Peak Oil Debunked: 328. PEAK LIQUIDS ≠ PEAK ENERGY

## Friday, January 11, 2008

### 328. PEAK LIQUIDS ≠ PEAK ENERGY

For this calculation, I will draw figures from EIA "Table 2.9: World Production of Primary Energy by Energy Type and Selected Country Groups (Quadrillion Btu), 1980-2005", located here.

I will use the following abbreviations to indicate the components of the global energy supply:

L: Liquids. This is listed as petroleum in Table 2.9. It includes ordinary crude oil, condensate, NGL and tarsands.

G: Dry natural gas, not including NGL.

C: Coal

H: Net hydroelectric power

N: Net nuclear electric power

R: Renewables*. Net electric power from geothermal, solar, wind, wood and waste.

Using these terms, world total energy production can be expressed as T = L + G + C + H + N + R.

In 2005, the amount which each factor produced, and it's percentage of the total were as follows:

In the immediate aftermath of peak liquids, all of the other sources will be available to compensate for a decline in L. So (until peak G) the term "alternatives" will mean the aggregrate of G, C, H, N and R. As you can see, L accounts for a little more than a third of world energy production, so there is really no problem of scaling alternatives in the initial post peak-liquids phase. The alternatives are already twice the scale of the factor to be compensated for (L), and about 100-200 times the scale of the likely annual decline in liquids production (assuming a decline rate of 1-2%, see #327 below).

I've shown below (#327) that the net decline rate of liquids is likely to be less than 2% for decades. Now, liquids account for 37% of total energy (T), so a 2% decline in L gives rise to a (.02)(.37)= 0.7% decline in T. This, however, assumes that all the alternatives (G, C, H, N and R) do not increase. At what rate do the other alternatives generally increase?

The following Table shows the production figures (in quads) for the most recent available years (2001-2005) in Table 2.9. dG, dC, dH, dN and dR indicate the respective growth rates (as numbers; multiply by 100 for percent). Finally the lowest row shows the average growth rates over the past 5 years for G(2.9%), C (6.2%), H(1.5%), N(1.4%) and R(7.3%).

Now, if the alternative sources (GCHNR) continue growth at their current rate, which is conservative (for N in particular), then total growth in T due to growth in GCHNR will be:

(.029)(.23)+(.062)(.27)+(.015)(.06)+(.015)(.06)+(.01)(.073)=.0259=2.6%

Which is more than enough to compensate for the 0.7% loss in T due to the decline in L. That is, world energy production will continue to increase by about 1.9% per year, assuming business-as-usual growth in alternatives, even in the face of a 2% decline in liquids.

Now, there may still be some question about whether alternatives (GCHNR) can increase in the face of declines in global liquids production. Historical data shows that they can. Recall the "Big Glitch", where global liquids production dropped by 14% over the years 79-83:

The DOE Annual Energy Review 2006 gives the following world liquids production (in quads) for 79-83:

1979: 133.87 (crude) + 4.87 (NGL) = 138.75
1983: 113.97 (crude) + 5.46(NGL) = 119.33 (14% drop)

During this same time period:

Coal grew by +0.6%.
Natural gas grew by +4%.
Nuclear power boomed, rising +60%.
Renewables boomed, rising +44%.

Perhaps the best illustration of this principle, however, is peak oil itself, which (as of this writing) appears to have occurred in May 2005.

Oil showed no growth at all in 2005 and 2006. However, total energy consumption in 2005 was 2.9% higher than in 2004, and total energy consumption in 2006 was 2.4% higher than 2005 (BP Statistical Review 2007). Peak oil is not stopping growth of total energy.
by JD
-------
*) Note that these figures ridiculously underestimate the contribution of renewable sources like solar to primary energy -- a point demonstrated by Hermann Scheer. For details, see 284. RENEWABLES PROVIDE A LOT MORE THAN A "TINY" FRACTION OF PRIMARY ENERGY.

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 2:37:00 AM PST,  Hydraulics said...

During this same time period:

Coal grew by +0.6%.
Natural gas grew by +4%.
Nuclear power boomed, rising +60%.
Renewables boomed, rising +44%.

