The End of Oil and Gas

By Andy May

The end of oil and gas has been predicted on a regular basis since 1885, yet today we use more of both than ever before and no end is in sight in the data available. Figure 1 shows worldwide energy consumption by fuel since 1965 and projected to 2035 by BP in billion tonnes of oil equivalent, it shows substantial growth in both oil and gas.

Figure 1. Worldwide energy consumption by type of fuel. Source: BP Energy Outlook 2017.


Figure 1 shows 35% growth in oil consumption from 1990 to 2015 and projects 14% growth from 2015 to 2035. Similarly, natural gas grew 77% from 1990 to 2015 and is expected to grow 37% from 2015 to 2035. The projections of ExxonMobil, the IEA and the EIA are similar. So, how do we make sense of the recent claims that we have reached peak oil or are about to?

Ian Chapman, in a 2013 paper in Energy Policy conveniently lists recent “peak oil” dates as estimated by recent authors in Table 1 (his Tables 1 and 2) by late and early projected dates (Chapman 2014).

Table 1. Ian Chapman’s compilation of late and early “peak oil” projections from the literature. Source: (Chapman 2014).


As we can see in Chapman’s tables there is a distinct difference between the ExxonMobil, BP and IEA projections and the earlier dates presented in some of the academic literature. Let’s review some historical predictions of the end of oil and discuss why there is so much uncertainty.

Many of the following quotes are from the post “We’ve been Incorrectly Predicting Peak Oil for over a Century,” by Matt Novak, here. Others are from Daniel Yergin’s book The Prize (Yergin 1991).

1885, the Pennsylvania State Geologist: “the amazing exhibition of oil was only a ‘temporary and vanishing phenomenon – one which young men will live to see come to its natural end.”

1885, John Archbold, partner in Standard Oil: “I’ll drink every gallon of oil found west of the Mississippi”

1909: Titusville Herald: “Petroleum has been used for less than 50 years, and it is estimated that the supply will last about 25 or 30 years longer. If production is curtailed and waste stopped it may last till the end of the century. The most important effects of its disappearance will be in the lack of illuminants. Animal and vegetable oils will not begin to supply its place. This being the case, the reckless exploitation of oil fields and the consumption of oil for fuel should be checked.” Link.

1919, Oil and Gas News: “In meeting the world’s needs, however, the oil from the United States will continue to occupy a less and less dominant position, because within the next two to five years the oil fields of this country will reach their maximum production and from [then] on we will face an ever-increasing decline.”

1920, US President Wilson: “There seemed to be no method by which we could assure ourselves of the necessary supply [of oil] at home and abroad.” Link.

In 1920 oil prices spiked to $38 (2017 $). Everyone seemed to think that the end of oil was near. Demand was going through the roof due to the popularity of gasoline powered automobiles, especially the iconic Ford Model T, which sold for $250 in 1914. At this time the Model T dominated the market and the production time had dropped to 93 minutes per car.

In 1909 the new Hughes two-cone drill bit was entering the oil field and was so successful that by 1914 it was in use in eleven U.S. states and 13 foreign countries. The new bit (see figure 2) drilled wells as much as 11 times faster than the earlier spade type “fishtail” drill bits. The current “tri-cone” drill bit was invented in 1933 by Hughes Tool Company engineers, it provides more downhole stability than the original bit.

Figure 2. The Hughes “two-cone” or “bi-cone” roller drill bit, introduced in 1908. Source (Wells 2016)


Another early innovation that helped discover and produce more oil and gas was the invention of surface mapping to find subsurface anticlines that often form traps for oil and gas. In 1910-1915 Charles Gould, Everett Carpenter, Erasmus Haworth and others (Skelton 2012) used this technique to map an anticline that became the giant El Dorado oil and gas field in Kansas in 1914. El Dorado has produced over 300 million barrels of oil and is thought to be the first oil field found with scientific techniques (Kansas Sampler).

Not long after surface mapping became a common exploration technique, reflection seismic began to be used to find structural traps in Oklahoma. This technique was used to find the Seminole Field in 1928 (Figure 3). The final new technique to increase oil production discovered during the 1920 “oil crisis” was water flooding. This came into common use in Pennsylvania in 1921 when the state legalized the practice. It extended the life and increased the production of oil in the large Bradford oil field. Water flooding is being tried in unconventional shale reservoirs and many show a positive response, see here and here.

Figure 3. A granite marker placed on I-35 in Oklahoma where the first discovery was made using reflection seismic mapping. Source: The American Oil and Gas Historical Society.


These four exploration and production technologies, along with advances in wellbore surveying (wireline logging) and in coring (removing rock cores or cylinders from wellbores) and rock core analysis, greatly increased the volume of oil and gas that could be found and produced. This kept prices stable for decades.

1937, Captain H. A. Stuart, director of the US Naval Petroleum Reserves (NPR): “We have been making estimates [of oil supply] for the last 15 years,’ Stuart said. ‘We always underestimate because of the possibility of discovering new oil fields. The best information is that the present supply will last only 15 years. That is a conservative estimate.”

An article on this estimate, from the time is shown in Figure 4. This estimate was widely circulated and believed at the time. It is interesting that the newspaper shown in Figure 4 also has a front-page article on the growth in oil production.

Figure 4. A 1937 newspaper article claiming oil will only last 15 years.


1941: US Dept. of the Interior: “American oil supplies will last only another 13 years.”

1943, Oil and Gas Journal: “There is a growing opinion that the United States has reached its peak oil production, the Oil and Gas Journal pointed out in its current issue. Since 1938, discoveries of new oil have not equaled withdrawals, in any single year, although there is a very good chance that 1943 will see enough new Ellenburger oil in West Texas to provide an excess.”

1956, Hubbert: “M. King Hubbert of the Shell Development Co. predicted [one year ago] that peak oil production would be reached in the next 10 to 15 years and after that would gradually decline.”

1957: The residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma buried a car as part of a large time capsule. They buried containers of gasoline with it because they feared there would be no gasoline in 2007 when the capsule was to be opened. Link.

May, 1972, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Richard Wilson: “At any rate, U.S. oil supplies will last only 20 years. Foreign supplies will last 40 or 50 years but are increasingly dependent upon world politics.”

1977, US Department of Energy Organization Act: “As a nation, Americans have been reluctant to accept the prospect of physical shortages. We must recognize that world oil production will likely peak in the early 1990’s, and from that point on will be on a declining curve. By the early part of the 21st century, we must face the prospect of running out of oil and natural gas.” Link.

1978: Glenn Seaborg, chairman AEC: “We are living in the twilight of the petroleum age.”

1980, Dr. Hans Bethe: The world will reach peak oil production before the year 2000.

1996, Dr. Richard Smalley: “…oil production will likely peak by 2020 and start declining. “

In 1997 Mitchell Energy, in The Woodlands, Texas tried the “slick water frack” in the Barnett Shale. This was a technique, originally developed by UPR that used water, sand and small amounts of polymers for lubrication to hydraulically fracture a reservoir. UPR (Union Pacific Resources) had not used the technique in shale but had used it successfully in other rocks. Nick Steinsberger, a Mitchell Energy engineer, obtained the details and from UPR and their permission to use the technique in the Barnett shale play and it worked beyond their expectations. The first well they tried it on was the S.H. Griffin #4, which produced 1.3 million cubic feet of gas a day for the first 90 days, an unbelievable amount for the time (A North Texans for Natural Gas Special Report 2016).

They were also one of the first companies to use microseismic monitoring to evaluate their hydraulic fractures, this is a critical technology used to optimize well spacing in a reservoir. These two technologies, the slick water frack and the microseismic, were in use at Mitchell Energy when Devon Energy bought the company in 2001. In house, Devon had a very experienced horizontal well completions team and after the acquisition of Mitchell they combined the three technologies to build a successful shale gas and shale oil operation by 2005.

2002, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden: “Global supplies of crude oil will peak as early as 2010 and then start to decline, ushering in an era of soaring energy prices and economic upheaval — or so said an international group of petroleum specialists meeting Friday.” Link.

2005, Chris Skrebowski, editor of the Energy Institute in London Petroleum Review: “We should be worried. Time is short, and we are not even at the point where we admit we have a problem … Governments are always excessively optimistic. The problem is that the peak, which I think is 2008, is tomorrow in planning terms.”

Massive shale gas and shale oil development had just started and would become a major source of new oil and gas by 2008, so Skrebowski’s timing was awful. Link.

The Current Oil “Crisis”

In constant U.S. dollars, oil prices peaked between 2011 and 2014 (see Figure 9) and then began to fall due to oversupply. The oversupply was primarily due to the rise in shale oil production in the U.S. and Canada, Iran’s re-entry into the oil markets and growth in offshore oil and gas production. Other important factors were the reopening of Japan’s nuclear reactors, a decline in industrial production in Japan, Germany, France and China; all in 2014 (Austin 2014).

We are hearing a lot about “Peak Oil” and “the end of oil.” These claims have always been with us whenever there are price fluctuations. However, this author thinks we are entering a period of relative price stability in the oil and gas markets. As in times past, whenever oil and gas prices rise, new technology brings more oil and gas to market. The great innovations emerging from the most recent price instability are the shale revolution and advances in deep-water oil and gas production. These have opened vast new technically recoverable reserves. The shale revolution is well entrenched in the U.S. and Canada where the technology was developed, but it is only beginning to be used in other parts of the world. As the rest of the world adopts shale production technology oil and gas production will increase and become cheaper with scale and experience.

New innovations in deep-water exploration and production may be even more important than the shale revolution. Seventy percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, and as oil and gas exploration and production reaches deeper water, new reserves become accessible.

Technology, Price and Oil Supply

I’ve previously written that technically recoverable oil and gas reserves (or resources, if you prefer that term) are much larger than assumed by peak oil enthusiasts. But, even that conservative estimate of over eight trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil equivalent (at prices seen recently) is probably too low. Advancing deep-water drilling and production technology has opened huge new prospective areas, as seen in Figure 5.

Figure 5. The new areas opened with recent advances in technology are shown in purple.

Additional areas will be opened as the nascent technology matures. In particular, portions of the submerged continent of Zealandia and even parts of the Ontong Java submarine plateau might be added to the list soon, see Figure 6.

Figure 6. Location map for Zealandia and Ontong Java. Source: The Guardian.

In Figure 7 we see the steady march of oil exploration (green triangles) and production (red boxes) into deeper and deeper water. With current technology there may be no water-depth limit to exploration or production of hydrocarbons.

Figure 7. Water depth is shown on the Y axis in feet on the left and meters on the right. The green curve is the water depth for drilling, the red curve is the depth for subsea production infrastructure and the blue curve is the water depth for floating production facilities, such as FPSOs (Floating production, storage and offloading ships). Source (Barton 2014), a full-size image of Figure 6 can be downloaded here.

As of 2014, the deepest water-depth actually drilled in was 10,411 feet, although deeper depths are possible with existing equipment. The deepest water depth for existing subsea production equipment and pipelines was 9,627 feet and the deepest water under a floating production facility was 8,200 feet. There is no reason why these depths cannot be exceeded in the future as the technology improves. This opens a new world of prospective oil and gas reserves that is much, much larger than what we can explore today.

We have listed numerous false predictions of the end of oil, so let’s look at a successful prediction of oil and gas technology. See Figure 8.

Figure 8. Across the top of the figure are artists conceptions of future offshore oil and gas technology from 1947 and 1959. Across the bottom are modern pictures of the technology come to life. Source: (Barton 2014).

Discussion and Conclusions

Technology drives oil and gas exploration and development opportunities and price drives technology development. It is a pattern that the world has seen time and time again. Demand increases, supply is slow to follow, and prices go up. High prices kick the oil and gas industry into high gear and it develops new technology that increases reserves and production rates and prices fall. Figure 9 compares the history of oil and gas to technology developments and to world events.

Figure 9. The light green line is the crude oil price back to 1861 in 2017 dollars. Source of the price graph: The 2017 BP statistical review, page 20. Significant world events are shown across the top and significant advances in oil and gas exploration and production technology are shown in the boxes in the interior of the graph. A larger and easier read graph can be downloaded here.

In Figure 9 we see that oil prices are quite volatile through most of the 150 years plus of the “Age of Oil,” the only period of price stability is the period from 1930 to 1973. This period includes a worldwide depression and World War II, so it cannot be attributed to politics. As seen on the graph, the period from 1910 to 1930 saw the oil and gas exploration and production industry grow from drilling near oil seeps and pumping the heck out of each well, to using well developed scientific and engineering technology to find and produce the oil and gas. This technology kept supply high and prices low for a long time. This was the period of developing what we now call “conventional” oil and gas.

There has been a great deal of debate over the definition of “conventional” and “unconventional” oil and gas. Some define conventional oil as any oil less dense than water and some define it as oil from higher permeability rocks (Höök 2014). Some writers lump ultra-deep-water production in with unconventional production, due to the high costs associated with ultra-deep-water developments ( and (Somarin 2014)). But, most writers simply define conventional oil so their prediction of “peak [conventional] oil” will be correct and, generally writers who define “conventional” in similar ways, make similar predictions:

“There is more or less a consensus about peak [conventional] oil among experts, although this haven’t [sic] seeped into the public mindset yet.” (Höök 2014)

“But the evidence is that conventional oil production has peaked, and prices will rise, though this is unlikely to benignly encourage a shift to new fuels.” (Chapman 2014)

“Given these complexities, we suggest that there is a significant risk of a peak in conventional oil production before 2020. At present, most OECD governments are failing to give serious consideration to this risk, despite its potentially far-reaching consequences.” (Sorrell, et al. 2010)

Notice I had to add “conventional” to the first quote, although, in the context of his slide, that was clearly what Mikael Höök and the UKERC (UK Energy Research Centre) meant. In our opinion, the consensus “peak [conventional] oil” concept hasn’t seeped into the public mindset, because it doesn’t matter. Predictions of peak “conventional” oil are pointless, ephemeral academic exercises. In reality, there are economic oil and gas wells and uneconomic oil and gas wells. No one cares if the gasoline going into their car is from some arbitrary definition of conventional or unconventional oil. Unconventional oil today will be conventional tomorrow, this is truly a distinction without a difference.

Some writers claim only conventional oil matters:

“The core issue for future supply is the extent and the rate of depletion of conventional oil, since this currently provides around 95% of global all-liquids supply.” (Miller and Sorrell 2013)

One solution, offered immediately after this quote by Miller and Sorrell, is to replace the conventional oil with unconventional. Why would conventional oil continue to be 95% of global supply? When all known surface oil seeps had been drilled in 1910 similar things were said, but then geologists simply started mapping surface anticlines and using reflection seismic to look for oil. As problems are encountered, we fix them.

There are a mix of economic (i.e. profitable at current prices) wells and uneconomic wells, companies work hard to increase the former and decrease the latter, they do this for both conventional wells and unconventional wells. Experience in a hydrocarbon play, for example the Barnett Shale or the Eagle Ford shale helps a great deal, as does experience in a play type. In the early days of a play, the ratio is not very good, as time goes on the ratio improves and costs go down. The Barnett Shale can be called a mature play now, the good areas are known, the best completion techniques are known, and it is very profitable. In the Eagle Ford, which is a newer play, it is getting better, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

In short, just because 95% of the oil is from historical “conventional” field types, does not mean that will continue. Other sources of oil will be found and developed if there is demand at the price required to make the fields profitable. The limit on the supply of oil has nothing to do with whether it is conventional or unconventional. It has everything to do with demand at the price required to make a profit. Once the price reaches a level where people find another energy source preferable, oil and gas will decline. As long as the price can go up, additional resources will always be found. We agree with Peter Jackson and Leta Smith:

“We do not dispute that supply will plateau and eventually fall; the question is when, how and at what price? As the plateau approaches, oil prices are likely to increase strongly, with some very severe spikes along the way.” (Jackson and Smith 2013)

The pessimistic academic studies do not understand how the oil and gas business operates, Jackson and Smith (2013) make more sense. They do not expect the plateau of oil production to occur before 2040, but it will happen eventually. The timing will be determined by the demand response to increased oil and gas prices. Higher prices will be required to pay for new extraction and exploration techniques and prices cannot climb forever. The current large price advantage of fossil fuels must end sometime.

