[ExI] Whatever happened to peak oil by 2020?
rtomek at ceti.pl
Tue May 7 00:45:18 UTC 2013
On Wed, 1 May 2013, Gordon wrote:
> On Aug 20, 2012, at 4:17 PM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> > FUCK YOU VERY MUCH, John. This is the only kind of response you'll be
> > getting from me henceforth for a couple years: FUCK YOU.
> I hate to see this kind of language, but I can't say that I disagree
> with the sentiment.
I might sometimes think such language, but on second thought, this is like
example of ambivalence to be written down somewhere in wikipedia: you
don't like somebody but you wish him to have quite a good time. This
requires levels of sophistication barely comprehensible by me :-).
As of peak oil, it seems we are going to hit the wall one way or another,
if nothing in our ways changes. There are some limitations based not only
on resource availability but also on factors such as time available for
consumption or even as esoteric as satisfaction not growing up after
crossing some point of goods at ones disposal.
I cannot give any kind of direct proof, but judging from some news, it is
quite possible we have had peak already. For example, comparing annual oil
production per capita in 1987 (pop. 5bln, prod 56Mbbl/d) and 2012 (pop
7bln, prod. 84Mbbl/d) gives:
> (format t "~%annual bbl/capita~% 1987: ~A~% 2012: ~A~%" (/ (*
365 56.51275L6) 5L9) (/ (* 365 84.820L6) 7L9))
annual bbl/capita ;; i.e. barrel per capita
2012: 4.422757142857142857L0 (yes, apparently just 4 and some)
So we have a +7% increase, but on the other hand, inflation adjusted
prices tripled, roughly ($40 -> $100-$110-$120-...). Clearly, someone
could have pumped more, much more and still make gazillions even if prices
went down to 80.
Yet this is not happening.
"OPEC had vowed in 2000 to maintain a production level sufficient to keep
oil prices between $22â28 per barrel, but did not prove possible. In its
2007 annual report, OPEC projected that it could maintain a production
level that would stabilize the price of oil at around $50â60 per barrel
until 2030. On 18 November 2007, with oil above $98 a barrel, King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, a long-time advocate of stabilized oil prices,
announced that his country would not increase production to lower
prices. Saudi Arabia's inability, as the world's largest supplier, to
stabilize prices through increased production during that period suggests
that no nation or organization had the spare production capacity to lower
oil prices. The implication is that those major suppliers who had not yet
peaked were operating at or near full capacity.[58" 
So, Mr Clark (if I am right) postulated there was increase in production,
hence there was no peak. I would say to this, real life systems are not
flip-flops. When I turn radio off, it still sounds for a short while. When
I turn engine off, it still rotates for a while, even gives impression of
momentarily increased speed. Actually, even real life flip flops do not
behave like ideal flip flops, if one looks carefully.
Oil production is real life system (even with many parties meddling and
adjusting it). I guess, as prices increased so much, there are simply more
wells profitable enough to pump. And given all the riots few years ago,
possibly caused by failed (and apparently abandoned now) attempt to pump
more biofuels (and increase food prices), I guess governments will do just
about anything to maintain oil production at some nice level (including
switching to coal and synfuels). We can still go back to 1987 levels, but
this will make developing countries very unhappy (or everybody somewhat
unhappy, in an unrealistically optimistic scenario).
Perhaps this "maintaining" will allow to buy some more time (again,
optimistic, assumes decision making people act before catastrophes).
BTW, it is obvious (to me at least) that any reasonable alternative
(nukes, solar) is not going to do the job alone. Unless some new tech
emerges - so I am holding my breath - well, ok, I'm just pretending, not
really holding it. You guys dispute this, and it's more like "we can't
build 30TW of nukes overnight" vs "we can't build 30TW of solar
overnight". Can't you just f*king build a bit of each? Especially that
there is still enough steam to try few alternatives at the same time.
Afterall, I think there is a bigger problem to solve than getting
"Mr f*ing 100% right" prize.
Certainly "a bit" would not solve the whole problem, still it would have
been "a bit" better than nothing.
And BTW, I am not afraid neither of nukes nor of solar. I will be happy to
have thorium in my basement and solar on the roof, please. And a computing
cluster in between, of course. But I don't want coal plant nearby, and I
don't want to live under wind turbine (one such turbine recently broke in
England under heavy wind). 
And, BTW2, all of this could in retrospect become just a very high level
marketing campaign, so I refuse to go emotional about the subject.
(esp. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oil_Prices_1861_2007.svg )
** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature. **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened... **
** Tomasz Rola mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com **
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