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PMC Articles Tagged 'oil'

Is Fracking an Answer? To What?

December 27th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Many thanks to Lindsey Grant for this article.  To download your copy, see: https://docs.google.com/a/necsp.org/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B5F-idWfw7TeMDIwZjM0MTktMzRlZS00YTAwLTg0YzMtMjY0YjcwMjRhZjcz&hl=en_US&pli=1

Petroleum and Population

October 10th, 2011 by joe | 1 Comment

Petroleum and Population

Peter Goodchild

In The Coming Chaos (Abridged) I make two claims, which at first might seem hard to integrate with one another. Whether or not the claims are proven (which must be determined by examining the whole argument), there are at least some simple ways of checking the figures, and also of correlating the two claims, if I may be forgiven for quoting myself so liberally.

My figures on present and past global population, however, are all drawn from UN sources. Figures for past and present oil production can be found in such sources as BP, Campbell and Laherrère, and even M. K. Hubbert himself (see references below), although figures on early oil production are curiously less accessible than in the days when Petroconsultants was releasing such data.

Roughly speaking, the first claim is that world population must decline in parallel with the decline in world oil production: for example, oil production will fall to half of its peak in 2030, and population must therefore also drop to about half of its peak level. The second claim is that there will be approximately 2.5 billion “extra” (i.e. famine) deaths and lost births by the end of the century. (Yes, these are all very rough figures.)

The first statement (p. 13) is as follows.

“The world’s population went from about 1.7 billion in 1900 to 2.5 in 1950, to nearly 7 billion in 2010. . . . [A] calculation about future population can be made by looking more closely at the rise and fall of oil production. The rapid increase in population over the last hundred years is not merely coincident with the rapid increase in oil production. It is the latter that has actually allowed (the word ’caused’ might be too strong) the former: that is to say, oil has been the main source of energy within industrial society. It is only with abundant oil that a large population is possible. . . . When oil production drops to half of its peak amount, world population must also drop by half.”

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A Time Frame for Systemic Collapse

October 10th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Back in November, I distributed Peter Goodchild’s “The Coming Chaos.”  The summary that follows is worth reading.

A Time Frame for Systemic Collapse

Peter Goodchild

A time frame for systemic collapse can be extrapolated easily from the on-line document The Coming Chaos, an abridgement of a larger text (see link below). The most significant page is at the start of the text, the chart of estimated past and future oil production. Most of the other time frames will parallel that curve. Then one can look at the chapter on electricity, which as Richard Duncan says will be the first really distinct, “on-off” type of indicator. The next parallel can be found in the chapter on economics, which mentions two “phases,” divided by the point at which money as such is no longer an important means of exchange; past examples occurred with the crash of the USSR, and in Weimar Germany.

In the chapter on famine, the fall of population appears as a parallel to the fall in fossil fuels. Some critics have said that the two do not necessarily go together — or, rather, “fall” together. But they do, for a very simple mathematical reason. Fossil fuels are the source of more than 90 percent of the energy — in the strict “physics” sense of the word — in modern industrial society. If we take away 90 percent of the energy, we necessarily take away 90 percent of the population. (If we take away 100 percent of the energy, we necessarily take away 100 percent of the population.) No, we cannot replace that 90 percent with some “alternative” form of energy, as is explained in chapter one, because there isn’t enough of any “alternative” to make much difference.

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Adjusting the economy to the new energy realities of the second half of the age of oil

October 7th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Many thanks to Charlie Hall for his article, “Adjusting the economy to the new energy realities of the second half of the age of oil,” co-written with David Murphy.  To download the paper, visit https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B5F-idWfw7TeN2ZkMjVjOTYtNWRjOS00ZDY3LWE2MjItZDQ3NDhjOGUwNGQ3&hl=en_US

The Peak Oil Crisis: An Announcement

August 29th, 2011 by joe | 1 Comment

Many thanks to Jack Alpert for this fascinating article, which recognizes the population issue.  See http://www.fcnp.com/commentary/national/9335-the-peak-oil-crisis-an-announcement.html

The Peak Oil Crisis: An Announcement

Posted Jun 2, 2011 by Tom Whipple

With little fanfare, a press release appeared last week on the website of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES). The release said that during a meeting between Chris Huhne, the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and representatives of ITPOES, an agreement had been reached that Her Majesty’s Department for Energy and Climate will collaborate with ITPOES on a joint examination of concerns that global oil supply will begin to fall behind demand within as little as five years. This collaboration is seen by the British government as the first step in the development of a national peak oil contingency plan.

