free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 228. USGS: THE MOST UNDISCOVERED OIL IS IN IRAQ

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

228. USGS: THE MOST UNDISCOVERED OIL IS IN IRAQ

The Analysis of Assessment Results section of the USGS World Petroleum Assessment 2000 is packed with geological information relevant to the peak oil issue.

Here's one eye-opener. The USGS estimates that the Assessment Unit (AU) with the largest amount of undiscovered oil is Cretaceous Reservoirs (AU no.: 20300101) with 74 Gigabarrels (mean).

Dialing up 20300101, we get the map (click to enlarge):

Yup, you guessed it. Iraq. Plus Kuwait and Western Iran.

This goes a long way to explaining the discrepancy between the large USGS estimates of oil to be discovered, and the lack of recent discoveries. The #1 candidate for new oil is NOT BEING EXPLORED AT ALL.

Here's another interesting wrinkle. The peak oilers often point out the poor discovery record in recent years for "supergiant" oilfields (exceeding 5 Gbarrels). But consider the USGS's estimate of the size distribution of undiscovered fields in this AU:

As you can see, the vast majority of the undiscovered fields are expected to be small (although the USGS does estimate that about 4 supergiant fields still remain to be found in this AU).

If 4 supergiant oilfields in this AU strikes you as a deluded dream, consider this: In 2001, after the USGS assessment was completed, the Azadegan field was discovered in Iran Source. This is a 26 Gigabarrel supergiant covering 520 sq km, and is the largest field discovered in Iran in 30 years Source. So where is Azadegan? Yup, you guessed it -- AU 20300101:


Then, in 2003, Iran announced the discovery of an even bigger field (38 Gigabarrels), near the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr, which (of course) lies in AU 203000101.

So, right there you can see the merit of the USGS approach. Their expected undiscovered oil volume for the AU was 74 Gigabarrels, and within a few years of the study, the Iranians found 64 Gigabarrels in the AU without even breaking a sweat. If anything, the USGS underestimated the potential of this AU. Also, these facts don't jibe at all with the peak oiler mantra that "the largest fields are always found first", or with Matt Simmons' simplistic fairy tales about kings, queens and lords.

Finally, if you were to use the Colin Campbell method to estimate yet-to-find oil in Iraq, you would have to extrapolate the past discovery trend. But that's a bit of a problem because Iraq doesn't even have a discovery trend. In the case of Iraq, the recent discovery trend tells you a sum total of NOTHING about how much undiscovered oil still remains in the ground.
-- by JD

49 Comments:

At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 11:42:00 AM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

JD:
Read your source a bit more carefully, you have to realize that the quoted numbers are Oil In Place. Ultimately recoverable oil will be much less. Typically only 30% or so of oil in place can be produced.

With a combined oil in place of 64 giga barrels, times 30%. The ultimate recoverable amount is 19.2 giga barrel. The whole world consumes more than 30 giga barrel per year. So Iran's discovery is only good to supply the world for another 7 or 8 months. You need to have one Iranian scale discoveries every 8 months to just break even.

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 12:24:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

JD,

As you know I enjoy your blog, mostly for humor effects. The bit about me in your "Chronicles of Doom" post where you state that I was "flogging peak oil merchancdise" was pretty funny. You've had some other doosies also. The "Dick cheney doomer" posts made me laugh so hard my abs hurt.

I have to give you credit on this post: it is actually quite informative, at least in regards to fleshing out the motivations for the war in Iraq and the (possible) war in Iran.

As quantoken points out, the actually amount is not enough to make much of an impact in regards to the peak.

However, the information is quite useful in regards to explaining the war in Iraq. 20 billion barrels is still a lot of oil for whichever oil companies end up making money from it: both from selling whatever is produced and from being able to report it on their books/to their shareholders as being in development (or something along those lines)

Anyway, thanks for the informative post, I'll be digging through the links you provided shortly.

Of course, you've stated before that the war in Iraq is not about the oil, so I suspect you don't even understand the context in which your post is informative.

Best,

Matt
(yes, it really is me)

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 12:30:00 PM PST, Blogger Freak said...

Looks like you hit a nerve JD...:)

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 12:39:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

Freak,

No nerve hit. JD did a great job in terms of research here, but his conclusions are off base. It seems that he is implying the discovery trends (or lack thereof) present in Iraq apply to the rest of the world.