I think there are two problems with these figures.

The first is that nuclear power plants and hydroelectric dams both need more than 4 years from project to grid connection, hence increase in power output is very likely due to completion of old plans. This just proves that the system has some inertia.

The second problem is that presenting numbers as percentage is misleading: it would be much more interesting to see the energy inputs in metric units. The chart from BP here shows that total energy consumption actually decreased from 1979 to 1983.

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 7:01:00 AM PST,  JD said...

This just proves that the system has some inertia.
It also shows that construction of nuclear plants and hydro dams is not impeded by lack of liquid fuel, even in the face of 4-6% annual drops in world liquids production.

The chart from BP here shows that total energy consumption actually decreased from 1979 to 1983.
True, but the drops in oil production during that period were very steep (4-6%), far higher than those expected for the first 20 years after peak oil (1-2%) (see #327).
Growth in coal/gas during 79-83 was also extremely anemic, compared to current rates of 6% (coal) and 3% (gas).

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 7:14:00 AM PST,  FR said...

I don't want to replace oil with coal, and natural gas is going to peak soon, too, thus eliminating that option. However, renewables are accelerating rapidly and the nuclear option is still there. (I'm hoping renewable become much cheaper -- I don't think nuclear is a long-term answer.)

As far as total energy consumption goes, I don't think peak oil is a problem, as there are plenty of alternatives. But the problem is in transportation. There are no silver-bullet solution; we'll have to practice a lot of conservation and efficiency, as JD talks about. But looking long-term, say, like 2050 or so, I think we'll need some major technological breakthroughs either in terms of liquid fuels or energy storage that can be used for transportation. And hopefully, that solution will not release Carbon, and it will not directly compete with food for arable land usage.

I enjoy this blog. I've been reading it for a couple years or so, though I didn't post until recently.

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 9:29:00 AM PST,  Al Fin said...

Biofuels are one huge unknown in the mix. Synthetic biology research is creating efficient ways of going directly from plant waste to valuable liquid fuel--equivalent in energy terms to either petrol or diesel.

Switchgrass and biowaste cellulose/hemicellulose/lignin converts to glucose, then ferments to isobutanol. Isobutanol burns in unmodified petrol engines.

Switchgrass grows on marginal land unfit for crops so does not reduce food yields or increase food price.

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 3:30:00 PM PST,  dub_scratch said...

Switchgrass grows on marginal land unfit for crops so does not reduce food yields or increase food price.

Yes but is it sustainable if we were to rob the soils of dead switchgrass year after year?

Agrofuels are not an answer because they require too much agricultural and natural capital to use in any large scale. It may prove to be much better to convert solar power more directly thru thin-film PV or the various wind and tidal power systems that can become practical. Also, simply better urban transport and efficiency will also make a contribution. The whole wish to develop agrofuels is a ploy to maintain the wasteful automobile consumption lifestyle beyond petroleum.

BTW, peak liquids can equal peak energy, and that will be just fine. Getting rid of wasteful systems and adopting a new value for energy can prove to be the real result of mitigating peak oil/gas/coal. There is no really good reason to squander our top soils on traffic jams, is there?

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 4:34:00 PM PST,  Aki said...

Anyone see the news stories on cellulosic ethanol recdently? A five-year university study estimated a 540% return on the energy required to harvest switchgrass and turn it into ethanol, factoring in every part of the process. This return is expected to increase since the conversion process is relatively immature (compared to, say, corn or sugarcane), and switchgrass is being developed to allow greater yields per acre.

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 7:12:00 PM PST,  Juan said...

JD,

Perhaps you can help me out. Does determination of peak production require knowledge of the different oilcos', national and not, long-term i.e. strategic planning or is maximum production simply assumed?

An answer to the first would require access to proprietary information that I expect is definitely not available. Therefore I'm left with the second but find such assumption very unrealistic.

fr,

While not a 'magic bullet', addition of a national very high speed rail system could certainly assist, especially if required energy derived from, lets say, nuclear plants.

At Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 9:32:00 PM PST,  odograph said...

That switchgrass article is nice, but it begs the question of why we aren't all driving switchgrass cars.

Is it energy efficient but still not economically feasible?

At Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 12:20:00 PM PST,  FR said...

juan,

I agree with you regarding a national high-speed train. It's long overdue, but the powers-that-be (big oil, auto companies) will do everything they can to subvert the effort. And in the "democracy" that is the United States, money talks.

At Monday, January 14, 2008 at 1:28:00 AM PST,  Aki said...

I think we're not driving switchgrass cars because celluslosic ethanol is relatively new technology in comparison to sugarcane and corn, in terms of maximizing the energy return. Also, this seems to be the first study of it's kind to indicate the magnitude of the energy to be gained. Cellulosic ethanol plants are being built, and will be operating soon, but it's technology that needs to be refined. The other benefits seem to be: switchgrass grows well on marginal lands (ie, won't take up food crops), it helps the soil it's planted in, so you're improving the land, and it sucks up CO2 like crazy.

At Monday, January 14, 2008 at 1:31:00 AM PST,  Aki said...

What I'd like to know is, how much switchgrass can be grown here in Canada? The estimate in the switchgrass article suggested up to 30% of US oil use could be swapped with cellulosic ethanol. Given Canada is a lrger country with 1/10th the population, would it be feasible to generate enough CE to move off oil as a transportation fuel entirely? Maybe export as well?

At Monday, January 14, 2008 at 6:52:00 AM PST,  clif said...

Peak oil does not equal peak energy;

correct, but with the caveat;

Peak Oil does essentially equal peak TRANSPORTATION energy, which is the main driver of the US economy for the last 60 years.

It is undermining the US auto industry because no matter how much CERA and the rest of the oil industry talking heads deny it, the rise in oil prices has undercut their largest selling vehicles and largest profit base.

Also with so much of the entire economy relying on plastics which are Oil in another form, that also weighs heavily on the rise in prices at the manufacturing level which either must be passed on to the consumer or eaten as a smaller profit picture.

So peak oil with the associated rapid rise in costs does equal a much higher inflationary cycle with lower profits and wages to keep costs down to the consumer.

Also with NO real alternative in the wings, just some early triple a attempts to find one, we don't presently have a plan B for transportation.

If transportation goes, because of a lack of plan B, so does the just in time modern reality of production, and massive logistical nightmare for the mega stores to maintain their margins while holding market shares.

So, well peak oil does not equal peak energy for the entire planet, it does essentially mean peak US economic conditions for a long time. Especially since no politician or private sector leadership is doing squat about it really, nice talk once in a while and throwing money at already discredited ethanol programs is NOT a solution.

At Monday, January 14, 2008 at 1:53:00 PM PST,  Al Fin said...

For those who are accustomed to solving problems in the real world, "peak oil" does not seem so insurmountable.

It is easy to see why intellectuals (professors, journalists, writers etc) are attracted to "peak oil". Their livelihood--expressing opinions--has almost no relationship with the reality of solving problems. The vanguards of the "culture of complaint" cannot be expected to get their hands dirty by solving problems themselves.

Much easier for problems to be insoluble. No muss, no fuss, no thinking required.

At Monday, January 14, 2008 at 4:44:00 PM PST,  FR said...

al fin,

You make a good point, but be careful of saying "professors don't solve problems." Right now, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering professors are doing the research that will get us through this.

clif,

That's the same argument that this blog has discredited hundreds of times. There are so many things we can do to mitigate peak oil, so the economy can continue to grow with declining oil consumption. Look at the US the past six or seven years -- oil prices have sky-rocketed and yet, the economy has grown tremendously. There are many problems with our economy, such as debt, inequality and soaring health care costs, but they have nothing to do with peak oil (more to do with bad public policy). Our GDP and productivity growth have been great, despite the oil crunch.

At Monday, January 14, 2008 at 10:37:00 PM PST,  sofistek said...