The pessimists are attempting to study the dynamic supply-and-demand oil and gas market as a static business. All established oil and gas companies have very positive cash flow from old fields, mostly “conventional” fields. This money is used to fund new ventures, currently these are usually “unconventional” or deep-water fields. These may not even be cash-flow positive, but they could be in the future. If they work, the company learns how to operate them profitably and is successful, this is often called the oil and gas development “learning curve.”

The learning curve in shale oil and gas wells has been very successful and the average annual production cost has dropped from around $29 in 2008 to $23 per BOE in 2016 (Kim and Lee 2017). If oil and gas prices are increasing, the learning curve will show little improvement and can be negative if a lot of new operators are entering the play. Besides new operators, new service companies can cause cost increases. But once prices are static or falling the learning curve really kicks into gear as service companies must decrease their prices to retain business. Efficiency gains by operating companies (oil and gas companies) are dramatic in a falling price environment as unsuccessful operators go out of business and only the most successful and efficient companies survive. The oil and gas business is all about managing risk and opportunity over very long periods of time, in high price environments and in low price environments.

As oil and gas prices go up, the available supply increases rapidly as expensive EOR (enhanced oil recovery) techniques (Muggeridge, et al. 2014), and shelved deep-water prospects, and unconventional fields suddenly become profitable. Project portfolios become riskier in periods of increasing prices, but managed correctly, the winners make more than the losers lose.

One thing that is always true, if you stand still you get run over. Many companies go bankrupt trying new things and we don’t hear much about them, all ideas do not work. A few try new things and succeed big, those we hear a lot about. Existing companies that stay static and don’t try new things also die, frequently. Static analysis of the oil and gas business is inappropriate.

Works Cited

A North Texans for Natural Gas Special Report. 2016. “An Energy Revolution: 35 Years of Fracking in the Barnett Shale.”

Austin, Steve. 2014. “Oil Price Drops on Oversupply.”, Oct. 6.

Barton, Christopher. 2014. Introduction to Deepwater Development. Expert Lecture, Wood Group Mustang and the University of Houston.

Chapman, Ian. 2014. “The end of Peak Oil? Why this topic is still relevant despite recent denials.” Energy Policy 64: 93-101.

Höök, Mikael. 2014. “Depletion of conventional hydrocarbons: recent perspectives on oil, gas and coal.” Beyond Peak Oil: the future of energy. Barbastro, Spain.

Jackson, Peter, and Leta Smith. 2013. “Exploring the undulating plateau: the future of global oil supply.” Edited by Richard Miller and Steve Sorrel. Philopsophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Kim, Jong-Hyun, and Yong-Gil Lee. 2017. “Analyzing the Learning Path of US Shale Players by Using the Learning Curve Method.” Sustainablity 9.

Miller, Richard, and Steven Sorrell. 2013. “The Future of Oil Supply.” In Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, by Richard Miller and Steven Sorrell, 1-27. Royal Society Publishing.

Muggeridge, Ann, Andrew Cockin, Kevin Webb, Harry Frampton, Ian Collins, Tim Moulds, and Peter Salino. 2014. “Recovery rates, enhanced oil recovery and technological limits.” Edited by Richard Miller and Steve Sorrell. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

Skelton, Lawrence. 2012. “Striking it big in Kansas.” AAPG Explorer, November.

Somarin, Ali. 2014. Unconventional Oil Exploration, Part 3: Ultra-deepwater Oil. Oct. 21.

Sorrell, Steve, Richard Miller, Roger Bentley, and Jamie Speirs. 2010. “Oil futures: A comparison of global supply forecasts.” Energy Policy 38 (9).

Wells, Bruce. 2016. “Energy Pipeline: Making Hole – The Rock Eater.” The Tribune, October 9.

Yergin, Daniel. 1991. The Prize, The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power. New York: Touchstone.

321 thoughts on “The End of Oil and Gas

  1. Good discussion of the prospective petroleum supply situation, depending upon the price of crude.

    There’s also the demand side. Widespread adoption of nuclear power could supplant petroleum-powered transport with electric cars, and trucks could go with natural gas. Economics might make coal gassification more attractive, or liquefying NG.

  2. Its a fool’s game to make predictions, but I predict that renewables will not grow as fast as projected in the above plot.

    Within the coming 7 to 10 years, there will be ever growing realisation of the problems with renewables caused by their unreliable and intermittent nature, and that they do not in fact lead to any significant reduction in CO2, because of the need for reliable back up from conventional fossil fuels. In 10 years time many windfarms will have come to the end of their useful life, and many will not be renewed, and it will be uncommercial to repair them. They will simply fall out of the grid./

    This together with a realisation that Climate Sensitivity is far lower than currently considered, is likely to result in a scale back of renewables.

    Nuclear is simply too politically toxic for Governments to handle, and is likely to come of age only when fission is commercially viable.

    Fracking and a switch to gas is the short term future, at least until there is a very significant breakthrough in battery technology.

    • Except of course where governments don’t care much about peoples’ opinions.

      Communist China has 37 nuclear power reactors in operation, 20 under construction, and more about to start construction. The reactors under construction include some of the world’s most advanced, to give a 70% increase of nuclear capacity to 58 GWe by 2020-21. Plans are for up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.

    • Agree with your thinking about renewables, but you meant to say fusion I think, not fission.

      Fusion is the energy source of the future. Always has been, always will be. When did they first start promising us fusion in 30-40 years, was it 50 years ago roughly?

      • IMO, instead of awaiting fusion, we should be building modern fission power plants right now.

        • Sure, let’s. I approve. Too bad we’re badly outnumbered by the folks who are haunted by the thousands of senseless deaths in Fukushima. Yeah, I know, nobody died. Well, there’s also Three Mile Island. Yeah, again nobody died. But Chernobyl. Millions died there, didn’t they? Well, apparently 28 firefighters died of radiation after a reckless experiment using an inherently unsafe reactor. In 1933, 29 firefighters were killed fighting a wildfire in Los Angeles.

          There were more traffic fatalities (36) in the US in the year 1900 (not a typo, 118 years ago), than died in Chernobyl. It’s unbelievable that they allowed cars to continue after that calamity. As of the latest statistics from 2016, we have about 3.7 Chernobyl death tolls PER DAY from traffic fatalities in the US alone.

          And also CO2 is a beneficial trace gas, but the world doesn’t run on facts, does it?

          • Apparently not.

            Japan is also a geologically active island chain with frequent tsunamis. Modern power plants are inherently safer, nor need they be built in earthquake-prone areas, close to the sea. The US has lots of convenient inland bodies of water for cooling purposes.

      • New fusion reactor designs are supplanting the failed tokamak approach of magnetic confinement. Some designs are very elegant and entering the final phase of the experimental phase that will use Hydrogen -Boron fuel to create super-high temperature (3 B degree C), aneutronic reactions and very cheap electric power production.

        LPPFusion and affiliate labs art UC-San diego and Polish national labs are prime example of a technology called Dense Plasma focus.

        Great explanatory videos here.

        UC San Diego Collaboration with LPPFusion

        • That’s interesting, checked the videos on their website and the claim is that they could be mass-producing within a decade. All they need is for us to make a contribution. Hmmm. So they have the most promising technology that will give us near-infinite pollution-free electricity that costs far less than any existing source of energy, but they need me to donate because governments won’t, and apparently no rich folks can see an angle on how to make money with this?

          Call me a skeptic. Have we forgotten cold fusion already?

          Sure hope that I’m wrong.

          • LPPFusion has already hit two of three criteria for achieving net fusion and published the results in peer reviewed literature. That’s why there is an affiliation agreement in place with UC Sand Diego and Polish National Labs in Warsaw. Currently LPPFusion is #5 on fusion energy output and is far and away the most cost-effective fusion research project underway.


            So your implication of something untowardly going on is no more than a slur and has no basis in fact.

            Venture capitalists want control the entire project and could have buried it. The US government early on invested a small amount but prefers to waste billions on failed tokamak programs. LPPFusion has turned to private, crowd funding and succeeded in raising sufficient funds to complete the final phase of the experimental design.

            LPPFusion has been reviewed by teams of top fusion

          • I’m not suggesting it’s a scam per se. I’m suggesting that if the research were as promising as they would have us believe, investors would be beating a path to their door.

            I’m sure we all hope they succeed. Except for those of us in the pay of evil oil companies, of course/sarc

          • You’re naive about VC money. They come with lots of strings attached. One critical factor is that LPPFusion chief scientist Eric Lerner is committed to providing electricity from the FF-1 reactor at the lowest price possible (about one cent a kWhr).

            He also wants to license the technology to engineering firms to commercialize the technology, rather than create a rent seeking-monopoly. If successful, investors stand to reap gigantic profits.

            But for VC types, only monopoly windfalls are acceptable… so they’ll seek to price electricity just low enough to drive out all competitors and then reap monopoly profits. Lerner refuses to play that game.

            Hence, the turns to smaller investors and crowd-funding.

      • Basically we have already hit Peak Fusion.

        But seriously, I loved this presentation and the discussion which has followed. I’ve worked in the petrochemical industry for 30 years. R&D, Production QC and now Logistics.

        I keep hoping for a revival of fission and the development of fusion. I’ve thought having a nuclear power plant near the ocean for the purpose of creating hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles would be a great way to power vehicles.

        I’ve heard it here before. The Stone Age didn’t end from a lack of stones. Oil and gas will power us into the next energy revolution.

        • Not true. LPPFusion plans to load the Hydrogen Boron fuel into their reactor by early ’19… then we’ll see what “Peak Fusion” looks like… until then claims that the Peak has been reached already have no basis in fact.

      • Yes, I did mean fusion.

        Brain fade. That is the problem of commenting at 2 am in the morning, after having had a few drinks celebrating England’s win in the world cup. That is a rare event in deed.

        There is no reason to believe that fusion is just around the corner, but then again, breakthroughs often come suddenly and unexpectedly. I am not holding my breath on it, and there is no need to since fortunately, we have plenty of gas and coal for this century and the next.

        • According to Dr Lerner at LPPFusion, the promises started in the 50s.

          So 60 years ago, the promise was commercially-viable fusion power 30-40 years in the future, and it’s probably still at least 30-40 years away today. In the 2050s, when they will have been promising for a century that fusion is theoretically possible but its practical application is probably 30-40 years in the future, there will still be plenty of people who fervently believe. Like a donkey with a carrot on a stick strapped to its back, it’s a tantalizing prize, just out of reach. If we just keep moving forward…

          I hope that I will still be alive to admit I was wrong. I will take no pleasure in saying “see I told you so!”

          I hope to see a Libertarian president attend her Inauguration speech, arriving in a ceramic capacitor powered electric flying limousine, charged by inherently safe and clean fusion power in 2028. After the USA defeats defending champion England to win the World Cup for the second time. Yes, I believe, I believe!!

          • Virtually all fusion research has been conducted on a single design, namely the tokamak. According to the former chief of fusion energy for the DoE, Robert Hirsch, tokamaks will NEVER be a viable commercial design. Yet governments persist on this path, including the US government.

            Since 2000 several private firms have developed new designs for fusion reactors based on other aspects of plasma physics. LPPFusion has been the most successful to date and the most promising. We’ll know for sure on a relatively short timeline measured in months, not decades.

          • If only there was something like a worldwide communications network so that they could get the word out to investors and get funding. We could call it the worldwide net, or something.

            It’s hard to imagine something I’d be more pleased to be wrong about.

        • Richard–you should acquaint yourself with current fusion reactor technology … some have made amazing strides, such as LPPFusion.

    • The chart says that ‘Renewables’ account for about 25% of world consumption. HOGWASH!

      Hydro & Nuclear are listed separately, so what exactly is included in the Renewables category, and how does BP have the nerve to claim 25% of world consumption for wind, solar, and whatever other inconsequential power source?

      In the US, it’s a percent or so. In China, they’re using mostly Coal & Nuclear. France uses Nuclear, Germany uses coal, and Japan uses gas and coal. And, that’s just for electricity generation. Add in transportation fuel, and there’s no way that renewables is anywhere close to 25% worldwide.

      • ???????
        Figure 1?
        Renewables are shown as a tiny sliver of the whole.
        What are you looking at?

      • Well oil is renewable isn’t it?

        I mean if we continue to burn it, and there is no ‘peak oil’ it must be being renewed in some way or we would inevitably run out!

        I think its called abiotic isn’t it?

        Ensures endless supplies of oil created out of nothing more than people’s imaginations!

        Far OUT man!

  3. Excellent article Andy…..thank you

    If I had to guess….my guess would be we haven’t even tapped 1/10th

    • I agree – excellent article – thank you Andy.

      Recently posted:

      Here is the story of an engineer named Nick Steinsberger who, I suggest, has done more for America than all your Presidents since Eisenhower.

      The fracking revolution has put America first after decades of financial decline. If Steinsberger didn’t have such an unusual name, you should name a large state after him.

      You owe him… everything.

      Regards, Allan

      The Texas Well That Started A Revolution & Changed The World Forever
      Russell Gold, The Wall Street Journal, 29 June 2018

      Two decades ago, an engineer tried a new way to get gas out of the ground. Energy markets and global politics would never be the same.

      DISH, Texas – Twenty years ago this month, a well was drilled here that changed the world.

      Nothing at the time suggested the unassuming well in this rural town north of Fort Worth would hobble OPEC, the powerful oil cartel that had governed prices of the world’s most important commodity for more than a generation. Or that it would help turn the U.S. into a global energy exporter, or shuffle the geopolitical deck.

      But it did all of that – and more. The well used hydraulic fracturing to crack the incredibly tight shale rocks below. It fired the first shot in the fracking revolution–a blast soon felt in Riyadh, Tehran and Moscow.

      “I had no idea it would cause so much change. I was just trying to keep my job,” said Nick Steinsberger on a recent visit to the well pad. He was the engineer who obtained permission to try a new approach to completing the well that had been drilling a mile and a half deep into a thick grey wedge of rock known as the Barnett Shale.

      Mr. Steinsberger, now 54, called the experiment “my slick-water frack.” It was the first commercially successful use of sand, water and chemicals, pumped into the shale under high pressure, to break open the rock and unleash the natural gas trapped inside. It was the beginning of modern fracking.

      “It was a good well, cost $600,000 or $700,000,” Mr. Steinsberger said, walking over the pad to the chain-link fence that surrounds the well. A sign identifies it as the S. H Griffin Estate 4.

      Today, most wells drilled in the U.S. use some variation of Mr. Steinsberger’s fracking technique. It has unleashed an unimaginable wealth of natural gas, gas liquids and crude oil, turning the U.S. from an energy pauper into a muscular exporter. It also started an often acrimonious environmental debate about the potential impacts and trade offs of fracking.

      “It is one of the most extraordinarily important, disruptive, technologically driven changes in the history of energy,” said Ed Morse, global head of commodity research at Citigroup. “It was revolutionary for the U.S. economy and it was revolutionary geopolitically.”

      Mr. Steinsberger’s modest experiment demonstrated that the oil and gas industry had the tools to fracture the rocks where fossil fuels were slowly baked over the millennia. A huge trove of natural gas was accessible at an economical cost.

      It was such a novel idea that it spread slowly at first, as doubters couldn’t believe that anyone could successfully tap the source rocks. After a few years, more companies began to copy the wells drilled by Mr. Steinsberger’s employer, Mitchell Energy , the firm founded by the late George P. Mitchell.

      It started in the Barnett Shale. Then other gas-bearing shales were discovered. The Marcellus Shale in Appalachia turned out to be larger and more fecund than the Barnett.

  4. Thanks (!) for that excellent historical treatise, Andy May!
    Advancing technology keeps driving efficiency improvements and wealth creation in the oil and gas industry. And it keeps making fools of the Prophets of Doom that see resources and wealth as finite commodities.

