is not one of them. Prices fluctuate for several reasons and the recent oil price fluctuation upwards is not unusual. Anyway, it depends on how you define the oil price. As Dave Wendt points out in his post (at May 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm), the $ price of oil has risen but the price of oil has fallen relative to the gold price. The gold price tracks global economic activity because people buy gold as ‘insurance’ when currencies are not stable. Hence, the fall in the price of oil relative to the gold price is very strong evidence that the recent rise in the $ price of oil is a result of economic factors and is not an effect of oil scarcity.

    You say

    If there is a superfluity of oil as you claim,

    I did not say and I would not say “there is a superfluity” of oil.
    The resource of oil is always equivalent to about 40 years supply. It was about 40 years throughout the last century and will be about 40 years supply throughout this century. This is because oil producers have a planning horizon of ~40 years. Therefore, an oil company pays for more oil to be found when it has less than ~40 years supply, but does not pay for more to be found when it has more than ~40 years supply. Of course, in the event that an alternative to crude is found which is cheaper than crude then the resource will increase to be more than ~40 years supply because ‘peak oil’ will have happened (as ‘peak flint’ happened millennia ago).

    You say

    why has the oil price risen in the face of that,

    This is a result of the global economy (see my second answer to you in this post).

    You say

    and why can’t Exxon and a host of others bring on more production despite their profit margins ballooning?

    Your evidence that they can’t is?
    If “their profit margins [are] ballooning” they have a strong disincentive to not “bring on more production”. An increase to supply would reduce the price which they get per barrel (this is economics 101).

    Richard

  124. David Archibald says: @ May 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    One reason for the post was to counter the Fred Singer idiocy of a call for a promise of $2.50/gallon gasoline. The other was to calibrate the clock on the Saudi regime. There is about half a generation to go before this country implodes and is no longer able to bother other people.
    _______________________________________
    David that has a heck of a lot more to do with the doubling of the US money supply than it does with the oil supply. As long as you are talking about fiat money supplies, and most currencies are not backed by gold, then you have to take into account what is happening to money too.

    Think of the short term GNP (of the USA) as a unchanging pie divided by N dollars where N= the money supply. N changed to 2N+ in the spring of 2008. So the cost of everything will eventually rise to roughly 2N dollars. Therefore a $2.50/gallon cost (2006) will eventually become $5.00 all else being equal just because of the doubling of the money supply. Last time I was at the pump it was $3.899.

    On the 5th of May, 2006 Iran registered its Oil Exchange, all trading will be conducted in Euros. If the Iranian Petroleum Exchange allows the major oil companies to trade on its floor then the dollar seriously risks losing its position in the world market. This is a possibility that many experts already consider very plausible. (Pravda)

    Both gold and oil are pretty good indicators of currency “devaluation” and that is why the cost of oil and other goods rise. Currency “devaluation” is also called inflation.

    Hyper-inflation is the terminal stage of any fiat currency.

    …In most cases, a fiat monetary system comes into existence as a result of excessive public debt. When the government is unable to repay all its debt in gold or silver, the temptation to remove physical backing rather than to default becomes irresistible….

    In hyper-inflation, money looses most of its value practically overnight. Hyper-inflation is often the result of increasing regular inflation to the point where all confidence in money is lost. In a fiat monetary system, the value of money is based on confidence, and once that confidence is gone, money irreversibly becomes worthless, regardless of its scarcity. Gold has replaced every fiat currency for the past 3000 years….
    http://kwaves.com/fiat.htm

    I very strongly suggest you also read On Hyperinflation it explains why the USA has not yet hit hyperinflation.

  125. Dave Wendt says on May 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm:

    In real terms the price of oil has dropped significantly since 2005.

    The following is a “Gasoline Price History” plot over “the past 33 years or so”.

    In the first plot the lower curve is the data adjusted for inflation using April, 1979 as the datum.

    http://www.randomuseless.info/gasprice/gasprice.html

    The second plot (scroll down the page) uses a slightly different ‘adjustment’ mechanism using year 2012 CPI and back-adjusting up the early year gas price … interesting to see a ‘bowl’ shape with the low point between about 1986 and 2005 with that notable peak in price in 2008.

    .

    .

    … discovered awhile back while researching petrol-prices and the change over time …

    .

  126. Lazy Teenager
    Every item on your list died out from either a cooling climate or statism. Every time the world got warmer, civilization prospered. Everywhere in the world freedom was tried, prosperity followed (whatever the climate), and bigger govt always brought ruination (i.e. the Depression & today’s Recession).
    Warmistas are doubly wrong, on both climate and economics.

  127. The really scary thing about the state of the world is that, although the dollar has been incredibly debased in recent years, it is still rebounding strongly in recent weeks against other world currencies that are even worse.

  128. Oil and gas companies are interested in keeping prices as high as possible; they are not eager, therefore, to publish accurate information about available reserves.

    If companies don’t publish best effort estimates, its highly likely they will find themselves in court and going to jail. However, this is not the case with OPEC countries who are notorious for not publishing accurate data.

  129. I hope that the abiotic oil proponents posting here realize that either they are utterly clueless, or over 100 years worth of petroleum geologists were/are. I know where I’ll put my money. And I’d like to know the odds on all the significant oil finds always conforming to the (biological source) rock, migration pathway, reservoir + trap model, if all you really need is the reservoir + trap stage. (and please, no guff about oil from granite in Vietnam. Have a look at where it occurs, i.e directly hydraulically connected to classic biologenic oil fields).

  130. phlogiston says:
    May 31, 2012 at 1:23 pm
    “Whole new Universities are going up like mushrooms, as the Saudis themselves look to a future where they will not rely on oil economically. They are investing hugely in a technological knowledge base with a biomedical focus. Already there are centers of excellence emerging in several fields such as dental research, where the usual young researcher traffic is slowly being reversed – people are coming to SA from Europe and USA.”