For reasons I think should be obvious, there is no reason to expect Iraq to have been anywhere near as well-expolored or exploited as other locales.

So of course they have some oil yet to be found.

The maps JD pulled up are great as "evidence" that the war in Iraq and the war in Western Iran are about-the-oil.

I'm hard pressed to believe JD doesn't see the relevance here, but given his conclusions, I guess he doesn't.

He seems to see it as proof there is lots of oil left to be found. I think the only reasonable conclusion is that the only oil left to be found are some small pockets (at least in comparison to global demand) in an area that we invaded and are now occupying.

As Dana Carvey's Church Lady character would have said, "How conveeeeeenient."

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 1:04:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

Also, these facts don't jibe at all with the peak oiler mantra that "the largest fields are always found first", or with Matt Simmons' simplistic fairy tales about kings, queens and lords.

What fairytales? I've gotta hear these!

About Iraq ... so what if this proves they invaded for oil? The war itself proves that "oil wars" don't work. You need a peaceful, stable environment to explore and develop oil, and stirring up anywhere in the middle east does exactly the opposite. Have you seen gas prices coming down lately?

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 2:09:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

Roland writes:

"About Iraq ... so what if this proves they invaded for oil?"

Given that you are of prime-draft age, and that the only significant deposits of oil are places where the US is or is likely to use force, I think you would be a bit less cavalier about the motivations for the war.

"The war itself proves that oil wars don't work."

Depends on who it works for. It certainly doesn't work out for the average American. As you point out, gas prices are a good indicator of the failure of the war to help us out.

But have you seen oil company profits lately? Depending on who you talk to, $5-$15 of the per barrel price is due to instability in Iraq (and other regions.)

The House of Saud no longer has to take IMF loans to support it's lifestyle as the rise in oil prices since 2003 has left them quite profitable.

Have you seen Dick Cheney's Halliburton stock options? According to Dick Luger, there up 3,000%!

I could go on, but I think you get the point. At least I hope you do.

"You need a peaceful, stable environment to explore and develop oil, and stirring up anywhere in the middle east does exactly the opposite."

Exactly: it raises profits for those in control.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 3:46:00 PM PST, Blogger Freak said...

Everyone here seems to be making a good case for greed but not neccesarily an early peak.

When has greed not been an obvious motivator of man? One could also speculate that Peak Oil is just another nefarious meme designed to justify a rise in price.

Personally I see the disemenation of a simple basic idea far beyond the capabilities of the layman to understand released and repeated in such a way that does nothing but to cause un-mitigatible fear among the masses as a form of "terrorism".

The models are too complicated and diverse for any one focused scientific discipline to draw conclusions about, and there is not even a conscensus in the scientific community about anything relating to peak oil......period.

So, tightly coupled to this is an upper hand for a doomer, the ability to only clarify the most damning things, in the most damning ways, regardless of whether true or false,
or whether significanr or not, or even whether they are relevant for the sole purpose or producing fear (not preparation, or mitigation as they debunk that as false hope).

The message peak oil proponents send is: All is lost, You will die horribly at any moment, and you will not see it coming, your life will be taken a piece at a time and there is nothing that can be done to save you. no one can save you, technology is a waste.

They offer no resonable solution, no alternative, nothing but irrational primal fear.......

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 3:48:00 PM PST, Blogger Freak said...

So, in the spirit of the expression "Smoke em' if you got em'" burn up that petroleum while its here.

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 5:06:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

"All is lost, You will die horribly at any moment, and you will not see it coming, your life will be taken a piece at a time and there is nothing that can be done to save you. no one can save you, technology is a waste."

Who? How about some specifics?

Regarding technology, I am the biggest advocate of a technologically-led mititagtion program as you will find:

1. Transport tech and methods such bicycles and shoes (walking)

2. Food production tech/methods such as permaculture.

3. Medicinal tech (to cut energy used for healthcare) such as accupuncture and yoga

4. Heating/cooling tech such as insulation.

Characterizing people like me as "doomers" and "dead-enders" (to borrow JD's phrase) is a straw-man argument. You're creating it in and of yourself.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 5:44:00 PM PST, Blogger JD said...

