free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 374. NATURAL GAS "CLIFF" BENDS THE WRONG WAY

Monday, August 11, 2008

374. NATURAL GAS "CLIFF" BENDS THE WRONG WAY

In the early days of peak oil fever, 2003-2004, Matt Simmons and many other fearmongers were adamant that U.S. natural gas production was about to "fall off a cliff". In fact, in an Aug. 21, 2003 conversation with peak oil loony Mike Ruppert, Simmons categorically stated that a U.S. natural gas crisis was a certainty within two years:
Simmons: As you know, I have been talking for some time about the natural gas cliff we are experiencing.

[...]

Well, I know you understand it, but people need to understand the concept of peaking and irreversible decline. It's a sharper issue with gas, which doesn't follow a bell curve but tends to fall off a cliff.

[...]
Someone's going to be left holding the bag big time. If natural gas consumption surges in ten days of excessive heat then it would require almost a complete shutdown of industrial consumption to compensate and protect the grid. As I have been reporting for years now, there isn't going to be enough gas to run those plants, let alone new ones.

[...]

Pray for no hurricanes and to stop the erosion of natural gas supplies. Under the best of circumstances, if all prayers are answered there will be no crisis for maybe two years. After that it's a certainty.Source
The "natural gas cliff" scare has been very influential, and parroted by virtually every groupthink chump in the peak oil space:

Matt Simmons, Dale Allen Pfeiffer, mobjectivist, Julian Darley, Culture Change, dieoff.org, LATOC, Post Carbon Institute, Energy Bulletin, The Oil Drum etc. etc.

So... here we are, roughly 3 years after Simmons' "crisis" was supposed to have come and gone. What actually happened? Did U.S. gas production fall off a cliff?

Yup, it fell off a cliff alright, IN REVERSE. Here's the money shot from the EIA:


It seems a funny thing happened on the way to the "cliff" (from the EIA):
Natural gas production in the Lower 48 States has seen a large upward shift. After 9 years of no net growth through 2006, an upward trend began that generated 3% growth between first-quarter 2006 and first-quarter 2007, followed by an exceptionally large 9% increase between first-quarter 2007 and first-quarter 2008.Source
Dry gas production continues to set records
Gross withdrawals continue to set records
U.S. Feb natgas production jumps 10 pct yr/yr -EIA
Natural-Gas Prices May Fall Next Year On Supply Surge
NGSA: No natural gas shortage in the US

Aubry McClendon: OKC soon to be world's natural gas capital

It's kind of funny, isn't it? The earnest, diaper soiling scaremongers in the peak oil community totally blow the call, yet again. Why? Because they don't understand the magical powers of TECHNOLOGY.
by JD

------
Big hat tip to Oil Finder for sniffing out this phenomenon (and links).

103 Comments:

At Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 9:06:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post JD, typical doomer prognostications gone wrong.

And I'll take credit for some of the links in your post. ;-)

- OilFinder -

 
At Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 9:20:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

OF,
Welcome! I didn't know you read POD. And you're absolutely right about me stealing your links. Please forgive the oversight in not giving you credit. I'll fix that in the post. :-)
JD

 
At Tuesday, August 12, 2008 at 9:21:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Also: As always, please use the Name/URL option (you don't have to register, just enter a screen-name) or sign your anonymous post at the bottom. The conversation is better without multiple anons.
Thank you,
JD

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 6:58:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

I've noticed something interesting about the whole "peak oil" debate (and to a similar extent whole "global warming calamity" debate.) Peakniks-doomers have both "experts" and "amateurs" who support their thesis. Peaknik-optimists have the same. However, the doomers seem very willing to attack the optimists amateurs whenever they get the chance, and will use their amateurs in lieu of optimist experts. In other words, Simmons > Yergin, or Pickens > BP.

So, let's say that BP/IEA/USGS experts say "peak in 20xx." The doomers will respond with, "BUT OUR EXPERTS AND OUR AMATEURS DISAGREE!" Now, let's say that optimist amateurs put together an analysis, then the first thing they respond with is, "AMATEUR! SCOFF SCOFF!"

So, if Matt Savinar says "this," but JD says "that," then what we get in response is that "JD is just an amateur, what does he know?"

The problem, really, is that peak oil is a 90% amateur run debate. From Prof. Goose at TOD, to JD and the rest of us, most of us are just amateurs trying to sift through the data. Now, that is not bad, in and of itself. Many of us are well-educated, intelligent, capable people. We all mostly have degrees, broad ranges of ability, and awareness. But I grow tired of computer programmers passing themselves off as "scientists" simply because they have a PhD in their field.

It also doesn't make any of us experts. That's my big problem with a lot of this-- the sense of determinism based on what an amateurs (on both sides, mind you) have to say. Personally, though, I have to admit that I'm getting REALLY tired of the siren's call of "DOOOOOOOOM" followed by "Matt Simmons says so!" I find that the optimists admit that a problem exists, but are less likely to follow a slippery slope of societal-cannibalizing doom. JD gets blasted for being "pie in the sky," but he's also a guy who never says that this or that WILL/MUST/HAS TO happen. He just says that there are alternatives to every path, some of which are pretty damn bright.

And yeah, it's true that Simmons is a pretty savvy guy, but he's not a damned petrogeologist, and he's also not the only opinion out there. For every Simmons and Pickens, there's a BP/Shell/USGS/IEA with a different opinion.

It's time that people stopped worrying about the stupid ass "peak event" that gets thrown at us every year, and instead started devoting their energies toward conservation and making things better. Let the amateur soothsayers have their fun-- the rest of us can live in the real world and start finding ways to make society better.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 8:12:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

By the way, this is my favorite line from the whole thing:

"FTW: Windmills? Solar?

Simmons: There's no way they can replace even a portion of hydrocarbon energy."

BRILLIANT. Except that it's completely false.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080421-wind-power.html

"Technologically and economically, researchers believe wind could account for 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030."

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/environment/2008-01-17-wind_N.htm

"The industry installed 5,244 megawatts in 2007, accounting for 30% of all new electricity-generating capacity, the AWEA says."

""I think it signifies that wind will be an increasingly significant contributor to our electricity supply system," Swisher says, predicting that wind could provide 20% of U.S. power by 2020."

It looks to me like Simmons just doesn't WANT wind to replace hydrocarbons. It almost sounds like wishful thinking the way he dismisses wind power growth.

What's most remarkable to me is how wind power now accounts for approximately 1/3 of all new electricity generation. ONE THIRD.

But there's NO WAY, of course. NO WAY. The mantra of doomers everywhere: NO WAY! NO, WE CANNOT! IMPOSSIBLE!

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 8:25:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Babun said...

It's nice of you to point out facts but the fact that you're always so utterly biased in your way of expressing things is incredibly annoying.

After all, even the EIA has blown the whistle for natural gas prices. I don't know if a 50% increase in prices counts as a "crisis", but surely your presentation fails to give the most accurate picture regarding this issue.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 8:31:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Babun said...

What i find especially odd is all the Matt Simmons bashing. I've read a good load of bashing articles and likes but usually found that the case has been some very serious cherry picking or a misrepresentation of the man's words. As much as I've read his stuff he seems very cautious in what he actually predicts.

I also believe he has a lot of expertise, but that still makes him just one fallible person. He's also very good at actually expressing his uncertainties - very much unlike most in the optimist camp.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 8:56:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

babun,

You're missing my point, I'm afraid.

The problem with the doomers is not that Simmons doesn't have good information or that I'm trying to single him out (he's just in the news lately, so he came up in my mind), but the broader problem of the amateur debate in general.

I just find it funny that you have a lot of doomers who will attack any amateur on the ground that said person is an amateur (I saw this a lot on TOD), but have no problem listening to other amateurs on TOD.

Ultimately, an amateur can be a good source of information and analysis (David McCullough, for example, is an amazing amateur historian), but we need to recognize that a lot of the professionals, the people whose business depends on this, get discounted a LOT on the more "doomer" sites if they do not subscribe to the EOTWAWKI philosophy.

That's the problem. Prof. Goose, Simmons, Savinar, Ruppert, Staniford, etc. are all amateurs. Some are well-educated, but all are still amateurs in the field of petrogeology. Simmons is a banker, and a very good one, but still not a petrogeologist. As such, none are any more or less qualified than any other amateur who takes data and applies it.

Simmons, by the way, is by NO means "careful" in what he predicts. In fact, he's incredibly incautious in his predictions. That's why he gets nailed to the wall: because he's willing to pull the Deffeyes (predict with extreme accuracy when x or y happens.) Simmons has been calling "the peak" again and again.

It's nice of you to point out facts but the fact that you're always so utterly biased in your way of expressing things is incredibly annoying.

"After all, even the EIA has blown the whistle for natural gas prices. I don't know if a 50% increase in prices counts as a "crisis", but surely your presentation fails to give the most accurate picture regarding this issue."

Price is not independent of demand. Supply can increase and price can increase with it-- demand shifts alone can do this. Furthermore, other factors (processing costs, taxes, speculation) can increase price even as supply remains high.

JD's argument is not that price will remain static, but that supply did not decline in the disastrous fashion that Simmons predicted.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 9:09:00 AM PDT, Anonymous babun said...

You're missing my point, I'm afraid.

My points were actually mainly aimed at JD.

Simmons is a banker, and a very good one, but still not a petrogeologist. As such, none are any more or less qualified than any other amateur who takes data and applies it.

I thought lots of people in the IEA commenting on things were economists? Then there's deffeyes and campbell. I think deffeys is most cuckoo of the three even though he's a petrogeologist. If you want to make arguments about this you should actually know the exact methodologies on both sides and compare those instead of looking at degrees and titles I believe.

Price is not independent of demand. Supply can increase and price can increase with it-- demand shifts alone can do this. Furthermore, other factors (processing costs, taxes, speculation) can increase price even as supply remains high.

JD's argument is not that price will remain static, but that supply did not decline in the disastrous fashion that Simmons predicted.


Well actually he just spoke of a crisis, yes?

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 9:13:00 AM PDT, Anonymous babun said...

Further pointing out the fallibility of petrogeologists - aren't there plenty in the USGS?

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 9:27:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

I thought lots of people in the IEA commenting on things were economists? Then there's deffeyes and campbell. I think deffeys is most cuckoo of the three even though he's a petrogeologist. If you want to make arguments about this you should actually know the exact methodologies on both sides and compare those instead of looking at degrees and titles I believe.

I agree in part. Methodologies are the key. However, what I'm saying is that a good working theory should be at least somewhat predictive. When many of the most pessimistic scenarios have yet to play out, you need to question the methodologies.

Well actually he just spoke of a crisis, yes?

He spoke of a crisis precipitated by some massive drop in supply. A 50% rise in price, in and of itself, is not a crisis. Unless we're reading a different Simmons here. Here's exactly what he said:

"I don't think there is one… The solution is to pray. Pray for mild weather and a mild winter. Pray for no hurricanes and to stop the erosion of natural gas supplies. Under the best of circumstances, if all prayers are answered there will be no crisis for maybe two years. After that it's a certainty."

1. What drop in supply?
2. What "crisis"?

Price, in and of itself, is not a crisis.

Further pointing out the fallibility of petrogeologists - aren't there plenty in the USGS?

I never said that petrogeologists are infallible. I just said that a 90% amateur debate is a problem. Different argument, but that's a nice red herring.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 9:35:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The facts are one thing, and insults, name-calling, etc, are another. You won't do more than preach to your own choir when you use terms such as you use in this post. Shame on you. If you want to convince people with other viewpoints, then treat those viewpoints with respect, and respectfully point out where their predictions have not come true, or where the facts indicate something else is going on.

Your chart is not a good one. 0% vs. +9% is not a good comparison, when the time periods are different.

And you should never, ever, ever use the two words 'magic' and 'technology' in the same sentence.

Technology is not magic. Magic is what drunks, religious zealots, and children (of all ages) believe in.

Technology is working with reality.

I have in more than 4 months, never read a post in the oil drum that is so childish in name-calling those who disagree with it. There the posts (comments are a different matter, alas) all strive to be scientific, and not to be too emotional. You would be well advised, if you are serious about debating the when (and not, apparently, the whether) of peak oil.

Otherwise you will drive away all of us who are on the fence, or even those of us who are doomers, but hoping to be proven wrong.

I'm a doomer, and I admit it. I would love to be proven wrong. Please prove me wrong!

As I understand it, the basic position of this blog is that peak oil is real, peak oil will happen, and it may happen very soon, BUT that it won't turn out to be as bad as many of us fear.

This is a respectable position to take. No one really knows when the peak of conventional oil will turn out to have happened, until it is behind us by maybe 10 years. No one really knows how much unconventional sources of oil such as kerogen-encrusted rock or tar will be able to make up for declines in conventional oil extraction. And no one really knows what effect alternative energy sources will have.

If only you could keep your inner potty-mouth under control, and just talk about the facts in a sober, less rah-rah, nyah-nyah fashion, you would reach more people, and sway more opinions, and do some good.

And isn't that your aim?

Or is this blog, after all, nothing but red meat for cornucopians who believe that energy is infinite in a finite world, and we will be able to go on growing and increasing consumption, forever and ever?

- pond

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 10:22:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD Walters said...

Anon,

The last time I checked, it's a pretty big frickin world. You very myopically concentrate on just one small planet. But if/when the nations of the Earth start developing their space programs again, we will have access to the virtually unlimited mineral and energy resources of the entire solar system. Lunar and asteroid mining, Mars colonies, solar power sats...the sky is literally the limit.

The only hurdle we have to overcome is making the initial investment in building a space infrastructure. There is a real danger that that wouldn't happen due to parochial preoccupation with national problems. But if it does, humanity will be out of the woods resource wise for ever and ever, or at least for the next 10 millenia or so.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 10:55:00 AM PDT, Blogger Skallagrimson said...