    I didn’t know that, thanks. Very good news.

  131. Abiotic vs Biological source of “oil”

    I guess the latter group needs to explain the methane lakes on Titan and the Gas Planetary Giants within the scope of their theory … :)

  132. Is all this talk just a pre-cursor to hop-along-the-capacity to re-introduce the need to invest in nuclear as a form of insurance against sudden energy shortfalls either caused by shortage (peak anything) of oil, gas, or hard cash in some form of inventive marshalling of free enterprise to provide a safe and clean/cleaner alternative before limitation of choice is forced upon us by ‘circumstance”. If it is, then this is where you for once embrace the warmists precautionary principle and build millions of small fusion reactors in at least a competitive environment to prevent monopolistic control of energy sources in the future.

    Cut the cackle and get on with it, distributed energy sources will solve many problems we have inherited if done well, for the “good of humanity” of course, to use a much hackneyed phrase!

  133. The abiotic oil believers should know that they harm this site’s scientific credibility when they push their wacko theory. All of the geologists and petroleum engineers must be in on this abiotic stuff or they are just the dumbest people in the world.

    Oil is, of course, a finite resource. We are running out of the cheap stuff but we can still exploit more expensive soures. It might mean it costs more to drive your F-150 but that is an inevitability anyway since India and China loom huge in the present and future global oil demand scene.

  134. Several important things are generally left out of the long-term scenarios.

    First, market dynamics. When the price of oil hits $300 a barrel, we will need a LOT less of it.

    When oil gets expensive enough, it won’t just be mined — it can be manufactured.

    In the medium term, we can expect a significant conversion of big rig fleets to convert to natural gas.

    In the near to medium term, oil consumption from transportation will be effected by significant increases in the fuel efficiency of passenger cars and trucks. You can get 300hp AND 30 mpg from a medium sized car? Crazy. Diesel promises even better results. Mercedes wrecked the diesel market for everybody with the premature launch of a lousy truck-sounding P.O.S. that turned off consumers for a generation, but VW is on the verge of bringing it back.

    Lastly, despite whatever fantasies liberals may have, we’re not leaving any oil in the ground so that we can save the planet from global warming.

  135. 1) … and thus the serpentinization processes in the basement rocks have the potential to drive the Lost City system for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years.
    …The formation of magnetite during the serpentinization process involves the oxidation of ferrous iron (Fe2+) in olivine to form ferric iron (Fe3+) in magnetite and leads to what is called reducing conditions. As a consequence, reduced gas species, such as hydrogen gas (H2), methane (CH4) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can be produced during serpentinization.

    -NOAA

    http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/05lostcity/background/serp/serpentinization.html

    =====
    2) Far more natural gas is sequestered on the seafloor—or leaking from it—than can be drilled from all the existing wells on Earth.
    Woods Hole Oceanic Institute

    http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=12764&tid=282&cid=2441

    =======
    3) Titan’s Methane Not Produced by Life, Scientists Say
    “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

    =======
    4) The Principle of Parsimony (Ockham’s Razor)
    =======
    5) The 2nd thermodynamic law:
    QUOTE: [...]“The constraints imposed on chemical evolution by the second law of thermodynamics are briefly reviewed, and the effective prohibition of transformation, in the regime of temperatures and pressures characteristic of the near-surface crust of the Earth, of biological molecules into hydrocarbon molecules heavier than methane is recognized.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/99/17/10976.long

    ==========
    As bubbagyro said:
    “Organic matter has a high oxygen content, and all of these compounds must be completely reduced, going energetically uphill!”

    Instead of countering such arguments with evidence-based reasoning, fossil fools hurl insults in an attempt to enforce to enforce a taboo. But petroleum is rock oil (petra+oleum) – the product of serpentinisation. Insults don’t change the facts.

  136. heh, heh…now this is funny: “Ask the genius “Rockdoc” where the seas of ethane, methane and higher hydrocarbons on Titan come from? Prehistoric dinosaur aliens? Must have been a whole slew of them…”

    Seriously though, Erlich, Malthus, DA who wrote this article will all be right eventually. The Sun will destroy our planet some time in the future. So they have that to look forward to. Won’t be any oil after that.

  137. There’s an enormous amount of ‘Heavy, Sour’ oil already discovered and waiting for ‘Upgrade’.

    Search “Heavy Oil Upgrade”.

  138. LazyTeenager says:
    May 31, 2012 at 4:52 am

    “I bet the Romans figured those pesky barbarians could not possibly affect Rome. But they did. The biggest enemy is complacency.”

    My pet theory is that Christianity killed the Roman Empire. You cannot run an Empire like that, based on slavery, without being totally gruesome. Noone will slave for you, if you don’t beat them, kill them, cruzify them.

    So when Christianity took over as a state religion, The Roman Empire was doomed.
    They could’nt both be nice and kind, and run slaves at the same time.

    Just as well, don’t you think?

  139. Tom says on May 31, 2012 at 3:52 am
    “Figure 4 shows the progressive displacement of oil by water over the sixty years from 1940 to 2004. SW is water saturation”
    Does this imply that the “deserts will bloom” … water may be more valuable than oil in the Middle East… there has been talk of wars for water

    FYI: In Saudi Arabia, salt water is used water flooding, not fresh water. Fresh water is used when there is no salt water available.

  140. theBuckWheat says on May 31, 2012 at 6:35 am :
    We do not burn crude oil in our cars and airplanes, we burn fuel that is made by breaking down a feedstock of hydrocarbons into its constituent atoms and then reassembling them into the desired product.