  5. This is what we know. Petroleum is finitely available and accessible inside a near time and space, limited frame of reference (i.e. scientific logical domain). Every other pronouncement and prophecy is due to personal faith (and interest) and conflation of logical domains. What is a credible concern is the economic value of recovery, processing, conversion, and reclamation, which may indeed by a concern in a limited domain, and perhaps extra-scientific but that cannot be predicted.

    • “Petroleum is finitely available and accessible inside a near time and space, limited frame of reference (i.e. scientific logical domain).”

      If you argue petroleum itself is finitely available, then don’t you also presuppose that the processes which cause petroleum to be created (and therefore, replenished) are also finite?

      If so, what caused them to stop?

    • Clearly – petroleum is a finite resource. That said, it’s important to understand what inning we are in. 99% of the petroleum most of us have consumed came from a perfect geologic trap with a three or four way closure and an impermeable layer of some sort. This “perfect” setup was fed by source rock, which is a lot more pervasive then the traps it has filled. All of that changed in the lat 1990’s when a young engineer, Nick Steinsberger, convinced George Mitchell to give him a shot at making a commercial completion/well in the source of the hydrocarbons rather than the trap. It worked and the unconventional shale revolution was born. Initially with nat gas – who ever thought the USA would export LNG and then with oil in the Bakken in 2009 (thanks Brigham). As such, we are in the nascent stages of oil shale revolution and likely have 200+ years or more of petroleum supply because there is infinitely more source rock than the traps it filled in the early innings.

  6. Wonderful documented history. Thanks, this is great.

    You add in the methane hydrates and the oil shale, (kerogens) and the potential supply is essentially unlimited.

    The deeper we drill the more we find too. Look at the incredible flows from deep water wells.

    • A good rhetorical question deserves a good answer.
      In a word, politics. In the US, at least, the greens *hate* hydro. Hydro has two main features, a big dam and a reservoir behind it.
      The greenies hate:
      A) The dam because it is not natural and they believe it kills fish, or at least prevents them from spawning.
      B) The reservoir because it is not natural and they believe reservoirs emit huge quantities of planet destroying *methane*. The fact that the reservoir supports all kinds of life both aquatic and terrestrial and does not really emit methane, makes no impression on the greenies at all.
      A a political payoff to the greens, hydro was deemed “not renewable” so as not to encourage its use.
      Other countries will have different rules, of course. But the greens are pretty much the same throughout the western world, so similar considerations may apply to various extents.

      • Boffing 77 and TonyL,
        Herein lies a study of the irrational ‘green’ mind.

        Dams are ‘bad’ because they are unnatural, prevent fish from spawning, and interrupt the ‘natural’ flow of a river, while making renewable, free, clean, reliable and dispatchable electricity from falling water for 50 to 100 years per installation. And naturally people use the reservoirs behind the dams for irrigation water, fishing, swimming, boating, etc…… and that’s bad too.

        Wind turbines are ‘good’ because they use free, clean, intermittent wind to produce ‘renewable’ intermittent energy, while using huge oil and gas resources to mine, melt, refine, assemble, and transport all of the materials needed to make a wind turbine operational and maintained…. for 25 years, maybe. While unnaturally scimitar slicing up birds and bats during their entire service life but that’s OK! If they don’t get smashed in a wind or hail storm first.

        Solar panels are ‘good’ also because they use free, clean, intermittent sunshine to produce ‘renewable’ intermittent energy, while using huge oil and gas resources to mine, melt, refine, assemble, and transport all of the materials needed to make a solar panel operational and maintained …. for 25 years, maybe. While unnaturally occupying large tracts of land that can no longer be used by nature or man but that is OK too! If they don’t get smashed in a wind or hail storm first.

        Don’t ask me to explain how they manage the cognitive dissonance from such environ-mental gymnastics….

      • Who qualifies as a “green”? And if their arguments are so dubious and over-simplified as you suggest, how would they have any political power? Perhaps some of their arguments actually have merit. Hard to imagine, I know, since greens would all have to be imbeciles to think as you think they do – but that is a measure of what you think, not what they do.

        How about land use, for example? The Balbinda hydroelectic dam in Brazil floods an area the size of Delaware for 250 MW power generating capacity.

        I’m no more against hydroelectric than I am against fossil fuels – I’m not. My stance is that all sources of energy should be considered according to their present and future economic, environmental and social merits and demerits in a particular situation. That means that in some instances, coal will be the best and in others, solar, or hydro, or gas, etc. The problem comes when people think about the options narrowly, without considering all the factors. Or worse, when people think about the options in terms of what the other guy thinks, and so reject a power source just because the opposing political party is in favor of it.

        Stop narrow, partisan thinking! Stop hating and despising the Other long enough to listen! That goes for EVERYONE!

        • “Who qualifies as a “green”?”

          You certainly do not, Kristi.

          As evidence:

          “That means that in some instances, coal will be the best and in others, solar, or hydro, or gas, etc. The problem comes when people think about the options narrowly, without considering all the factors.”

          Like I said before…it’s so easy…just take that small, little, step …you belong over here and we’d love to have you!

          • No, I don’t belong here. That has been made very clear. I’ll find some other site. Thanks anyway.

        • Kristi,
          You castigate others contributions here as “narrow partisan thinking” and then have the temerity to malign everyone else to “stop hating and despising the other long enough to listen”??? That is some fine cognitive dissonance and mental gymnastics exhibited there….

          Ancient knowledge suits best here:
          “But why lookest thou on the mote that is in the eye of thy brother, but observest not the beam that is in thine eye?”

          • No. You missed the part about “everyone.” I’m not talking about those who are here, I’m talking about all Americans. The left are just as guilty as the right. I’m guilty, too.

        • “And if their arguments are so dubious and over-simplified as you suggest, how would they have any political power? ”

          And once again Kristi proudly displays here political naivete for all to see.

          Politicians exist for over simplified and dubious arguments.
          If we required political arguments to make sense, socialism would vanish.

          “Stop narrow, partisan thinking! Stop hating and despising the Other long enough to listen!”

          Irony is lost on the left.

      • Very large resevoirs in the wrong place can cause seismic activity detrimental to cities near the area. China killed thousands with it’s huge reservoir.

        • Davis B :
          “China killed thousands with it’s huge reservoir.”
          REALLY ????
          WHERE and WHEN please ?

          • LEO SMITH : Thanks ……BUT………….DAVID B ……. NO !
            That dam collapsed DUE TO FLOODING overwhelming it !
            It was NOT seismic activity……but still a disaster !
            MOST died from the epidemics and famine….those who drowned
            were probably the LUCKY ONES …in hindsight !
            “Casualties :
            According to the Hydrology Department of Henan Province, approximately 26,000 people died in the province[14] from flooding and another 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 5,960,000 buildings collapsed, and 11 million residents were affected. Unofficial estimates of the number of people killed by the disaster have run as high as 230,000 people”

      • Hydro is a renewable. It is usually inventoried separately from non-hydro renewables, like wind and solar, because the latter are insignificant.

    • boffin77 Definitions depend on whether one is trying to gain the political benefits from pushing to develop more “renewable energy” or claim the political benefits of having achieved “renewable energy” goals. e.g., New York is including hydro below 50 MW as renewable in current legislation. e.g., see:
      “State Authority in NY to Preempt Local Laws Regulating Renewable Energy Projects”

      Senate Bill S5549B 2017-2018 Legislative Session Relates to maintaining the continued viability of the state’s existing large-scale, renewable energy

    • I had the pleasure of driving from Vancouver to Oregon to see the eclipse last year. Saw whole landscapes around the Columbia River Valley visually polluted beyond belief by forests of unnatural windmills (few of which were rotating, strangely enough) and I saw hydro dams at places like The Dalles that were much less visually jarring, and were generating electricity.
      So if “green” means “natural” or “unobtrusive” or “made from organic materials” then windmills fail on all counts and hydro generators do better because 99% of their mass is water, which is natural and organic (no, not “organic” as in “based on carbon” but “organic” as in “contains no added unnatural stuff”) and arguably “unobtrusive” because they are well camouflaged as lakes. And if “renewable” means “extracts energy without permanently depleting a resource” then hydro is renewable but windmills I’m not so sure about because they were mostly not extracting energy when I saw them.
      TonyL: your answer sound perfectly plausible, but illustrates the doubletalk that we contend with. In Newspeak, the term “renewable” is a synonym for “something that we like” which I suspect means “something we want you to buy from us.”

    • Boffin77, Hydro is renewable. But, it takes a lot of land for a small amount of power. Most of the places in the world where that much land can be taken by the government already have dams on them. It’s renewable, but not scalable.

      • Many, if not most, people refuse to count the surface area of the reservoir as part of the hydro footprint… They would get F’s in Engineering Geology & Geotechnics.

        • I live on a pumped hydro lake – it is a wonderful reserve of water and peaking power!

  7. These arguments miss the point. There will NEVER be a shortage of oil and gas. NEVER!!! As long as the Fischer-Tropsch process exists, and carbon sources litter our forests, yards and garbage dumps, there will never ever ever be a shortage of oil and gas. The company Renewable Energy Group Symbol REGI makes a drop-in diesel fuel out of used restaurant oils. Unless we run out of carbon sources that can be converted to SYN Gas, we will never run out of fuel. These are all nonsensical hysterical arguments. kIOR, now bankrupt, has technology that uses a catalyst to convert wood into fuel. As long as forests exist, we will never run out of oil and gas. Anyone that has ever taken Organic Chemistry knows that oil and gas are nothing more than carbon chains, and everything organic has the needed carbon that can be reassembled into different length chains. Oil and gas are simply he cheapest forms of oil and gas, but the FT Process is largely economical above $60 or $70 a barrel of oil, and once investment starts in that field, the coasts will likely fall rapidly. Unfortunately, we have made solar cheap and ignored the real solutions to our energy problems.
    Google Shell Pearl Plant Gas to Liquids to see this process at a full-scale refinery.

      • Once again, google Shell Pearl Plant Gas to Liquids. If my economics are wrong, Shell just invested billions into nonsense, and the production they claim must be a lie. South Africa and Sasol has used the FT Process for decades. Facts are this process is already in use.

          • That is not true. Natural Gas is simply the cheapest feedstock for the location. Natural Gas is simply CH4 or C2H6 or C3H8 or C4H10. The process simply needs the Carbon to resemble. You can turn tree and grass clippings into syngas . Once they run out of natural gas, they will simply start importing Coal or other dense carbon sources. Once again, this is nothing but simple organic chemistry.

          • @ CO2islife:
            Is the FT process really compatible with cellulose feedstock?
            After all, cellulose is a polymer of sugar which generically is C6H12O6. That is a lot of Oxygen to deal with and it seems you would have to reduce the feedstock like crazy to get a workable product.

            At this point, we are reminded that “cellulostic ethanol” did a spectacular crash and burn because nobody knows how to make the stuff. And all this because the US Congress *mandated* the use of it, in pursuit of the “oxygenated fuels” mandate.

          • Yep, read below how Sasol does it. You just need a carbon feedstock to oxygenate and turn into SYNGAS. You can do it with anything that is carbon and will burn. CO can be converted to carbon chains and H2O.

            the FT synthesis reaction can be presented by:

            CO + nH2→(-CH2−)x+H2O

          • CO2islife: I know FT chemistry quite well. The objection I would make to your comment is the use of the word “just.” It’s “just” not that simple.

            You should consider that FT involves catalytic reactions, usually cobalt, especially for natural gas, but sometimes iron based. Cobalt is particularly sensitive to catalyst poisons and requires a 2:1 hydrogen ratio, which is good for natural gas derived syngas from reforming, which is also a catalytic process, almost always nickel based, the nickel catalyst also being very sensitive to poisons. These catalysts are not inexpensive.

            So, great effort must be placed on syngas cleanup and generation of syngas with the correct H:C ratio.

            CO likes to form metal carbonyls, which believe it or not, are more toxic than CO itself, but which corrodes normal carbon steel, placing demands on the metallurgy and making it more expensive, in addition to the moderately high temperatures and pressures used in the process. The need for compression is an energy sapper.

            In addition to producing hydrocarbons and water, FT also makes oxygenates, especially acids, alcohols and aldehydes. These must be hydrotreated or otherwise dispositioned.

            Fischer and Tropsch developed the foundation of this chemistry almost 100 years ago, but detailed mechanisms are still being debated, i.e. it’s not settled in detail.

          • OK, it isn’t as simple and making coffee, but it can, has and is being done today. It seems almost every other day I read about new advancements in the catalysts. Had we invested in this technology instead of wind and solar we would be energy independent right now.

          • But where does that carbon feedstock come from? Coal? Natural gas? Biomass?

            There isn’t enough of it ultimately to do the job.

          • Leo, Let’s say that there is sufficient coal in the word as oil feedstock for the next 300 years, so yes ultimately you are right, but that is merely an academic conclusion. There are giant untapped coalfields under the North Sea which could be mined by robots at the end of this century, that is, if the environmentalists let you do it..

          • Once again, your grass clippings can be used to make fuel. The plastic water bottle can be used to make fuel. The waste newspaper can be used. Etc etc etc. kIOR built their now bankrupt plant next to a wood pellet plant.

          • All the above and far more. As I’ve said, every carbon source that can be burned can be turned to fuel. Coal, Wood, Grass, etc etc. Algae and waste oil can also be used to create fuel. As stated above REGI already had a commercial refinery making a drop-in diesel fuel using waste oils.

          • Shell has extensive expertise in coal gasification. To support Mr. Klipstein’s point, Shell has not coupled coal gasification with FT anywhere in the world on a commercial scale.

            Qatar doesn’t have many grass clippings or trees for that matter. (Grass clippings make lousy syngas by the way because of high water content and contaminants.) Qatar does have lots of cheap natural gas and I think both you and Mr. Klipstein would agree about that.

          • Point being? That is one refinery. By the time Qutar runs out of NatGas that refinery will be buried in sand. The fact is, you can build FT refineries near lumber companies, waste facilities, farms, etc etc etc. Right now Hawaii burns their sugarcane, why not use that waste to make fuel? The entire corn stock can be used to make fuel. Strip the ear of corn and turn the stalk into gas. Etc etc etc.

          • more ignorance on display, where does the energy in grass clippings come from?

            Wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply replace grass with a solar panel?

          • Grass is a carbon source, you can burn it in low O2 to get CO. Just what ignorance am I displaying? Are you denying the FT Process works? REGI has a hydrolysis process that makes 75 million gallons per year using waste oil from restaurants. That is being done right now. Other firms are also making renewable diesel. Are you denying they exist?

        • sigh. you have totally missed the point. SASOL used it to turn coal into gasoline, because they had a lot of coal, and no gasoline.

          The COAL power drove the reaction.

          FT process creates secondary energy storage = liquid fuels – but where is the primary energy to come from?

          Only nuclear power can really provide the answer, but that puts synfuel up around 10 times the current price of gasoline or avjet

          • That isn’t even close to true. There are commercial plants today that are competitive at today’s prices. Once again, look at the Pearl Plant, or Sasol. What difference does it make that coal powers the plant? That is a huge bonus. You get fuel and the energy to power the plant all in one. Creating SYNGAS is exothermic as is creating CO2.

      • Sasol has used the FT process successfully to make oil out of coal, there is no shortage of coal, and the FT process is economical at 70$/bbl, but so is deepwater oil. Both were mothballed in the recent oil price slump. All brown fields have seen peak oil, I am waiting for Saudi-Arabia to announce it’s real reserves in place volumes, the oil price will get a shock.

        Oil is presently simply not expensive enough for FT or deep water production.

      • The Sasol Slurry Phase DistillateTM Process (Sasol SPD™ process) is at the core of Sasol’s GTL technology. The three stage process combines three leading proprietary technologies.

        In the first Reforming stage, natural gas is combined with oxygen to form a syngas which is then subjected to conversion in the Sasol Low Temperature Fischer TropschTM (Sasol LTFT™) Process for the production of waxy syncrude. Finally this product is cracked down and refined in a Product Work Up step to produce the synthetic end products.