JD Walters: you have a very good point about how space exploration would greatly increase mineral availability. This represents a tradeoff between energy and raw materials. If we expend a higher energy amount per unit raw material, the available supply will increase. What is already available is fission of U235, and also transmutation of U238 to plutonium, and fission through breeder reactors, and same using thorium as fuel, as well as sea water refinement of uranium.

By expending enough nuclear energy, we can make nearly infinite amounts of methane (synthetic natural gas) using water and CO2 as feedstock.

The quantum leap, would be practical energy production from fusion power, which would at first result in enormous energy resources from sea water, followed by orders of magnitude greater resources from the gas giants, and ultimately the sun.

By the time we have this technology, we would be able to colonize other solar systems.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 11:53:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

The thing that I think a lot of doomers don't recognize as well is the amount of raw materials that are simply not being used.

Tons upon tons of copper lay fallow in unused phone lines (next to fiber optic lines). Tons of aluminum is in dumps. Same for plastic.

"Closing the cycle," so to speak, for raw materials will increase our available resources significantly over what the "reserves" claim to be.

Add in any space minerals, and you have a lot of resources left. It's just oil that we're currently freaking out about.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 12:13:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ari,


you are confusing electricity and liquid fuels.

sure, wind can possibly generate some electricity, although it has been a complete failure in Denmark. (highest electricity prices in Europe, not one conventional power plant retired)

how does that translate into liquid fuels? that basically means coal liquefaction, and the US has very few liquefaction plants of any significant capacity.

There wont be any shortage of electricity, coal plants will be built if anything.

Wind, coal, nuclear, any other source of electricity - isn't going to replace liquid fuels, or supplement it to any meaningful degree, there are simply no liquefaction plants. And there won't be, in our current political climate with hysteria around global warming and environazis attacking anything they don't understand.

P.S. 5244MW of wind power, thats nameplate capacity, they usually operate at less than 20% their capacity, in fact, almost entire denmark's fleet was idle for an entire month, i think feb 2006 or 2007. not enough wind.

So much for wind. It's just a waste of concrete and steel, but a good opportunity to harvest tax credits at the moment.

-Raphael

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 12:22:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Raphael,

Three things: 1. I'm confusing nothing. I'm merely responding to what Simmons said. Don't put words in my mouth. Simmons said x, and I responded with evidence to the contrary. How does your little red herring have anything to do with what I said?

2. I never said that wind was without its downsides, but to say that it will NEVER be more than a fraction is clearly putting the cart before the horse. It's definitely poised to be at least a mid-sized player in our energy needs.

3. A lot of liquid fuel use is discretionary (as JD has pointed out a million times) and can be replaced with electrified methods of transportation.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 1:25:00 PM PDT, Blogger Paul Ramsey said...

@JD, great numbers, now you have me fearing for my investment portfolio (long gas, oops). However, at the same time that production is up, price is up (to quite high and sustained levels) and storage is down (below average this year). So, is US production the whole story? Is there a demand story as well? Or is this story also influence by Canadian exports (a big part of US supply) and Mexican imports (a potential hidden demand). Certainly more and more Canadian gas is being burned inside our borders in the unbearably carbon-intensive pursuit of oil sands. Perhaps that is why a 10% increase in production has not yet yielded a supply glut?

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 1:30:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Paul,

I think you may have hit it on the head. I wonder if the data to say where it's going exists? Commodities are sometimes hard to track, especially on the usage end.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 1:31:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another "Anonymous" wrote:

"The facts are one thing, and insults, name-calling, etc, are another......"

This is a blog not a news service. Blogs are all about opinion and not all about news. A site like The Oil Drum does not present itself as an opinion/blog, it presents itself as news.

This blog doesn't have to be what you want it to be you silly little person. Don't like it? Don't read it.

Do you understand the difference between the Editorial/Opinion section of a newspaper and the news section?

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 2:23:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

I found this on Bloomberg. Note the interesting comments by the analysts. And we're told that 'speculation', whatever form that may take, has no effect? I think not.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=aYwHeocDW.Pg&refer=energy

Paul Ramsey - on the subject of tar sands and gas use, it has been suggested that a lot of the gas used for this is'stranded' gas. I may have posted a link an article on it a couple of comments ago.
Kind regards all,

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 2:47:00 PM PDT, Blogger Clifford J. Wirth said...

Oil prices are set to skyrocket:

According to energy investment banker Matthew Simmons and most independent analysts, global oil production is now declining, from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time demand will increase 14%.

This is equivalent to a 33% drop in 7 years. No one can reverse this trend, nor can we conserve our way out of this catastrophe. Because the demand for oil is so high, it will always be higher than production; thus the depletion rate will continue until all recoverable oil is extracted.

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment.

We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel trucks for maintenance of bridges, cleaning culverts to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables, all from far away. With the highways out, there will be no food coming in from "outside," and without the power grid virtually nothing works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated systems.

This is documented in a free 48 page report that can be downloaded, website posted, distributed, and emailed: http://www.peakoilassociates.com/POAnalysis.html

I used to live in NH-USA, but moved to a sustainable place. Anyone interested in relocating to a nice, pretty, sustainable area with a good climate and good soil? Email: clifford dot wirth at yahoo dot com or give me a phone call which operates here as my old USA-NH number 603-668-4207.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 3:55:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Lucario said...

Clifford, do you even read this blog? There are so many things that are wrong with your comments, I can't even begin to debunk it. For example:

1. Could you give me names of any of these "expert analysts" besides Simmons, a known PO doomster?

2. 7 years is more than enough time to get a crash program of alternatives in place.

3. The vehicles that you said "need liquid fuel" can all be made to run on electricity (as JD has mentioned time and again). Indeed, electric trains are the norm in much of Europe and (IIRC) Japan.

BTW, where is this "sustainable place" you moved to?

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 4:25:00 PM PDT, Blogger Paul Ramsey said...

@brother_cafdan, the gas used in the oil sands is not stranded, Fort McMurray has plenty of access to the Alberta pipeline network. See the map here http://www.energy.gov.ab.ca/NaturalGas/Gas_Pdfs/Map_Storage.pdf for example. So the gas used in oil sands is part of the North American pricing system, and gas used for oil sands affects supplies for other purposes.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 4:40:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

lucario,

Don't mind Clifford. He posts his little blurb (verbatim, ad nauseum) all over everything that has to do with energy. I don't think he really is much more than a person trying to capitalize on the situation with his little company. Hey, there's the market for you!

Anyway, electrified rail is the norm in a lot of places. I ride Metro North to work every day here in NY, and I'm pretty positive that BART is all electric (or close to it). Also, having lived in Japan, I can say with certainty that most rail I rode on was electric. I saw a few diesels here and there, but most of them ran on rails that had a third rail, strangely enough. I never did figure that one out-- this was in Kyushu for you Japanologists, BTW.

Anyway, there is definitely a lot of electrified rail out there. Even in anti-transit Los Angeles, my former haunt.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 5:32:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading the doomer sites and books and looking for refutation. that's what brought me here to POD. But most of the arguments and ideas such as mining space for minerals (never mind we can barely get the space shuttle back in one piece) I've found here are borderline childish or flat out ridiculous. The result is I'm even MORE depressed then I was before. Thanks a lot JD.

LookingForHopeButFindingNoneHere

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 9:06:00 PM PDT, Blogger wchfilms said...

LookingForHopeButFindingNoneHere, Read this one it's much more convincing.

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 10:06:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But most of the arguments and ideas such as mining space for minerals (never mind we can barely get the space shuttle back in one piece) I've found here are borderline childish or flat out ridiculous."

NASA is a jobs program for scientists and engineers; no private company would have built the space shuttle in its current form to use as an operational vehicle. If there was a strong push to get off the planet today, we could build vastly more effective spacecraft than NASA operates.

Where I do disagree is with the idea that off-planet resources will be of much use on Earth, other than energy beamed down from orbit; the cost of digging up material on asteroids, the Moon or other planets and shipping it to Earth would be enormous for decades to come. There are cheap options, such as diverting asteroids to crash on Earth and then mining them here, or using an electromagnetic launcher on the Moon to toss lifting bodies full of raw materials into the atmosphere, but I can't see either ever being considered acceptable on a large scale; just imagine the catastrophe if an asteroid hit a city instead of a wilderness area, or a few tons of high-speed aluminium flung from the Moon hit an apartment block.

Absent a very, very cheap method of moving around the solar system, most of those resources will have to be exploited in situ, not shipped elsewhere. But satellite solar power could easily provide as much electricity as the Earth required.

However, this does raise a point about the 'peak oil' doomers. When there was a solid demand for success and a blank cheque to pay for it, we only took seven years to land men on the Moon; yet supposedly we'll all freeze or starve to death rather than find alternative ways to power our cars and homes in the same period of time. How silly is that?

 
At Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 11:53:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clifford J. Worth is aclown who cuts and pastes the same garbage on every energy related website he can find.

Often he posts links to his own site where he offers a 40-page paper composed almost entirely of graphs and passages copied directly from the Oil Drum.

He also charges $100/hr for tephone consultations about Peak Oil.

-T. Boone Pickens

 
At Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 4:52:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WCH,

I did read the confessions piece. that was what got me so incredibly depressed, even more depressed then I was after I first read LATOC. If that's the best the debunkers can come up with then it makes sense the doomers are correct. If they weren't correct or at least on the right path then certainly somebody would have come up with a convincing data oriented debunking. But I've spent weeks looking for one scouring the internet and my local library and I can't find anything that stands up to a good deal of scrutiny.

LookingForHope

 
At Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 5:10:00 AM PDT, Anonymous babun said...

But I've spent weeks looking for one scouring the internet and my local library and I can't find anything that stands up to a good deal of scrutiny.

Lol, what a load of bullshit. You can find a bunch of facts supporting both views. There really isn't any "one truth" about all this. It's a lot of factors interacting with each other. As long as the outlook isn't all bad I don't think it looks too bad. The near term looks quite alright to me (no, I don't think it'll be better but I don't think there will be a catastrophe anytime soon either). What's beyond that can change as we approach it. Sure you can contemplate about it but don't be mistaken to make any final conclusions.

Anyway, It's very clear you're just a troll or someone with as much doomer bias as JD has debunking bias.

I tend to change my opinions about this a lot since I think there really is good data on both sides of the argument. It's really hard to say anything conclusive about the consequences of peak oil.

 
At Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 5:48:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Doomerhater said...

LookingForHope,

I've been reading about peak oil/natural gas/resources for the past 3 years, and each year, some asshat in the doomer community makes a prediction that we're going to collapse or what not before the end of the year, or following year. They've been wrong each time in the short term, why trust their predictions in the long-term when they've been wrong every single time in the past? Many of these doom predictors are also, coincidentally, selling something for money.

Lucario, Wirthless's "sustainable" place is MEXICO! LOL!

 
At Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 5:52:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

LookingForHope,

Try reading something that isn't Savinar. A good source on the economic issues is www.econbrowser.com-- it's written by two very good economists, one of whom wrote some of the econometrics that I studied in grad school.

Read the reports by various agencies: GAO, USGS, IEA, etc etc. Read all sorts of sources. But most of all, try to avoid the Internet in general. The Internet is wonderful for broad searches, and you can certainly read from journals or other more rigorous sources, but it is not a good source of analysis. Ultimately, you're still best off with "pre-Internet" style sources (I am including those scanned and put on the Internet, like journals and official reports, however.) Those are most likely to have the kind of rigor that was needed in the past to be something important.

Otherwise, you're getting a lot of Savinaresque fluff. I'm sure even JD would say this: Don't count on blogs to make any definite decision. Do your research, and always try to rely on good sources.

Ultimately, I wouldn't worry too much: this is not something impossible, only difficult.

 
At Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 5:54:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

doomerhater,

Hey, don't knock Mexico. I used to love taking trips in Baja when I was a grad student.

 
At Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 8:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Paul: Yes, the situation needs to be fleshed out more. Browsing around a little, one point is clear. Imports of gas to the US are way down this year, about 20-30% year-on-year. That would explain the lack of storage buildup, at least in part. Also, I haven't been following US gas prices closely, but apparently prices are down 40% from their high this year, so saying prices are up isn't quite right.

 
At Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 3:01:00 PM PDT, Blogger matt said...

I previously worked for one the largest nat gas producers and i would like to point out that they continually bring very large plays into production using new drilling technologies that were once thought uneconomical. Also, these companies generally grossly underestimate the total reserves and end up producing much more than expected. Recent large finds include the Barnett Shale and Haynesville Shale both of which illustrate these conditions.

We also have to understand that there is more than geology affecting supply and demand. If the major nat gas producers estimate the reserves properly and at the same time fully produce what each well is capable of, they will essentially destroy their own market. Read any major gas producers quarterly earnings call transcript and you could see this statement:

"we have found lots of gas, but don't worry, we are going to say it is much less and we won't bring it to market as fast as we can...you investments are safe!"

 
At Friday, August 15, 2008 at 2:04:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

People might like this: BBC reporter tries his hand at oil trading.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7559032.stm

Paul: since I note you are actually Canadian I withdraw my previous comment; although there is an article by Saint Colin Campbell about Athabasca oil sands and stranded gas, obviously been superceded.

 
At Friday, August 15, 2008 at 9:25:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Shiner said...

If you people think all the people JD insulted invented peak oil you are wrong. I have researched peak oil on and off since I learned of it watching the live aid concert the day it happened. It was from a magazine I was reading while I watched but its funny cause I remember the day clearly.

I never heard of Simmon's and the rest of them till my current internet quest for PO info.

I own a bunch of books that mention peak oil, the oldest is from 1976 and the newest is from 85. They dont go into detail but they do say it is around now that man will have HAD TO prepare for.

Unfortunatly we have not prepared.