One could also speculate that Peak Oil is just another nefarious meme designed to justify a rise in price.

That does seem to be the new theory Matt is flogging. He's been telling us all along that Iraq was a booty raid to get the oil. Now, he's flip-flopped 180 degrees, and is telling is that Iraq was a raid to make sure we don't get the oil.

As if we needed Matt to tell us that. Joe Sixpack on the street has been saying all along that peak oil is a conspiracy to jack up oil prices, and line the pockets of the oil companies. Now Matt apparently agrees with him. That's a funny little implosion of "peak oil theory" right there.

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 6:04:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

JD,

The purpose of the war is not to get the oil and physically bring onto the US mainland as you contend I argue, it's to control the oil and make money from high oil prices.

AGain, your grossly mischaracterizing my arguments.

IF PO was a meme to justify oil prices, you would have been hearing about it as much as you've heard about bird flu, social security crisis,etc. Even in last night's SOTUS, Bush didn't mention "peak oil" or "oil depletion" or "running out" or anything like that.

Remeber, until recently, PO was considered one of the most censored stories out there by Project Censored.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 6:05:00 PM PST, Blogger JD said...

Matt Savinar wrote:
Characterizing people like me as "doomers" and "dead-enders" (to borrow JD's phrase) is a straw-man argument. You're creating it in and of yourself.

Matt Savinar also wrote:
Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon.

And:
As we slide down the downslope slope of the global oil production curve, we may find ourselves slipping into what some scientists are calling a "post-industrial stone age."

Nice spin job, Matt, but unfortunately most people regard the end of civilization, the collapse of the global monetary system and a post-industrial stone age as "doomer" scenarios. YMMV

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 6:07:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

And in case you didn't notice, when the oil cos CEO's testifed, none of them used PO to justify the rise in prices.

Their failure to use PO to justify or explain the rise in prices pretty much shoots to shit your theory that PO is a meme used to justify or explain the rise in prices.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 6:09:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

"Nice spin job, Matt, but unfortunately most people regard the end of civilization, the collapse of the global monetary system and a post-industrial stone age as "doomer" scenarios."

I'm not saying they aren't "doomer scenarios." For our way of life, they are.

But to say that I (or anybody else) has said or implied, "All is lost, You will die horribly at any moment, and you will not see it coming, your life will be taken a piece at a time and there is nothing that can be done to save you. no one can save you, technology is a waste" as freak claimed is simply a flat out total mischaracterization/straw man argument.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 6:12:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

JD,

With your permission, I would like to make use of the first couple of paragraphs of post 228. I will, naturally, credit you and post a link to this blog.

Obviously, I think your conclusions couldnt' be further from the truth. But the research you dug up was top-notch, and I'd like to make use of it.

The graphs are, as government material, in the public domain so I can use those at will. But I'd also like to use your commentary as it explains them quite simply.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 6:27:00 PM PST, Blogger Freak said...

Ok, the way I see it, "Peak Oil" in all it's iconic glory is conspiracy food for conspiracy theorists, of course you don't mention it in the mainstream, you might actually get people panicked enought to try to break their addiction. but how do you get the paranoid to bite down hard on your company line?
censored?
by who?

Depletion curves of everything from Gold to KoolAid in a pithcer follow depletion curves how exactly would you censor that?

Didn't one of your affiliates mention a '60's spy show where oil depletion is mentioned?
Hasn't it been a central theme of many movies and television shows for
years? how has it been censored?

what is new is this "we're screwed next year" theme that has come around since the year 2000....
Why should anyone trust that?
did the Y2K club just need somewhere new to focus their apocophilian urges?

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 6:35:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

Freak,

You're the one sounding like a "conspiracy theorist." As though all the big bad oil company executives got together and conspired to get this meme out through outlets like Sonoma State's "Project Censored."

Next thing, you'll be accussing me of being on the payroll of the Illuminati.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 6:49:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

Matt, I'm not disputing that the war has made lots of money for people in the white house (including through weapons contracting), or that the current presidency is in the pocket of oil companies. But this really proves nothing about Peak Oil. It doesn't matter how much oil is in the ground in Iraq, because nobody's extracting any of it. The kind of corruption you were talking about could have produced a war in any oil-producing country at any time in the past few decades. The only reason they chose Iraq was because they thought they could justify it on the grounds of ousting Saddam.