    This is incorrect. This not done. Good light sweet crude will yield ca 40% straight-run gasoline on fractional distillation. Gasoline is the first fraction from distillation of crude oil and has a boiling range of 4-202 deg C. Go to Wikipedia and check out the fractional distillation of crude and bubble cap fractional distillation column

    Catalytic crackers.are used to break down heavy oils into mixtures of light hydrocarbons for manufacture of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

  141. I am a chemical engineer, wirh experience in the oil industry although it’s not my specialty. FWIW, I am agnostic as far as the abiotic oil theory is concerned; however, let me point out that Freeman Dyson, who is often cited as a renowned CAGW skeptic, is a supporter of the abiotic oil. He wrote the foreword to Thomas Gold’s “The Deep Hot Biosphere”, where the theoretical background and empirical evidence for the abiotic oil theory is outlined in detail. Dyson states very clearly that he agrees with it. The late Thomas Gold was a maverick but he was also the one who correctly identified the nature of pulsars. I am not fully convinced but I recommend his book highly.

  142. Yep. And it all takes energy – energy to drill for the crude, energy to pump the crude out of the ground, energy to transport the crude, energy to process the crude into fuels like gasoline, energy to get the processed fuels into our car tanks, our fuel oil furnaces and so on.

    Once the energy derived from a barrel of crude is no longer greater than the energy required to extract and process it, then you are done. Crude isn’t like gold or silver, It is energy for energy. You can’t simply raise the price. The limiting price is the energy cost, not the monetary cost. The monetary cost can, and will, go up and up and up, but once the energy cost equals the energy created, you might as well sell the energy you already have. We are already at peak.

    You want to create more efficient means of extracting crude? Wonderful. Do it. These things can, and will extend the peak of the curve for a short time, but not forever. You are still going to be limited, ultimately, by energy in – energy out.

  143. Philip Bradley says:
    May 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Oil and gas companies are interested in keeping prices as high as possible; they are not eager, therefore, to publish accurate information about available reserves.

    If companies don’t publish best effort estimates, its highly likely they will find themselves in court and going to jail….
    ____________________________________
    Which is a darn good reason to nay say the abiotic oil theory and keep looking in the “wrong place” Russia has no reason to and has had a lot of luck in finding oil due to a switch in theories.

    ….That radically different Russian and Ukrainian scientific approach to the discovery of oil allowed the USSR to develop huge gas and oil discoveries in regions previously judged unsuitable, according to Western geological exploration theories, for presence of oil. The new petroleum theory was used in the early 1990’s, well after the dissolution of the USSR, to drill for oil and gas in a region believed for more than forty-five years, to be geologically barren—the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the region between Russia and Ukraine.

    Following their a-biotic or non-fossil theory of the deep origins of petroleum, the Russian and Ukrainian petroleum geophysicists and chemists began with a detailed analysis of the tectonic history and geological structure of the crystalline basement of the Dnieper-Donets Basin. After a tectonic and deep structural analysis of the area, they made geophysical and geochemical investigations.

    A total of sixty one wells were drilled, of which thirty seven were commercially productive, an extremely impressive exploration success rate of almost sixty percent. The size of the field discovered compared with the North Slope of Alaska. By contrast, US wildcat drilling was considered successful with a ten percent success rate. Nine of ten wells are typically “dry holes.”….

    http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/Geopolitics___Eurasia/Peak_Oil___Russia/peak_oil___russia.html

  144. Mike W says:
    May 31, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    The abiotic oil believers should know that they harm this site’s scientific credibility when they push their wacko theory. All of the geologists and petroleum engineers must be in on this abiotic stuff or they are just the dumbest people in the world…..
    __________________________________________
    No you are dealing with entrenched believe among other things. ~ “Science advances one funeral at a time” ~ or as Max Planck actually said

    Eine neue wissenschaftliche Wahrheit pflegt sich nicht in der Weise durchzusetzen, daß ihre Gegner überzeugt werden und sich als belehrt erklären, sondern vielmehr dadurch, daß ihre Gegner allmählich aussterben und daß die heranwachsende Generation von vornherein mit der Wahrheit vertraut gemacht ist. ~
    A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

    Plate tectonics was a new very controversial theory until the 1960s when I was in high school. The abiotic oil theory is derived from the relatively new idea of plate tectonics ‘Crude oil and natural petroleum gas have no intrinsic connection with biological matter originating near the surface of the earth. They are primordial materials which have been erupted from great depths Since Russia of the 1950′s and 1960′s had little oil it was a highest order national security priority. Essentially they were desperate and had nothing to lose by drilling according to the new theory. They hit the jackpot.

    “Peak Oil” is very convenient for oil companies who want to keep prices high. It is also very convenient for greens and the United Nations who want to advance their agenda. Oil companies are nicely intertwined with CAGW because they helped fund CRU Shell Oil for example had an executive called Ged Davis in the IPCC. Davis is mentioned in one of the Climategate e-mails in connection with UN scenario. My original link was ClimateGate e-mail 0889554019.txt Here is a second link (I am not happy with the source)

    If you follow the Ged Davis trail…

    Ged Davis ~ GEA Council Co-President

    Ged Davis is currently advisor to a number of international institutions, and has wide experience of global business, energy and environment matters. He was until March 2007 Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, responsible for global research, scenario projects, and the design of the annual Forum meeting at Davos, Switzerland, which brings together 2,400 corporate, government, and nonprofit leaders to shape the global agenda. Before joining the Forum Ged spent 30 years with Royal Dutch Shell, which he joined in 1972. He was the Vice President of Global Business Environment for Shell International in London, and head of Shell’s scenario planning team.

    Ged is a director of Low Carbon Accelerator Limited, a governor of the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, a member of the INDEX Design Awards Jury and a member of the International Advisory Board of the National Bank of Kuwait. He was a member of the InterAcademy Council Panel on Transitions to Sustainable Energy and the director of the UNAIDS AIDS in Africa scenario project from 2002 to 2003. Ged has led a large number of scenario projects during his career, including the multiyear, multi-stakeholder scenarios on the future of sustainability for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and was facilitator of the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions scenarios. Ged holds a degree in Mining Engineering from Imperial College, London, and postgraduate degrees in Economics and Engineering from the London School of Economics and Stanford University.