JD makes the comment "Which is more than enough to compensate for the 0.7% loss in T due to the decline in L." This is not correct. The increase in other energy sources is the increase one might have expected, even if oil did not decline, so that increase in no way makes up for a 2% decline in oil. On JD's figures, one might expect total energy to increase by at least 3% per year. So that overall growth figure of 1.9% would leave us 1.1% short of what business as usual would suggest. A 2% decrease in oil, would, on the figures presented, yield only 165.9 quads in the next year, whilst a 3% total increase would take the total to 471.3 quads. So the other sources would have to provide 305.4 quads. Currently, non-oil categories contribute 288.3 quads. So non-oil sources would have to increase by 5.7% to compensate and, consequently, the statement that a 2.6% increase would more than compensate for a 2% decline in oil is just plain wrong.

Other forms of energy would have to increase by more than double their previous annual growth rate, to compensate for the decline.

Whilst that may be possible now, if decline doesn't set in for a few more years, the world may find itself pushing up against production limits (either globally or regionally) that will make such growth look all but impossible.

At Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 2:47:00 AM PST,  JD said...

Other forms of energy would have to increase by more than double their previous annual growth rate, to compensate for the decline.

No, they can compensate for the decline at their current growth rates. What you are trying to say is: "Other forms of energy would have to increase by more than double their previous annual growth rate, to compensate for the decline AND maintain business as usual growth in total energy". That's true and I agree with you.

I'm not making any statements about maintaining business as usual in this post. I am simply making one simple point: total energy will continue to grow after peak liquids.

At Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 9:19:00 AM PST,  clif said...

There are so many things we can do to mitigate peak oil, so the economy can continue to grow with declining oil consumption.

Right, too bad they are NOT being done and the politico's and industrial leadership still refuse to DIRECTLY address the problem, and claim failed programs like ethanol is the way out.

Even ethanol proponents have to admit there isn't enough real estate available to grow enough crops to create enough alternate bio fuels to replace what we use now.

That is before both the Chinese ramp up their use with new autos, or the Indians with their new \$2500 vehicle.

Look at the US the past six or seven years -- oil prices have sky-rocketed and yet, the economy has grown tremendously.

Based on a speculative credit bubble which is called the sub prime mess which BTW has burst and the recession is already on most wall street talking points, people at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns already admit we are already in a recession.

GM and ford are losing quite a large amount with their large pickup-SUV vehicles which have suffered falling sales.

There are many problems with our economy, such as debt, inequality and soaring health care costs, but they have nothing to do with peak oil

Wrong, because the cost of energy is directly related to the costs to the consumer. Both in costs associated with resource extraction, and refinement into finished goods, and the costs the consumers pay for their personal energy bills. IT DOES matter to them, which is why this season they cut back in consumer spending this fall and Christmas season.

Our GDP and productivity growth have been great, despite the oil crunch.

Wrong again, our GDP compared to the rest of the planet is anemic, and that is with the Governments dishonest numbers.

With the present crisis which is fueled by both the consumer credit crunch and higher prices they pay directly and indirectly related to energy costs, things are going downhill rather fast.

Nice spin, but NO substance.

At Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 1:33:00 PM PST,  Juan said...

fr thanks and

yes, but add airlines and multiple others to 'big oil and auto companies'. This is a handy way to think of it:

"... a "form of production" or "production paradigm" that spread from the US to Western Europe after 1945. It consisted of domestic mass production and stabilizing economic policies that provided national demand and social stability by paying relatively high wages, and it also included various other economic policies. Fordism is related to Keynesianism and also Taylorism. The social-scientific concept of "Fordism" was introduced by the French regulation school, sometimes known as regulation theory, which is a Marxist-influenced strand of political economy. According to the regulation school, capitalist production paradigms are born from the crisis of the previous paradigm; a newborn paradigm is also bound to fall into crisis sooner or later. The crisis of Fordism became apparent to Marxists in late 1960s.

Marxist regulation theory talks of Regimes of Capital Accumulation (ROA) and Modes of Regulation (MOR). ROAs are periods of relatively settled economic growth and profit across a nation or global region. Such regimes eventually become exhausted, falling into crisis, and are torn down as capitalism seeks to remake itself and return to a period of profit. These periods of capital accumulation are "underpinned", or stabilised, by MOR. A plethora of laws, institutions, social mores, customs and hegemonies both national and international work together to create the environment for long-run capitalist profit.