        The strength of the Sasol SPD™ process is not simply the inherent quality of the three component technologies but the way they are combined and further integrated to increase efficiency and optimise output.

        This efficient integration is founded on Sasol’s unrivalled experience spanning more than 60 years of synthetic fuels production.

    • It’s difficult to generalize about comparing economic process viability to the price of oil because as the price of oil moves up, for example, the cost of transporting goods and materials also increases. That said, break even for FT is well above $70/bbl oil and further, there is only so much biomass that can be harvested (on the order of a billion tons or so for the U.S.) and one ton of biomass yields roughly one barrel of hydrocarbon products, mainly because biomass contains so much bound oxygen.

      On the other hand, as you point out, FT is viable in a number of circumstances at present, but obviously KiOR’s wood to fuel process was not. Shell has a couple of large FT refineries that use cheap natural gas as the feed. There are a number of smaller players that use similar technology applied to stranded natural gas. And Sasol is the dominant player having converted coal to fuels and chemicals via FT for decades in South Africa. Shenhua and Synfuels China do very much the same as Sasol.

      These are not simple or cheap processes, however.

      • economics is a red herring, Think about EROEI.

        synthetic fuels take at least twice as much energy to make as you get out.

        Unless you have nuclear power, they only place to get that energy is the very fossil fuel you are trying to synthesize.

        Co2islife has simply missed a huge and glaring problem. Synfuel is NOT A PRIMARY ENERGY SOURCE.

        So it does not replace fossil fuel, which is for all practical purposes.

        • Negative EROEI processes are not economical, except for those that benefit from subsidies, i.e., not taxpayers.

          In any case, you are correct and consuming coal, natural gas or even biomass directly yields a higher EROEI. You are not correct in saying that one loses twice as much energy as is gained in the case of FT.

          In the case of Shell’s Pearl GTL, the production of liquids makes products that can be easily marketed in the immediate area and beyond, whereas only local natural gas pipelines exist. So, this makes up for the loss in ER. Essentially, the natural gas there is being unstranded.

          By the way, the enthalpy of FT is driven by formation of water and carbon dioxide. It does deliver net energy, just not as much as could be gotten through direct combustion.

          • R. Shearer

            Negative EROEI processes are not economical, except for those that benefit from subsidies, i.e., not taxpayers.

            I will politely disagree with you there, with the caveat only that Economic Return on Economic Investment is the ONLY applicable law.
            Industrial Diamonds and Carbides and Carbon Fibers, for example, require significant artificial energy to create and fabricate useful items from the newly created raw stock, but they repay their process costs by significant amounts. When the time is right, energy (petroleum-synthetic fuels (etc) from coal or other stocks (now NOT economical)) will be economical to develop from not-drilled sources. Just as whale oil was replaced by kerosene and petroleum products. As celuoid collars were replaced.

          • Negative EROEI for ENERGY is a farce.

            No one is saying that constructing anything else is not negative EROEI

            Of course it is. That is why we need energy, idiot!

            To reverse entropy and create ordered structures we have to create disorder somewhere else. So we burn an ordered low entropy source like coal to make another lower entropy substance like cement and make low entropy buildings with it. Creating high entropy CO2.

            But the buildings are not as low entropy as the coal was, and the coal is not as low entropy as the sunlight that created it was,and the sunlight is not as low entropy as the hydrogen that created it was. And the hydrogen is not as low entropy as the quark soup that crated it was, and the quark soup is not as low entropy as the big bang was, and the big bang is not as low entropy as the singularity that caused it was.

            And this is the house that Physics built.

            Once you look at things in terms of entropy, green nonsense becomes obvious.

            There is ultimately only one source of energy in the Universe. The singularity that created it. What we have left upstream of ALL the energy we have available to us as humans, is nuclear power.

            Nuclear [fusion] power drives the sun that is the source of all ‘renewable’ energy. I put it in inverted commas because the sun is about halfway to extinguishing all life on earth when it gets to be a red giant.

            Nuclear [fusion] power drives the sun that is the source of all ‘fossil’ fuel – the remains of millions of years of photosynthesis, and other organic life, whose rotted corpses are the batteries that now run our human world.

            Nuclear [fusion] power drives the supernovae that created all the heavy elements that form planetary cores, which allow geothermal energy and tidal energy to exist

            Nuclear [fusion] power drives the supernovae that created all the heavy elements that form fertile and fissile elements that both keep the planets core warm, and are another battery of energy we can tap to make fission reactors.

            Every single watt hour of energy we use is one way or another a downstream result of nuclear power, and the more upstream we go towards nuclear power the more energy we have available. So a solar panel produces more for a given area of planet than a windmill or a hydro power installation or a field of biomass does.

            (But when biomass (or what ate it) become concentrated, or water up a hill becomes concentrated, by natural processes, it IS useful).

            But when you actually go further upstream and start to fission elements or fuse them, you have access to so much more energy, that there is no point in footling around with renewables, or fossil fuel. That is why you are taught to hate and fear nuclear power, because it threatens the fabric of our society, the coal industry, the oil industry, the gas industry and above all it totally wipes out renewables like windmills and solar panels.

            That is how the world works. We take low entropy stuff to build less low entropy stuff out of more entropy stuff.

            All process are negative EROEI EXCEPT the process of ‘mining’ energy itself. If that is not (once the energy is liberated) overall positive EROEI then there is no point in doing it.

            It is simply unsustainable.

            If it takes 10 gallons of biodiesel to plough plant fertilise and harvest and process a field of oil crop that only produces 9 gallons of biodiesel, it is not ‘sustainable’ Its fricking UNSUSTAINABLE.

            Fossil fuel is the inefficiently stored solar energy from the last 3.4 billion years or so, that’s all. Thats getting on for half the suns expected life.


            We have probably used the easy to get at 5% of it. When we need to spend more energy to get it out than it gives at, its use as a fuel becomes zero. It will still be there in huge quantities for making plastics etc, and it will still be useful as a secondary fuel in e.g. aircraft provided some other form of primaryenergy is used to extract it – more than the synthetic fuel will produce. Where do we get that from?

            There is only really one place – nuclear power.

            So e.g. pop a nuke down some oil shale, detonate it, and fracture all the shale and vaporise it, so you create an underground chamber into which all the oil and gas can seep…

            Or build nukes and use them to create syndiesel etc.

            But what you cannot do is create synfuel out of zero energy.

            Only the Big Bang did that.


          • What I meant was that someone can benefit financially even though the net benefit is negative.

            I agree that if one is after energy, on an overall perspective, then only a highly positive EROEI is worth pursuing.

        • EROEI = Science Fiction

          Crude oil (WTI): $73.80/bbl
          Natural gas (Henry Hub): $2.85/mmBtu

          1 barrel (42 gallons) of crude oil = 5,717,000 Btu (for U.S.-produced crude oil)

          Crude oil (WTI): $12.91/mmBtu
          Natural gas (Henry Hub): $2.85/mmBtu

          You could burn 4 mmBtu of gas to produce 1 mmBtu of crude oil and still make money. There’s a reason they flare gas in North Dakota… There’s a reason we burn as much gas as fuel as we can in the Gulf of Mexico… There’s a reason why a 6 BCF discovery might be P&A’ed, while a 1 million bbl discovery is completed, despite being energy-equivalent.

          I have never paid for gasoline, my electricity bill, my natural gas bill with Btu. I pay them with $$$.

          My company has never paid for a well with Btu, we pay for it in $$$. When we market our oil & gas, we get paid in… $$$. The decision to drill or not drill a well is based on ROI in $$$, NPV in $$$… EROEI is not, nor will ever be a factor, outside of academia and science fiction..

        • Once again, that isn’t even close to the truth. SASOL does it as a commercial scale and for a profit. So does Shell with the Pearl Plant. You can take all the corn stalks in Iowa and turn them into fuel and never run out of feedstock. Burning corn stalks powers the plant. The SYNGAS produced is converted into fuel. As stated above, once the refineries are built, they create markets for the feedstock. Waste oils used to be a cost, restaurants used to pay people to haul it away. Now people show up and buy the stuff to supply biodiesel plants. People literally pay a nice price for used cooking oil, and it trades near soybean oil, as well as inedible corn oil from ethanol plants. This is all being done. More of it would be being done if we hadn’t wasted so much money on wind and solar.

      • The biomass in Iowa Corn Fields is enormous, and it all goes to waste. The biomass in Hawaii sugarcane fields in enormous and it all goes to waste. The biomass of ocean algae is enormous and goes to waste. The biomass of lumber processors is enormous and goes to waste. The biomass in waste cooking oil used to be a waste, now it sells near soy oil because of the demand from biodiesel and renewable diesel plants.

    • CO2isLife Re: ” There will NEVER be a shortage of oil and gas.” Germany lost WWII for lack of fuel. The Allies turned World War II by causing a “shortage of oil” in Germany. Despite Germany having the Fischer-Tropsch process, when the Allies bombed the coal to liquids facilities that was the beginning of the end of Germany’s war effort for lack of fuel to run its tanks etc. See:

      Particular attention will be focused on Germany’s lack of natural resources
      which, when combined with the growing demand of fuel for its military, led the Reich to rely heavily on synthetic fuel—an industry that ultimately proved vulnerable to Allied attack. It will then explore how the constant need for more oil drove German operational planning, resulting in the Reich’s fateful decision to launch Case BLUE in the summer of 1942 in a last-ditch effort to capture the Caucasus oilfields. Finally, evidence will be presented to show how protracted war in the East crippled the Luftwaffe’s ability to effectively train its force and defend its remaining petroleum sources in the German homeland. . . .
      This relentless Allied bombing raids that began in May 1944 devastated the synthetic fuel
      industry and essentially grounded the Luftwaffe by the spring of 1945.

      • I don’t think cutting/destroying supply lines in order to cripple an enemy’s means of running their war machine is equivalent to running out of ground resources because there aren’t any.

          • You have as odd a view of meaning as you do truth.

            In the one case (WWII), the shortage was deliberately instantiated for a purpose, and in the other case the “shortage” is due to nature, which isn’t really a shortage at all, it’s a total lack thereof of the product, anywhere on the planet, over which we have no control, and to which we cannot prescribe anything near a sentient purpose.

            Good Lord you’re making another mess of it Leo!

          • The master of the straw man.

            Whether I cut your leg off with a chainsaw, or a falling tree smashed it off, is I suggest not really as germane an issue to your survival as te fact that you have lost a leg.

            Troll someone else.

          • “The master of the straw man.”

            I don’t need Straw Men to deal with the ilks of thee, however, if I did I’d be better at it than you are below:

            “Whether I cut your leg off with a chainsaw, or a falling tree smashed it off, is I suggest not really as germane an issue to your survival as te [sic] fact that you have lost a leg.”

            Nonsense. The two scenarios are completely different to describing what actually happened, or in the OP’s context, what is actually happening with oil. What a mess, Leo…what a mess.

            “Troll someone else.”

            Hypocrisy…you started it.

            I”m still having fun and you’re still the one making me smile!


        • sycomputing Read deeper – Germany BEGAN with a shortage of fuel to start with – so they tried to capture oil fields to the east and in the Caucuses and then to synthesize it from coal. The Allied bombing amplified the shortages already there and shortened the war.

      • “CO2isLife Re: ” There will NEVER be a shortage of oil and gas.” Germany lost WWII for lack of fuel. ”

        That wasn’t because the FT Process didn’t work, it was because the Allies blew up all their refineries. What an awful analogy.

    • Oh dear.
      Oh dear oh dear.
      I simply cannot believe your ignorance.

      Of science.
      You have missed one entire term out of the hydrocarbon synthesis.

      H20 + CO2 + A LOT OF ENERGY = synfuel (photosynthesis)
      H2 + CO + A LOT OF ENERGY = synfuel (Fischer Tropsch)
      H2O + A LOT OF ENERGY = H2 +O2 (Electrolysis)
      CO2 + A LOT OF ENERGY = CO.

      where is A LOT OF ENERGY going to come from?

      Fossil fuels?


      Co2islife believes in perpetual motion and pixie dust!

      • CO2islife is just missing some of the details. I don’t think he believes in perpetual motion and pixie dust.

      • I haven’t missed anything, and as I said, these processes are up and running TODAY!!! If I have a FT plant in Iowa and use corn stalks to make my CO, who cares if I have to burn some corn stalks to power the plant? I’m burning waste. What is your point? Yes, a lot of energy is used in the FT Process, but that energy comes from burning waste. If I burn newspaper I can get a lot of heat and CO, if I burn corn stalks, I get a lot of CO and heat, if I burn a lot of sugarcane I get a lot of CO and heat, if I burn forest waste I get a lot of CO and heat. What is your point? Are you saying we can’t burn carbon based waste? Once again, there are plants up and running today. There is no Pixidust other than what you have been sniffing.

  8. Zealandia certainly has hydrocarbon potential, but not Ontong Java which is a basalt plateau.

    Only microcontinents with continental rocks are of interest for oil and they are rather few: the Seychelles and the Rockall Plateau are about the only ones outside Zealandia.

  9. So it seems that the scientific consensus since the late 1800s has been that we would reach peak oil in 10 to 30 years. That sounds a lot like the modern consensus on climate change. We are always 10 to 20 years away from disaster. It would be interesting to study how often the “scientific consensus” of the day has turned out to be wrong. I suspect it has been erroneous more often than not. That’s because science does not operate by consensus. It never has. When consensus is forced on science, progress in scientific knowledge is suppressed, as it was during the dark ages until the enlightenment began to dispel the darkness of forced ignorance.

    • “It would be interesting to study how often the “scientific consensus” of the day has turned out to be wrong.”

      You could begin with the history of science in the various disciplines and that would give you a good idea.

      “I suspect it has been erroneous more often than not.”

      Each time there’s an advancement in science, e.g., bloodletting dropping out of favor, that’s one time the consensus has been shown to be erroneous.

      • That reminds me, I need to call the barber shop to see if their leeches arrived. I can’t seem to get rid of this peptic ulcer because I’m so worried about global warming.

        • No worries…in lieu of leeches, just have a few cigarettes and all will be well!

          • sycomputing and R Shearer and Louis Hunt
            and Kristi ( so you still feel included ! )
            Don’t KNOCK LEECHES !
            They are very useful in draining haematomas and ARE still used today !
            Since the time of ancient Egypt, leeches have been used in
            medicine to treat nervous system abnormalities, dental problems,
            skin diseases, and infections.
            Today, they’re mostly used in plastic surgery and other microsurgery.
            This is because leeches secrete peptides and proteins that work to prevent blood clots..
            Louis :
            You will probably NOTE that almost ALL new scientific
            breakthroughs ( like CANCER CURES ) are ALWAYS 10 years away !
            Hope springs eternal…and it always depends on PERPETUAL FUNDING……
            …..just like RENEWABLE and SUSTAINABLE which are basically
            part of the same delusion , but it used to be only an aspiration
            to drive human civilisation and now it is merely part of the
            political process unfortunately !

        • As a matter of fact leeches are still used in medicine. They are indispensable for some types of delicate surgery to prevent clotting and forming of scar tissue.
          But they are usually applied under a bandage and without telling the patients.

          • Good point, tty and Trevor.

            They are applied without telling patients? Huh. Weird. What about when the bandage begins to puff up as the leeches get nice and fat? What if they squirm? And when the bite itches like mad? I suppose that’s preventable with medication?

            I’ve had plenty of experience with land leeches in tropical Australia, but I’m still squeamish about swimming with the water ones.

      • My personal theory is and always will be, every scientific theory will be disproven and replaced given enough time. Every one of them. Some basic ones may take a thousand years, but our understand always helps fit the theory, and once our tools to test those theory improve, we usually find a better “answer” to the questions.

        • “My personal theory is and always will be, every scientific theory will be disproven and replaced given enough time.”

          Does the same hold true for your theory?



          • Look at you, Leo…you can’t even recognize a joke when it’s written right in front of you?

            Must you be so serious all the time?

            You know, you’ll never get me to start paying rent for living in your head until you clean it out in here…what a mess!