I don't believe the bankers want to lose it all. If there was a tecno fix that would work they would be building the infrastructure now.

The Olduvai Theory makes sense. As Student says in the last comment on your weak attempt at debunking the Olduvai Theory "Dont get caught in the goofy details, look at the bigger picture".

Timelines mean nothing.

Quick aside: All you people do realize the Russian (USSR?) war in Georgia is about energy hegemony in the region.

Western bankers are watching from the sidelines as the Russians destroy the infrastructure they built to extract energy from the region.

I know the pipeline is still up but they ruined the roads, ports, and many industrial facilities.

Interesting times indeed

 
At Friday, August 15, 2008 at 11:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

Shiner, where has JD, or any of the regular posters in the comments, denied that peak oil (as a geological phenomenon) exists? Hell, JD has had his disclaimer right beneath the title of the blog for ages. The point has always been, and remains, that "peak oil," defined as the point of maximum oil extraction, is not the same thing as "Peak Oil," the apocalyptic millenarist fantasy promoted by folks like Savinar or Richard Duncan. That the former has been so thoroughly co-opted by the latter to the point where it's next to impossible to actually discuss the exhaustion of world oil supplies without evoking images of Mad Max is one of the biggest confidence tricks of the doomer movement.

And even accepting that total societal collapse is a possibility (for whatever reason), Olduvai theory is anti-scientific rubbish. Almost every piece of the argument is arbitrary: identifying 1930 as the start of modern "industrial civilization" is ridiculous, to begin with. Beyond that, the presentation is suspiciously tautological: the premise that industrial civilization can only exist for an even century is used as evidence that industrial civilization is on its final decline, which supports the claim that industrial civilization can only exist for a century.

Defending Olduvai theory by saying that the details (which have been almost entirely wrong thus far: per capita energy consumption hasn't declined since 1979, most notably) don't matter is to affirm what its critics have been saying all along. It's not a legitimate social or scientific theory, it's an article of faith. If it feels right, then it must be right, even if there's no "goofy details" (or, more specifically, evidence") to support it.

Catastrophic peak oil doomerism touches a real fear and cloaks itself with just enough real facts and figures to make itself appear credible. It's a Malthusian doomsday fantasy. Meanwhile, the actual science of peak oil production poses real issues, and has the potential to be quite damaging to our society. But possibility is in no way the same thing as inevitability, and the usual crowd of doomers either don't grasp, or deliberately seek to obscure, that fact.

 
At Friday, August 15, 2008 at 11:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger Paul Ramsey said...

@JD, gas prices being down 40% from the peak are still up 25% from the $6.50 average than maintained through much of 2006/7. That may mean they still have far to fall, but it also means they went up at the same time USA production was going up 10%.

 
At Friday, August 15, 2008 at 1:41:00 PM PDT, Anonymous stuck in shizuoka said...

Combine the upswing in NG finds, and NG from coal methane/shale with new technologies currently IN PRODUCTION (as opposed to on the drawing board) and you have potential to see the effects from the coming declines in conventional crude being seriously mitigated

www.technologyreview.com/Energy/21261/

I wonder....do the huge gas companies in Qatar, know about this techology....nah...

Stuck in Shizuoka

ps. these finds in the U.S. are about to be replicated in Western Canada..will find references for that one and will post

 
At Friday, August 15, 2008 at 2:26:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

paul ramsey,

Price is not necessarily an indicator of supply: you must factor in demand and other factors. With commodities, it can simply be speculation.

I don't think that JD's point, however, is changed by the fact that the price is up.

The typical doomer argument deals with "rising demand accompanied by reduced supply." OK, fine. But what happens when supply increases and demand also increases?

Price still goes up. However, supply clearly is not plummeting as Simmons said. That's the point.

 
At Friday, August 15, 2008 at 7:41:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Lucario said...

The Russia-Georgia war is about energy? I thought it was because the borders were all drawn wrong.

They don't call it _South_ Ossetia for nothing....

 
At Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 6:02:00 AM PDT, Anonymous doctorjj said...

I'm sure every one here already read this report from the Journal Minerals and Energy. It's from 2003, but I just stumbled across it. I assume Simmons' work on natural gas is just as shoddy.

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a718985186~db=all~order=page

You can read the full article here.

http://www.energyseer.com/NewPessimism.pdf

DoctorJJ

 
At Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 12:29:00 PM PDT, Anonymous benny "peak demand" cole said...

Commodities dumping already..what happens when investors start to pull out of commdity funds?
Look out below. OIl at $60 $40?

 
At Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 2:17:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Alton Finkelhoffer said...

Matt Simmons is a smart opportunist. He'll milk you for all you care to spend. It's a scam . It would be nice if the chumps would grow up and take responsibility for learning the facts, and stop hiding behind grifters who write books and newsletters.

Peak oil doomwits keep missing the target. Time after time. The problem with Y2K was that it was one date that couldn't be moved. So that balloon popped of course, but peak oil just keeps getting moved and re-defined by the p.o.s. You have to admire their persistence while you laugh at their antics.

 
At Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 6:53:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Shiner said...

Sean this site says per capitia energy use is down worldwide Others say it to but this one is easier to catch the drift.

http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/atlas/viewdata/viewpub.asp?id=3021

I guess just because you claim something does not mean its true

Your 1930 remark is definitly a goofy detail. It does not really matter when industrial society started does it?

Trying to pick apart a energy theories using timelines is just as dumb as making predictions based on a timeline.

The world is fluid and things change. Hopefully a new energy tech with a good EROEI will come from this change.

Even if industrial society lasts 200 or 300 years the Olduvai Theory would still be correct in general.

Alton Y2K was mitigated. Over 2 million people used a few billion dollars fixing the problem.

 
At Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 9:23:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

The harsh reality is that Simmons is no better informed than many of us who comment on this site, or the people who frequent the oil drum website. He gets publicity because he has been associated with Bush, a fact alone which should generate a degree of scepticism. His misintepretation of oil industry academic papers has been covered elsewhere.

 
At Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 10:57:00 AM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

Shiner, Olduvai theory's entire point is that "industrial civilization" has a maximum lifespan of one century. Arguing that the length doesn't matter is akin to saying that just because the sun doesn't revolve around the earth doesn't mean medieval astronomers were wrong in saying the opposite. By the same token, I'm not the one making a big deal about the 1930 date, or the 100 year time span. They're central pillars of Duncan's theory, which says that industrial civilization "will have a lifetime of less than or equal to 100 years." Duncan defines "industrial civilization" as a function of per capita energy consumption arbitrarily, where industrial civilization equals the amount of energy consumed per capita after 1930. Without the 1930 date or the 100 years number, Olduvai theory doesn't say anything at all.

Even with those numbers, real world events have so far failed to live up to any of its predictions. The second postulate of the theory flatly states that though per capita energy usage might plateau in the period from 1979 through 2008 (again, Duncan is the one emphasizing the exact dates, not I), it will not increase. Problem is, it has. The current peak per capita energy consumption was set in 2007 at 12.12 boe/c/yr, up from 11.15 in 1979.

In short, Olduvai theory isn't an energy theory. It doesn't actually deal with EROEI, peak oil, renewable energy, or anything of the sort in a direct way. Even Duncan acknowledges this: it's a social theory that piggybacks on the work of scientists and energy analysts like Hubbert.

And that gets back to exactly what I was criticizing about peak oil doomerism earlier. There is legitimate scientific and analytical work done relating to peak oil production. There are also a significant number of social and political commentators who try to lend authority to their work by co-opting that scientific work. People like Richard Duncan and Jim Kunstler may have something interesting to say, but there's something fundamentally misleading, if not dishonest, about the way their work has been lumped in with the hard science of peak oil. Hubbert's work is (for the most part) empirical, grounded in observation and data analysis, and can be verified or disproven like science is supposed to be. Olduvai theory is not. It just seems more credible than it is because of the company that it keeps.

 
At Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 11:01:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a peak oiler, and I'm not going to go into the whole economic output/raw material usage etc. as I'm an amateur in every sense of the word. But I request you don't judge me because of it and if you choose to take notice of my post or respond it isn't in the form of a barrage of insults.

Firstly, cornucopia isn't a dream for our age. Maybe it's feasible to believe humanity will conquer space and have limitless resources some day, but it won't be for maybe an entire century or more. We are yet to have the funds to build a mining base on the moon, even if we could the Nuclear fusion process necessary for limitless energy on Earth is in it's infancy so Helium-3 can't be used for the task.

Remember, nowhere does it say that humanity will ever travel the solar system and live in space. We aren't the supreme species on Earth, bacteria is. Dominant yes, supreme no. We aren't some chosen species, we evolved here and there is little evidence we can even survive out there, let alone practically travel from planet to planet and strip them of resources. I would love to travel in space but the realist in me believes it to be a pipedream, and certainly nothing to base your future projections on.

Secondly, we can't wait 50-100 years. The world's population is increasingly at almost a billion a decade, it is already seriously overpopulated and there is no way the overpopulation can be sustained nor solved. I fear war is on the horizon, or great strife and famine. Humanity may shoot first, ask questions later.

 
At Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 11:40:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

anon,

Your argument is tautological: "Humanity may shoot first, ask questions later."

So, in other words, "P or not-P." Where does this lead us?

 
At Sunday, August 17, 2008 at 9:38:00 PM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

Not to single you out, anon, but this is exactly the problem with doomerism. It's an article of faith regarding humanity's ability to survive adversity, not an empirical discipline that can be supported through real evidence.

That's not an insult, mind you. There's no empirical evidence supporting the existence of god, but there's no shame in being religious. If you believe humanity's inevitable response to adversity is war and social collapse, so be it. I disagree, and I'd wager many, if not most, of the regular posters here disagree as well. But though we can all make an argument for our respective attitudes, none of us can say for sure what will happen until after the fact.

So that leaves only the facts on the ground, as it were. And there, we can have a productive discussion. Most of the truly catastrophic doomer predictions misrepresent the data concerning resource depletion (Simmons is famous for this), ignore contradictory developments (which I was railing against earlier regarding Olduvai theory), and generally twist the facts to fit a predetermined conclusion. Since starting work on this blog, JD has done his best to look at peak oil dispassionately, and from multiple angles.

That last part is, to me, the most significant. A lot of doomers tend to fixate on very specific straw men, such as extraterrestrial mining. Personally, I have very strong doubts that we're going to be getting a significant amount of our resources from off-planet any time in the foreseeable future, but that hardly makes me a doomer. In 374 posts JD has made on this blog, less than a handful concern asteroid/moon mining. The anti-doomer case in no way hinges upon an acceptance of that particular idea.

 
At Monday, August 18, 2008 at 1:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger Scorpion said...

CHECK MY MATH:

1 ton LNG = 523 therms

a gallon oil = 138,00 BTUs
or 5.796 million BTUs/barrel

World currently uses 31.536 billon barrels of oil/year
or 1.827827 x 10^17 BTUs

or 1.827827 x 10^11 Million BTUs

or 182,782.656 Trillion BTUs

or 182.782656 Quadrillion BTUs (total energy is 446 Quads)

or 1.827827 x 10^15 therms

or equiv 3.494888 x 10^12 tons LNG

or equiv 3,494.88826 GT of LNG

@ a 1.5% leak rate would result in 52.4233239 GT of Co2 equiv/year

So, at a 1.5% leak rate (currently the rate in USA and Russia), just replacing ONLY oil with natural gas would result in MORE Co2 put into the atmosphere than ALL FOSSIL FUELS COMBINED TODAY. Add in output of coal plants, and it's easy to see why a Natural Gas/Hydrogen economy is NOT a silver-bullet solution.

 
At Monday, August 18, 2008 at 1:29:00 AM PDT, Blogger Scorpion said...

OK, I feel stupid now.

182.782656 Quadrillion BTUs (total WORLD energy use is 446 Quads)

equals 1.827827 x 10^12 therms
NOT 1.827827 x 10^15 therms (since there are 100,000 BTUs per therm)

or equiv 3.494888 x 10^9 tons LNG

or equiv 3.88826 GT of LNG (I was off by a factor of 1000)

@ a 1.5% leak rate would result in .0583239 GT of natural gas leaking from pipelines BUT

I forgot to mention that natural gas/methane is 21x more potent greenhouse gas than Co2, so the equiv GHG emmissions is 1.22 GT Co2
equiv/year (compared to current total manmade emissions of 30 GT/year)

replacing all 442 quads would up that to 3.05 GT, so I suppose this is a HUGE improvement :p

 
At Monday, August 18, 2008 at 6:40:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

People might be interested in the following article about oil prices:

http://www.worldoil.com/magazine/MAGAZINE_DETAIL.asp?ART_ID=3613&MONTH_YEAR=Aug-2008

Something else has caught my attention:

http://www.worldoil.com/magazine/MAGAZINE_DETAIL.asp?ART_ID=3606&MONTH_YEAR=Aug-2008

This is about shale oil. Scroll down to the bit about Raytheon. Ive never seen this particular method of extracting oil from shale before. Seems it can also be applied to tar sands.

 
At Monday, August 18, 2008 at 8:50:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

sean,

The worst part about the whole Olduvai theory is that it assumes that per capita energy use must necessarily increase. This is not necessarily true, and does not account for increases in efficiency on the demand side.

What's particularly amazing about per capita energy use is actually HOW LITTLE it has increased. Assuming that energy consumption increased in "2007 at 12.12 boe/c/yr, up from 11.15 in 1979," then we've seen an approximately 8-9% increase in energy use. Now, have we also seen only an 8 to 9% concurrent increase in energy-using things (appliances, autos, planes, trains, whatever?) No. We've seen cell phones, computers, more flying, etc etc.

So clearly we have something going on on the demand side as well that Olduvai "theory" doesn't explain well.

 
At Monday, August 18, 2008 at 12:01:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Stellar said...