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 7:00:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

Regarding technology, I am the biggest advocate of a technologically-led mititagtion program as you will find ...

3. Medicinal tech (to cut energy used for healthcare) such as accupuncture and yoga


What the hell? Energy used for healthcare? How much energy is actually used for healthcare, as a percentage of total consumption? How much of that is actually supplied by oil? That's the non-sequitur of the week.

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 7:24:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

Roland,

"Fossil Fuels and Modern Medicine" is a good place to start:

http://mysite.verizon.net/vze495hz/id19.html

Things will only get worse as the boomers get past retirement.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 7:57:00 PM PST, Blogger Freak said...

The bottom line to me is this:

Oil was bargain for a long time during the 80's and 90's.

This "peak" idea is so new, and has been so viral in it's uptake that to not be skeptical would be foolish.
where was peak oil in 1999 when oil was $12/barrel?
Where were you Matt?

We went y2k, then terrorism, then on to peak oil, never a pause but always a crisis with no tangible course of action for the average person, nothing but pure fear........Why?

Alarmists like you is why.

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 8:04:00 PM PST, Blogger Freak said...

"Next thing, you'll be accussing me of being on the payroll of the Illuminati."

I'm not accusing you of anything other than being an insecure person with an internet connection and the ability to
stir people up in a very negative unproductive way, and honestly i think
it makes you feel powerful.

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 9:01:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

Freak,

Yes, all with my "blog of doom"!!! Muhahahahahahah!!!!

Here, listen to my plans for world domination:

http://tinyurl.com/awzhe

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 9:03:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

Freak,

I was a junior political science at UC Davis in 1999.

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 9:05:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

"Alarmists like you is why."

Yeah, I guess you're right. People like me making up bs like:

1. record oil prices
2. GM, Ford, etc going bankrupt
3. that thing called the "war in Iraq"

etc.

All a bunch of alarmist malarky!!!

Best,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 9:16:00 PM PST, Blogger Matt Savinar said...

The reason its been so viral is because the people pressenting it (including me) come armed with facts.

People are taking notice because world events of the last 3-5 years back up what we're saying. Everything from recorde oil prices to the war in iraq, etc. have alerted people somthing is up.

There is nothing that explains the events of the last few years more comprehensively than what you might call the classic "doomer" position, which is:

1. oil is peaking soon

2. the alternatives are either incapable or not ready to seriously mitigate things

3. economic collapse will take place

4. wars will be fought

The trends of the last 5 years prove folks like me are (essentially) correct in our analysis.

People have taken notice.

BEst,

Matt

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 10:30:00 PM PST, Blogger LogicPanda said...

You know Savinar, a lot of people took notice that floods and earthquakes were happening, and that would mean the end of the world.
You know, a lot of people took notice that Y2K was coming, and it would be a cataclysmic event.
In short, the peak oil mentality is one of pessimism and futility. You're not willing to even try and mitigate the impact of peak oil, you're just willing to hop onto the internet and preach your pompous, apocalyptic gospel.
Spreading the "we can't stop it" attitude is only adding injury to the problem, and if there's anything that needs debunking, it's that.
Keep on going, JD.

 
At Wednesday, February 1, 2006 at 11:44:00 PM PST, Blogger JD said...

Matt Savinar wrote:
With your permission, I would like to make use of the first couple of paragraphs of post 228. I will, naturally, credit you and post a link to this blog.

No problem, Matt. Permission granted. Don't forget the link.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 3:14:00 AM PST, Blogger Roland said...

"Fossil Fuels and Modern Medicine" is a good place to start.

I know oil is used in medicine; it's used in lots of useful things — hence the soundbite "every calory of food you consumed required 10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce it". But how many calories of fossil fuels does that actually mean? Say you're a slightly overweight adult male:

3000 calories a day
= 1095000 calories a year
= 10950000 calories of fossil fuels a year

10950000 = 43,453.112
1 gallon of diesel = 139,000 btus
So 10950000 calories = approximately .3 gallons

Whoopdeedoo. That's less than a litre of fuel. Even if you drive a Prius, you would save that amount of fuel just by taking the train to work one single day in the whole year.