        • Correct. If science itself survives that long. Science is just a collection of theories that haven’t been shown to be wrong – yet.

      • As I see it, one has to differentiate between a scientific consensus that has been around for centuries and new theories and information have overturned it, and a consensus that builds within decades to overturn the long-held consensus. In the case of climate change, the long-held consensus is that humans cannot change the climate, with new theory and evidence overturning that old view. The new ideas have gradually gained scientific support, so that there is now a consensus among those who know most about the subject (measured in a variety of ways, not just through one study). (It’s just distracting to place a number – 97% – on the level of consensus

        Contrarian scientists have not offered any theory or data strong enough to overturn the AGW consensus. Even the ideas put forth by contrarians aren’t universally supported by them – they are all over the board, with the one unifying idea being that (C)AGW is wrong. Saying something is wrong is not the same as developing a new theory that makes enough sense to gain widespread scientific support. I challenge everyone here to describe a particular theory that has gained more and more support over the years within the contrarian climate scientist community. For instance, why hasn’t the idea that global warming is the result of solar variation become widespread?

        (A related question: why have so many vocal contrarian scientists become associated with partisan think tanks, resulting in the perception that their science is biased by policy concerns? And why have those trained in other fields, like McIntyre and McKitrick, become acceptable to the skeptic community as “experts” in climate science? Why is climate science such a partisan topic, when it should be a scientific one? Is it not related to the fact that the EPA is now led by those who are more interested in protecting business interests than the environment? Couldn’t it be possible that conservatives are by and large more interested in short-term economic impacts than in long-term environmental health and its associated impacts on humanity? Do conservatives generally even see the environment in terms of human welfare? I guess that’s more than one question!!! I sincerely want to understand these things, and I value others’ views as long as they aren’t simply insulting or dismissive.)

        • As Crichton noted, “If it’s consensus, it’s not science. If it’s science, it’s not consensus.”

          As Feynman observed, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”.

          McIntyre and McKitrick clearly know a lot more about statistics than does Mann. That’s the expertise that mattered.

          If there be a consensus that man-made CO2 is dangerous rather than beneficial, it’s clearly wrong, as shown repeatedly by the time-tested scientific method.

          Having been shown false over and over again, the consensus can be supported only politically, not scientifically.

        • sadly that simply isn’t what has happened.

          Its more akin to people suddenly believing that drinking radium would cure arthritis.

        • Kristi :
          ” Do conservatives generally even see the environment in terms
          of human welfare? ”
          Yes. That has been the driving force for all civilisations….
          ..the improvement of living conditions ….more food…better housing.
          ….piped water ….sewage disposal..anti-biotics…..improved crops
          and livestock …….irrigation…….and so on.
          So land ( forest removal ) has to be cleared and developed
          ( less wildlife habitat ) so some adverse effects ..
          ………..but improvement for humans ! ………..That’s us !!
          All focused on profit OR on human welfare….or both ?
          Well….based on history…..unless it is profitable it won’t last !
          The benefits to humanity are manifest and numerous.
          Taxation pays for public services like water and sewerage
          ( paid for by rates) ,electricity and public transport
          ( both heavily susidised )and on and on !
          Adapting the environment is what ALL life-forms do but humans
          are the most capable at adapting their life-styles and their
          environment. I can’t see the problem.
          “Environmental health” as you use the term probably means
          that you see human pollution as destroying the environment.
          Sure ! In the past nomads exploited ( and possibly wrecked )
          their local environment to the point where they were forced
          to move-on to greener pastures.Some Tibetans still do !
          That method is no longer practical , but very few of us
          advocate a return to that time , so development has occurred
          and it is BENEFICIAL overall.
          Pollution and mining damage is controlled and remediated.
          So …….no LONG TERM problem then.
          Mining and extracting materials has enhanced and indeed
          ALLOWED mankind to develop this modern civilisation…..
          ….and that includes Solar Panels and “wind-mills” and concrete
          for “Hydro” dams and all the other ( so called )”green” technologies
          …..and the entire process has despoiled so little in terms of
          land-area or life-forms irretrievably damaged that I think the
          COST or TRADE-OFF has been well worthwhile.
          ( as in , I don’t think the loss if the genetic information of the
          subterranean life-form Paradraculoides bythius would forever
          damage the planet….but the W.A. EPA refused a mining permit
          on the basis that this thing even existed !
          No one knew it was there until the mining company
          PAID FOR A SURVEY to be conducted ! Incidentally , it is
          quite widely distributed elsewhere….
          .but what the heck ! No mine …no jobs ! ).
          AND Kristi , this is where the conflict of ideas occurs.
          The practical ideas of developers are constantly thwarted
          by the “airy-fairy”anti-development ideas of the “greens”
          who claim to be acting in OUR best interests BUT would
          frequently appear to be advocating the direct opposite.
          Conservatives ARE conservationists as well.
          It is NOT the preserve of the “politically motivated greens”
          and their environmental-organisations .
          As for your other questions :
          Please READ the other people’s comments.
          They KNOW a lot more than I know in this field !
          But I leave you with this from an Environmental Site :
          “The dawn of the nuclear age in the 1950s and 1960s and the
          popular imagination’s understanding of the damage such
          weapons could reek ( sic )upon the planet, ”
          “The revelations of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring brought
          to the public imagination the real effects we may have already had
          “Silent Spring began with a “fable for tomorrow” – a true story
          using a composite of examples drawn from many real communities
          where the use of DDT had caused damage to wildlife, birds, bees,
          agricultural animals, domestic pets, and even humans.
          Carson used it as an introduction to a very scientifically
          complicated and already controversial subject.
          This “fable” made an indelible impression on readers and was
          used by critics to charge that Carson was a fiction writer
          and not a scientist.”
          So……there is A LOT of emotion attached to this debate !
          Especially when MOST of the advocates FOR AGW are
          LEFT-WING neo-marxists who conveniently overlook their
          murderous COMMUNIST HERITAGE tocondemn our
          Western Civilisation.
          I hope that you did not find this insulting or dismissive !
          Regards , Trevor.

        • Kristi:

          “why have so many vocal contrarian scientists become associated with partisan think tanks, resulting in the perception that their science is biased by policy concerns?”

          I responded to your similar question on April 16, 2018 at 8:18 pm, here:

          KS says:

          “So why are so many contrarian scientists affiliated with conservative think tanks with obvious political agendas, including the denial that AGW is a problem?

          “… obvious political agendas, including the denial that AGW is a problem”

          Such denial is not an “obvious” political agenda except to warmists who can’t imagine that there could be good-faith, purely scientific opposition to their cause. And denying that AGW is a problem “frames” skeptics’ position incorrectly; the denial is that CAGW is a problem. (There will only be CAGW if there are positive feedbacks from increasing water vapor, a hypothesis which doesn’t stand up to analysis of the data.)

          “why are so many contrarian scientists affiliated with conservative think tanks”

          I’m sure they’d be happy to be affiliated with liberal think tanks that are skeptical of warmist alarmism—but if there are any, they are not sponsoring conferences, or holding “dinners” with speakers, or publishing books or articles by skeptics in their newsletters.

          “Affiliated” is a word that can be stretched to insinuate more involvement than is actually happening. Something like 600 climate experts have allowed their names to be listed on the Heartland site as being available for interviews by journalists. That doesn’t mean they are working hand-in-glove with Heartland, or getting paid by it, as “affiliation” in a strong sense implies. Similarly, scientists who have spoken at one of Heartland’s annual conferences are likely listed by sites like SourceWatch as being “affiliated” with it, although that too is too strong a word. A better term would be “aligned with” which doesn’t insinuate a cash nexus.

          There are only a few dozen climate scientists who are strongly affiliated with conservative think tanks, primarily the pair who work for Cato, or some others who are affiliated with the GWPF in London. Others, like the Idso’s, receive funding for their research. But this doesn’t add up to a great number. If you look at Wikipedia’s list of skeptical scientists, few of them seem to have such affiliations.

          You further comment now:

          Why is climate science such a partisan topic, when it should be a scientific one?”

          From the earliest days environmentalists have flocked to the field, encouraged by government and foundation funding, and urged on by the alarmism of environmental NGOs like Greenpeace, Sierra Club, etc. (Save-the-world climate change alrmism has benefited those organizations bigly in terms of donations and membership levels..) Courses on the subject attracted environmentalists to teach them. If climatologists were polled on their membership in green organizations, I strongly suspect that a high percentage of them would belong—much higher than, say, meteorologists—and that the alarmist climatologists would have higher membership rates than those who are less alarmist.

          I also strongly suspect that many alarmist climatologists are “affiliated with” green organizations (and liberal think tanks), and that they receive some financial benefit from speakers’ fees, article reprints, consulting or advisory services, prizes (e.g., Hansen got a $100,000 award from the Heinz foundation while employed by the government), job offers or recommendations, etc.

          The lens through which such people view man’s intrusion on nature is never balanced; it is usually a highly partisan “threat or menace?” position. Environmentalists” excessive alarmism and twisted science and logic in support of their emotional dislike of industrialism and/or capitalism and/or America goes way back—see Aaron Wildavsky’s book, But Is It True?

          Their partisanship can be detected in the unprofessional way they behave themselves—e.g., by the AGU’s attempt to bury the minority report on its climate change statement, and the APS’s similar tactic when dealing with the Koonin committee’s report.

          Their avoidance of debate is another “tell.” (E.g., the Dutch government’s “Climate Dialogue” site had difficulty recruiting warmist scientists to participate.)

        • Reply to Kristi Silber,
          I am certain that the theory of global warming has never been proven .I met John Maunder and knew him well and he came to stay with me .He was a meteorologist and belonged to the WMO and he attended the very first climate conference in Villach in Austria and also the second conference in Rio De Janiro in Brazil .
          John Maunder was a meteorologist who taught at universities around the world before coming back to New Zealand to head our weather service .
          He stated that the IPCC ignored the medieval warm period and the Roman warm period and that the Vikings had farmed in Greenland until the little ice age and that the 1930’s and 1940’s were just as warm as the present warm period .
          We know that the scientists that want to believe in global warming have stated that these facts are a problem and they have done everything they can to erase these historic facts from the record by adjusting former records down and recent records up
          The I PCC then ignored the science that was put before them as they are a political organization driven by an agenda to bring about one world government through a massive climate fund supplied by wealthy nations which will do little to help poor nations facing challenges .
          The theory of global warming has to rely on positive feed backs from an increase in water vapor as doubling of CO2 will only theoretically raise the global temperature by .6 C.
          The increase in water vapor depends on the tropical hot spot that has never been located .
          Come back Kristi with some rebuttals to these facts .

    • Essentially all past scientific consensuses have been wrong. Today’s consensuses are also probably wrong.

      The history of science since 1543 is a saga of overturning consensuses.

        • You have that 180 degrees backwards.

          Scientific advancement is made precisely by overturning consensuses. Always has been. Always will be.

          • You just keep piling on the laugh riot!

            I see that your understanding and knowledge of the history of science are no better than of US history.

            That is precisely what Einstein did. He showed the Newtonian consensus false. There is scarcely a better example of overturning a consensus since Copernicus first challenged the geocentric consensus.

            The Newtonian consensus claimed that space and time were absolutes and that gravitational attraction was instantaneous. Einstein thoroughly shattered this consensus, showing that spacetime was relative, not absolute, and that gravity worked at the speed of light.

            Einstein’s brilliant insight was that Maxwell and Newton could not both be right. He showed that Maxwell was right and Newton wrong.

          • Einstein did not show Newtonian physics false.
            Launching a rocket into orbit uses all of the principles that Newton developed. In fact, launching a rocket today has no dependency on Einstein’s theory.

          • Betty,

            Please quit displaying your ignorance and digging your hole deeper.

            Both Newton and Einstein’s theories work for launching rockets.

            Where Newton fails is in GPS satellites, which require Einstein’s theory of relativity in order to work. Einstein’s theory has been repeatedly confirmed and Newton’s shown false by observations outside the realm in which Newtonian physics are good enough.

          • That’s not the point.

            The point is that, contrary to your ludicrous assertion, Einstein most certainly, indubitably, showed Newton wrong. He overturned the Newtonian consensus.

            You could get a job shifting goalposts.

            A true Christian is humble, and knows when to admit she’s dead wrong. False price goes before a big fall.

          • Einstein did not show Newton wrong. Nothing in Newton’s theory was “wrong.” There were a few observations that were unexplained in Newton’s theory, which were better explained with Einstein’s. A “better” theory doesn’t necessarily invalidate it’s predecessor.

          • Clearly, you’ve never, ever studied physics or the history of science.

            I’ve already showed you precisely where Einstein found Newton dead wrong. I’ll repeat, so you won’t have to refer back to my previous comment:

            1) Newton said that space is absolute.

            2) Newton said that time is absolute.

            3) Newton said that gravity works at a distance instantaneously.

            Einstein showed all three of those propositions false. Observations of nature have repeatedly confirmed Einstein and falsified Newton.

            It would behoove you to study a subject before presuming to comment upon it.

          • Newton’s theory has not been “falsified”

            If it was “falsified” then we would be launching rockets with Einstien’s theory and not Newton’s

          • In a similar vein, all climate models are “false” but some are more skillful than others. The same thing applies here. Newton’s theory is much more “skillful” than Einstein’s. One does not need relativistic time distortion analysis when performing an accident reconstruction involving two automobiles.

          • Betty,

            You are spouting pure gibberish.

            What you apparently don’t understand is that Einstein’s theory works just as well as Newton’s for purposes such as rocket launching.

            But Newton is totally wrong about space, time and gravity.

            Einstein works for all speeds. Newton doesn’t work in all cases. Why is this so hard for you to grasp?

          • Twice the speed of light isn’t possible, precisely because of his theory.

            You’re an utterly ridiculous, shameless person.

          • Wow…..first you said “for all speeds”…… now you are excluding 2c.

            Isn’t 2c a member of the set “all speeds?”
            Your claims of “all speeds” is false.

          • Betty,

            It applies to all possible speeds. You are a raving lunatic.

            Your case appears hopeless, but please try to concentrate as long as you can on reality, rather than engage in idiotic word games.

            Not Einstein but nature showed Newton wrong. Einstein came up with the correct explanation.

            It became apparent during the late 19th century that there is a conflict between Newtonian mechanics and classical electrodynamics, as I noted, ie Maxwell’s equations. Einstein, and a few others before him, addressed this conflict in a variety of ways. Einstein’s way was to find a new mechanics, consistent with electrodynamics, but which reduces, in approximation, to Newtonian mechanics for objects moving at speeds that are small compared to the speed of light in vacuum.

            Experiments with subatomic particles (particularly muons in secondary cosmic rays created high in the atmosphere) moving at nearly the speed of light have shown that Einstein’s theory of special relativity explains the behavior of these particles, but Newton’s mechanics does not.

            More recently, as I keep telling you, with satellites used by GPS, it has been necessary to use Einstein’s special and general relativity to keep the calculated positions of objects on Earth accurate. Both the special theory and the general theory of relativity have passed every experimental and observational test to which they’ve been subjected, but Newton’s theory does not agree with experience at the level of accuracy we can now achieve.

          • No, Betty, you lost before we even started, since you falsely imagined that Einstein didn’t falsify Newton.

            It should be obvious that all speeds means all speeds possible in the universe. But since you insist, then, were twice light speed possible, Einstein would still be right and Newton wrong, since gravity does work at light speed.

            The universe has expanded more rapidly than the speed of light, yet Einstein still works.

            All you do is shift goalposts, without ever admitting how laughably wrong you were in the first place.

            Your ignorance is total. Your ego intergalactic, without any justification. You lose.

            You’re sick. Please seek help.

          • As I said, if faster than light speed be possible, then Newton is still wrong.

            What part of “wrong” don’t you get?

          • There is no way to make Newton right. He was wrong and will always be wrong.

            Gravity works at the speed of light, and has only been observed to do so, never instantly. Space and time are relative, and always will be.