Fordism is a tag used to characterise the post-1945 long boom experienced by western nations. It is typified by a cycle of mass production and mass consumption, the production of standardized (most often) consumer items to be sold in (typically) protected domestic markets, and the use of Keynesian economic policies. Whilst the standard pattern is post-war America, national variations of this standard norm are well known. Regulation theory talks of National Modes of Growth to denote different varieties of Fordism across western economies.

Fordism as a ROA broke down, dependent on national experiences, somewhere between the late 1960s and the mid-1970s. Western economies experienced slow or nil economic growth, rising inflation and growing unemployment. The period after Fordism has been termed Post-Fordist and Neo-Fordist. The former implies that global capitalism has made a clean break from Fordism (including overcoming its inconsistencies) whilst the latter that elements of the fordist ROA continued to exist. The Regulation School preferred the term After-Fordism (or the French Après-Fordisme) to denote that what comes after Fordism was, or is, not yet clear."

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

Evidently there has been no 'clean break' but a (so far) failure to transcend the now long decaying institutional and production relationships. Environmental, social justice, corporate accountability, alternative energies, others, movements can be seen as a constellation of efforts to achieve 'Post Fordism'. But, their general unconsciousness of the capital system has stood in the way so also, unintentionally, helped perpetuate rather than overcome. That is, sufficient social weight and mass exist to accomplish transition but, failing to understand what must be overcome, it is confused, relatively ineffective, easily manipulated.

BTW, in the 1990s, Argonne National Laboratory did a fairly thorough cost/benefit study re. development of a national very high speed (maglev) 'rail' system and, by my recollection, found it to be economically feasible if implemented in regional stages with cross-subsidization developing between regions.

There was a minor flurry of media coverage and that was that.

At Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 3:16:00 PM PST,  Juan said...

To which I would add that

the social relations which define capitalism, wage labor, private property, attentant alienation and commodity fetishism, have over the centuries been so perfectly internalized that the present system is taken to be beyond history, to have no historical limits

within this context, crises are most always taken to be exogenous in the form of, say, shocks to a system that would otherwise function perfectly

well, the capital system has been in stagnationary decline now since the later 1960s-mid 1970s.

"The most widely accepted work on long-term economic growth was done by Angus Maddison for the OECD. It shows that the annual rate of growth of real global GDP fell from 4.9% in the Golden Age of 1950-73 to 3% in 1973-1998 – a drop of 39%.
Calculated on a per capita basis, the decline in the growth rate was 55%."
(Crotty, 2002)

now, since the system, as internalized, is taken to be ahistoric, near-perfect,,, all types of supposedly exogenous causes including 'peak oil' must and have been found to excuse progressively more evident failings.

At Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 4:19:00 PM PST,  Anonymous said...

Oil Peaking is based on straight forward maths and real production data .There is no mystery .It simply assumes the production rate P to cumulative extraction Q follows a straight line ..or P/Q vs Q .. AND IT DOES ..the rest is just algebra and the peak is revealed
Hubbert accurately predicted various oil field declines . BUT Hubberts maths apply to any finite resource as long as we have the data we know the peak .. ..The Arabs are hiding their production data which hides the world oil peak but the price tells the story anyway .We passed the peak in 2006

At Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 1:51:00 PM PST,  FR said...

Right, too bad they are NOT being done and the politico's and industrial leadership still refuse to DIRECTLY address the problem, and claim failed programs like ethanol is the way out.

I agree that people aren't doing nearly enough yet. However, as gas prices are sky-rocketting, people are indeed conserving more -- car-pooling, buying more fuel-efficient cars, etc. In 2005 and 2006, oil consumption increased only marginally, and the GDP increased at a good rate (which you dispute; I'll get to that later.) And we're developing biofuels. As far as ethynol being a "failed program," I agree only with regards to corn-based ethynol. Cellulosic ethynol is very promising, especially because we can use food *waste* that is currently being thrown out, and marginal land that *cannot* be used for growing food.