It's always funny to watch doomers go at trying to invent ever worse versions of the supposed coming apocalypse. :) So far i have spent many hundreds of hours typing up responses ( to say nothing of reading/researching) and the best i normally seem to manage is to temporarily shut them up only to find them continue their proclamations of doom and gloom ,with apparent orgasmic relish, elsewhere.

Like all fanatics presenting them with 'facts' seem to only incite them to ever higher levels of hysterics and doomish speculation!

JD is doing a great job of trying to inform but i think the moderation he attempts to employ just seems like weakness/blood to the jackals that is your average doomer.

Good luck JD!

Stellar

 
At Monday, August 18, 2008 at 1:36:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorDoom said...

Looking for Hope:

I wrote the ex-doomer piece some years back. Nothing's changed.

Item: We have about 250 years of coal at present consumption rates. Even if oil production went to zero in the near future, we could run our entire civilization on coal along through the end of the century. Just this one fact alone should make it clear that technological civilization isn't going to collapse in your lifetime due to resource depletion.

Item: The US auto fleet averages 25mpg. This can be doubled with technology that is proven and commercialized today. US motor gasoline consumption is 9mbd of our 20mbd habit. We could save 25% of our consumption just by swapping out our fleet of gas guzzlers. If it took us 12 years to turn over the fleet, that means we could handle a 2% annual decline rate for over a decade with this one change alone and no lifestyle change.

Item: moving away from cars, or to electric cars, would allow us to handle a net 50% decline in oil production. How necessary is our continued use of petrol-powered cars to the continuation of our civilization? Not very.

Item: we can power our entire electric grid on hydro, nuclear, solar, and wind, even if the grid has to take up the slack from oil by powering a new fleet of electric cars. All we have to do is get past the political roadblocks and be willing to pay more for our electricity. BTW we currently get about 15% of our power from hydro and another 20% from nukes. Would a doubling of electricity prices spell the end of civilization? Hardly.

Item: natural gas supplies have expanded dramatically in the last few years as prices have risen to make some new production techniques economically viable. R/P ratios for gas are about 20-40 years longer than for oil.

Item: there's no shortage of feedstocks for producing nitrogen fertilizer. We can use gas, or coal, or hydrogen from nukes or renewables. Plus it's not clear we should even want to continue using fertilizer the way we do - organic techniques have been shown to have almost as good a yield, without the negative side-effects of the run-off. If we had to, we could cut our consumption of meat and free up even more food. There's no reason to worry about oil shortages spelling the end of mechanized agriculture, or of food transportation - we just don't use that much oil to do those things, so if we had to, they'd have priority over less important uses like personal transportation. No one needs to starve because of declining oil production.

Item: world population growth rates are declining. If this continues, world population would peak mid-century at around 9 billion and be in decline by 2100. The best way to make sure birth rates keep going down is to continue improving standards of living in the developing countries, not for us to go back to subsistence agriculture.

Item: between the remaining oil, nat gas, and our huge coal reserves, there's more than enough fossil energy to power our civilization. In fact, there's so much available that what we should really be worried about is the effect of all that carbon ending up in the atmosphere, not that we'll run out of it and crash. Fortunately, we don't have to use it all for power - we have plenty of time to make the switch off oil and coal and onto nukes and renewables. Once we do that, the remaining fossil sources would last for 1000+ years if we used them solely for stuff like cooking, plastics, petrochemicals, etc. The natural carbon cycle is capable of removing carbon from the atmosphere every year - we just need to keep our usage below this level and CO2 levels will gradually fall. If we have to, there are several ways we can reduce the amount of solar radiation absorbed by our planet to fight the symptoms of CO2 pollution. Mainly, they involve increasing the amount of sunlight reflected back into space. These solutions are expensive, but they're possible, and in an emergency, of course we will do them.

 
At Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 12:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger Branch-me-do said...

Good reading, doctordoom. I'm particularly curious about the gasoline issue - as I don't really understand this sort of thing, what would the figures look like if the US had a large number of diesel cars like in Europe?

Thanks again for the 'confessions' piece as well, I hope I'm not the only one that it cheered up.

 
At Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 9:38:00 AM PDT, Anonymous benny "peak demand" cole said...

Stellar-
Great comments--


JD- You need to post more frequently. I would say every day. The Energy Blog died, and that site used to post promising technologies, which was a fascinating read. Do you need help posting?

 
At Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 7:59:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorDoom said...

There are small conventional cars that get 40+ mpg, and hybrids on the market today that get 50. There are some diesels that can reach those numbers. Unfortunately many of the conventional cars that get those mpg numbers are standard transmission, which a lot of folks in the US don't drive. It's enough for my argument that there are vehicles now that could double the US fleet average, no exotic technology required.

Me, I'm moving on - I think we need to move to more electrification of personal transport. The figure I've seen is that 80% of personal transport is short-distance driving that could be off-loaded to the grid if we had plug-in technology. Thus, it's theoretically possible to cut our current consumption from 20 mbpd to, say, 12 mbpd, even if we did nothing else. There's little reason not to start planning along these lines now.

 
At Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 7:37:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me also complement doctordoom on an excellent ex-doomer piece. And at the risk of boring people, I'd like to chime in on the point about how no new technology is needed in order to significantly reduce US demand for gas.

1.) According to official government statistics that I've read, in 2005 U.S. passenger cars averaged around 21 mpg, while U.S. SUVs and light trucks averaged 16.2 mpg. Folks, that's pretty sad. Let me use myself as an example of how the U.S. *could* consume much less gas *without* the doomer Mad Max senarios.

In my current job I drive around in one of the larger metropolitan areas in the U.S. I spend time on the freeway and in rush-hour traffic. And I average 33mpg or more. And here's the big point: I do it in a beat-up 1998 Ford Escort. Yep, a used 1998 Ford Escort. Talk about not needing new technology.

So let me point out that I, in my 10 year old car, achieve TWICE the mpg that the U.S. SUVs and Ford F-150s did in 2005. How did I achieve this? Amazing use of hypermiling? Nope.

There are 5 simple things that can be done:
1.) Get your engine tuned up. A car badly in need of a tune up can burn a lot more gas than it should, and most people put-off or forget tune-ups.
2.) Change your air filter.
3.) Get the oil changed.
4.) Get the tires inflated properly.
5.) Stop driving like an idiot on the road. Stop racing to red lights, and try actually driving the posted speed limits.

2.) In 2005, 39% of all passenger vehicles driven were SUVs and trucks, and these averaged 16.2 mpg. 66% of all miles driven were urban, not rural. For most people, a majority of their miles are driven during their commutes.

So what does it take to cut the gas consumption of 39% of the vehicles on the road almost in half? Take that guy who's commuting 20 miles to work one way in a Ford F-150 and plant his butt in the incredibly technologically advanced car that I'M driving (/sarcasm off)

Never mind that you probably wouldn't even need to do that in order to get gas consumption down by around 30%. If he'd do the 5 things that I did, which includes NOT driving 20 mph over the speed limit, he'd get 30% better mpg in his truck!

3.) 21 mpg is pretty horrible milage for cars and the like, and as doctordoom has already pointed out, there are vehicles on the road NOW, available to buy in large numbers, that can get double that...ESPECIALLY if folks just make sure to keep em tuned up, air filter changed, check the tires and drive like they had a brain.

Peak Oil is all about the problem of fitting supply curves to demand curves. The US accounts for around 26% of global oil usage. If US drivers would just do steps 1-5 I outlined above, we'd see that demand curve drop so fast it scare the pants off the oil companies and oil sheiks. And all it takes is for Joe 6-Pack and Jane 6-Pack to feel enough economic pinch that they'll consider an economy car for their next purchase, and we'll see that demand curve drop by half.

Never mind that before Peak Oil doom occurs and the refugees from Mad Max attack my family for my horded gas, we might actually see a lot of people oh, I dunno, CARPOOL to work?

For the reasons I've ranted on about above, plus for the excellent reasons that doctordoom has already pointed out, Peak Oil doomer disaster fantasies are proven to be just that.

Dr. Steel (yeah, I need to get a new blogger ID)

 
At Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 3:37:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Shiner said...

I don't think anyone ever claimed the Olduvai Theory was a scientific theory. I have always regarded as a theory in the regular sense of the world.


Again timelines don't matter.

The USA is sliding towards depression as we speak. Only bad buisness news. Not as bad as we thought is becoming a corporate mantra.

They cannot lie and say things are good so they substitute not so bad for good. Not as bad as we thought is still bad.

The bankers are doing none of the things that need to be done. Ignoring this and blowing smoke about what could be done is going to be the downfall of US society.

This blog is not helping to stop this lack of activity. In fact it encourges complacency and overall hurts way more than it helps.

 
At Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 4:55:00 PM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

Shiner, even if Olduvai theory isn't a theory in the scientific sense of the word, it still fails. Utterly. It provides a specific timeline. Many of the key moments in that timeline have passed without meeting its criteria. Without that timeline, all that's left is a generic "we're all doooommmed!" message that doesn't accurately accord even with the scientific theories it cites to support its premises.

That aside, though, when in history has panic ever averted disaster? The worst economic depression in world history was directly precipitated by a stock market panic. And recent events suggest anything but complacency to me.

If you want to believe we're all doomed, be my guest. It's still an article of faith, not a compelling interpretation of real world facts. And it goes without saying that it's not a faith I (or, I strongly suspect, JD) share.

 
At Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 3:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

doctordoom,
Great to hear from you again. Your "Confessions" have really helped a lot of people. Drop me an email if you ever feel like making another contribution.

Benny,
Apologies for the slow pace of posting. At the moment I'm moving to a new place, so I don't have much free time. Hopefully I can be more active when I get settled in again. I know that The Energy Blog has stopped, and that's left a big hole. I was a big fan of that blog. If you, or anyone else, wants to put together a regular feed of new energy articles (like Drumbeat, only positive), I think that would work well here. Anyway, write me an email and we'll talk about it. :-)

shiner,
Why are you worried about somebody "doing something", or POD being counterproductive? If you believe in Olduvai Theory, we're headed towards a massive, inevitable die off. Do you think we need to "prepare" for that? Why do we need to prepare or "take action" if we're just going to die in a die off anyway?

 
At Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 7:30:00 AM PDT, Anonymous jev said...

I missed one line of thought in the above comments which I want to add here. FYI I am best typified as a doomer I suppose, but I look not just at peak oil but also at other issues.

This natural gas cliff "bending the wrong way" must be painfull for Simmons. It rather makes him look a fool, I agree.

However, I propose to look at the data in a different way for arguments' sake.

We might suppose that Simmons had some credible evidence at the time to make his dire prediction concerning natural gas. From Googling the news concerning natural gas during that period, Simmons was by no means the only one fretting about natural gas supply in the US.

That leads me to think that gas suppliers would likely have been prompted to prop-up and expand natural gas production by all means, intent to cash-in on the percieved supply problems going forward. The data shows a strong increase in drilling as a result of the high prices.

So perhaps the observed jump in production of recent years might be more like an unsustainable blow-off phenomenon rather than an indication of a structural increase in production going forward?

To illustrate: It seems to me that a temporary spike in production - even one lasting a few years - would be inevitable after *any* price spike following a periode of low prices, even if that price spike was in fact caused by emerging issues concerning security of supply.

In fact, it seams unlikely to me that gas production would actually fall of a cliff *without* an initial price-induced upswing lasting for years.

It all has to do with the reasonable expectation that dwindling spare capacity would cause a price spike *long before* actual peak supply was reached. This price spike would bring forward the peak production date and it's magnitude, causing a temporary jump in total production. It could be that this is in fact what the data is showing, contrary to JD's interpretation.

To conclude, we'll need a few more years of data before we can REALLY conclude that the 'cliff' actually *did* 'bend the other way'. And consequently, while we're waiting, there doesn't seem cause for complacency or relief just yet. Don't you agree?

 
At Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 11:23:00 AM PDT, Anonymous benny "peak demand" cole said...

OT but...Aug. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil speculators account for about 81 percent of all contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the Washington Post said, citing Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.

The share of contracts held by financial firms speculating for their clients or for themselves is ``far greater'' than the U.S. regulator had previously stated, the newspaper said. The share may rise in coming weeks, according to the paper.

At this point, speculators ARE the market. It is senseless to debate whether they "influence" prices. The market price is the speculative price.

 
At Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 11:42:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

I missed one line of thought in the above comments which I want to add here. FYI I am best typified as a doomer I suppose, but I look not just at peak oil but also at other issues.

Just out of curiosity, which ones? I mean, we're being presented with such a litany of doomsday scenarios these days that it's almost like a perverse comedy.

This natural gas cliff "bending the wrong way" must be painfull for Simmons. It rather makes him look a fool, I agree.

However, I propose to look at the data in a different way for arguments' sake.

We might suppose that Simmons had some credible evidence at the time to make his dire prediction concerning natural gas. From Googling the news concerning natural gas during that period, Simmons was by no means the only one fretting about natural gas supply in the US.


Sure. But how many people were talking about natural gas supply ---> doomsday?

That leads me to think that gas suppliers would likely have been prompted to prop-up and expand natural gas production by all means, intent to cash-in on the percieved supply problems going forward. The data shows a strong increase in drilling as a result of the high prices.

This is how all markets work. This is not surprising or even that exceptional. An intro to microecon class will teach you that if you have a market that is out of equilibrium, people will enter or leave to bring supply to its equilibrium point, ceteris parabus.

So perhaps the observed jump in production of recent years might be more like an unsustainable blow-off phenomenon rather than an indication of a structural increase in production going forward?

What does this even mean? A "blow-off?" Do you honestly believe that companies are all stupid enough to expend years upon years of supply for a small gain now? While it's true that discounted returns suggest that we would see people trying to earn now (all else being equal), we also tend to find that people are willing to, especially in commodities, wait until a future date to sell something if they believe the price will increase.