    So WHAT is GEA

    About the Global Energy Assessment [GEA]
    The Global Energy Assessment involves specialists from a range of disciplines, industry groups, and policy areas in defining a new global energy policy agenda, one that is capable of transforming the way society thinks about, uses and delivers energy and to facilitate equitable and sustainable energy services for all, in particular the two billion people who currently lack access to clean, modern energy….

    http://www.iiasa.ac.at/Research/ENE/GEA/index.html

    And you want me to BELIEVE what the Oil Companies are saying about “Peak Oil” after reading THAT?

    You might also want to read Science in the 21st Century: Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels By HENRY H. BAUER, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry & Science Studies

    I may not know the science but I can follow the Money/Power grab trail.

  145. jbird:

    Your post at June 1, 2012 at 7:23 am is plain wrong.

    Firstly, it displays ignorance of the difference between reserves and resources. Reserves are the amount of a mineral (in this case, crude oil) which can be obtained at economic return using existing technology. At present it would not be economic to expend more energy to obtain crude than is obtained from refined crude. Existing reserves are ~40 years of supply and will be ~40 years supply throughout this century (see my post at May 31, 2012 at 2:33 pm).

    Secondly, it is not certainly true that crude would be worthless if it contained less energy than required to obtain it. In some circumstances the convenience of crude may make it economic to use more energy (from e.g. coal) to obtain crude than is in the crude.

    Richard

  146. Regarding abiotic oil / abiotic natural gas, it would be curious indeed if Earth really has had little to no hydrocarbons ever formed abiotically when even extraterrestrial comets have:

    massive quantities of hydrocarbons, similar to oil shale. The masses of either water or hydrocarbons are measured in units of cubic kilometers.

    Satellite fly-by through the tail of Comet Halley during 1986 showed that comets consist of massive amounts of an organic material almost identical to high grade oil shale (kerogen). (Huebner 1990).

    http://www.neofuel.com/zuppero-1995-water-ice-nearly-everywhere-114647.pdf

    But, aside from the validity or not of abiotic oil, supposing for the sake of argument that abiotic oil theory is not valid:

    The near-term picture of liquid fuel supply is that of continuing sustained production plus some growth over coming decades (not necessarily fast growth but in absolute mbd terms not vastly different than much of the past couple decades) with the help of unconventional oil, NGLs, etc. shown in the International Energy Agency estimate:

    Beyond the near-term, for later this century, if more conventional alternatives ever sustain continuously a bit more of a price rise, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of liquid fuels becomes increasingly competitive and has practically more or less unlimited eventual scalability. Most fundamentally, you need a carbon source, a hydrogen source, and an energy source.

    Upon reduced wartime access to conventional petroleum, the Nazis produced much of their gasoline supply in the latter part of WWII from Fischer-Tropsch synthesis from coal (weakened by repeated Allied bombing raids of course yet functioning), but coal is not the only carbon source usable. Sasol in South Africa currently produces synthetic petroleum including most of the country’s diesel fuel using Fischer-Tropsch synthesis from natural gas as well as coal. The enormous supplies of natural gas we are getting into recently may last the U.S. and the world for centuries to come depending on assumptions, a long time in any case.

    Beyond that, the U.S. Navy has studied production of synthetic hydrocarbon fuels like jet fuel, getting the hydrogen and carbon from seawater available in practically infinite amounts (the carbon from dissolved CO2 in the oceans), the energy from nuclear power. Other investigations (one of the national laboratories IIRC) for civilian commercial production have concluded costs would be only several dollars per gallon of fuel synthesized.

    As for the very long-term future like centuries from now? Particularly in such a timeframes, there is no rule of physics limiting human energy production to its current 2 terawatts average electrical and few terawatts non-electrical, not when Earth intersects 200000 terawatts of sunlight and the sun outputs 400,000,000,000,000 terawatts. Sure, at present rates of advancement we are eons upon eons away from being able to build a Dyson Swarm to do much about the latter, but we are also eons upon eons away from needing to do so. And, aside from that, as Dr. Cohen discusses on uranium extraction from seawater for nuclear power:

    “We thus conclude that all the world’s energy requirements for the remaining 5×10^9 yr of existence of life on Earth could be provided by breeder reactors without the cost of electricity rising by as much as 1% due to fuel costs. This is consistent with the definition of a “renewable” energy source in the sense in which that term is generally used.”

    http://sustainablenuclear.org/PADs/pad11983cohen.pdf

    As http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium notes slightly before the end, with references:

    “The preceding reserve figures refer to the amount of thorium in high-concentration deposits inventoried so far and estimated to be extractable at current market prices; there is millions of times more total in Earth’s 3 * 10^19 ton crust, around 120 trillion tons of thorium, and lesser but vast quantities of thorium exist at intermediate concentrations.[74][75][76] Proved reserves are “a poor indicator of the total future supply of a mineral resource.[76]”

    “In event of a thorium fuel cycle, Conway granite with 56 (±6) parts per million thorium could provide a major low-grade resource; a 307 sq mile (795 sq km) “main mass” in New Hampshire is estimated to contain over three million metric tons per 100 feet (30 m) of depth (i.e. 1 kg thorium in eight cubic metres of rock), of which two-thirds is “readily leachable”.[78] Even common granite rock with 13 PPM thorium concentration (just twice the crustal average, along with 4 ppm uranium) contains potential nuclear energy equivalent to 50 times the entire rock’s mass in coal,[79] although there is no incentive to resort to such very low-grade deposits as long as much higher-grade deposits remain available and cheaper to extract.[80]“

    Those trillions of tons of thorium are the energy equivalent of millions of trillions of tons of fossil fuels, millions of times more than all the fossil fuels we have ever used; of course we are not going to dig up and process more than a relatively tiny fraction of the total crust anytime soon, but we don’t need to do so to have abundant energy.