Even ethanol proponents have to admit there isn't enough real estate available to grow enough crops to create enough alternate bio fuels to replace what we use now.

Everyone agrees with you there. However, all it needs to do is displace a small percentage of our oil consumption. Oil production is not going to suddenly stop, it's just going to decrease a debatable percentage per year. Biofuels is one mitigating factor, and it is, indeed, being done.

(We've had economic growth) Based on a speculative credit bubble which is called the sub prime mess which BTW has burst and the recession is already on most wall street talking points, people at Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns already admit we are already in a recession.

The sub prime mess has hurt our economy, it didn't cause growth. Productivity has increased at a great rate in recent years, due to engineering inginuity; speculation cannot make people more productive. I can't suddenly accomplish more at work because some asshole finance guy speculates something about interest rates that makes people give mortgages to people who can't pay them.

GM and ford are losing quite a large amount with their large pickup-SUV vehicles which have suffered falling sales.

You're absolutely right about that, and I give far, far less than a small fraction of a shit about their profits. They can't adapt, apparently. In Europe, the cars are far more fuel-efficient than they are here; yet auto companies insist that these efficiency standars can't be accomplished. Fuck them. (Yes, I feel bad about people who lose their jobs, but there's not much we can do there.)

The cost of energy is directly related to the costs to the consumer. Both in costs associated with resource extraction, and refinement into finished goods, and the costs the consumers pay for their personal energy bills. IT DOES matter to them, which is why this season they cut back in consumer spending this fall and Christmas season.

I know what you're saying. I grant that high food prices have a lot to do with peak oil. However, the sky-rocketing education and health care costs have nothing to do with oil prices.

Our GDP compared to the rest of the planet is anemic, and that is with the Governments dishonest numbers.

You have a good point in the dishonest numbers, because the government doesn't include food and energy costs in computing inflation. However, that makes a very small difference -- I refuse to believe the "shadow government statistics" that may be your source, unless a nonpartisan, reliable economist shows me that analysis.

As far as comparing our GDP growth to the rest of the world, you're right; however, actually proves the optimistic argument. China and India are growing at roughly 10% a year, right in the midst of peak oil. Isn't that proof that the economy will not tumble because of peak oil?

At Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 4:20:00 PM PST,  clif said...

However, the sky-rocketing education and health care costs have nothing to do with oil prices.

No but the vast majority of Americans pay more for housing food or transportation costs then what you turn to to try to make your point.

Which means your IGNORING the driver of inflation, and trying to claim it is something it is not.

Isn't that proof that the economy will not tumble because of peak oil?

Only if you believe in the tooth fairy or Daniel Yergin is correct in what he is saying, which I don't.

What it means is the countries that can will OUTBID the poorer countries for a decreasing resource all need for transportation pharmaceutical and plastic production, among other things oil dos for us all.

It ain't just about what car to drive or not, but where the stocks to make plastics and other petro-chemicals are going to come from, and who is going to get those petro-stocks in the first place.(Probably why the Saudis kinda forced GE's hand until GE sold their plastic production to the Saudis.)

That could very well severely curtail any production that requires such petro stocks to make plastics or other petro-chemicals, and any associated industrial production which uses those plastic products or other petro-chemiocals in their production.

Seems the question is whether the looming recession curtails oil demand enough to keep the peak from damaging the economy until somebody find enough total alternatives to fill all the necessary niches Oil fills for us in our modern industrial society, which we are FAR from at this time.

or will peak oil be the cause of the economic collapse itself?

99% of what we did with oil in 2000 we still do with oil this year, which means the alternatives important as they are ain't near enough to replace all that oil does for us.

That is the dilemma we face and I don't see enough change to make me believe that anything other then shortages and doing without is what is gonna happen when enough oil and bio-mass alternatives can be produced in the future, probably sooner then you want to believe.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I just ain't that optimistic, about our future given how we as a society have responded to other major problem whether social or environmental in the past.