Clearly, the question is not "does x use oil" but "how much oil is used for x". I would imagine the market values a year's worth of food or medicine more than twenty minutes in an SUV. Apparently some doomers seem to disagree.

"I would take the Suburban up to the pharmacy, but there's not enough oil for medicines!!!"

You do know that ambulances run on petrol, right?

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 3:28:00 AM PST, Blogger Freak said...

" The reason its been so viral is because the people pressenting it (including me) come armed with facts.

People are taking notice because world events of the last 3-5 years back up what we're saying. Everything from recorde oil prices to the war in iraq, etc. have alerted people somthing is up.

There is nothing that explains the events of the last few years more comprehensively than what you might call the classic "doomer" position, which is:

1. oil is peaking soon

2. the alternatives are either incapable or not ready to seriously mitigate things

3. economic collapse will take place

4. wars will be fought

The trends of the last 5 years prove folks like me are (essentially) correct in our analysis.

People have taken notice."


I do not, and cannot understand why you present personal and like minded
supposition as FACTS!

Your beliefs are your own and they have no factual basis beyond that.

Oil doesn't grow in any of our backyard, there has always been some difficulty in retrieving it, this is a given. Citing causes such as political, civil and economic instability for the causes in oil retrival difficulty is a valid explanation for scarcity (not peak) but when you use those causes in the same context as being symptoms of n early peak, then a house of cards known as a self-supporting argument is formed.

a "doomer" postition could explain many unrelated things, does it explain why traffic citations are more expensive, or why the educational system in the US is in dire need of attention?
Obviously not, but I believe one could paint a strong argument for it.

I just don't see the point of your postition it is as self-contridictory as it is self-supporting, and I really don't understand you.

just for arguments sake, maybe you should pick a pet-project, like education for example and postulate a way to save it from peak oil...you might actually discover you have something helpful to add should the need arise, you might discover a creativity better focused on innovation, and bettering society rather than essentially running a betting pool on who is to die first and how.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 3:48:00 AM PST, Blogger Roland said...

The reason its been so viral is because the people pressenting it (including me) come armed with facts.

Yes, and you distort and misrepresent them to scare the unitiated and propagate an agenda of fear, powerlessness and defeatism. The world was not made by people who complained about a lack of solutions.

P.S.
I'm all for acupuncture and yoga, and I eat only fresh organic food. But if you're going to propose acupuncture as a mitigation strategy for Peak Oil, you'll have to stop complaining about how "silly" our mitigation strategies are.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 4:07:00 AM PST, Blogger Roland said...

Regarding technology, I am the biggest advocate of a technologically-led mititagtion program as you will find.

But, since you also seem to think there's nothing we can do to stop "civilization as we know it coming to and end soon", what is the point of mitigation? Why not just waste oil while we still can? I wonder how many PO uninitiated saw your website and came to that conclusion.

As you say: "Deal with reality, or reality will deal with you." But dealing with reality is not about sticking your head in the sand and waiting for the end. Dealing with reality is what POD is trying to do — looking at the problem and the solutions to it. But you're encouraging people not to deal with the problem by telling them the situation is hopeless.

I'd love to talk about mitigation with you, but at the moment there's no point since you believe we're all doomed. Leave the "civilization is ending" stuff and we can all have a proper discussion.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 5:05:00 AM PST, Blogger Omnitir said...

Matt Savinar said:
But to say that I (or anybody else) has said or implied, "All is lost, You will die horribly at any moment, and you will not see it coming, your life will be taken a piece at a time and there is nothing that can be done to save you. no one can save you, technology is a waste" as freak claimed is simply a flat out total mischaracterization/straw man argument.
Doesn’t your take on PO include overshoot theory, as so many “doomers” believe? Doesn’t the notion that PO will result in around 4 billion deaths basically tell people that they are going to die? If so, Freak’s statement is an accurate representation of the doomer position.


You know, at the end of the day, I think the main thing that matters is trying to raise general awareness of oil depletion issues and the need for change. The “doomer” side’s approach is to use scare tactics and essentially propaganda to get the message across. If it gets people to drive less and consume less, then hey, great stuff. But the problem with this as I see it (judging from the PO community), is that this fear mongering often results in a sense of hopelessness. When every single idea for a possible solution gets shot down, and when people become convinced that billions will die and the situation is hopeless, it’s hard to see any point in conserving for a better tomorrow.