    Mankind can be rationed and forced to run low on energy, stagnate, and decline if the likes of the CAGW movement gain power, but that would be from twisted dishonest ideology and politics, not physics.

  147. David Archibald,

    Did you read Richard Courtney’s response? Everything you have written could equally have been written in the past with regards to some earlier resource.

    For example, here is a talk given by a well known “Flint Worrier” in the later paleolithic. He is addressing the clan, who inhabit the Cheddar Gorge region of Southern England, because the supply of flint isn’t keeping up with demand. This is what he says:

    “The mature FLINT fields are said to be declining at 5% per annum. As you see from the cave painting yonder, replacing the Cheddar Gorge decline will need a host of smaller fields to be developed. In developing that graph, Fred Flintstone seems to have taken the view that the Cheddar wells will water out in the next few years. I could have put in a creaming curve but that may have been a difficult concept for people. Cheddar Gorge geology looks very simple with big, gentle anticlines – so the big fields were easy to find back in the Early Paleolithic. The logistic decline plot is supposed to capture the effect of future discovery anyway. One reason for the post was to counter the Fred Flintstone idiocy of a call for a promise of 2 bearskins/basket of FLINT. ”

    History never repeats, but it sure rythmes.

  148. Just an update on a couple of my comments from yesterday. The price of crude oil denominated in ounces of gold declined to .050 oz/bbl today from .055 oz/bbl yesterday versus the 40 year+ avg. of .073 oz/bbl. EIA released its Mar’12 number for U. S. Total Gasoline Retail Sales by Refiners which stayed at about the 30 million gals/mon level for the sixth straight month after averaging over 40 mil gals/mon for the first 9 months of 2011 before a nearly 25% drop in Oct. Just a decade ago the numbers were 60-65+ mil gals/ mon.

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=a103600001&f=m

  149. The EIA link I posted above reverted to its baseline view. To see the graph I intended to link you need to go to the box marked Chart Tools and select 10 Year Seasonal Analysis

  150. BTW, if you are interested in how much confidence should be placed in projections about our energy future this document from EIA may be worth spending some time with.

    http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/retrospective/

    AEO Retrospective Review: Evaluation of 2011 and Prior Reference Case Projections

    It’s a fairly thorough review of how the projections published in their Annual Energy Outlooks have done versus actual numbers since 1994. It shows a pretty poor record of performance with errors, especially beyond a decade out, which are mostly, if not always, in the direction one might expect.

  151. The Saudis never drilled out all their space. They had a whale, and then sat on it. They will not follow the classical pattern as there are plenty of areas “nearby” to drill. Don’t even get me started about Petrobras and the massive offshore finds near Brazil.

    In the mean time, oil drops into the $8x per bbl range… (somewhere around $86 but I wasn’t watching closely).

    There’s somewhere over 1 Trillion bbl of oil just in the USA. We have declining production due to government regulations and lowering prices, not lack of resource.

  152. Blackflag: “I guess the latter group needs to explain the methane lakes on Titan and the Gas Planetary Giants within the scope of their theory “.

    Easy, methane is one carbon and four hydrogen, the simplest form these elements can combine in. There is a lot of those particular elements out there. Now, the question you must ask yourself is: Given al this carbon & hydrogen, and its propensity to form itself into methane out there in lifeless space, why isn’t there also heaps of butane, and octane, and all the other really useful things we find in petroleum deposits on earth? Where are all the hexane lakes on Titan? What is the missing factor here?

    Peter B.
    “let me point out that Freeman Dyson, who is often cited as a renowned CAGW skeptic, is a supporter of the abiotic oil”.

    I did not know that, and if it is true (and I am not saying you are wrong, but a reference would be appreciated), then that is most disheartening, given his stature in physics, and his sensible views on CAGW. I am a CAGW sceptic, but having abiotic oilers on my side is about as welcome as having “Skydragons” on my side. I’d prefer them on the other side, where I’d hand them the microphone, sit back, and let them discredit the alarmists by association.

    • Jimbo,
      Re: butane et al on Titan
      Sir, you are mistaken – there is butane and all those other things there too.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16833455

      Earth does not have hexane lakes either – so what ever your argument that Titan lacks them, well, guess what, so does the Earth.

      Further, there ARE missing factors and huge differences – but that is not germane to the hypothesis – the current belief is that on Earth, dead dinosaurs/plants made all of this stuff – yet, everywhere else in the Solar System, something else did.

      A simple skeptical review would suggest that something that is everywhere probably derives from the same processes – and not the case that in one particular place the process is utterly different.

  153. Blackflag,
    Even your cited source says the hydrocarbons above methane in molecular weight are in minor amounts (I would have thought trace would be more appropriate, but maybe not). I most certainly was not wrong, you’ll note I said “heaps of butane, and octane….” i.e. a large amount comparable to the ratios of long chain alkanes to methane we find on earth. But we don’t find anything even broadly comparable, do we?

    I won’t say anything aout your “dinosaurs” source of petroleum, except that the only people who think dinosaurs contributed in any significant way to our petroleum reserves certainly don’t have any geological qualifications. Nice strawman.

    Anyway, the real question is, where are all the large concentrations big hydrocarbon molecules (i.e. OIL) in the lifeless parts of the solar system? No , scrap that, where is even one large concentration of large hydrocarbon molecules in the solar system? If you can’t come up with one, why not? (And please, no hand waving “oh, conditions are different….you can’t prove..you don’t know…. etc. Just tell me why we have lots, and other places have methane with only traces of, say, C6Hx and above).

    Another nice bit of evidence for your side would be a reference for an economically viable oil deposit (not shows of methane) which was found by someone using the abiogenic model. Of course, you will not find one, not because of some conspiracy (as if someone wouldn’t break ranks and go make themselves a few hundred billion dollars), but because the abiotic oil theory is so utterly wrong.

    • Jim,
      Your adjective – “heaps” – is irrelevant. Concentrations of one particular suite of molecules or another on a planetary body vary greatly.