Lots of potential factors here.

To illustrate: It seems to me that a temporary spike in production - even one lasting a few years - would be inevitable after *any* price spike following a periode of low prices, even if that price spike was in fact caused by emerging issues concerning security of supply.

False. You're making a lot of assumptions here. First off, a company has to believe that demand exists for the product before it produces more. Low prices may be a sign that demand is declining. I mean, the price of VHS tapes is really low, but nobody is rushing out to make more (because of low demand.)

Now, is NG suffering low demand? Of course not. But your very sure phrasing (inevitable) is characteristic of the kind of thinking that gets doomers in trouble time and time again.

Also price spikes in commodity markets can be caused by EXOGENOUS factors. Commodities didn't become necessarily twice as scarce since last year, but demand for them has risen significantly. Why? They're a safe bet during a wobbly market.

In fact, it seams unlikely to me that gas production would actually fall of a cliff *without* an initial price-induced upswing lasting for years.

What's with this cliff? What cliff? Why a cliff? I swear, if I had a dollar for every "cliff event" I've read on the net these days, I'd be a venture capitalist. Besides, why does it have to be a price-induced upswing? The 1970s taught us that a production cliff can be political.

It all has to do with the reasonable expectation that dwindling spare capacity would cause a price spike *long before* actual peak supply was reached. This price spike would bring forward the peak production date and it's magnitude, causing a temporary jump in total production. It could be that this is in fact what the data is showing, contrary to JD's interpretation.

Or it could not be. Tautologies get us nowhere, don't you think?

To conclude, we'll need a few more years of data before we can REALLY conclude that the 'cliff' actually *did* 'bend the other way'. And consequently, while we're waiting, there doesn't seem cause for complacency or relief just yet. Don't you agree?

When has JD ever talked about "complacency?" This is probably the single greatest myth spread about the guy amongst the doomer crowd. JD doesn't speak of complacency-- rather, he speaks of SOLUTIONS and against HYSTERIA. Unfortunately, the congitive bias amongst doomers seems to be that anyone who doesn't interpret every event as an example of armageddon and the Four Horsemen cometh is spreading complacency.

 
At Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 7:20:00 PM PDT, Anonymous DoctorDoom said...

This blog is not helping to stop this lack of activity. In fact it encourges complacency and overall hurts way more than it helps.

Funny, that's how I feel about all the doomer sites. The message seems to be "bend over, put your head between your legs, and kiss your ass goodbye".

At their most positive, the "action" recommended by doomers is "powerdown" - yep, let's actively bring about the end of technology and go back to an agrarian age. Hard to distinguish that from the feared doomsday itself.

 
At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 3:07:00 AM PDT, Anonymous jev said...

Just out of curiosity, which ones?

The ones that are caused by complacency over resource constraints. Not just mining resources, but also ecological services such as fresh water and arable land, and the economic constraints that are becoming apparent in regard to the creation of debt. There's more but it's beside the point here.

The rest of your post suggests you didn't understand my argument, so I'll rephrase it. What I'm saying is that a price spike in any market following a lengthy period of low prices will *always* cause a production increase, even if the scope of such a production increase being sustainable is limited. It's what I call a blow-off.

I expect Simmons would have been fully aware he was risking ridicule with his unreasonably dire prediction concerning NG, but he chose to do it perhaps because he felt that *someone* ought to provide a counterbalance to the cornucopian concensus that he feels is preventing effective and timely mitigation.

If he would have said ten years, instead of two years, he might well turn out to be closer to the mark, but his message would still only foment complacency.

It's like dealing with young children, if you will. When you warn them about not talking to strangers you are being a "daiper soiling scaremonger" of sorts, because talking to a stranger is not dangerous of itself. The danger you are concerned about is that the child might follow the stranger home after he gains it's trust. But telling children that talking to strangers is ok while trusting them is not is a negative and confusing message to bring to a young child. You pretty much have to exaggerate the danger, or else you might as well not even raise the issue.

In the same way, telling people that using a finite resource is ok but relying on it is not ok, is also confusing. At some point you will have to start exagerating the dangers of supply running out, if only to prevent people from committing themselves in a dangerous way. JD can call it "diaper soiling scaremongering" all he wants, but there is a definite rationale behind such an approach. You have to start building an Ark before it starts to rain, as they say, and getting people to build an Ark is pretty hard, especially if you admit that you don't know when the rain will actually start, which of course you don't - and cannot - know before the fact.

Now JD is saying that building an Ark is not necessary, because we'll find another way to mitigate the flood when the time comes, or because he expects the flood to be no more than a a few puddles, not te be concerned about. Time will tell who is closer to the mark, but before it does it seems to me that declaring that the peak oil community has "blown the call yet again" is pointless and offensive.

It's like a rebellious child telling his mother that he actually "did" go out to talk to a stranger and that "nothing bad happened". Now that's being very wise and grown-up, isn't it? It really puts it to that mother for her "diaper soiling scaremongering"! ;)

 
At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 8:31:00 AM PDT, Blogger Sean Daugherty said...

Jev, aside from the somewhat disturbing contention that we're all toddlers, incapable of taking care of ourselves without Daddy Simmons's tutelage, there's a more basic problem with your rationale. If you want to be taken seriously, talk seriously. Present serious arguments to your audience. Do not stake your entire reputation on a false precision.

Take offense all you want, but Simmons demonstrably did "blow the call" on the natural gas cliff, and insofar as other proponents of peak oil stand by his so-called expertise, they are equally culpable. Leaving no room for doubt or variation, he made a very specific prediction that failed to materialize. Neither is it "pointless" to draw attention to this fact, as Simmons's reputation as an expert rests on his being scientifically responsible and intellectually honest, and this draws both into question.

And as a former preschool teacher, I question your metaphor itself. A child is told of the danger of talking to a stranger, and of the risks. The child is typically not told, in flat, inarguable terms, that if s/he talks to that particular stranger, then s/he will be abducted. The reason is to avoid the "chicken little" problem that you outline in your final paragraph. And that's the exact same problem Matt Simmons brings to the responsible members of the peak oil community. The damage persistently incorrect doomsayers like Simmons have done to the cause of peak oil awareness is inestimably larger than anything JD has ever done.

Ultimately, JD has spent years addressing the issues surrounding peak oil. He's talked about the challenges, and showcased ways they are (and can be) dealt with. He's supported his fleetingly rare predictions with hard data and explained his conclusions. Simmons, well, doesn't do any of that. He claims an authority he doesn't have and has failed to earn. The only thing that really surprises me, though, is that the peak oil community continues to associate with him at all, let alone elevate him as an expert.

 
At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 9:36:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

The ones that are caused by complacency over resource constraints. Not just mining resources, but also ecological services such as fresh water and arable land, and the economic constraints that are becoming apparent in regard to the creation of debt. There's more but it's beside the point here.

Who says anything about complacency? First off, I love this tendency amongst the PO doomer camp: "Oil isn't scary enough anymore? OK, how about natural gas! Oh wait, natural gas is no longer scary enough. OK, fuck it: let's just throw anything we can!"

Red herring. Bright, shiny, glittering, red herring.

Fisheries may have nothing to do with oil, but they are a good tactic because people enjoy fish.

And economic constraints regarding debt are very different from ecological services, so I'm not sure how you put that one in the list.

The rest of your post suggests you didn't understand my argument, so I'll rephrase it. What I'm saying is that a price spike in any market following a lengthy period of low prices will *always* cause a production increase, even if the scope of such a production increase being sustainable is limited. It's what I call a blow-off.

No, it will not "always" yield production increases. That's simply not true. It depends on so many factors: demand, supply, discounted future return projections, regulatory climate, presence of substitutes, etc. etc. etc. You are dealing with a likely stochastic system by boiling it down to one variable. How does this even begin to work?

I expect Simmons would have been fully aware he was risking ridicule with his unreasonably dire prediction concerning NG, but he chose to do it perhaps because he felt that *someone* ought to provide a counterbalance to the cornucopian concensus that he feels is preventing effective and timely mitigation.

If he would have said ten years, instead of two years, he might well turn out to be closer to the mark, but his message would still only foment complacency.


Why do so many assume that Mr Simmons is in this for the "greater good?" Why can't anyone even begin to assume that a guy who has his hand in the market he's predicting price increases for is not even remotely interested in financial gain?

I realize that his work should be the metric we measure him by, however. And by that measure, he simply stinks. His "model" has failed time and time again to offer any sort of forecast value. So why are we listening to him, again?

And what's with the constant complacency red herring? How is it complacency to simply say "we're not all doomed?"

It's like dealing with young children, if you will. When you warn them about not talking to strangers you are being a "daiper soiling scaremonger" of sorts, because talking to a stranger is not dangerous of itself. The danger you are concerned about is that the child might follow the stranger home after he gains it's trust. But telling children that talking to strangers is ok while trusting them is not is a negative and confusing message to bring to a young child. You pretty much have to exaggerate the danger, or else you might as well not even raise the issue.

OK, even moving past the insulting nature of this comparison (which was already touched on), there's a difference between saying, "Don't talk to strangers, dear, as they are not all good people" and "Strangers are all bloodthirsty maurading killers who will kill you at a moment's notice. Even eye contact will likely lead you to a gruesome death."

That's the problem. One, which is a prudent look at an issue, and the other is just scaremongering (and is likely to lead your metaphorical child to have at least some kind of complex.)

In the same way, telling people that using a finite resource is ok but relying on it is not ok, is also confusing. At some point you will have to start exagerating the dangers of supply running out, if only to prevent people from committing themselves in a dangerous way. JD can call it "diaper soiling scaremongering" all he wants, but there is a definite rationale behind such an approach. You have to start building an Ark before it starts to rain, as they say, and getting people to build an Ark is pretty hard, especially if you admit that you don't know when the rain will actually start, which of course you don't - and cannot - know before the fact.

Now JD is saying that building an Ark is not necessary, because we'll find another way to mitigate the flood when the time comes, or because he expects the flood to be no more than a a few puddles, not te be concerned about. Time will tell who is closer to the mark, but before it does it seems to me that declaring that the peak oil community has "blown the call yet again" is pointless and offensive.


No, he's not. You obviously are not reading this site. He's saying "we need to build electrified rail, electric cars, change lifestyle, change behavior, etc." But also that "we have more time than we're told. Here's why." The difference is degree. Where the doomers all say, "ZOMG! The rain will be Katrina times NINE THOUSAAAAAND!!!" JD is saying, "It doesn't seem to be that way. It looks more like _____. However, we will still need to modify our lifestyle."

How is this "complacency?"

It's like a rebellious child telling his mother that he actually "did" go out to talk to a stranger and that "nothing bad happened". Now that's being very wise and grown-up, isn't it? It really puts it to that mother for her "diaper soiling scaremongering"! ;).

Well, depends on if that child was given the doomer-esque talking to, or the more reasonable one. In the former case, what it might do is lead said child to question the doomer-esque line (which is good.) In the latter case, a responsible parent would say, "that's good, honey, but let's talk about odds..."

 
At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 10:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger Akrotiri21 said...

JD: Two themes on this site are (1) that the solution to PO is electrification & conservation and (2) that we are capable of a great deal more adaptation than doomers are willling to concede. There are recent fairly direct challenges to both of these views on TOD. Gail has submitted a long post supporting the position that oil shortages lead fairly quickly to electricity shortages (and then what, I'm not sure). If she is right, then moving to electrification may be a great deal harder than we imagine. Also, JeffVail has submitted an article arguing that demand destruction leads to an increasingly brittle system, which suggests that we may want to be wary of the achieved demand destruction so far (eg how many fewer miles we've driven).

I'm not suggesting these are ultimately convincing arguments, but rather that they may be worth discussing given the importance of the issues.

 
At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 10:24:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

akrotiri21,

The problem with all of the arguments is that they're based on a number of assumptions that may or may not hold true, leading their conclusions to ultimately be fragile.

Never mind that they also set up their models with their conclusions in mind. It's kind of like doing an ordinary least squares regression and throwing out any data that don't fit my model. Sure, I might get statistically significant results that support my conclusion, but does the model really have any predictive power?

I mean, Vail sets up his argument based on "supposed" elasticity. Great. So now I know what will happen... in a model that doesn't necessarily have any grounding in reality.

Here's an example of his argument:

Do improvements in efficiency have the same effect as involuntary, market-driven demand destruction? Maybe. If the pace of efficiency measures decreases the scarcity of oil, then the result will be a less brittle system. However, this tends to act as a negative feedback loop, as the exact stimulus that drives investment in efficiency (high prices & scarcity) will also be eliminated by efficiency gains rapid enough to decrease the overall scarcity of oil.

This depends on a lot, and he's simply ignoring a lot of variables. It's almost a backwards version of Jevons' Paradox. He just didn't use the name.

 
At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 2:18:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

As far as I can see, 'Gail' from TOD is not an active physical scientist (ie engineer, physicist). I feel this should be taken into account.

Even many (but not all) of the scientific contributors to tod appear to in fringe fields unconnected to oil, or have business interests, often in 'peak oil mitigation' techs.

 
At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 7:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

As far as I can tell, there are very few, if any, petro-related scientists at TOD (for what it's worth.)

What's funnier, though, is how there are even fewer economists involved in the project, which makes me wonder how they all think they have a firm grasp on the economic issues. Oh well... I suppose it's their lives spent worrying.

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 4:01:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

Ari,

You might be interested in the following line from the staff biographies at TOD:

>>
Stuart does a lot of modeling and data analysis stuff, fights with passing economists, and occasionally wanders around interviewing prominent oil-persons<<

This may explain the lack of economics. Many peak oilers have contempt for it.