It’s important to understand the challenges facing society, and for people to see the need for change. But ignoring possible solutions and instead focusing on the problems won’t lead to the changes that we all seek. And in my experience, most people generally tend to be more responsive and effective when they are offered hope.

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if the doomer camp is initiating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 7:09:00 AM PST, Blogger al fin said...

This is an excellent posting JD. I amd definitely impressed.

I have to also admire the persistence of doom-seekers such as Matt, who simply cannot let go of an idea once it grabs hold.

Personally, I believe the future of liquid transportation fuels lies in the biofuels sector. The Energy Blog reports on a study from UC Berkeley that shows an incredibly high energy yield from cellulosic ethanol. There will be a lot of coffee spewing from the noses of "energy experts" when they finally understand what the study means.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 7:16:00 AM PST, Blogger Chris Vernon said...

Omnitir, I understand what you mean about the doomer self fulfilling prophecy and how if everyone believed a die-off was inevitable there wouldn't be any motivation to actually try and solve this problem.

The point is however academic, reality is the opposite. Virtually no one believes there is a problem, and as such there's no motivation to do anything since hardly anyone thinks anything needs to be done.

I think lack of motivation due to compliancy is FAR more likely and just as dangerous as lack of motivation due to perceived hopelessness.

Every far fetched story we hear of new technological solution just reinforces the status quo position of the majority that there's nothing to worry about.

That clearly isn't the case, no one believes we can cope with peak oil without a significant effort - we can cope with it, using many of the ideas JD and others talk about on this blog - BUT WE HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO THEM!

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 10:27:00 AM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Roland said:
"3000 calories a day
= 1095000 calories a year
= 10950000 calories of fossil fuels a year

10950000 = 43,453.112
1 gallon of diesel = 139,000 btus
So 10950000 calories = approximately .3 gallons"

Clearly you have confused the unit Calory. The Calory in terms of metabolism of bodies is defined differently from that in thermodynamics. One Calory absorbed by the body, is actually 1 kilo-calory in the physics units, or 4185.5 Joules. There is a 1000 times difference. Clearly when you talk about 3000 Calorie a day for the human body, you are not talking about the physical unit of Calory. If it were physical unit, that is only 3000 x 4.1855 Joules = 12557 Joules. Or corresponding to lifting a 50 pounds bag one meter for 55 times. Typical physical activity of a human being per day is much more than that.

After correcting the 1000 times disprepancy, you will be talking about 300 gallons per year, which is more close to the actual figure.

Quantoken

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 11:11:00 AM PST, Blogger Chris Vernon said...

I'm not so sure about that "300 gallons per year" Quantoken.

300 gallons (assuming US?) is 7.1 barrels per year.

6.5bn people using 7.1 barrels per year is 46bn barrels per year, some 65% more oil than is actually extracted... clearly we don't all live on 10:1 fossil fuel subsidised diets!

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 12:39:00 PM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Chris:

Roland's calculation is based on 3000 Calories per day, for a real fatty adult male. Not all westerners are that fatty after all, a more realistic figure is 2000 Calories per day. That slashes the figure for 6.5 billion people to 30 bliion barrel per year. About in par with the total oil consumption today.

Next, "each one calories in food requires 10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce". But that 10 calories (10 kilocalories actually) do not all come from oil, it could be from coal (electricity usage) or from natural gas (making fertilizer).

Finally, most of the 6.5 billion people do NOT live the western way, in which all foods are produced industrily and purchased from grocery stores (ever American farmers buy their daily food from grocery stores!!!). In most part of the world, the food source of people are much less industrialized. An African who lives on the meat of wild animals he hunt down, for example, consumes no fossil fuel in his food structure.

But it remains true that in our part of the world, it is indeed true that each calory of food costed us 10 calories in fossil fuel.

Quantoken

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 12:46:00 PM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Chris:
Consider that Americans consume 21 million barrels per day, and so 30 barrels per person per year. At 2000 Calories per person per day, the fossil fuel consumption for food production would be 4.7 barrel per person per year. Comparing that to the 30 barrel total per person per year, that does seem like a very realistic number.