There are many implications buried in this seemingly innocuous announcement. First, American readers should note that the British government recognizes that energy policy and climate change are inextricably linked so that you cannot formulate policies for one without the other. The major step forward, however, is the official and semi-public recognition by a major government that global oil supplies will fall behind demand in as little as five years. After years of official denial this is indeed a breakthrough worthy of note.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.fcnp.com/commentary/national/9335-the-peak-oil-crisis-an-announcement.html

The Imminent Crash Of Oil Supply

August 24th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Emily Spence for this article.  See  http://www.countercurrents.org/arguimbau230410.htm

The Imminent Crash Of Oil Supply: Be Afraid

By Nicholas C. Arguimbau

23 April, 2010

What is going to happen and how it came to pass that we weren’t forewarned

Look at this graph and be afraid. It does not come from Earth First. It does not come from the Sierra Club. It was not drawn by Socialists or Nazis or Osama Bin Laden or anyone from Goldman-Sachs. If you are a Republican Tea-Partier, rest assured it does not come from a progressive Democrat. And vice versa. It was drawn by the United States Department of Energy, and the United States military’s Joint Forces Command concurs with the overall picture.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.countercurrents.org/arguimbau230410.htm

Complaining about mosquito bites while a crocodile bites our leg

July 6th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Jack Alpert for this article by Nate Hagens.  It is posted on the Post Carbon Institute website at http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/322207-complaining-about-mosquito-bites-while-a

Complaining about mosquito bites while a crocodile bites our leg

May 1, 2011

Nate Hagens

Last week, in a repeat of 2008, reports of fat earnings from the oil majors were met with blame and outrage from American consumers, who are stressed from $4+ gas prices and strapped finances. Exxon Mobil, the 18th-largest oil company in the world, with about 3% of world production (~4million barrels of oil equivalent per day), reported quarterly earnings of $10.7 billion dollars. Americans are upset because they envision such hefty profits as direct transfers from their thin pocketbooks to Exxon, itself the recipient of government oil and gas subsidies to boot.

I am not an oil industry apologist, but recognize that I live in an oil-centric world, own a car, enjoy air travel and partake in the daily smorgasbord of food, services, and novelty made possible in the cheap energy age. To me, given the problems our country and government face, blaming Exxon for high gasoline prices and excessive tax subsidies is akin to complaining about a mosquito bite on your arm when a crocodile has your leg in its mouth.

First, it is a stretch to say that Exxon is under-taxed; last year Exxon’s worldwide total taxes amounted to $86 billion, or 23% of its revenue (by comparison, at this country’s second-largest corporation – Apple, Inc. – taxes were 6.9% of revenue. Yet Exxon understandably is a lightning rod, because the ~3 cents per gallon it makes as the world’s largest refiner add up to very large numbers. And yes they make large sums on their oil production when commodity prices rise more than costs. But these are two sides of the wrong argument, and are not the real story.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/322207-complaining-about-mosquito-bites-while-a

Encircling the Peak of World Oil Production

June 29th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to the authors for this paper.  See http://www.mnforsustain.org/oil_duncan_and_youngquist_encircling_oil.htm