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 8:54:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

brother cadfan,

I think I've read that. What gets me even more is the comments. I remember seeing one person on the TOD say that in his "post-carbon world" he would design government around some sort of "wisemen council of 12" or something, run only by SCIENTISTS.

Of course, by scientists he means physicists, engineers, biologists, etc. Oh, and maybe a mathematician. Then he of course goes on to say that NO ECONOMISTS WILL BE ALLOWED. Ever. And we will definitely have more women, because we all know that women are better at thinking long-term than men.

No economists. You heard that right.

This struck me as silly (and misguided at best,) but I thought I would share this with my fiancée. She laughed and thought for a second, and then said, "Wait, didn't he allow a mathematician in?"

"Yes."

"Well, then what you'll have is that the mathematician will just become a proxy-economist. But without the years or decades of training necessary to be as capable as the trained economists. What, this guy thinks we'll just stop trying to explain economic phenomena?"

And there you have it.

That's when I realized that TOD was more about raging against the system/machine than really about oil.

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 10:26:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Worse than that people. TOD hates economists not only because they continuously deny the PO problem, but mainly because economists love how the market has the power to solve things through, if well maintained and regulated. TOD people are marxists of the worst kind with masks in front of them. How often do I find the kinds of comments like:

"markets are NOT intelligent at all, it should be the GOVERNMENT telling people what to do"

Their minds are always focused on this kind of thinking. If you can relate this kind of thinking to a totalitarian basic mindset, you wouldn't be too far off.

But this is also why they keep on being scared little brats, because they simply don't trust the system abilities to solve things at all, zero, zit, nada.

And when an economist comes in and tells them "nonononono, you got it all wrong, and it's not gonna be that bad." they slap him, call him a shill, and a "part of a rotten system" so we should not listen to him.

Because hey, we all know TODders are all more reasonable, right?

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 2:47:00 PM PDT, Blogger Akrotiri21 said...

These last posts reminded me to ask a different question: does anyone here know of a response to the Land Export Model? This model has gained increasing attention, not just at TOD elsewhere also (e.g. Jim Kingsdale's Energyinvestmentstrategies.com site).

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 3:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger Stephen H said...

Hi all. I'll take a stab at both this post and the Land Export Model.

1-Natual Gas Production is up, maybe.

The EIA's data cited by Jon is actually a forecast, and not measured. This is because the Texas Railroad Commission, who collects the data is running 6 to 12 months behind. As a result, the EIA are doing their best to produce an accurate projection of what they feel will be reported in 12 months. So the celebration may be muted a bit (or even larger) when the actual data is posted. The links to the data discussions follow.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4430/395595
http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4435#comments_top


2) The Export Land Model is based on the idea that exporting countries have lower priced oil, which stimulates their economy which results in increased consumption. This feedback loop causes their exports to decline faster that would normally be predicted by oil field modeling alone.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_Land_Model

There is an alternative to the ELM which may be called “Chain Reaction Hording”. Many of the large exporting countries (Norway, Mexico, Russia) have already passed their peak production and are in decline. At some point, their Energy/Oil ministries will calculate when their internal consumption will overtake their declining production and they will actually have to start importing oil. When this realization occurs, they may set a date when they begin to intentionally limit exports to conserve their remaining oil so they have enough to produce artificial substitutes. Depending on the projected cost of their effort, their intentional export reductions may range from very small to very large. If they have done little but burn their oil, and they’ve waited till the last moment, then the cut off may be both abrupt and large.

The kicker here is that when one oil exporting country announces its intention to limit exports as a hedge against future internal needs, then the others may follow. This could cause a chain reaction which could lead to a more dramatic drop in world oil supply that might actually be predicted by oil field supplies alone.

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 4:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Response to ELM? Easy, Iran. The problem is not ELM per se, but subsidies. 96% of last year's rise of demand came from subsidizing countries, and many exporting countries are in fact subsidizing them. ELM only comes into "trouble" if the people inside the countries that export the oil are shielded from the high prices of outside.

Of course, this is almost impossible, no matter how precious for the local politics these low prices seem to be. The thing is, with oil banging on 100$, 200$, such countries have two choices: or they continue to pander to their populist politics of low gas prices and lose huge amounts of cash they could be using otherwise, or they make cuts of demand, either by rationing (Iran) or by toning down the subsidies.

Of course there is even another rationale.

The countries most affected by some kind of "light" ELM will be the ones transitioning faster to a more energy efficient economy, leaving the subsidizers in the past.

In a sense, we could say that ELM and the subsidizing scheme forms a virtual Peak Oil Lite, which should not be read as a problem per se, but rather as a cushion that the world is developing, creating the incentive to change things in the "demand" countries many years before the shit will finally hit the fan, as the latoctards use to say.

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 4:12:00 PM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

Mind not Stephen's arguments about ELM. It's the usual crap about the end of the world. He's got it all wrong. The incentive for the producing countries is yes to hoard the oil, but also to sell it to the highest bidder. This means that if the price of oil gets too high due to lack of supply to OECD countries, there is no way that the ministries of producing countries will continue endlessly to pander to their own population, rather than selling more of their oil so that their budget keeps going up.

Nevermind the fact that the economy of these countries also depend on the health of the world's economy. A depression on OECD countries would have terrible effects on these producing countries. They know they can't kill their golden goose, or else they'll also die, so to speak.

So the incentives are all aligned to not hoard the oil like the doomeristas would like you to believe. And for a good case study, look at Iran.

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 5:44:00 PM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

The funny part about ELM is how much it relies on the use of (flawed) economic theory. Economics is only good when it supports your a priori conclusions, it seems.

Barbra outlined a good number of the flaws, but doesn't throw the key word: assumptions. ELM only holds true if the assumptions hold true. The second the price signal hits, the model has a hard time holding up. It also assumes, for some odd reason, that developing nations have an unlimited ability to subsidize prices. That's an odd assumption to throw at anyone who has studied the developing world to say the least.

It's funny in a way how most of the doomtards USE economics (ceteris parabus arguments in this case) to make their arguments, but flip when economists actually use the same tools. Odd.

 
At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 6:38:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

On a slightly seperate note, I'm getting a bit concerned at the way *someone* is manipulating wikipedia vis- peak 'everything' style topics. It seems that somehow a lot of ideas from various doomster websites have magically gained traction on wikipedia without any form of peer review.

The export land model is interesting, but i would tend to agree with those who say it would not be in the countries best interest to do so. Some countries would end up with nothing to eat but their own oil and gas (e.g. Saudi, Venezuela, Iran) if they did not export their oil to the 'golden goose', be that the west or Chindia. Pointless be the subsidised fuel for their new cars if they have nowt to eat. And the Saudis are starting to get a bit narked about the possibility the market for oil could take a knocking. Russia is perhaps a country I can see this sort of model applying however. Not many others though. Certain middle eastern countries are trying to move away from oil/gas electricity generation, specifically with the purpose of increasing their exports.

Ill leave you with this. An informative article on biomass to liquid.

http://newenergyandfuel.com/

(aug 22 article if he changes it)

 
At Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 12:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger Stephen H said...

Doomtard...hmm, Why is it that those of you who are completely unconcerned about whether the supply of cheap oil will last long enough feel the need to be condescending and insulting to those of us who are? Let’s try a brief review. If the invisible hand of Adam Smith worked in all cases, there would not have been a great depression, WWII, Enron’s collapse or the current mortgage/banking system meltdown. You also wouldn’t need an FEC to guarantee that the stock you are about to invest in is from a honest company and you can trust their profit/loss statement. You can argue why such events happened, but the idea that “laissez faire” economics work best IN EVERY CASE has been disproven over and over again by history. The reason is that those with money and power don’t play by the rules and distort markets so they aren’t “free” to maximize their short-term profit. As a result, the long term needs of society may not be addressed adequately. This is exactly what Adam Smith warned about in the rest of “The Wealth of Nations” beyond the one page with the “invisible hand”. That’s the part that is usually is not quoted or read. So, our question is: will there be enough time and oil for a laissez fair approach to transform the western industrial base to sustainable energy, or will we need a more organized and focused approach? Why is such a question so threatening to you all?

A further review: In 2000-02, The EIA and Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) used their market-based economic models to predict that oil would not go over $100/barrel before 2030. Well, they were off by just 22 years and a measly 300 percent. The EIA also predicted that several hundred billion barrels more would have been found by now to support their “not before 2030” Peak Oil projection. Does any of this even cause a ripple of concern? How about Jeroen van der Veer Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO sending out an Email on January 22, 2008 to staff announcing that all of the easy to find and process (light, sweet crude) will have been found by 2015?
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/calgarybusiness/story.html?id=09669612-9de3-4278-b882-d5c9a16c89bc

Not good enough? Matt Simmons and T. Boon Pickens, both bred Texas Oil guys AND Republican Pioneer donor/fundraisers (Over $100k each) both feel that peak oil will hit well before 2025. They are not just some off the wall Marxist, tree-hugging, latte swilling, Birkenstock wearing, water your plants with toilet water liberals. That’s a near catastrophic assessment when one considers what we will need to do to be ready for it and the projected (EIA, CERA and IEA) minimum 2% annual drop.

Tar sands to the rescue? Only about 10% of the Canadian 1.7 trillion barrels can be surface mined. The rest will have to be processed with “in place” technology and will require 4 times the current total Canadian natural gas reserves. The Energy Return on Energy Invested? Right now, the tar sands are running between 2 to 4.5 to one, or roughly 1/10 of what the current industrial world is used to. Is that enough of a return on energy invested (EROEI) to keep our industrial society running? Don’t have a thoroughly investigated analytical answer at hand? Then don’t call us names, get the data and find out what the minimum needed is. If we are wrong, then hit us over the head with numbers. U.S. off shore drilling? Costs are skyrocketing ($90/barrel vs. $1 to $25 for land-based oil wells), it will only produce about 20% of the remaining US reserves, and large offshore fields tend to collapse rapidly, witness Cantarell in Mexico and Ecofisk in the North Sea. Is drilling for some of the most expensive oil the best way to spend billions, or should we first evaluate the alternatives before we charge off in the same direction? What does your EROEI analysis show? Ah, I bet you want to just blindly trust the short-term market response again. Is this what you do with all of your investments? Just do what someone else did before and not look at the numbers?

Still not enough to cause an eye lid flicker of concern? How about Matt Simmons again, who has made hundreds of millions financing world-wide oil projects assessment that only 5% of the word’s “Proven Reserves” have actually been audited and verified by independent and trustworthy organizations. That includes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who has not released any well data since 1979. Over estimation would never happen? How about the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell being forced out in 2004 because of a 20% over estimation. How many of you out there would bet your entire life savings on a mineral startup with only 5% of its assets verified? Want to rush in for some of that action? Too late, you, me, and the entire industrial world are already in for 100% of everything we own.

So as you look at the non-Doomtard experts at EIA, IEA, and CERA whose market-based 30 year projections have already been shown to be only off by 300% in just 6 years, you just might decide to stop calling those of us with genuine, analytically-based concerns names, and do some investigating yourselves. I’m currently working on the issue I previously stated about how the word crude supply will be affected when exporting country’s internal consumption approaches their net production, and the practicality of T. Boon Pickens’ proposal to use natural gas to power passenger vehicles. For T Boon, the initial analysis indicates that with just a 10% increase in consumption, we could replace all 134 million of our passenger vehicles with CNG plug-in hybrids and about 10 extra 1 GW nuclear power plants. This would save about 40% of our annual crude oil consumption and potentially put off Peak Oil by a decade or more, IF the supply of natural gas holds up. So if you really want to make a statement, get busy and do some true analytical work.

 
At Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 5:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger Barba Rija said...

mr stephen, I can hardly know where to begin with your comment.

First, your beggining paragraphs are alright to begin with. Adam Smith's invisible hand is not perfect because people are greedy to manipulate markets, in that we couldn't agree more. I also talked about the power of the market when "properly regulated", didn't I? So you start your diatribe with a straw-man.

Then you go ahead and claim that EIA failed spectacularly in their prognostications of price. Unless you back it up, I'm not going to comment on it. To say that the doomeristas are lunatics doesn't mean that the cornucopianistas are any better off (to predict price in 30 years range is lunacy on my book).

"Not good enough?" I'm afraid all your fearmongerings are quite unsatisfactory to begin with. Did Matt predict oil will peak before 2025? Great. He's like predicting peak oil "within a few years" since the eighties, for christ sake. Even a broken clock will be right twice a day.

"That’s a near catastrophic assessment when one considers what we will need to do to be ready for it"

Of course, that's an assertion for which you don't have any proof whatsoever. In the eighties, the US demand dropped a whooping 15% within 3 years, and no mad max scenario came about. According to peak oil theory, oil will peak in a very wide plateau and will decline 1% for a decade, before it will decline 2 or 3%. It doesn't scare me in the least, sorry!

About your EROEI ramblings, sorry too, it doesn't scare me as well. EROEI is far too overhyped as a "problem", when it really isn't. And don't tell me that I don't have "a thoroughly investigated analytical answer at hand", for I would if I was lunatic enough to spend my time over such a theme. It doesn't mean that the amateurs at TOD are any good at their analytical bullshit.

Your words creep of fear and hysteria. The world doesn't work as a mindless idiotic machine for which some amateurs can just wave their magic hands and define in simplistic (and idiotic) theories, like the most recent at TOD about demand destruction. It's funny that your ending paragraph is talking about a fairly costless market driven answer to peak oil problems, ending with 40% of demand. Even PO admits that such a cut back of supply would only happen within two decades. This would mean two free decades of BAU, in which renewables could happily grow until they finally become reliable and powerful.

Ironically it's what I'm about to do, by putting a bottle of GPL on my car, which costs me 1000 dollars, an investment payed back in less than a year, given fuel cost differences.