On the other hand, if one eats 2000 Calories instead of 3000 calories per day, he/she will have saved 100 gallons of oil per year by reducing food intake. That's more than you can save by driving a Prius. So eat less is a way to conserve.

Quantoken

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 1:37:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

After correcting the 1000 times disprepancy, you will be talking about 300 gallons per year, which is more close to the actual figure.

Sorry Quantoken, my mistake. Still, didn't you basically debunk your own hypothesis there?

As you say, "Finally, most of the 6.5 billion people do NOT live the western way, in which all foods are produced industrily and purchased from grocery stores ... An African who lives on the meat of wild animals he hunt down, for example, consumes no fossil fuel in his food structure." How is Peak Oil going to cause these people to starve?

If "that 10 calories (10 kilocalories actually) do not all come from oil, it could be from coal (electricity usage) or from natural gas (making fertilizer)", then how does a reduction in oil directly correspond to a reduction in population for those people who do eat heavily fossil-fuel subsidized food?

On top of this, my point still stands with the recalculation. If an "average" car gets you about 10 l/100 km, then 300 gallons (c. 1000 litres) would drive you 10000 km a year, about half the average mileage of an American. So if you could (1) eat nothing and starve to death or (2) carpool with your neighbour, which would you choose? The market values food above single-person commutes.

Finally, if you are right about my mistake with the calories, don't you think using that soundbite in relation to Peak Oil is a bit misleading? I can't be bothered to look up the quote but I think Matt Savinar says, "10 calories of petroleum energy".

To sum up:
- Not all the calories are from oil
- Most oil is not used for farming
- Most people in the world don't eat oil-intensive food

PO=dieoff just doesn't make sense. Not for the billions who never got the green revolution, and not for westerners who waste oceans of oil every day.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 4:57:00 PM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Roland:

It doesn't matter from which specific type of fossil fuel you get your energy from, it's all the same. When supply of one type of fossil fuel is tight all types of fossil fuels are equally tight. When you see Natural gas and oil price goes skyrocketing, isn't true that coal price also has doubled or trippled, as well. You don't notice it because you were not purchasing coal.

The problem with the world's food supply is that it is not distributed evenly. Just as people in rich countries eat too much and become too fat, people in poor countries are dying due to malnutrition. As the oil crisis fully kicks in you are going to see massive die off.

Food CAN be produced without fossil fuel. But without fossil fuel, food can NOT be produce in enough abundance to feed the world's population, especially as people in rich country want to eat meat and hence consume a much larger portion of the grain productions.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 9:42:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

Quantoken, have you seen this post?

One thing I find interesting is that while the small dip in oil production in the early 70s raised food prices noticeably (although still not that much), the second oil crisis, with a big reduction of 10% of supply within 3 years and a huge increase in the oil price, barely had any impact at all on the price of corn. The market had adapted to more expensive oil. So much so that the corn actually got cheaper during the second oil crisis.

Whichever way you look at it, we have way more than enough oil, coal and gas to feed the population. When the supply of any of those things gets reduced, it's a question of what people value more: food or SUVs.

When oil supply is reduced 3%, the price will go up until it bids out 3% of oil's users. Even if that causes food prices to double, there's still enough food because there is still enough oil to produce it. As you like to remind me, price is not the issue, it's supply.

If farmers or truckies start to go broke, and people still refuse to change their driving habits, the government can easily ration fuel like they did in the 70s. The simple fact is, there is still 20 times the oil supply necessary to produce food.

The biggest consequence of Peak Oil is not starvation, it's people shifting away from oil to a point in 10 or 20 years where it's no longer relevant.

Enjoy the oil-saving diet.

 
At Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 9:49:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

Incidentally, this is a rather good quote:

"The food sector uses 10-15% of all energy in industrialized countries, of which 10% is in the form of chemicals applied to the land.

Remember that oil & gas is 5% of the U.S. economy and only a fraction of “all energy”. By these calculations, pesticides and fertilizer (made from natural gas, not oil) constitute less than 0.01% of the economy. Energy used on the farm represents a like figure.

The vast majority (80%) of food energy inputs support packaging, distribution, refrigeration, and cooking. Ask yourself if you can't see with your own eyes that each of these steps includes enormous inefficiencies. Perhaps you think potatoes grow in plastic bags, that salad must be shipped — precut and bagged — from California, and that Argentinian raspberries and Dutch tomatoes are invaluable staples to the American diet. Myself, I see flagrant waste.