      The point is: complex hydrocarbons exist “everywhere” in the solar system – contrary to your claim of “biological” creation.

      This means that your biological origins are incomplete as they do not account for the extraterrestrial existence – hence, equally your claim against abiotic creation here on earth is equally incomplete.

      Further, since we have not “searched” for such “OIL” deposits on extraterrestrial planets does not mean “they do not exist”. You would be hard pressed to find such complex hydrocarbons on earth by merely “observing it”, since we have to generally drill or mine it from beneath the surfaces.

      It is not a strawman – it is you who is claiming biological origins – the rhetoric on what particular biology is irrelevant. And, you STILL have not explained how such biological origins apply to extraterrestrial sources. You argue two different processes, each exclusive of one another. But that is bizarre! To say that on earth, biological creation “is the only way” when evidence has proven throughout the entire rest of the solar system that there is “other ways”.

  154. I am sure David Archibald is well intentioned, but my findings wrt this topic vary immensely. First, global regular conventional crude did indeed peak @ 69-Mbd in 2005, it will continue to be a major component of All liquids production. Projections by the PS-2500 oil depletion model infer light sweet crude is on a 62-Mbd plateau which will be ongoing ’til 2023. Shortly thereafter, crude prices will surpass a definitive oil-cost/GDP ratio (marked by $197/barrel) which will induce PEAK DEMAND @ the then present flow rate of 98-Mbd (2025).

    The model calculates Saudi Arabia URR/EUR to be 281-Gb with a 2.8% UDRO (underlying decline rate observed). The Kingdom’s 12.5-Mbd MSC (max sustainable capacity) passed by unceremoniously in 2009. Its flow rate in 2040 will be 6.8-Mbd plus 2-Mbd of NGL.

    My current charts on KSA & monthly peak oil updates are available at the Trendlines Research website: http://trendlines.ca/free/peakoil

  155. Black Flag,

    I do not argue that creation of large hydrocarbon molecules by abiotic means doesn’t take place at all, quite the opposite, thus the traces of it found elsewhere in the solar system. I’m sure that large hydrocarbon molecules do get synthesized, in economically utterly insignificant quantities, by abiotic means here on earth as well. The point is that there is zero reason to believe that it has ever contributed to making significant concentrations (i.e. enough to be anywhere near a viable economic deposit), on earth, or anywhere else, for that matter. There is a mountain of evidence for biological origins.

    I concede that this absence of evidence does not absolutely exclude the possibility that abiotic oil is a significant component of those reserves we are exploiting, any more than it disproves the hypothesis that it is oil produced by trillions of tiny nanobots, placed here eons ago by the dreaded Zooglons of planet K, which is responsible for most of our oil. It is an absurd notion, but there is no fundamental reason why this hypothesis should not complement the biogenic model.

    • Jimbo,

      It merely your opinion and you have no fact or methodology to determine if the quantities of complex hydrocarbons on earth are NOT a result of abiotic sources. You attempted to dispute the existence of complex hydrocarbons throughout the Solar System as “proof” that the existence of them on Earth could only be biological.

      The fact that such complex molecules exist throughout the Solar System demonstrates irrefutably that such molecules are created abiotically.

      Thus your inference in your first post – that they are only terrestrial is factually wrong.

      Your further contention that such abiotic hydrocarbons are not terrestrial cannot be supported by the evidence you presented, since EVERY WHERE ELSE IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM, that is the only means of their existence.

      The question is not -yet- regarding concentrations or lack of …. the postulate you and others have made that -on Earth, unlike everywhere else in the Solar System, – it is ONLY biological and there is NO abiotic deposits.

      Our dialogue, however, has shown a specific series of points.
      1) Abiotic hydrocarbons, including complex hydrocarbons, exist in quantities throughout the entire Solar System. For a fact, none of these are biological
      2) Earth is a member of this Solar System.
      3) Earth has hydrocarbons.
      4) The claim that the hydrocarbons on Earth are only biological and not abiotic cannot be supported by the observations of all other planetary bodies in our solar system.

      The claim that the hydrocarbons on Earth are the only place – and were only created by – biological process is not reasonable.

  156. Jimbo,
    Therefore, the claims and posts by others who ridicule and insult those that suggest that there may be abiotic oil resource on Earth are, in fact, the ones who should be ridiculed. It is absolutely clear that the abiotic theorist are right.

    It is not clear in what quantities, however, given the vast quantities throughout the Solar System – it equally reasonable that such vast quantities should exist on Earth. But this is an hypothesis about such quantities and not yet a proven fact.

    However, what this means is -instead of ridicule and insult and ignore the proponents of abiotic resources and ignore the vast evidence of the Solar system, the community should actually study and investigate it rigorously.

    However, -like AGW hoax- I believe too many ego’s are on the line … perhaps next generation better science will come to bear when this generation finally fades away.

  157. Black Flag,
    Gosh, you’re right. I don’t know how I could ever have been so misguided.

    There is just one final point I would like you to clarify for my, using your marvelous powers of logic. Why has nobody, anywhere, ever, has made a fortune by staking out and producing oil from the vast abiotic oilfields which must exist, untapped, in areas far removed from those where there are identifiable, biolgically rich sedimentary source rocks?

    • Jimbo,

      A couple of points:
      ..vast “abiotic” fields… as already pointed out, ask the Russians – but you ignore them, because, heck “they are Russians” and are a bunch of idiots….right?

      Additionally, you have surrendered. You cannot dismiss abiotic origins of hydrocarbon due to fact they exist. Yet, you still do dismiss them, because the muddle up your pet theory. So you sit back in ridicule – and no science – thinking that will somehow “prove wrong” what you know by fact already exists. Bizarre.

      To you, somehow, the Earth is “different”. It is the center of the Universe.

      What strikes me of this topic is we’ve heard it before.