So your rant is about what, really? That JD is actually right, that we will see lifestyle changes but no doom scenarios of 5 billion people starving, that we will not need 12 "scientists" governing the world in a dystopic scenario where people will be euthanized and "final solutions" won't come about, that "relocalizations" won't subdue to fringe lunatic thinker's will and such?

Well, then, welcome to POD!

 
At Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 8:08:00 AM PDT, Blogger Ari said...

Doomtard...hmm, Why is it that those of you who are completely unconcerned about whether the supply of cheap oil will last long enough feel the need to be condescending and insulting to those of us who are? Let’s try a brief review. If the invisible hand of Adam Smith worked in all cases, there would not have been a great depression, WWII, Enron’s collapse or the current mortgage/banking system meltdown. You also wouldn’t need an FEC to guarantee that the stock you are about to invest in is from a honest company and you can trust their profit/loss statement. You can argue why such events happened, but the idea that “laissez faire” economics work best IN EVERY CASE has been disproven over and over again by history. The reason is that those with money and power don’t play by the rules and distort markets so they aren’t “free” to maximize their short-term profit. As a result, the long term needs of society may not be addressed adequately. This is exactly what Adam Smith warned about in the rest of “The Wealth of Nations” beyond the one page with the “invisible hand”. That’s the part that is usually is not quoted or read. So, our question is: will there be enough time and oil for a laissez fair approach to transform the western industrial base to sustainable energy, or will we need a more organized and focused approach? Why is such a question so threatening to you all?
Nice strawman. 9/10 for setup, and 8/10 for delivery.
But seriously, here's the problem: I never said that I think that market is completely efficient! I said that the misuse of economics is rampant amongst the doomer community, while the attacks on economists (professional practicians of the field) are also rampant. What you get is a bunch of people running around talking about Jevons Paradox, Malthus, elasticity, etc., without actually having any sort of firm economic education to lead their conclusions.
I never even once mentioned laissez faire economics. What an odd response on your part. 

A further review: In 2000-02, The EIA and Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) used their market-based economic models to predict that oil would not go over $100/barrel before 2030. Well, they were off by just 22 years and a measly 300 percent. The EIA also predicted that several hundred billion barrels more would have been found by now to support their “not before 2030” Peak Oil projection. Does any of this even cause a ripple of concern? How about Jeroen van der Veer Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO sending out an Email on January 22, 2008 to staff announcing that all of the easy to find and process (light, sweet crude) will have been found by 2015? 
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/calgarybusiness/story.html?id=09669612-9de3-4278-b882-d5c9a16c89bc


Hmm. Well, yes, it does cause concern. On the one hand, I believe that high-priced oil hit faster than most predictions stated. But I also believe that it's not simply a supply or demand issue. It's a very very complex issue, and one that simple supply arguments cannot explain. It's entirely possible that the price would not have gone up had the markets not all taken a simultaneous dump this year. Unfortunately, as my tautology shows, it's possible that the opposite is also true.
Now, does it matter that the easy stuff will be found by 2015? Sure. Does it mean society takes a dump and dies? Not necessarily. "Easy" is relative. If you had told me 30 years ago that the light sweet crude was running out, I would have shit myself. Today, not so much-- after all, plenty of refineries can handle the heavier stuff now. It just costs more.
You have to separate "easy" from "society crippling." It exists along a spectrum.


Not good enough? Matt Simmons and T. Boon Pickens, both bred Texas Oil guys AND Republican Pioneer donor/fundraisers (Over $100k each) both feel that peak oil will hit well before 2025. They are not just some off the wall Marxist, tree-hugging, latte swilling, Birkenstock wearing, water your plants with toilet water liberals. That’s a near catastrophic assessment when one considers what we will need to do to be ready for it and the projected (EIA, CERA and IEA) minimum 2% annual drop.

Why is it catastrophic? You say it like it's a given. Besides, who says that Simmons and Pickens don't want to use the situation to increase their net worth? I really don't get why people in the doomkamp think that Simmons and Pickens are to be trusted simply because they confirm their own biases. It's a strange way to do business, IMO. 

Tar sands to the rescue? Only about 10% of the Canadian 1.7 trillion barrels can be surface mined. The rest will have to be processed with “in place” technology and will require 4 times the current total Canadian natural gas reserves. The Energy Return on Energy Invested? Right now, the tar sands are running between 2 to 4.5 to one, or roughly 1/10 of what the current industrial world is used to. Is that enough of a return on energy invested (EROEI) to keep our industrial society running? Don’t have a thoroughly investigated analytical answer at hand? Then don’t call us names, get the data and find out what the minimum needed is. If we are wrong, then hit us over the head with numbers. U.S. off shore drilling? Costs are skyrocketing ($90/barrel vs. $1 to $25 for land-based oil wells), it will only produce about 20% of the remaining US reserves, and large offshore fields tend to collapse rapidly, witness Cantarell in Mexico and Ecofisk in the North Sea. Is drilling for some of the most expensive oil the best way to spend billions, or should we first evaluate the alternatives before we charge off in the same direction? What does your EROEI analysis show? Ah, I bet you want to just blindly trust the short-term market response again. Is this what you do with all of your investments? Just do what someone else did before and not look at the numbers?
I already think the tar sands aren't a panacea-- again with the straw men. This one only gets an 8/10 overall, though, because it's pretty tired as a rebuttal.
Anyway, do I think tar sands are the solution? No. But I would like to see your data on the EROEI.
By the way, show us Cantarell's year-by-year data. Don't argue from one year of production. And please stop using Cantarell and Ecofisk without showing us worldwide data. Otherwise, it's just a hasty generalization (another logical fallacy.)

Still not enough to cause an eye lid flicker of concern? How about Matt Simmons again, who has made hundreds of millions financing world-wide oil projects assessment that only 5% of the word’s “Proven Reserves” have actually been audited and verified by independent and trustworthy organizations. That includes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who has not released any well data since 1979. Over estimation would never happen? How about the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell being forced out in 2004 because of a 20% over estimation. How many of you out there would bet your entire life savings on a mineral startup with only 5% of its assets verified? Want to rush in for some of that action? Too late, you, me, and the entire industrial world are already in for 100% of everything we own.
And what if Simmons is wrong? Don't base your entire argument on one man.
Personally, I find it really really odd that KSA, with its many experts on the subject, managed to screw up so badly. It almost borders conspiracy (huh... reverse scientific method and conspiracy do go well together.)

So as you look at the non-Doomtard experts at EIA, IEA, and CERA whose market-based 30 year projections have already been shown to be only off by 300% in just 6 years, you just might decide to stop calling those of us with genuine, analytically-based concerns names, and do some investigating yourselves. I’m currently working on the issue I previously stated about how the word crude supply will be affected when exporting country’s internal consumption approaches their net production, and the practicality of T. Boon Pickens’ proposal to use natural gas to power passenger vehicles. For T Boon, the initial analysis indicates that with just a 10% increase in consumption, we could replace all 134 million of our passenger vehicles with CNG plug-in hybrids and about 10 extra 1 GW nuclear power plants. This would save about 40% of our annual crude oil consumption and potentially put off Peak Oil by a decade or more, IF the supply of natural gas holds up. So if you really want to make a statement, get busy and do some true analytical work.

No, their PRICE projections are off according to you. PRICE ≠ supply. They are different. Supply can remain constant, but price can go up if demand, or many other factors, shift. As for analysis, who says I haven't done any? Just because I don't see fit to put it up in an echo chamber and get my ego stroked doesn't mean I haven't done anything.

By the way, T. Boone Pickens' plan makes no sense when it's simply cheaper to change habits and get people in smaller cars, electrics, and using transit. There are probably a million cars you could get off the road in Manhattan alone. Nice strawman. 9/10 for setup, and 8/10 for delivery.
But seriously, here's the problem: I never said that I think that market is completely efficient! I said that the misuse of economics is rampant amongst the doomer community, while the attacks on economists (professional practicians of the field) are also rampant. What you get is a bunch of people running around talking about Jevons Paradox, Malthus, elasticity, etc., without actually having any sort of firm economic education to lead their conclusions.
I never even once mentioned laissez faire economics. What an odd response on your part. 

A further review: In 2000-02, The EIA and Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) used their market-based economic models to predict that oil would not go over $100/barrel before 2030. Well, they were off by just 22 years and a measly 300 percent. The EIA also predicted that several hundred billion barrels more would have been found by now to support their “not before 2030” Peak Oil projection. Does any of this even cause a ripple of concern? How about Jeroen van der Veer Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO sending out an Email on January 22, 2008 to staff announcing that all of the easy to find and process (light, sweet crude) will have been found by 2015? 
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/calgarybusiness/story.html?id=09669612-9de3-4278-b882-d5c9a16c89bc


Hmm. Well, yes, it does cause concern. On the one hand, I believe that high-priced oil hit faster than most predictions stated. But I also believe that it's not simply a supply or demand issue. It's a very very complex issue, and one that simple supply arguments cannot explain. It's entirely possible that the price would not have gone up had the markets not all taken a simultaneous dump this year. Unfortunately, as my tautology shows, it's possible that the opposite is also true.
Now, does it matter that the easy stuff will be found by 2015? Sure. Does it mean society takes a dump and dies? Not necessarily. "Easy" is relative. If you had told me 30 years ago that the light sweet crude was running out, I would have shit myself. Today, not so much-- after all, plenty of refineries can handle the heavier stuff now. It just costs more.
You have to separate "easy" from "society crippling." It exists along a spectrum.


Not good enough? Matt Simmons and T. Boon Pickens, both bred Texas Oil guys AND Republican Pioneer donor/fundraisers (Over $100k each) both feel that peak oil will hit well before 2025. They are not just some off the wall Marxist, tree-hugging, latte swilling, Birkenstock wearing, water your plants with toilet water liberals. That’s a near catastrophic assessment when one considers what we will need to do to be ready for it and the projected (EIA, CERA and IEA) minimum 2% annual drop.

Why is it catastrophic? You say it like it's a given. Besides, who says that Simmons and Pickens don't want to use the situation to increase their net worth? I really don't get why people in the doomkamp think that Simmons and Pickens are to be trusted simply because they confirm their own biases. It's a strange way to do business, IMO. 

Tar sands to the rescue? Only about 10% of the Canadian 1.7 trillion barrels can be surface mined. The rest will have to be processed with “in place” technology and will require 4 times the current total Canadian natural gas reserves. The Energy Return on Energy Invested? Right now, the tar sands are running between 2 to 4.5 to one, or roughly 1/10 of what the current industrial world is used to. Is that enough of a return on energy invested (EROEI) to keep our industrial society running? Don’t have a thoroughly investigated analytical answer at hand? Then don’t call us names, get the data and find out what the minimum needed is. If we are wrong, then hit us over the head with numbers. U.S. off shore drilling? Costs are skyrocketing ($90/barrel vs. $1 to $25 for land-based oil wells), it will only produce about 20% of the remaining US reserves, and large offshore fields tend to collapse rapidly, witness Cantarell in Mexico and Ecofisk in the North Sea. Is drilling for some of the most expensive oil the best way to spend billions, or should we first evaluate the alternatives before we charge off in the same direction? What does your EROEI analysis show? Ah, I bet you want to just blindly trust the short-term market response again. Is this what you do with all of your investments? Just do what someone else did before and not look at the numbers?
I already think the tar sands aren't a panacea-- again with the straw men. This one only gets an 8/10 overall, though, because it's pretty tired as a rebuttal.
Anyway, do I think tar sands are the solution? No. But I would like to see your data on the EROEI.
By the way, show us Cantarell's year-by-year data. Don't argue from one year of production. And please stop using Cantarell and Ecofisk without showing us worldwide data. Otherwise, it's just a hasty generalization (another logical fallacy.)

Still not enough to cause an eye lid flicker of concern? How about Matt Simmons again, who has made hundreds of millions financing world-wide oil projects assessment that only 5% of the word’s “Proven Reserves” have actually been audited and verified by independent and trustworthy organizations. That includes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who has not released any well data since 1979. Over estimation would never happen? How about the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell being forced out in 2004 because of a 20% over estimation. How many of you out there would bet your entire life savings on a mineral startup with only 5% of its assets verified? Want to rush in for some of that action? Too late, you, me, and the entire industrial world are already in for 100% of everything we own.
And what if Simmons is wrong? Don't base your entire argument on one man.
Personally, I find it really really odd that KSA, with its many experts on the subject, managed to screw up so badly. It almost borders conspiracy (huh... reverse scientific method and conspiracy do go well together.)

So as you look at the non-Doomtard experts at EIA, IEA, and CERA whose market-based 30 year projections have already been shown to be only off by 300% in just 6 years, you just might decide to stop calling those of us with genuine, analytically-based concerns names, and do some investigating yourselves. I’m currently working on the issue I previously stated about how the word crude supply will be affected when exporting country’s internal consumption approaches their net production, and the practicality of T. Boon Pickens’ proposal to use natural gas to power passenger vehicles. For T Boon, the initial analysis indicates that with just a 10% increase in consumption, we could replace all 134 million of our passenger vehicles with CNG plug-in hybrids and about 10 extra 1 GW nuclear power plants. This would save about 40% of our annual crude oil consumption and potentially put off Peak Oil by a decade or more, IF the supply of natural gas holds up. So if you really want to make a statement, get busy and do some true analytical work.

No, their PRICE projections are off according to you. PRICE ≠ supply. They are different. Supply can remain constant, but price can go up if demand, or many other factors, shift. As for analysis, who says I haven't done any? Just because I don't see fit to put it up in an echo chamber and get my ego stroked doesn't mean I haven't done anything.