          • “Wrong” and “right” are (lol) relative. You are stuck applying the true/false paradigm of logic/math/philosophy to science. Theories are neither “wrong” or “right.” Theories are evaluated as “better” or “worse.” Newtonian mechanics works fine for launching satellites into orbit. Einstein’s theory works fine for GPS. Please do not use a screwdriver to hammer a nail into a board.

          • Betty,

            I know that arguing with a crazy person is like mud wrestling with a pig, but I’ll try just one more time to straighten our your twisted psyche.

            That Newton was wrong is not in doubt. It is a scientific fact, ie an observation and a measurement.

            Time and space are relative, not absolute. Hence, Newton is wrong and Einstein is right.

            Gravity works at the speed of light. Hence, Newton is wrong and Einstein is right.

            How many times do I have to point out these facts to you?

          • Its is an observed facts that people who are wring will always switch the argument to semantic nit picking.

            Are you a member of the set of ‘all unicorns’ betty?

          • Betty,
            Sophistry! 2C isn’t a member of the set of all real speeds because 2C isn’t possible, except as a concept.

          • True, because Newton is a rough approximation to relativity, and good enough for many crude purposes.

            The problem is that no climate models are good enough for even a crude approximation, as has been shown by the data.

            Human influence on climate is very very small. Human influence on climate measurements, is however significant. Placement of sensors, interpretation of proxies, interpolation of data points mean that we barely know to within several degrees what the ‘average temperature of the earth’ actually IS. Let alone what it was say 500 years ago.

            However we can detect changes over the last say 40 years reasonably well.

            And this utterly disprove CO2 induced warming, because CO2 has been rising steadily whilst temperatures have not. First they rose, then they stopped.

            To a statistician that means CO2 is simply not the reason. No matter how you fiddle with climate sensitivity, you cant match a rise and a plateau to a straight line. If you start to introduce extra variables to explain the lack of 21st century warming, you inevitably make CO2 not the main driver.

            Its a perfect catch 22. CAGW is not consistent with the data. It is a refuted theory, and it doesn’t even predict the climate over a couple of decades, sufficiently accurately to be of any practical use whatsoever.

            The only use CAGW has is in fooling people to part with their hard earned cash to fund greater abuses against their freedom and pursuit of life and liberty and happiness.

          • Betty,

            You just keep making an ever bigger fool of yourself.

            As I told you, Einstein and Newton’s theories both work for rocket launch. The difference is that Einstein’s explains observations for which Newton is simply dead wrong.

            Gravity has been repeatedly shown to work at light speed, not instantly. Time has been repeatedly shown not to be the same everywhere all the time. It’s relative. As noted, the GPS system wouldn’t work if Newton were right.

            Please learn some elementary physics before presuming to comment upon it. Same with history.

          • Betty,

            I’ve repeatedly showed you precisely how Newton has been falsified.

            That it works well enough for rocket launch is far from the whole story. It doesn’t work for GPS satellites.

            Are you really this dense, or merely incapable of admitting error?

          • Newton’s physics is a special case of low velocity applications. Einstein’s physics works for all situations; however, when high velocities aren’t involved, the computations are easier and quicker for Newtonian. If you have any experience with mathematics you would know that often equations are simplified by ignoring a factor whose influence is negligible. It is the same equation, just simplified to deal with the factors that matter for the domain of the independent variable(s).

          • Oh dear.

            Well yes, it does.

            It wasn’t a case of observations that were unexplained. It was a case of observations that did not for the theory. The theory was obviously wrong. The observations fitted Einstein’s theory. Ergo Einstein’s theory was less wrong than Newtons.

            All theories are in the limit ‘wrong’ because they are pictures of the world, not the world in itself.

            Some are just more wrong than others. Newton is more wrong than Einstein, at this point in time

          • That’s a bit like saying that absent of microscopes and antibiotics, the evil spirit theory of illness works perfectly well, and there is no need to talk about bacteria.

          • Betty,

            As I keep trying to help you understand, parties in the 18th century didn’t have membership registration.

            You’re being ludicrously anachronistic.

          • I know what he and his colleagues said. Perhaps you’ve not noticed that politicians’ words and deeds often don’t quite match. Especially under changed circumstances.

            Now, please explain how, in your alternative universe, something happening twice as often as its opposite is not “usual”.


          • Betty,

            Why do you insist on continuing to make a fool of yourself?

            Only those presidents who ran for reelection count. Harrison the grandfather, Taylor, Garfield and Kennedy couldn’t run for reelection because they were dead. Others chose not to run.

            In seventeen of the 24 instances of an incumbent running for reelection the sitting president was reelected.

            You’re making yourself a laughingstock.

          • Goal post move: “Only those presidents who ran for reelection count”

            Some presidents in office knew that running for re-election would end in failure.

            Your score is 9/44

          • You count dead presidents?

            Since you’re so ignorant of US history, you don’t know that some chose not to run, not because they were afraid of losing, but because they just didn’t want to do so. Polk died soon after leaving office, for instance.

            Pierce was followed by another Democrat.

            Where do you get nine, anyway? Eighteen times presidents running for reelection won.

            You’re making a fool of yourself.

          • Again, where do you get nine?

            And how is that you count presidents who not only didn’t run for reelection, but couldn’t because they were dead?

            The whole discussion started because I stated, correctly, that presidents who run for reelection usually are reelected.

            Showing you actual historical reality isn’t enough because, clearly, you’re nuts.

          • A “sitting president” that chooses not to run is a “sitting president” that DID NOT WIN REELECTION

            So simple that even people that have English as a 2nd language understand.

          • Betty,

            For the last time, we were talking about Trump running for reelection, so presidents who don’t run don’t count, obviously.

            But in any case, even allowing dead presidents and those who chose not to run, seventeen individual men have been reelected, not the nine you keep so insanely stating.

          • Oh dear. Yes he did. He showed that Newtonian theory was an approximation that got less and less accurate the faster you went or the bigger gravitaional field your were in etc. etc.

            And of course we DO use Einstein in rocketry, otherwise we wouldn’t be accurate.

    • Louis Hunt

      Science itself is more often wrong than right. Otherwise, there would be no need for experiments, which are always wrong, until they are right.

      • I also love the consensus that has crumbled about Dinosaurs over the last 30 years. They went from slow lumbering gray, to feathers, colors, and running. The running thing was hilarious. Dinosaur footprints proved it, but it took 10 years for everyone to agree that’s what they showed. lol

    • It may sound like it, but then denying climate change sounds like denying the effects of smoking, to idiots.

      To the untrained ear, politicians talking sounds like the braying of a donkey, as do the utterances of very wise men.

      This is where critical thinking comes in. And why we practice science, not magic.

      Are we using fossil fuels faster than they are being created? If so then we will reach ‘peak fossil’ fuel sometime.

      It’s that simple.

      Its not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

  10. The end is near,
    Oh woe is us,
    It’s almost gone,
    All hope is lost!
    We shuck and we jive
    And we point and we blame
    We give serious talks
    But our bias is plain.
    The future is known
    We are experts, not fakes,
    If you completely ignore
    Forty years of mistakes…

      • The previous verse reads (KJV): “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night”.

        Those who heard Paul’s letter read in Thessaloniki expected the day of the Lord soon. After going on 2000 years, we’re still waiting.

        Let’s hope that fusion arrives sooner than the day of the Lord.

        In any case, some scholars argue that 1 Thes. 5:1–11 is a “post-Pauline insertion”, ie forgery, as are some whole letters attributed to Paul.

        • “Let’s hope that fusion arrives sooner than the day of the Lord.”

          Why in the world would I not hope for exactly the reverse were I to believe that such a day was indeed forthcoming?

          • Because it hasn’t happened after 2000 years and there is no reason to expect it any time soon, if at all.

          • Expectation isn’t hope. You just argued the following:

            The previous verse reads (KJV): “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night”.

          • In that case, the original argument stands:

            “Why in the world would I not hope for exactly the reverse were I to believe that such a day was indeed forthcoming?”

          • Because clearly it isn’t, and even if it were, heaven holds little appeal to someone enjoying life on earth.

            Even were I among the tiny number (144,000 over 2000 years and counting) to be saved, I’d feel sorry for the billions destroyed.

            Are you sure that you’re among the few Elect to be saved? Be careful for what you wish.

            I’m pretty sure that I’m not among the Elect, hence would just as soon put off the day of the Lord indefinitely.

          • “I’m pretty sure that I’m not among the Elect, hence would just as soon put off the day of the Lord indefinitely.”

            Well there you go, that’s all you had to say…

          • No. Just quoting the Bible.

            But seriously, how do you know that you’re among the tiny number of people alive today who would be saved?

            Outward signs of inward grace?

          • “Outward signs of inward grace?”

            If only…Paul has nothing on me, I’m chief among sinners – Romans 7:19

          • Doesn’t mean you aren’t saved.

            But I’m sure I’m chiefer among sinners than you.

          • My dad’s dead, but he was a Marine fighter pilot who survived man on man combat with the best that the Empire of Japan could put up against him.

            Not to mention night carrier landings in a Corsair, the hardest of all planes to land.

  11. Andy–very good article.

    In 1865, Stanley Jevons published “The Coal Question”.
    He was a highly-regarded economist but in a period of agitated politics had a personal revelation that the civilized world was about to run out of coal.
    I published a piece on it called “Intellectual Hysteria” in 2008.

    Bob Hoye

  12. Reality Check: “Conventional Crude” peaked in 2005
    See: ExxonMobil World Energy Outlook 2018 A View to 2040
    ExxonMobil clearly shows conventional crude oil peaked in 2005 and has declined since then. Adding in Deepwater and Oil sands still shows declining production. ExxonMobil has to appeal to Tight Oil to show liquids growth that combination flattening out by 2040.
    Growth prospects for conventional through tight oil appear so poor that Shell Oil and TOTAL have strategically shifted their major effort out of oil into natural gas.
    Conventional 4% depletion plus even 1% growth requires new 5 million bbl/day development each year. That’s another Saudia Arabia, Russia or USA of new oil every TWO years.
    How are we planning for when that growth does not continue?!
    PS “Peak Oil” is about geologically constrained growth relative to a growing population, not the “end” of oil!

    • Moderator: Please delete this duplicate.

      [There are replies below, so the other was removed. .mod]

    • “Reality Check: “Conventional Crude” peaked in 2005”
      David Hagen, As the post makes clear, in my opinion, peak “conventional” oil does not matter. You can always define a “conventional” oil to peak, which is what the pessimists have done. Tomorrow’s conventional is yesterday’s unconventional.

  13. (I’m focusing on oil, since that is what most of the predictions in the article are about. Note that I know little about the topic, I’m just trying to reason my way through it as presented.)

    I’m a little confused. Does “peak oil” refer to production or consumption, or both? I assume it’s the last. Even on the first graph it can be seen that oil consumption by 2035 is predicted by BP to start leveling out, with little increase between 2030 and 2035.

    I understand that new technologies have been developed, enabling access to a greater range of reserves, but perhaps “unconventional” still has real significance, referring to inherent costs regardless of technology – drilling in ultra-deep waters being the obvious example. (Not even mentioned is the political question of ownership of off-shore reserves in international waters, or those in protected areas.)

    Consumption is rising and will continue to rise. Reserves, no matter how big they are theoretically, are finite and being depleted. I would think that that at some point, as the price of oil becomes prohibitively high, consumers will look elsewhere for their energy. There are alternatives, after all.

    Andy seems to disagree: “As oil and gas prices go up, the available supply increases rapidly as expensive EOR (enhanced oil recovery) techniques (Muggeridge, et al. 2014), and shelved deep-water prospects, and unconventional fields suddenly become profitable.” He apparently believes that people will keep consuming at an increasing rate at any price, since this is what profitability depends on. As I understand it, it is on this assumption that his argument about peak oil rests.

    What if, on the other hand, as oil becomes more expensive, people switch their source of energy, and more is invested in technologies for alternative energy sources that don’t suffer from declining availability and uncertain profit margins (given projected declines in consumption)?

    Given the idea that price of oil will rise with the price of extraction, doesn’t it make sense to conserve energy (through reduced use and improved efficiency) so that we can enjoy cheap energy for a longer time?

    Finally, how can anyone possibly say that a prediction of peak oil in 2040 is right or wrong without doing a detailed economic, geologic and technological analysis? I think it’s pretty tough to make any such predictions given market fluctuations and the possibility of new technologies, and wouldn’t stake my life on any of them, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a peak. If I were to lay odds on BP vs. Andy May being closer to the mark (though I guess Andy made no predictions, anyway!)…well, you can guess where my money would be. (No offense to Andy meant – his articles are thought-provoking, which is always a good thing!)

    P.S. “…all ideas do not work.” This is one of my pet peeves in logical writing. Unless Andy thinks no ideas work, I think he means, “not all ideas work.”

    • ” Reserves, no matter how big they are theoretically, are finite and being depleted.”


      Why have the processes that originally created the petroleum in the first place, stopped? What has caused this to happen such that one may confidently assume no new petroleum is being created in the earth right now, as we speak?

        • Your impatience precedes you.

          Did I ask you before? Or have you been reading Popper and becoming confused again about how everything you can really know is false?

          • “Yes you did.”

            But all that you can know is false, so the above can’t possibly be true:

            “Everything I can know is false. Its just that some is more false than others.”

            Let’s do some practical application of the above. Which one is the following statement:

            “I am not confused.”

            Is this one more, less, or just a smidgen off the middle, practically false as compared to the rest of everything you know?

            I’m still having fun, and you’re still the one making me smile!

      • “Why have the processes that originally created the petroleum in the first place, stopped?” They haven’t stopped, but they take much longer than the rate at which we are depleting them.

        • If they haven’t stopped, then how do you know the newest monster field we hadn’t a clue about before won’t be found tomorrow?

          If anything, the evidence we do have suggests decades of claims that we’re going to run out of oil have been false.

          • New fields are “discovered” all the time. The problem we have is that we are not discovering ENOUGH new fields (proven reserves) to support our current level of consumption.

          • Wrong again. There is so much oil that producers are intentionally pumping as much as they can in an effort to keep prices down, in hopes of driving US unconventional plays out of business.

            It isn’t working.

            Just the known reserves recoverable at prices well below their highs of this century can satisfy demand for the foreseeable future. We’ll have new energy technology long before crude becomes uneconomical.

    • “Peak oil” refers to production, ie the point at which production of crude peaks, and starts to decline.

        • Clearly not the case. Consumption of petrol products is liable to continue to rise after production peaks. The price will just go up.

          • Ok…so let me get this straight.

            At some point in the future, we will be consuming more oil than we are producing.

            So where is the excess coming from?

            You are almost as demented as Betty.

    • “Does “peak oil” refer to production or consumption, or both?”
      Both, there is very little oil around which has not been committed to the refinery to consumer pipeline. The spot markets work on a short-term for delivery basis.
      For longer term contracts, the buyer must asses whether the seller can maintain the proposed production and delivery schedule. A refinery is expensive to reconfigure to utilize a given crude feedstock, so a sellers ability to provide on time is important.

      “He apparently believes that people will keep consuming at an increasing rate at any price”
      In the short term, true. Demand is said to be inelastic, people will buy because they must.
      Longer term, people have the time to seek out alternatives. So things become more elastic.
      Of course, higher prices increase viable supply, while making alternatives more viable as well.
      How all these competing factors interact and will play out is the nexus of the Peak Oil prediction game.

      “prediction of peak oil in 2040 is right or wrong without doing a detailed economic, geologic and technological analysis?”
      Got your calculator handy? Join the party!

      • Thanks, Tony. I would argue that it never hurts to think ahead, and develop alternatives before they are necessary so people don’t have to buy “because they must” even at high prices. People have time to seek alternatives, but that requires investing in innovation that is not always market-driven (see post below).

        • We have the alternatives.


          But that drives gas off the market.

          So Uranium (radiation) has to be made as scary as coal (climate change).

          Civilisation since the 19th century runs on ‘non-renewable’ energy.

          That means that coal oil and gas products are the foundations of industrial civilisation.

          Since the industrial revolution Britain’s ability to support a population has risen ten fold.