      Jimbo and others takes a observational coincidence and leap right to scientific conclusion with nary a scientific proof to justify it.

      Sound familiar?

      “We find biological organisms in oil, therefore this biology must create oil”
      “We find global warming coincidences with the increase in human industrialization, therefore humans cause global warming”
      Coincidence or cause? Who cares!?

      “We find large animals in oil, too, but it is impossible for them to have made the oil, therefore we will ignore the obvious – that oil traps biological organisms and that these organisms may have nothing to do with the creation of the oil – we will merely cherry pick our observations, discard the ones that do not fit our orthodoxy.”
      “Global cooling has struck the earth while human industrialization continues to expand and increase. No matter, in this case, it must be the natural ebb and flow, and when that returns to some ‘norm’ humans will be once again the cause of climate change”
      Cherry pick!? Nah….

      “Those that suggest abiotic existence must be censored. Any discussion is derided and ridiculed – even mentioning such risks “damaging credibility of this blog” – and bizarre unsupported statements such as “..the very idea of abiotic oil is so far flung and completely without either experimental, empirical or theoretical sense that to even spout such nonsense on what is supposed to be a science blog is contemptible. I speak from knowledge, I have an organic geochemistry background and have worked in the oil industry for some 30+ years.” – fallacious as the day is long, but few challenge this dogmatic declaration.

      “…dealing with how best to do away with the evil of scepticism and get the human race to focus all its efforts on saving the planet.”
      We are open minded, as long as you agree with us!

      “Abiotic oil exists in abundance to magnitude of magnitudes in quantities everywhere in the Solar system – except on earth where none of it exists – Earth is ‘special’ – what happens here does not happen anywhere else, and what happens “out there” does not happen here”

      “The planets are warming up, due to the Sun – but nope, not the Earth. Earth is different, and here on Earth it must be man doing the warming. What happens to the rest of the Solar System does not happen on Earth – Earth is ‘special’ – with its own laws of nature”

      Sound familiar?

      The point:
      Science – all science – is in a heap of trouble.
      The causes: government-supported science.

      Politics and adherence to dogma is replacing the scientific method – and though Climatology is the most glowing example, this disease is everywhere.

      …and no less present in the people on this blog – though aware of it when it is on their darling side-topic, they are as much stuck in it elsewhere and blind to it.

  158. As a side note, some of the energy touts have been reporting that the Saudi formations actually extend across the Red Sea and into East Africa, where massive new plays are being explored.

  159. Black Flag,

    You are exactly the sort of relativist that gives the AGW faithful something to point at and say “see, those sceptics are actually just anti-science”. Just out of curiosity, where do you stand onn the Skydragons?

    I agree that pure argument from authority is lazy, and fallacious. However, there really are are areas in which people do know a great deal, and their opponents are basically ignorant and/ or acting in bad faith. Just because argument from authority can, and has often has been used to stifle debate, doesn’t mean that everyone’s argument is worth the same. Entitled to your own opinion but not own facts and all that.

    I won’t bother corresponding further with you, life is too short. However. I’d still like an answer to the simple question I posed about where the vast abiotic fields are. “The Russians” is a (rather large) group of people, not an oil field. An actual producing field name and location, is what I was after.

    Oh, and where did you get the quote “Abiotic oil exists in abundance to magnitude of magnitudes in quantities everywhere in the Solar system – except on earth where none of it exists – Earth is ‘special’ – what happens here does not happen anywhere else, and what happens “out there” does not happen here”. Looks like something more from your fevered imagination, but I’m happy to be corrected.

    • Jimbo

      Black Flag, You are exactly the sort of relativist that gives the AGW faithful something to point at and say “see, those sceptics are actually just anti-science”.

      No, Jimbo – you are the example of doing exactly what you complain – you cannot explain a fact – abiotic existence of complex hydrocarbons throughout out the Solar System, but by mere assumption claim it cannot exist on Earth

      Just out of curiosity, where do you stand onn the Skydragons?

      That is so puerile, Jim

      It is a FACT that abiotic hydrocarbons exist. But to you, it must be a fantasy.

      However, there really are are areas in which people do know a great deal, and their opponents are basically ignorant and/ or acting in bad faith.

      Sorry Jim, my question was simple and straightforward.

      The Solar system is awash with hydrocarbons – including complex ones.
      You state – without reservation – that the abiotic nature of the Solar System – does not exist on Earth.

      You give no reason for such a situation.

      “The Russians” is a (rather large) group of people, not an oil field.

      Don’t be obtuse – it makes you appear childish.

      “Abiotic oil exists in abundance to magnitude of magnitudes in quantities everywhere in the Solar system – except on earth where none of it exists – Earth is ‘special’ – what happens here does not happen anywhere else, and what happens “out there” does not happen here”. Looks like something more from your fevered imagination, but I’m happy to be corrected.

      So now you are DENYING abiotic hydrocarbons throughout the Solar System????
      I know you deny them on Earth – but you offer no reason for this.

    • Doug
      Some comets contain “massive amounts of an organic material almost identical to high grade oil shale (kerogen),” the equivalent of cubic kilometers of such mixed with other material; for instance, corresponding hydrocarbons were detected during a probe fly-by through the tail of Comet Halley in 1986.

      ^ Dr. A. Zuppero, U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. Discovery Of Water Ice Nearly Everywhere In The Solar System
      ^ Huebner, Walter F.(Ed) (1990). Physics and Chemistry of Comets. Springer-Verlag.

  160. I don’t dismiss the Russians at all. Every international conference I attend, I go to their presentations, and they look for biotic, organic rich source rocks, just like the rest of us do. All of their oil can be tied back to organic source rocks.

    The current production boom from shales is the final death of the abiotic theory. We can produce directly from the source rocks by drilling horizontally and fracking the heck out of it. We produce oil with complex hydrocarbon chains, such as C30 steranes from these shales, hydrocarbons which match the algal component of the shale. It is very difficult to go from some frozen ball of methane to complex waxes, and then somehow get those long chain hydrocarbons into rocks which are impermiable and must be fracked to get the oil out. The oil is organic, deposited with the shale, end of story.