By the way, T. Boone Pickens' plan makes no sense when it's simply cheaper to change habits and get people in smaller cars, electrics, and using transit. There are probably a million cars you could get off the road in Manhattan alone. Nice strawman. 9/10 for setup, and 8/10 for delivery.
But seriously, here's the problem: I never said that I think that market is completely efficient! I said that the misuse of economics is rampant amongst the doomer community, while the attacks on economists (professional practicians of the field) are also rampant. What you get is a bunch of people running around talking about Jevons Paradox, Malthus, elasticity, etc., without actually having any sort of firm economic education to lead their conclusions.
I never even once mentioned laissez faire economics. What an odd response on your part. 

A further review: In 2000-02, The EIA and Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) used their market-based economic models to predict that oil would not go over $100/barrel before 2030. Well, they were off by just 22 years and a measly 300 percent. The EIA also predicted that several hundred billion barrels more would have been found by now to support their “not before 2030” Peak Oil projection. Does any of this even cause a ripple of concern? How about Jeroen van der Veer Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO sending out an Email on January 22, 2008 to staff announcing that all of the easy to find and process (light, sweet crude) will have been found by 2015? 
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/calgarybusiness/story.html?id=09669612-9de3-4278-b882-d5c9a16c89bc

Hmm. Well, yes, it does cause concern. On the one hand, I believe that high-priced oil hit faster than most predictions stated. But I also believe that it's not simply a supply or demand issue. It's a very very complex issue, and one that simple supply arguments cannot explain. It's entirely possible that the price would not have gone up had the markets not all taken a simultaneous dump this year. Unfortunately, as my tautology shows, it's possible that the opposite is also true.
Now, does it matter that the easy stuff will be found by 2015? Sure. Does it mean society takes a dump and dies? Not necessarily. "Easy" is relative. If you had told me 30 years ago that the light sweet crude was running out, I would have shit myself. Today, not so much-- after all, plenty of refineries can handle the heavier stuff now. It just costs more.
You have to separate "easy" from "society crippling." It exists along a spectrum.


Not good enough? Matt Simmons and T. Boon Pickens, both bred Texas Oil guys AND Republican Pioneer donor/fundraisers (Over $100k each) both feel that peak oil will hit well before 2025. They are not just some off the wall Marxist, tree-hugging, latte swilling, Birkenstock wearing, water your plants with toilet water liberals. That’s a near catastrophic assessment when one considers what we will need to do to be ready for it and the projected (EIA, CERA and IEA) minimum 2% annual drop.

Why is it catastrophic? You say it like it's a given. Besides, who says that Simmons and Pickens don't want to use the situation to increase their net worth? I really don't get why people in the doomkamp think that Simmons and Pickens are to be trusted simply because they confirm their own biases. It's a strange way to do business, IMO. 

Tar sands to the rescue? Only about 10% of the Canadian 1.7 trillion barrels can be surface mined. The rest will have to be processed with “in place” technology and will require 4 times the current total Canadian natural gas reserves. The Energy Return on Energy Invested? Right now, the tar sands are running between 2 to 4.5 to one, or roughly 1/10 of what the current industrial world is used to. Is that enough of a return on energy invested (EROEI) to keep our industrial society running? Don’t have a thoroughly investigated analytical answer at hand? Then don’t call us names, get the data and find out what the minimum needed is. If we are wrong, then hit us over the head with numbers. U.S. off shore drilling? Costs are skyrocketing ($90/barrel vs. $1 to $25 for land-based oil wells), it will only produce about 20% of the remaining US reserves, and large offshore fields tend to collapse rapidly, witness Cantarell in Mexico and Ecofisk in the North Sea. Is drilling for some of the most expensive oil the best way to spend billions, or should we first evaluate the alternatives before we charge off in the same direction? What does your EROEI analysis show? Ah, I bet you want to just blindly trust the short-term market response again. Is this what you do with all of your investments? Just do what someone else did before and not look at the numbers?
I already think the tar sands aren't a panacea-- again with the straw men. This one only gets an 8/10 overall, though, because it's pretty tired as a rebuttal.
Anyway, do I think tar sands are the solution? No. But I would like to see your data on the EROEI.
By the way, show us Cantarell's year-by-year data. Don't argue from one year of production. And please stop using Cantarell and Ecofisk without showing us worldwide data. Otherwise, it's just a hasty generalization (another logical fallacy.)

Still not enough to cause an eye lid flicker of concern? How about Matt Simmons again, who has made hundreds of millions financing world-wide oil projects assessment that only 5% of the word’s “Proven Reserves” have actually been audited and verified by independent and trustworthy organizations. That includes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who has not released any well data since 1979. Over estimation would never happen? How about the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell being forced out in 2004 because of a 20% over estimation. How many of you out there would bet your entire life savings on a mineral startup with only 5% of its assets verified? Want to rush in for some of that action? Too late, you, me, and the entire industrial world are already in for 100% of everything we own.
And what if Simmons is wrong? Don't base your entire argument on one man.
Personally, I find it really really odd that KSA, with its many experts on the subject, managed to screw up so badly. It almost borders conspiracy (huh... reverse scientific method and conspiracy do go well together.)

So as you look at the non-Doomtard experts at EIA, IEA, and CERA whose market-based 30 year projections have already been shown to be only off by 300% in just 6 years, you just might decide to stop calling those of us with genuine, analytically-based concerns names, and do some investigating yourselves. I’m currently working on the issue I previously stated about how the word crude supply will be affected when exporting country’s internal consumption approaches their net production, and the practicality of T. Boon Pickens’ proposal to use natural gas to power passenger vehicles. For T Boon, the initial analysis indicates that with just a 10% increase in consumption, we could replace all 134 million of our passenger vehicles with CNG plug-in hybrids and about 10 extra 1 GW nuclear power plants. This would save about 40% of our annual crude oil consumption and potentially put off Peak Oil by a decade or more, IF the supply of natural gas holds up. So if you really want to make a statement, get busy and do some true analytical work.

No, their PRICE projections are off according to you. PRICE ≠ supply. They are different. Supply can remain constant, but price can go up if demand, or many other factors, shift. As for analysis, who says I haven't done any? Just because I don't see fit to put it up in an echo chamber and get my ego stroked doesn't mean I haven't done anything.

By the way, T. Boone Pickens' plan makes no sense when it's simply cheaper to change habits and get people in smaller cars, electrics, and using transit. There are probably a million cars you could get off the road in Manhattan alone.

 
At Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 9:54:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

Trying to avoid hijacking this thread!!

There are people who have tried to present data to peaksters, Freddy Hutter being one example who was banned, actually from TOD. We must all be very careful about manipulating data, ie I think that many peaksters start out with the hypothesis and then try and match the data to fit their political/environmental views.

St Pickens and St Simmons are covered elsewhere and I feel there is no need to repeat these arguments. They are trying to get money from your bank account, into theirs. Preferably lots of it. EROEI is a debatable subject, and unconventional oil techs are advancing quite fast. Now, Shell has big investments in aforementioned tar sands; if they can goose the price of oil up, it vastly increases the amount of viable oil under their control. It is a matter of record that big oil is not pleased that remaining reserves are in the hands of nationalised oil companies.

 
At Sunday, August 24, 2008 at 7:39:00 PM PDT, Anonymous OilFinder said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/25/business/25gas.html?pagewanted=2&hp&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1219629672-v4Xg4zHzLp4MuunNZ2Gl8Q
^
"Shale gas could ultimately be important beyond North America. The rest of the world has shale formations on an immense scale. Many of them are known to contain gas, but exploration and assessment of those fields with the new production techniques have barely started."

 
At Monday, August 25, 2008 at 1:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger Scorpion said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At Monday, August 25, 2008 at 10:01:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Brother Cadfan said...

Interesting article from OilFinder on unconventional natural gas, an often forgotten topic amidst the noise about oil!

 
At Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 4:47:00 AM PDT, Anonymous jev said...

Ari, what a non-serious clown you are. You *ASK* me what other concerns I have besides peak oil. I summarise some of them for you. Then you throw it in my face by going on a rant about how 'doomtards' are always rushing to present alternative catastrophes if the spectre of peak oil fails to impress? Don't make me laugh, bud. You're as transparant as piss after a party.

Besides, your constant labelling of every argument as a strawman or red herring is typical for people who routinely present strawmen and red herrings themselves. And in fact: you fit the bill perfectly.

I note another fallacy which is rampant among the cornucopeans here, namely the idea that just because someone does *not* have a formal education in economics means that their analysis can be disregarded out of hand. As if economics is some esoteric science that cannot be handled by anyone with half a brain and some self-education?! Puh-lease!

Oh, and in case you we're wondering: I hold an MSc in mechanical engineering *AND* an MPhil in economics, both obtained at top-notch Dutch universities Delft and Rotterdam. (I got the MSc with honors) I guess you'll have to agree with everything I say now, don't you?

Anyway, it's been fun reading some of your fevered rantings. Now I guess I'll get back some serious discussion, over at TOD for example. Thanks for the laughs m8!

 
At Friday, August 29, 2008 at 11:39:00 AM PDT, Blogger regeya said...

Every time you fart, you release methane, the main component of natural gas.

 
At Saturday, August 30, 2008 at 6:48:00 PM PDT, Anonymous OilFinder said...

Looks like shale gas madness is starting to gain interest in Europe:
http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/1531419/
europeans_starting_to_search_for_shale_gas/
^
Don't know how to insert a link on this blog, so add the two lines together.

 
At Monday, September 1, 2008 at 7:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger green with a gun said...

"...they don't understand the magical powers of TECHNOLOGY."

Cool! I look forward to fossil fuels lasting forever and ever and EVER AND EVER!

Because that is, after all, what you're implying: those who said there'd be a peak on date X were wrong, therefore there'll never be a peak.

Or... is it just a matter of time? And timing? Is this something like, okay, I smoke a pack and eat two burgers every day for twenty years, the doctors say it'll kill me within five, after ten years I'm still alive, haha! Smokes and burgers must be good for me!

Or, you know, not.

All this demonstrates is that if anyone tries to make precise predictions about the future they're very likely to be wrong.

But hey, keep on truckin'. That fuel will last forever. Honest.

 
At Monday, September 1, 2008 at 5:24:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Cool! I look forward to fossil fuels lasting forever and ever and EVER AND EVER!

Because that is, after all, what you're implying: those who said there'd be a peak on date X were wrong, therefore there'll never be a peak.


That implication is totally bogus. From a logical standpoint, "those who said there'd be a peak on date X were wrong" does not imply "there will never be a peak". I've never drawn that faulty implication, and in fact I've explicitly stated there will be a peak on about a hundred occasions.

I don't know why peakists are so keen to foist that straw man on people like me who clearly and obviously don't believe any such thing. Maybe you can explain it to me?

The take-home message of this post is that:
1) When peak oilers tell you X is going to happen, take it with a big grain of salt.
2) Peak oilers make erroneous predictions due to their ideological tendency to write-off technology as useless.

 
At Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 7:07:00 AM PDT, Blogger DB said...

"sure, wind can possibly generate some electricity...how does that translate into liquid fuels?"

Ask Boone Pickens.
His solution is one method.
It's called substitution. Something the doomers said is impossible with oil.

Another method of substitution would be, let's say, for the federal government to give Smith Electric Vehicles of England a big order to replace their short stop delivery fleet with all-electric vehicles. THAT would free up a shit load of gasoline don't cha think?

But I guess that's the problem with doomers. They're good at learning by rote and taking tests.
i.e. peak oil doomer theory

NOT GOOD, however, at thinking for themselves or outside of the doomer box.

 
At Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 7:24:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This blog is not helping to stop this lack of activity. In fact it encourges complacency and overall hurts way more than it helps."

Bull puckey.
It is thanks to blogs like this that alternative messages other than "we're all dooooooomed" have gotten out to those in a position to make a difference.

It is imperative that those with their fingers on the buttons of the missiles know that we don't HAVE TO fight over the last dregs of oil. Blogs like this are the reason that both McCain and Obama know about e.g. electric cars

 
At Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 8:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger DB said...

JD,
The doomers are capitulating on this one. "Gail the actuary" over at TOD has done an analysis and concludes that you're right: natural gas production (in north america at least) looks to be headed up. Here's the post.

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4436

 
At Friday, September 5, 2008 at 7:18:00 PM PDT, Anonymous oilfinder said...

Looks like someone else has been reading this thread, my thread in the peak oil forum, and now TOD thread:
http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/09/anti-peak-oil-and-peak-oil-people-agree.html

 
At Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 3:40:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether you like him or not, Matt Simmons brings a lot to the table that absolutely must be addressed. One thing is "Good Data". We don't have good data and Matt admits over and over, that because of this we don't really know when the peak will come. Matt also argues for liberating the workforce and not shipping food all over the globe. Why do Americans need beef from Brazil for crying out loud! Let's use the Internet and have people work from home. Most of our office workers can work at home at least several days per week. Let's start growing food locally, its fresher anyway. Lets start building things here in America, bring some jobs home. Lets start shipping things on Rail Road in to the general area then on trucks. Matt Simmons likes to say "conservation is the biggest new discovery we will ever make" and he is right. Furthermore, let's get some independent verification of the reserves in Opec member nations. There is absolutely no reason for oil to be a state secret. Another thing Matt is right about is the state of the oil industry. During the 90's there was little or no investment and we're out of rigs, our best oil men are close to retirement. He also talks about our "just in time" gasoline supply and recent shortages in GA, TN, FL, KY and a few other states show what can happen when you have inventories so low. I don't think Peak Oil will cause a collapse in society, but it is going to cause a lot of pain and a re-thinking of how we live, work and play.

 
At Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 1:34:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Because that is, after all, what you're implying: those who said there'd be a peak on date X were wrong, therefore there'll never be a peak."

Uh No.
How typical of a doomer to not be able to see the obvious.
It's so ingrained in your psyche that when peak comes it's doom-on-a-crutch that you can't comprehend the obvious:

Yes peak will come.
And the substitute using world will YAWN.

Hope that helps.

DB

 

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