          To go back to ‘renewables’ would mean the death of 90% of the population.

          Who controls energy, controls the civilized world.

          So the war that is going on right now, is all about energy. Will it be uranium energy, owned by the West, China India and Japan, gas Energy owned by Russia, Islamic oil energy owned by Saudi Arabia…and so on.

          Any dirty trick to control these resources is good, and the dirtiest trick of all is climate change.

          And these resources are all running out, except uranium.

          But to admit that they are is to drive people towards uranium early, and devalue the fossil fuel assets.

          (I hold it as self evident that renewable energy is simply irrelevant and in all practical senses does not work and is not fit for purposes other than profiteering).

          At what point people simply have to have cheap nuclear power shorn of the ‘red flag’ of over regulation…

 order to stay ALIVE in the quantities they now are being born, is of course moot.

          But its not a matter of if, its a matter of when.

    • “Peak oil” has many definitions. The original, and only valid, definition was put forward by M. King Hubbert in 1956. It states that crude oil production will generally assume a logistic function and that the production rate will peak when half of the resource has been recovered.

      Here’s how Peak Oil works: As of the end of 2014, total US cumulative production was 212 Bbbl, proved reserves were 40 Bbbl and the estimated total undiscovered recoverable resource was 130 Bbbl. If that was the sum total of the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR), then US Peak Oil occurred in 2004…

      This doesn’t mean that the production rate literally peaked in 2004. It means that a hundred years from now, if you fit a logistic function to the data, the peak would be around 2004. However, proved reserves are a moving target because they only represent a fraction of the oil that is likely to be produced from existing fields. “Reserves” has a very specific legal definition. In the US, “reserves” generally means proved reserves (1P). In less regulated nations, “reserves” often includes probable (2P) and/or possible (3P) reserves.

      Proved reserves will frequently go up simply due to well performance as production exceeds that P90 volume. In the US. “proved reserves” are the 1P number. This is the minimum volume of oil expected to be produced from a reservoir (>90% probability, P90). Proved reserves go up all of the time without additional drilling because well performance converts 2P (50% probability) and some 3P (>10% probability) into 1P. Changing economic conditions can also move contingent resources into the 1P category.

      As long as proved reserves and undiscovered resource potential remain steady or rise, each barrel of oil produced pushes Peak Oil further off into the future.

      Most reserve additions don’t come from new discoveries. They come from reservoir management and field development operations.

      New discoveries are the brown curve at the bottom of the chart.

      Recently Bloomberg put out a bar chart showing how the size of new oil discoveries has steadily shrunk over the past 70 years. Here’s that bar chart at the same scale as global crude oil production and reserve growth.

      There’s an old saying in the oil patch: “Big fields get bigger.” The biggest field in the world, Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar oil field was discovered in 1948. When first discovered, the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) was in the neighborhood of 60 Bbbl. It has produced over 65 Bbbl and it is estimated to have about 70 Bbbl remaining (EUR ~130 Bbbl). Half of Ghawar’s EUR was recognized at its discovery. Half of it, or more, will be the result of field development and reservoir management.

      “Peak oil” is virtually impossible to predict because no one knows what the total recoverable resource is.

    • Kristi Silber, I don’t think you read all of my post. I actually agree with what you have written about how “peak consumption” will occur and my agreement is in the post. Simply stated, peak consumption is reached when oil and gas are too expensive. I quote my post:

      “In short, just because 95% of the oil is from historical “conventional” field types, does not mean that will continue. Other sources of oil will be found and developed if there is demand at the price required to make the fields profitable. The limit on the supply of oil has nothing to do with whether it is conventional or unconventional. It has everything to do with demand at the price required to make a profit. Once the price reaches a level where people find another energy source preferable, oil and gas will decline. As long as the price can go up, additional resources will always be found. We agree with Peter Jackson and Leta Smith:
      “We do not dispute that supply will plateau and eventually fall; the question is when, how and at what price? As the plateau approaches, oil prices are likely to increase strongly, with some very severe spikes along the way.” (Jackson and Smith 2013)”

      On BP. BP, like me, does not predict peak oil consumption at all. They only say we have 55 years of oil and gas left. We both believe that peak oil has nothing to do with supply, for all practical purposes supply is infinite. It has everything to do with cost and the cost of competitors. Right now, oil and gas have a huge cost advantage over all the competition, except for coal and nuclear. Both coal and nuclear have political problems, but if those go away, one of them could replace a lot (but not all) of the oil and gas consumption. Oil and gas are too useful, in too many areas. They are hard to replace completely.

  14. We don’t need to try predicting when oil and gas will end.
    Eventually and very gradually, they will become rarer and more expensive to extract.
    So other energy sources will become more economic and take over.
    No government intervention required.
    Let the market be free.

    • I’m pretty sure the article pointed out technology and price always “open up” some new method of extraction that doubles the available oil. This is the same thing people talked about Moore’s law and processor capability. They said it would end 10 years ago due to how physically small they thought they could make a switch, and have figured out ways to make them every smaller still. (although it does look they are about to hit a pretty big roadblock very soon)

      • Moore’s law has already ended.

        We are not on the exponential part of the s curve, we are on the asymptotic part.

        There are limits to semiconductors.At some point you are down to one electron being switched. Thats the end of it. You cant get smaller than that.

        All we can then do is go for clock speed, but again, there are limits.The speed of light mainly. we cant get smaller than what will accommodate one electron, and that size still has an implicit delay.

        So there is only one more place to go. Parallel processing. But when we are executing a singe set of serial instructions, we cant use more than one core. So parallel computing doesn’t speed up a task, it just allows more tasks…

        I do wish people who comment with such assurance on technology would take the trouble to acquaint themselves with the facts before they do…

    • The problem with this argument is that if innovation were only market-driven, we’d be far behind our current technological state. Innovation can create a market, or benefit us in unforeseen ways. There was no market for sending someone to the moon, for instance, but the technologies developed in the process have had benefits beyond the accomplishment itself. Without greater innovation, development of more economical and efficient ways of harnessing alternative energy has been stymied. Just in the last few decades wind turbines have changed dramatically, even though wind mills have been around for centuries – and some of the change was due to “government intervention.” Perhaps if 50 years ago we had been devoting more resources into developing better grid-capacity batteries, we would have them already, and solar and wind power would be more practical and economical by now. (We have high-capacity batteries – the military uses them, they just aren’t normally practical. The Energy Storage Association has 111 articles in their “military” section alone

      From an article about Ambri, a company developing liquid metal batteries: “The financing hurdles are particularly high because grid storage startups are taking on big technical challenges in an industry that barely exists. ‘Venture capitalists like to take either technology or business risk. Some people can take both, but most don’t,’ says Bilal Zuberi, an investor at General Catalyst Partners, who has invested in a startup developing grid storage technology based on compressed air…. But even if Ambri’s engineering is flawless and the company secures all the money it needs, it will face the same obstacle confronting so many other alternative energy companies: cheap natural gas. Since natural gas has become the preferred fuel for power generation in the United States, the price that any grid storage technology must meet to be competitive has fallen much lower.” Even investment in technology that already has widespread use potential (and a global market) is hampered by cheap fossil fuels.

      Fossil fuels are finite. The sun and wind are not (in practical terms, anyway). We know this, so why not start planning for the future? Why shouldn’t we all contribute a little bit now in order to extend the availability of cheap, easily accessible fossil fuels further into the future at the same time we innovate in order to diversify our energy sources? We use petroleum for applications that can’t be replaced by renewables. According to the BP energy report, non-combusted fossil fuels is the only FF sector in which demand growth is projected to keep rising (, page 16)

      This isn’t just a climate change issue.

      • So, you want to ABSOLUTELY, 100% GUARANTEED harm billions, and kill hundreds of millions, based on YOUR assumptions of what the “right” future energy technology will be?

        All for YOUR assumptions about the assumed (projected, or extrapolated) “benefits” of slightly reducing man’s release of CO2 for the next 81 years, just to “perhaps” reduce the global average temperature in 2100 by 0.2 degrees? Or maybe it will be reduced by 0.10 degrees? 0.05 degrees? You tell me how much lower global average temperatures will be in 2100 when YOUR demands are met.

        On the other hand, YOU want the US to pay billions of dollars to YOUR political donors and academic upper class elites so YOU can “feel good” about “trying” to solve a CAGW “problem” that does not exist. YOUR “solutions” will harm billions, and do no good.

        To illustrate, you claim we should pay billions for solutions “now”. Which ones?
        In 1908, an “airfield” consisted of a pasture, a fence to keep the cows out of the way, one tent, and a 5 gallon can of gasoline. Horses and buggies were the usual transport, the planes could be lifted by hand. Two passengers were the latest, no cargo. Most airplanes could barely turn and maintain altitude, the longest flights were 26 miles.
        Only 40 years later, runways were 12,000 feet long, 300 feet wide, made of 4 foot thick reinforced concrete. Planes were taking off at 800,000 pound weights, flying for days. The airfield required 2 such runways, 4,000 machinists and technicians and repair men, hangers were 400 feet x 300 feet, and the parking ramps alone used more concrete than had ever been poured in 1903 worldwide.

        Now, YOU tell me what technology will be the “right thing” to support today. In 1988, PC’s only needed floppy drives. That was only 30 years back.

        • ” In 1988, PC’s only needed floppy drives. That was only 30 years back.”
          In 1988, PC’s had EPROM/EEPROM. The BIOS for the PC was contained in silicon with this technology. Today we have SSD disk drives, which, believe it or not, is based on the same technology as EEPROM. The more technology changes, the more it stays the same.

        • RACookPE1978, you have no idea how I see energy sources and their place in today’s world. You are making false assumptions about me.

      • The problem with that argument is that if innovation were only market-driven, we’d be far ahead of our current technological state.

        We would be 100% nuclear.

      • Kristi, The sun and wind may be infinite, but the land they require and the materials used to build windmills and solar arrays are not. There is not enough land in the world to build the necessary wind mills and solar panels and batteries to store emergency power.

        Sorry, not a viable solution. We need an alternative that will actually work and leave room for the people to live on.

    • As long as it works like that, yes.

      BUT the only viable sources to replace them are nuclear power, and to turn around the propaganda of the last 70 years and build enough nukes to run the world is a three decade job.

      Oil MIGHT run out faster than that. The problem is that it is in human nature to believe that the world stays the same. We are innately conservative. And that means that stuff that happens takes us a long time to notice and even longer to respond to and a very long time to develop an appropriate response.

      By and large the human race does not think ahead, it just wings it. Thinking ahead is what a very small number of people do. And mostly get wrong.

      But occasionally there is a no brainer, and in this case we can say with very high certainty that we will not be a fossil fuel based civilisation in 500 years. We will probably not be based that way in 100 years.

      And we may be in crisis in as little as 30 years. That wont be climate, that will be energy and Malthus. Too many people chasing too little energy and the descent of civilisation into a very nasty place indeed. Mega death in fact. Or in fact Giga death.

      If we do NOT develop energy sources that maintain the sort of per capita energy we are running at today, for a population of what – 7 billion? – then we will not have a population of 7 billion. If oil suddenly trebled, we might lose a billion in a year or so. If access to energy were curtailed for any urbanised nation, up to 90% of urban populations might die in WEEKS. The thought of a city like NY or London with no diesel, no gasoline, and no electricity trumps the worst disaster movies ever made. The whole supply chain of fresh food, clean water, and heat, and the waste chain of sewage all depend 100% on the availability of cheap energy – mainly electricity. Some would walk or cycle out. Most would die waiting for the ‘government to fix it’.

      And if the lifers and birthers insist that we try and exceed that and call contraception a sin, them. Except if homosexuality becomes compulsory, we will have a lot of poor people dying through lack of access to energy.

      The war is to maintain control while that happens, to ensure that the elites have electricity while the masses starve. To use energy to control religion and ideology, and the people.

      Whether or not we let them win that war, is the point. Peak oil will happen someday. We should maybe prepare for it a bit.

      Or maybe we should let nature take its course, and hope that its the greens who demonstrate Darwin in action, dying in billions when windmills fail to save them.

  15. We have been very lucky as a race to be on this planet. Cheap energy and cheap fuel for transportation have helped us quickly evolve our knowledge and technology. More people on the planet increase the potential number of scientists, that increase the speed we can move forward. We will need this cheap energy and transportation to continue that march till we can finally secure our existence by being able to leave and thrive on other planets letting us become a galaxy spanning race. It’s exciting, and the quicker we can get there the better our chances are. Liberals would be happy to see our “clean planet” devoid of the evil human race that unfairly dominate it. That’s just insane.

    • “Liberals would be happy to see our ‘clean planet’ devoid of the evil human race”

      I wasn’t aware this was part of the liberal platform. It’s news to me, despite almost 50 years mingling with liberals.

      I often see the argument that the human race has benefited immeasurably from fossil fuels – even that development of our civilization was dependent on them. But when did we become “civilized”? We have been making fabulous works of art, masterpieces in philosophy and enormous strides in science since long before fossil fuel use. Apart from that, what if, instead of learning to exploit and harness oil, we had put our combined scientific mind toward technological advances in harnessing renewable energy? For hundreds of years we used waterwheels to power everything from grain mills to glass-engraving apparatus. We could have heated homes using sun, water, lenses and mirrors. Transportation would have been a bit more difficult, but who knows what we would have come up with? Maybe if it hadn’t been for the dominance of fossil fuels we would have long ago developed bigger, better batteries.

      • Kristi,

        Before widespread fossil fuel use, there were fewer than a billion people in the world. Now we’re pushing eight billion.

        ‘Nuff said.

      • “Maybe if it hadn’t been for the dominance of fossil fuels we would have long ago developed bigger, better batteries.”

        You’re going to build solar panels and their related components without petroleum and petroleum related products being involved?


        Let’s start with logistics (and note this process alone is quite a few steps away from the starting line). How will you get your components to a factory to be assembled?

      • Maybe if it hadn’t been for the dominance of fossil fuels we would have long ago developed bigger, better batteries.

        Your ignorance of science and technology is touching.

        At what point might you realise that actually bigger better batteries cannot be developed, because the laws of physics and chemistry say we are nearly as good as it gets right now, and to compete with fossil we need to be an order of magnitude better at least?

        Battery electric cars predate fuel cars.

        If they had been able to find a better battery of course we wouldn’t be using fossil fuel cars. The fact that they never did, might be a hint as to suggest that they couldn’t. Not that they did not try.

        You live in blissful ignorance. I have spent my whole life trying to develop better machines. Its really really really hard. It takes all of science – physics and chemistry and maths – to just get a teensy bit better.

        And then someone like yourself tells me that it could all be so much easier if I just Believe in Progress’

        Frankly Kristi, people like you make me SICK.

        You probably have never designed or made a single thing in your whole life. And yet you feel competent to pronounce on technological progress.

        You probably have never performed a single scientific experiment, nor passed a single examination in maths physics engineering or chemistry at university level, yet you feel competent to pronounce on the theory of climate change.

        Maybe if pixie dust and unicorn farts could be discovered, we could all “Click our heels together three times and say ‘There’s no place like home’ and we’d be there.”

        Well good luck with that.

        Never worked for me, and lord knows I tried.

      • Kristi, I’ll admit– that is somewhat of a “rose-tinted” view of the past. But how can anyone figure out if those “could haves” and “would haves” are plausible? It’s an “alternate timeline” theory with a grandiose vision and flowery fragrance. Maybe try to think of it from a different perspective. Take some advanced industry or practice of today and try to work it backwards– say, the Internet. (Yes, I just capitalized the “I” in Internet.) What plausible alternative technological branch could the world have taken in order to develop a world-wide network for near-instantaneous communication? Communication is fundamentally the most important apparatus of society regardless of the technological age we’re speaking about. Without it, you and I can’t have this conversation; you and I can’t receive our paychecks; you and I can’t figure out where to get food, shelter, and clothing; you and I can’t know to run away from danger. In fact– speaking of danger– just a few weeks back, my phone told me about the threat of tornado-producing storm… about 2 hours before the storm blew through the area where I live. What plausible alternative technological branch that is absent of dirty fossil-fuel driven technology would have led to some system of communication that en masse notified hundreds of thousands of citizens of an impending deadly storm hours before its outer edge even touched the area?