Encircling the Peak of World Oil Production

By Richard C. Duncan and Walter Youngquist

The peak of world oil production, followed by an irreversible decline, will be a watershed in human history. The goal of this paper is to predict the world peak. Production data from 42 countries representing 98 percent of world oil production are used rather than reserve estimates. We believe the former is a more reliable indicator of the future for most oil-producing regions, with the exception, to some extent, of the OPEC nations which, at times, observe production quotas. In addition, we recognize that regional and global economic cycles occasionally change demand for oil, so production figures are not always a current indication of oil-field potentials. However, for the longer term, production is a useful measure of true oil-field potential. A judgmental factor also is applied based on the structure, stratigraphy, thermal maturity of oil basins, and volumes of sediments in potential oil basins yet to be fully explored. Combining these factors with the oil production numerical data, we have arrived at 2007 for the time of world oil production peak. Alternative fossil fuel sources, which might replace conventional oil (defined as oil from wells using only primary and secondary recovery methods) cannot come on stream early enough or in sufficient quantity to significantly affect the peak time. They will merely augment the far end of the world production curve. Our estimates do include recent technological developments in both exploration and production, but these also seem to be a minor factor in establishing the peak. Replacement of oil, to the degree this can be done, by renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydro, or tidal require much time and capital to bring on stream in significant quantity, and only limited world progress has been made in these sources. They likewise do not seem to move the peak significantly. We do recognize, however, given all possible variables, it is likely that our date of 2007 may be wrong. The question is how far wrong? We believe it is reasonably close and on-going studies will narrow whatever error exists. Importantly, the peak of oil production will occur within the lifetimes of most people living today.

To read the full study, please click here: http://www.mnforsustain.org/oil_duncan_and_youngquist_encircling_oil.htm

Liquid fuel, population, and liquid energy supply per person

June 14th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Eric Rimmer and Andrew Ferguson for this article, which is a preview of an article to be published in the October 2011 OPT Journal.


by Eric Rimmer and Andrew Ferguson

Abstract.  Decline in liquid fuel supply must inevitably lead to decline in population.  The question is how that decline is to occur.

In 1956, oil geologist M King Hubbert predicted that US oil production would peak in the early 1970s.  At the time, he was derided both within and outside the oil industry.  Nevertheless in 1970 the peak of US oil production did occur.  In 1969, Hubbert made two estimates of the time when world oil production would peak.  The more optimistic one was based on an estimate that ultimate oil production would be 2.1 trillion barrels.  Using that figure he predicted that world oil production would peak around the year 2000.  Since Hubbert’s success in making a prediction for the US peak, several people have used his basic concepts to make similar predictions.  Moreover it has become clear that as the peak of production is approached, it is not necessary to guesstimate the total amount of a fuel that will be produced, because the changing pattern of production itself provides an indication of that figure (on just such a basis, David Rutledge (2010) made an analysis related to coal production covering all the important coal producing countries).

As recounted in Colin Campbell’s 1997 book, The Coming Oil Crisis, many geologists – as well as Campbell himself – have been warning that the peak of oil supply would be around 2005-10.  Until now, this assessment has been vehemently opposed by the international energy agencies and by the oil companies, many of whose spokesmen argued, at least until very recently, for a peak of oil supply in 2040 or later - obscurely implying, and not being challenged by interviewers, that therefore there was no problem !

The time for argument about the decade in which the peak will occur is now past, and our attention needs to turn to how to deal with declining supplies of liquid fuels, and soon thereafter a decline in the availability of all fossil fuels.  The situation is summed up by Figure 1, which shows the interaction between declining liquid fuel supply and a continuously increasing (until 2050) population.

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What Lies behind Egypt’s Problems? How do They Affect Others?

April 20th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Mark O’Connor for this article.  One of the graphs below makes very clear the link between the price of oil and the price of food.  See http://ourfiniteworld.com/2011/01/29/whats-behind-egypts-problems/

What Lies behind Egypt’s Problems? How do They Affect Others?

Posted on January 29, 2011 by gailtheactuary

We have all been reading about Egypt in the newspapers, and wonder what is behind their problems. Let me offer a few insights.

At least part of Egypt’s problem is the fact that in the past the government has threatened to reduce food subsidies. Now it is planning to hold food subsidies level and raise energy subsidies, but it is not clear that the dollar amount of subsidy will be enough. The government is taking steps to make food and energy affordable for most, but there is worry that the steps being taken will not be enough.

Egypt’s Declining Financial Situation

There is a good reason why one might expect Egypt to start running into problems with energy and food subsidies. Its own financial situation is declining at the same time that the cost of food imports is soaring. If we look at a graph of Egyptian oil imports, exports, and consumption (using a graph from Energy Export Databrowser, which graphs BP Statistical Data), we find that Egypt’s oil use has been rising rapidly, at the same time the amount extracted each year is declining.

To read the full essay, please click here: http://ourfiniteworld.com/2011/01/29/whats-behind-egypts-problems/