The energy to actually grow food is a very small fraction of our energy needs, and a minuscule fraction of the economy. If, contrary to all other experience, that amount proves irreducible, there will surely be enough oil and gas to supply such small, vital needs for generations to come."

Are you saying the electricity price will go up so much that the grocery stores won't be able to afford to refrigerate the food? Or that the gas price will go up so much I won't be able to cook it? Or that people might have to eat - gulp - fresh produce instead of heavily packaged frozen meals? Gosh.

Cheers, and thanks for the discussion,

Roland.

 
At Friday, February 3, 2006 at 3:56:00 AM PST, Blogger Freak said...

Quantoken said:

"As the oil crisis fully kicks in you are going to see massive die off."

What does saying things like this accomplish?

Tell me one thing it helps!

 
At Friday, February 3, 2006 at 3:28:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

Hmm ... maybe it drives up sales of firearms and baked beans?

 
At Friday, February 3, 2006 at 5:38:00 PM PST, Blogger sameu said...

I agree with chris vernon's post

there are two ways of looking at the efforts of the 'alarmists' and the 'debunkers'

1/ not motivating

* alarmist: omg we are doomed there is no hope, you don't have to do anything 'cause it's useless anyway

* debunker: nooooo problem, technology will safe our ass, there are many intelligent sciencetists who have nothing better to do then come up with brilliant stuff. They will figure it out, you don't have to do anything, they're on to it.


2/ motivating

*alarmist: dear god, look at these facts, we don't now for sure when it's going to happen but eventually it will, and considering the importance of oil, there's going to be undoubtful sérious shit. Better start preparing, informing other people, write to your politicians, this is scary shit that has to be dealt with one way or the other

* debunker: ok, we recognize there will be a peak, but it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom
you must admit there have been some fantastic technolgical achievements
we have nano-technolgy, powerful comuters, the internet, we collect spacedust etc...
so come on people if we put some energy (héhé) into this we could solve this huge problem
we didn't come this far to just roll over and die


Unfortunally, in both categories (alarmists and debunkers), there are people of group number 1.
But personally, I believe that Matt and JD both belong to group number 2. And to be as influencing as possible, which is normal, they maybe tend to exaggerate.

Now that I've cleared this out in a nice diagram, the question remains, who is 'right', or who is the most 'right'?

Well, all the above is just theory. To determine were the 'thruth' is positioned in this matrix, and therefor be able to detemine who is the most 'right'we have to look at the reality.
And unfortunally, reality is telling me we are doing too little too late.
Everyday that passes while we're sitting with our ass on our hands is a day where 85 mb of crude is being burned.
But on the other hand, this doesn't exclude the possibility that there might be some important technological breakthroughs.

So, here we are and imo, neither categories still aren't able to look in the future, and their predictions still have a huge error margin.

But that's ok, as long as their mutual goal is to raise awereness, enlargen the public debate and motivate people of doing something positive.

how's about that for a first post :-)

 
At Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 4:27:00 PM PST, Blogger JD said...

Great post, sameu. Welcome to POD. :-)

 
At Sunday, February 5, 2006 at 7:36:00 PM PST, Blogger Roland said...

Hey Sameu, welcome to POD!

Great post, although I think Matt Savinar is strongly in the first category. Also, I think his arguments do more damage to the credibility of the Peak Oil issue than a cornucopian like Marshall Brain. But otherwise I agree all the way.

 
At Thursday, February 9, 2006 at 1:16:00 AM PST, Blogger Big Gav said...

I'm probably a bit late here and I'm going to respond to the post rather than all the preceding comments.

While I think there is a great deal of unrecognised oil under Iraq, I think its wrong to say it hasn't been explored for - it was all discovered decades ago and its existance is well known (even if not officially counted in a lot of mainstream reserve tabulations).

I've ranted about this at length in the past - have a look at some of these posts:

http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2005/08/greatest-prize-of-all.html
http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2005/05/control-of-oil.html
http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2005/06/how-much-oil-does-iraq-have.html
http://peakenergy.blogspot.com/2005/06/more-on-iraqi-oil.html

 

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