        My point is, nothing would exist today without mass advances in technology driven by the cheap and abundant availability of energy, which in turn is driven by fossil fuels. To say otherwise and to fantasize about “could haves” and “would haves” of an alternative technological timeline that did not happen is shockingly disconnected from reality.

  16. “Mapping anticlines (and strata and faults, etc) on the surface” was actually done for a century before kthe “new discovery” by oilmen. What really happened is mining and oil and gas companies were very slow to come around to employing geologists and when some finally did, even then they made fun of them “We were going to hit that vein anyway!”. On a platinum mine visit in 1996 as a field trip from a conference, a mining engineer said to me “OK, geologists are magicians these days at finding mines, but how do you get them out of the way so engineers can mine the darn things”. I told him that may work until you abruptly run out of ore.

    Second, academics are generally a decade or more out of date. They didnt realize the galloping development of fracking. It wasnt really someting to write home about unti about 2009 -2010. When they finally heard about it, they picked up on the short term significant production and rapid drop off of oil and gas after a frac development and I see them still referring to this today. All the wells that were fracked in the 1980s and 90s used a few hundred tons of sand “proppants”per well. By 2010, each well averaged 1500t of frac sand per well.

    BY 2015, EOG (what remains of Enron) had pioneered more intensive , closer spaced and wider fracs out from the well using 2500t/well. They furthur experimented with more intensive fracs using 4000t/ well. In each case, production rates increased considerably and ultimate recoveries essentially doubled to 18-20% of the hydrocarbon in situ. Some 50,000 fracked wells had thus become an inventory for low cost re-entry and re-fracking, essentially duplicating the production that had already taken place from these wells. That alone pushes storied “peak oil” off a couple of decades into the future. Meanwhile, they are working on ways to get at the other 80% of the O&G that’s left behind when the well is ‘spent’. A common remark in the industry is a well these days is never shut down!

    Reference: Frac Sands and Proppants North America, Markets and Outlook 2016. Roskill Information Services publication, author Gary Pearse

    • Thanks Gary, good points. However, my only interest was when surface mapping was first used to find a significant oil field and I still think that is El Dorado. Actually, until El Dorado geology wasn’t really used in the oil field. And, you are correct they were ridiculed for decades after El Dorado. I grew up in Kansas and when I told my mother I was going to study geology in college she got upset, she didn’t want me to become a drunk like all the other geologists she knew!

      When it comes to oil and gas, I’ve noticed the academics are generally about 15 years out-of-date, very comparable to your estimate of a decade or more. Interesting about Enron’s experimentation. They’ve always been innovators and do their homework. Good info.

      • My Dad didn’t know any geologists… He had no idea I was majoring in beer & pizza road trips… 😎

  17. A decade ago I used to read a “peak oil” blog called the Oil Drum. I thought that most of the articles were hysterical (just emotional, not funny). As it became clear that oil and gas production in the US and North America were going to surpass historic levels and keep going. I stopped reading. I just surfed over there and found they had closed up shop 5 years ago:

    It is clear enough now that there is enough oil and gas easily accessible in the US and North America to ensure that we will have plenty for the foreseeable future. Just think of the places where the Democrat party (that wants to be thought of as the friends of the working class) has blocked drilling. The coasts of California and Florida have been declared off limits for aesthetic reasons. However, the Federal Government owns all offshore sites and could authorize drilling in front of Malibu Beach. I would favor that.

  18. This Peak Oil is just the same as Marx’s immiseration theory. Tiny minds cannot grasp the idea that things will change. The fact is that capitalism features innovation revolutions every decade or so, and it’s been that way for over 200 years.

    The renewables thing is typical ruling class blindness. A crash program of back to the future.

      • “Eventually oil will become too expensive to extract for use as primary energy.”

        How do we know?

        “Just because it hasn’t happened yet is no guarantee it won’t happen some day.”

        But then, just because it hasn’t happened yet is no guarantee it will happen some day either?

        “How ya doin’ bud?”

        Livin’ by faith, bud…how ’bout yerself?


        • No. I just live. No faith involved. A lot of critical thinking though

          How do we know that oil will become too expensive to extract for use as primary energy? Because oil is going up in price, and its happened to every other mineral resource before.

          In Britain we have run out of coal worth mining, because someone else can do it cheaper, after building a global empire with it and multiplying our population by ten. We have run out of economically exploitable offshore oil and gas, and although fracking looks promising, it will never be as cheap or as easy as drilling offshore oil wells, which were never as cheap or as easy as drilling onshore ones.

          In short cost of production of oil is increasing. Both in financial and in energy terms, and the theory that oil is an unlimited resource being replaced as fast as we extract it is not tenable.

          If we start from there we can DEDUCE that the proposition of peak oil is IMPLICIT in those facts.

          Deduction is the only logic that can be proven.

          What about “there is only a finite amount of oil, there is only a finite amount of that finite amount of oil that can be extracted using less energy than it gives when burned, and the processes that created it did so over 3.5 billion years whereas we have exhausted a goodly fraction of it in 100 years, ergo it is not in any sense sustainable’ do you not get?

          • Sequestered hydrocarbon fuels that were not even discoverable 30 years ago are now being extracted and marketed competitively. The truly vast quantities of kerogens and methane hydrates in the earth’s crust are beyond reckoning.

            Abiotic hydrocarbon formation and ongoing archaea formation of hydrocarbons are not chemtrail delusions. They are very serious questions to which science has to say, “no answer.”

            The point of the article is we always think we will run out of affordable hydrocarbons for fuel, but we never do. That ought to give you pause. You insist it will happen someday. You don’t know that. You can’t know that.

          • “What about “there is only a finite amount of oil, there is only a finite amount of that finite amount of oil that can be extracted using less energy than it gives when burned, and the processes that created it did so over 3.5 billion years whereas we have exhausted a goodly fraction of it in 100 years, ergo it is not in any sense sustainable’ do you not get?”

            The better question is not what I don’t get, but why in the world I should believe you?

            You don’t have any objectively verifiable evidence that:

            1) “there is only a finite amount of oil” – in fact, by your own admission you contradict that premise. You’ve already admitted that the processes by which the petroleum we use now was created haven’t stopped, in which case, by definition there cannot be “only a finite amount” of oil. If the processes are continuing then so is the creation of new petroleum. How many barrels of oil per day are being created to replenish what’s being used right now, as we speak? Millions? Billions? You haven’t a clue about that and neither does anyone else.

            2) “we have exhausted a goodly fraction of it in 100 years” – unless and until you can show where each and every pocket of petroleum is located on the planet, as well as how much is in it, you haven’t a clue as to what has or has not, been exhausted. The best available evidence we do have is that new fields are being found yearly, although it would appear the number of yearly finds is decreasing. This is irrelevant, however, because as you must also admit, there’s no guarantee such a decline will continue.

            If you can’t provide evidence for 1) and 2) (and you can’t) then you’re just making stuff up and believing it by faith.

            In which case, why is your faith more reasonable than mine? And wouldn’t Popper be so ashamed of your behavior right now?

            The best itty bitty tidbit you have is the bit you slipped into the mix that isn’t even part of the original question, hence, I reject your not-so-subtle attempt at moving the goalposts as a Red Herring:

            “…there is only a finite amount of that finite amount of oil that can be extracted using less energy than it gives when burned…”

            I’m still having fun and you’re still the one making me smile!

          • Leo, you are wrong about mineral resources. Copper, Iron, etc. has declined in price in real currency over the centuries. Such materials are different than oil and gas. 1) You don’t “demand” zinc. You demand non corrosive coatings on steel, or batteries, etc. Ditto copper. You demand a conductor of electricity not necessarily copper (aluminium is about 15% of the earth’s crust). So substitution is big – who knew glass fibre optic cables could transfer information (the earth is over 50% silica)? Two other things: 2)miniaturization – the first computer I did anything on was a fairly large air conditioned room without the computing power of a cell phone. 3) recycling: all the metals mined are still on the surface of the earth, save what we sent to Mars, etc. an amount of gold in bricks and circulation was mined in the Gold Coast of Africa centuries past. We are moving to mining becoming a “topping up” activity.

            Deduction can lead to you the brainless Club of Rome prognostications if you let it.

  19. The important question isn’t running out of oil or “peak oil” but at what price do we need to continue to supply the demanded oil . If the price goes up, production & technology will deliver needed supplies. But at what point does that price get high enough to make other energy sources more economic. Questions that can not be answered but may become relevant sooner than most think given soaring worldwide demand.

    • But at what point does that price get high enough to make other energy sources more economic

      That is exactly what ‘peak oil’ is.

      The point at which other energy sources are more cost effective, or at which so many people have died that the demand for oil falls well below today’s.

      Peak oil is never about running out, its about falling production.

      Related to it being less viable as a fuel than something else.

      Or because the market in terms of people has shrunk.

  20. The human need for oil and gas is reduced by discovering a new scientific formula for clean energy production in the future (finding a scientific answer to a complex question).
    This new hydro power scientific formula (E>P+1at) is the near future of renewable energy in the world and it can solve the human need to fossil fuels!
    (Ee>Ep+E1at) = (E>P+1at)
    What is the most difficult scientific question of global hydro power that no one scientists could the answer to it?
    Now the hard global question!
    How can we produce clean energy in a best way by the potential of water Static head in dams & seas that this water pressure can push to the center of planet?
    This is by getting benefit of joint scientific formula (E>P+1at) with immersion turbines method inside the water of dams & seas (Immersion turbines of series and parallel in zero point of opposite forces).
    Ee= High pressure clean energy that is produced by the water power plants in the depth of water via released fixed potential energy of water natural pressure (More than ten meters of water) with new method (Immersion turbines of series and parallel in zero point of opposite forces).
    Ep= Released fixed potential energy of water natural pressure in water depth (More than ten meters of water).
    E1at= Amount of energy that is consumed at a small pump of one atmosphere power is the ability (In the same place of the water power plant in water depth).
    Many scientists believe that the discovery of the formula is unparalleled. Although many still in shock! How this formula has not be discovered by scientists in the world. Answer to a hard question that scientists are searching for hundreds of years and they can control of climate change and stop global warming.
    My new formula and new method can change the world and start a new industrial revolution soon.
    This invention is patented in Department of Justice in Kurdistan of Iraq No. 952/6 on 12/6/2013.
    The TV report:

      • This is different.
        This new formula is in fact the answer to a global question that all the scientists of the world were incapable of finding it. This new scientific formula and its new method are the hope of the energy of future.

  21. Today’s extreme and unconventional is tomorrows normal.

    How would nuclear power have been considered in 1880? Or the decoupling of labour from production by steam power from the perspective of all previous previous cecnturies that relied on human and draught animal labour for despatchable energy supply when the weak and variable water and wind powerwere unavailable

    (i) both treated similarly by the green elite who controlled the green natural energy and labour, and the wealth it produced, that they kept to themselves using the weapons and armed gangs it paid for and they kept close. Like now – only with a MUCH lower threshold and no veneer of democracy or pretence of equality in ” law”.

  22. * “Domestic production of both oil and natural gas are past their peak
    and world petroleum production is nearing its peak.” — US Army Corps
    of Engineers report dated Sept 2005

    Gee, now where have we heard this before? Oh yes:

    * “Hurry, before this wonderful product is depleted from Nature’s
    laboratory!”–advertisement for “Kier’s Rock Oil,” 1855

    * “. . . the United States [has] enough petroleum to keep its kerosene
    lamps burning for only four years . . . ”
    –Pennsylvania State Geologist Wrigley, 1874

    * “. . . although an estimated two-thirds of our reserve is still
    in the ground, . . . the peak of [U.S.] production will soon be
    passed–possibly within three years.”
    –David White, Chief Geologist, USGS, 1919

    * ” . . . it is unsafe to rest in the assurance that plenty of
    Petroleum will be found in the future merely because it has been in the
    past.” –L. Snider and B. Brooks, AAPG Bulletin, 1936

  23. Does this mean that we can expect relatively stable gasoline prices over the next 20 years or so, and we are not headed for the oil shock that some are predicting?

    • Oil and gas (and gasoline prices) are normally volatile. But, I would expect reasonably stable prices for the next 20 years and, perhaps, longer.

    • The declining fraction of petroleum for transportation use will keep prices from diverging from the usual economic forces. Gas will go up and down but it won’t be because of “peak oil”.

  24. Average oil field lasts 20 years and follows a bell curve. Without new exploration, the bell curve for world production predicts peak oil. What is does not predict is that as the cost of oil then goes up at the peak of the production curve, the additional income pays for more difficult extraction. Peak oil is real and is repeatedly achieved, offset by new production. Ultimately, the last innovation and source type is achieved, and peak oil occurs.

  25. Good article. Few will believe it until it happens, but the SK 100 kW LENR reactor is expected to be shown in Jan 2019,
    That has a good chance of changing the article’s forecasts dramatically. As does a probable melt down of the economy.

  26. I measured the fundamental phase equilibrium data for an additive to enhance the recovery of oil by the water-flood technique. The project was shelved after the engineering was complete because the oil price had dropped. It is not profitable at the current price but was very much so when the project started and oil prices were high. When the price goes up, this will be field-tested. Every other major oil company probably has similar projects waiting for the right time. If one new process can deliver 10% more oil from an existing well economically, the world’s supply of oil has increased dramatically.

  27. The author addresses, but does not fully explore, the cost price problem. As I pointed out in 2007, Peak Oil is more likely to be driven by supply chain and cost problems than the quantity of oil in the ground. The recession that began in 2008 was triggered by a sharp spike in the price of oil. History suggests more spikes are coming. There is a practical cap on the cost of a barrel of oil: about $125.00. As the supply approaches that price, the world economy begins to falter. Higher prices will be devastating to world GDP, as well as the cost and availability of food. This already happened in 2008 and will happen again.

    • And the price will fall again to $20 a barrel. The price fluctuates. We don’t ever run out. Historically we have been anticipating oil production to peak for 150 years. But it never really peaks. The supply just keeps getting bigger.

  28. Before oil runs out, it will become a lot more expensive. When oil sells for $200 a barrel, we’ll “need” a lot less of it. Trust me.

  29. Solar and wind will not be significant energy sources in the U.S. in the foreseeable future. Fossil fuels provided about 80 percent of the domestic energy consumed in 2017. Solar and wind energy provided about 3 percent, the remainder being nuclear, biomass and hydroelectric. The increase in natural gas usage compared the decrease in coal usage in recent years is mostly due to Obama era regulations intended to shut down the coal industry. The increase in consumption of renewables is entirely due to government subsidies. Without subsidies, solar power is not competitive with fossil fuels. A fatal technical flaw of renewables is the lack of technology to store commercial quantities of energy for use when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. The recent changes in the amounts of different energy sources used is a one off due to government interference in the market and has no relationship to sustainable long-term trends in energy usage.

    Between 2013 and 2040, the U.S. Energy Information Agency forecasts natural gas consumption to increase by 13.4 percent and coal consumption by 5.6 percent. They foresee fossil fuels maintaining their status as the leading source of U.S. energy and continuing to supply 80 percent of U.S. energy needs. Now is not the time to count out fossil fuel as a continuing major factor in supplying cheap, reliable energy to the U.S so long as bureaucrats do not mess up the free market by arbitrarily and unnecessarily limiting the energy mix.

    A potentially huge future source of fossil fuels that most do not talk much about are the discovered hydrocarbons left in the ground at every oil field. On the average, about two thirds of the oil in fields cannot be economically recovered with known oil field technologies: gas expansion, water injection, CO2 injection, steam injection, chemical injection, fire flooding, microbial injection, gas injection and plasma-pulse technology. The price of oil is too low. Sustained, high oil prices will kick off another oil boom to produce this hard to get oil with off-the-shelf technologies, and the prognosticators will need to go back to their drawing boards.

    Deja vu all over again!

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