    The fact that we can now produce from those rich shales, pushes peak oil way into the future. The energy required to produce oil from those shales was until recently too high; now it is definitely feasible, and getting cheaper and more efficient every day.

    Thanks to Rockdoc for bringing some facts to this regular WUWT trainwreck in my absence.

  161. Doug – All of their oil can be tied back to organic source rocks.
    ============
    Nonsense. Biological petroleum violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Here is the link again – in case you missed it the first time:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/99/17/10976.full

    The petroleum industry doesn’t care about thermodynamic laws, since the perception of scarcity is more profitable than reality. (Google: oil company memos + refinery)
    But you should care, and anyone interested in reality and science should care about the 2nd thermodynamic law. Just pretending that petroleum is magically upgraded biological debris while repeating claims that there is an abundance of evidence, without actually furnishing any, isn’t helpful. You seem be promoting faith in fossil fuels, not evidence-based reasoning.
    Richard Dawkins taught me to ask of any explanation: Where Is the Evidence For That? (Google: Dawkins, Dear Juliet). There is an abundance of evidence proving that life comes from petroleum, not vice-versa. Here is what a fraction of that evidence looks like:

    http://living-petrol.blogspot.com/

    Fossil fuel is an anti-scientific gravy train, not a description of reality.

  162. Ken Hall says that there is strong evidence of oil being produced at depths far below what is reachable with current drilling technology, and that some fields are refilling from below. I don’t know that this is not true, but I’m wondering what the evidence is? I have only read about one oil field where significant refilling with oil from below has occurred and that is the Eugene Island field in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the coast of Louisiana. This was a medium sized field that did refill with oil, apparently due to a fault-created opening at the bottom of the main oil-containing rock formation, into a lower level oil reservoir that had never been produced. But this is the only such field I have ever heard about. It is actually not that unusual to have multiple “stacked” reservoirs in a given oil producing area, with the lower formations holding crude oil that contains biological markers from earlier geological periods (typically from past periods of extreme global warming when oil is thought to have been formed). However, once you go deeper than about 15,000 feet nearly all of the oil will have been “cooked” into the form of natural gas by the elevated temperatures and pressures as you go deeper. In fact, oil geologists call the range from 5,000 to 15,000 feet, the “oil window” because this is nearly always where the mostly liquid (and not gas) hydrocarbons are found. Then there is another big limitation at around 50,000 feet (as I recall) as the temperature reaches the point where steel (and therefore the drill itself) starts to melt!

  163. To Jean de Peyrelongue: I sincerely thought that I was sticking to the topic. The question of whether or not most oil fields are refilled from below (and how fast) seems quite relevant to a discussion of world “oil production”, as this is labeled. And I was directly replying to a comment from Ken Hall which first raised both the refilling issue, and also the broader question of “abiotic oil”. Does it really exist, or is all crude oil biological in origin, as most modern scientists believe? And if abiotic oil exists, can it make a difference in the upcoming challenge of maintaining our growth-dependent modern civilization, even as several billion more human beings seek to adopt a more “western”, high-energy lifestyle, with cars, computers, air conditioning, etc? A lifestyle that has been dangled seductively before their eyes in magazines, TV, movies, advertising – and now with much of this media onslaught converging in even more persuasive form on the Internet.

  164. L.T. Josserand – biological petroleum violates the 2nd thermodynamic law.
    That fact has been stated several times here, with a link to the peer-reviewed equations in the post of mine immediately preceding your own. In your first post you claimed, ipse dixit, that petroleum geologists place the oil window at 15,000 feet. But Deepwater Horizon drilled to over twice that depth (35,000 ft), and found an oil volcano where you say it shouldn’t exist.
    Please review my post preceding yours, and check the references. Don’t be willfully blind.

  165. Khwarizmi,
    The lower oil window is not actually a depth, but a temperature range. The lower depth of 15,000 ft is a (very) rough rule of thumb for where temperatures usually get high enough to crack the oil to gas. If there is oil at 35,000ft, presumably either temperatures are maintained lower, deeper there, (pressure will also enter into the oils stability). Note that the lower oil window doesn’t really have any implications for biogenic oil theories, or at least none that don’t equally apply to abiogenic oil. Or are you claiming that temperature doesn’t crack oil? I would presume that nobody could be that obtuse, but then after reading some of the rubbish posted here, one can’t be too sure.

    Oh, about “biological petroleum violates the 2nd thermodynamic law. That fact has been stated several times here…” Just stating it doesn’t make it so. The peer-reviewed paper you seem to rely on has also been utterly peer-pilloried and peer-destroyed. Start here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-3928.2006.tb00271.x/abstract.

  166. JimboW – when you can quote the relevant section in the Glasby meta-study that addresses thermodynamic constraints – let us all know. Please? Quote the passage.
    Formation of higher hydrocarbons in the upper layers of the Earth’s crust occurs only as the result of Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions in the presence of hydrogen gas but is otherwise not possible on thermodynamic grounds.” – Glasby, 2006
    That’s from the paper you indirectly referenced. You see I’ve actually read the paper, not just a 2nd hand misrepresentation of it. Note my preference for primary sources.
    Note all the life in the oceans thriving on petroleum. It’s been doing that for billions of years – before photosynthesis evolved. Good luck explaining that one with “fossil” fuel.

    Freddy Hutter, TrendLines Research
    (1) consensus is called the bandwagon fallacy
    (2) consensus of “experts” is the bandwagon fallacy plus appeal to authority.
    (3) “junk science” is an appeal to ridicule.
    I’m only persuaded by evidence – not by your deployment of fallacies.
    Serpentinisation on Earth (NOAA) and Titan (NASA) represent evidence.

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