Usually we have had to resort to some sort of either organized violence or severe repression to force people to accept the truth of the problems we face, this major problem to me is no difference.

At Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 10:27:00 PM PST,  cipi604 said...

JD, you have big problems with logic thinking and thinking big enough. You debunked nothing for years. Try harder!

At Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 6:57:00 PM PST,  Juan said...

anon @1/15/2008 04:19:00 PM
...but the price tells the story anyway .We passed the peak in 2006

Which might be true if
there were an efficient market, which is usually taken to mean that all participants are aware of all relevent information and that competition has not been distorted.

even a cursory understanding of the industry's history makes clear that the above conditions have not held even under earlier price regimes.

nor, given that the present futures markets determined pricing is open to trend following pressures and reallocation activities of traders from large institutions to hedge funds to CTAs to long-only funds can prices be taken as accurate indicator of either real economy fundamentals and/or peak oil proximity.

related, Frankel notes that:

"With regard to conventional wisdom (2), it is curious that so many economists and central bankers are ready to accept that the futures price of oil is an unbiased forecast of the future spot price. This proposition of course would follow from the two propositions that the futures price is an accurate measure of expectations (no risk premium) and that expectations are rational. Both halves of the joint hypothesis are open to question. Few familiar with the statistics of forward exchange rates claim that they are an unbiased predictor of the future spot exchange rate. Few familiar with the statistics of the interest rate term structure claim that the long-term interest rate contains an unbiased predictor of future short term interest rates. Why, then, should we think that the oil futures price is an unbiased predictor...?"
(Jeffrey Frankel , Commodity Prices and Monetary Policy, July 6, 2006)

At Monday, February 25, 2008 at 2:13:00 AM PST,  ccpo said...

JD's work is biased and sloppy. For example, putting natural gas in as an alternative to skew his numbers. We all know natural gas decline will likely closely follow PO.

Another is the 2% decline rate for oil. That's a joke that nobody thinks is funny. The most conservative PO resisters (big oil and CERA) don't even try to claim that. Dick Cheney, himself, said it was 3% in 1989. And that was before the decline of the North Sea and Cantarell... and with 8 years further along for declines to increase across the board. This is an obvious agenda being supported with misleading "facts." In other words, useless.

Yet another is his ignoring that all fuels are not created equal. Even if total energy grows, you will still have problems with interchangeability. I.e., You can't lube an ICE with coal, natural gas, or electricity.

People with agendas... chrissakes... Intelligent points raised by inquiring minds are so much more interesting and so much more useful.

Cheers

At Saturday, June 7, 2008 at 10:00:00 AM PDT,  regeya said...

It's funny to see a peak-oil debunker accused of having an agenda by a peak-oil supporter. Funny, I tells ya.

The high-freakin'-larious assertion that Dick Cheney called a 3% decrease in production in 1989. Yet, in the decade and a half that has followed, demand has continued to skyrocket and it wasn't until recently that it looked like the wheels were going to fall off our culture...and they fell off not because of Peak Oil, but because the house of cards known as living on credit finally fell apart.

No, you can't lubricate an ICE with pure coal, though I must point out that the synthetic oil you've seen on auto parts stores' shelves for years now is actually made of coal.

Not that we have coal anymore, of course, since coal production peaked and went into serious decline in the 1800s. What the deuce will we fire our boilers with now?

JD does make some excellent points here, though I believe will have some transitions (such as now) that are a bit painful. If we can get past this though, we'll be a lot better off.

To me, it certainly seems that the more rabid Peak Oil proponents, while they are correct that peak oil can and will cause disruptions, have their heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that the world is changing. At what point in human history has the world not changed? Just one example would be that, in response to chemical fertilizers peaking, farmers are by and large shrugging and moving on, in some cases to older methods. http://www.newfarm.org/columns/research_paul/2006/0606/nitrocorn.shtml

At this point, we're only doomed if we think we're doomed, and only if we sit and do nothing because we think we're doomed. For that reason, Peak Oil doomsday speakers are worse than worthless to society; the more people they convince that we're doomed, the closer they come to a self-fulfilling prophesy.