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oil peaked?
Old 01-29-2008, 07:46 AM   #1
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oil peaked?

I seen on TV recently that lots of "experts" have concluded oil production either has or is about to peak. Then we start on the downward slide of less oil with all that implies. I know experts can be wrong, and this was one of those doomsday is coming shows, but for the sake of argument lets say they are right. It seems like there will have to be alternatives and pretty quickly. If and when this plays out seems like there will be companies that will win and those who will lose. Any ideas of the best and brightest, or the best plays, that will do good in this enviroment? Shredder
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:01 AM   #2
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If you have the time or inclination, check out the documentary 'A Crude Awakening'. Granted, selective editing can do wonders, but they seemed to have a decent panel of experts on there. And, if you want to see where all of the dooms dayers hang out, check out life after the oil crash (Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash)

I think Scientific America's December (I think) issue had some very interesting ideas on solar energy.

If we can engineer our way to a solution, then I would anticipate a mix of solutions with many of the current big players right in the middle of either production, refinement, or distribution. BP, for instance, is growing their biofuel division. I believe it was Texaco that was making a push into fuel cells. I'm guessing biofuel will be one of our fuel sources (especially as we perfect pulling ethanol from sileage) so today's agribusiness players will likely have a large stake in the future as well.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:05 AM   #3
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Best alternatives: coal and natural gas.

Basically, all alternatives cost more to do the same thing.

Prices will go higher and higher until conservation becomes more popular and lifestyles change.

You want a solution to all problems? Birth control. We are doomed unless the population of the world stops growing, and hopefully declines. Fat chance.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:08 AM   #4
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We are doomed unless the population of the world stops growing, and hopefully declines. Fat chance.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:13 AM   #5
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OK, that will do the job.
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:46 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy View Post
Best alternatives: coal and natural gas.
Which, unfortunately, does nothing to reduce CO2 emissions...

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Basically, all alternatives cost more to do the same thing.
Bingo!

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Prices will go higher and higher until conservation becomes more popular and lifestyles change.
Probably requires a paradigm shift... <cough, cough>

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You want a solution to all problems? Birth control. We are doomed unless the population of the world stops growing, and hopefully declines. Fat chance.
Assuming all 7-8-10 brazillion of us try to live a "western" lifestyle...
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:43 AM   #7
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And, we're only addressing the fuel side of this.

The DOE has a great page for kids on what else oil and oil byproducts are used in:
nonrenewable - OIL/Petroleum

I'm not an alarmist or anything, but I'm pumped about retiring and living a more agrarian lifestyle. However, even the lfiestyle I have in mind will start to degrade if we run out of oil. Even if I'm making my own biodiesel, I need tires, belts, etc.

As a counterpoint, there are an estimated 5-16 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's north slope. A realistic estimate I've seen is that we could get 5-8 billion (the 16 billion calls for us getting lucky, basically). I'm sure we'll end up drilling there at some point, but the question is when and what does the world look like then (maybe talks about resource wars aren't so odd when you project 20-50 years down the road).
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:53 AM   #8
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I expect that the big change coming soon is electric cars. There are over 25 serious electric car startup companies, with the big car companies working on things too. The battery technology is very close to what's needed.

If EEStor's ultracapacitor concept is the real deal (and their new contract with Lookheed suggests that it is), we won't even need batteries (Eestor, based in Cedar Park, Tex., is developing a ceramic battery or "ultracapacitor" that is expected to provide 10 times the energy punch as lead acid batteries at one-tenth the weight and for less than half the price.).

Not sure electric cars will ramp up fast enough to prevent pain from the effects of peak oil, but they're coming.
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:53 AM   #9
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I'm sure we'll end up drilling there at some point, but the question is when and what does the world look like then (maybe talks about resource wars aren't so odd when you project 20-50 years down the road).
Aren't we having a resource war right now in Iraq? DIdn't we have another resource war named the Gulf War?

Didn't WW2 happen largely because the two main aggressors, Germany and Japan wanted a)oil and b) lebensraum?

Lebensraum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Overall, it appears that humans have been having resource wars for a very long time, and will almost certainly continue.

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Old 01-29-2008, 09:54 AM   #10
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I expect that the big change coming soon is electric cars. There are over 25 serious electric car startup companies, with the big car companies working on things too. The battery technology is very close to what's needed.

If EEStor's ultracapacitor concept is the real deal (and their new contract with Lookheed is encouraging), we won't even need batteries (Eestor, based in Cedar Park, Tex., is developing a ceramic battery or "ultracapacitor" that is expected to provide 10 times the energy punch as lead acid batteries at one-tenth the weight and for less than half the price.).

Not sure electric cars will ramp up fast enough to prevent pain from the effects of peak oil, but they're coming.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:02 AM   #11
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You can say that again...
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:08 AM   #12
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Bottom line is, there is a finite amount of oil. It is being consumed at a rate greater than it is being produced. Inevitably, we will run out. The only question is when.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:11 AM   #13
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Aren't we having a resource war right now in Iraq? DIdn't we have another resource war named the Gulf War?
I sincerely believe we are, yes. However, in my non-scientific poll of friends and acquaintances, I'm one of the few that believes that (the other positive respondant being my conspiracy theory friend that also thinks Bush may be a lizard-man).

I should clarify, I kind of wonder what wars will be like in the future and how they'll be shaped. Who will be the main combatants and how will alliances shape up.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:29 AM   #14
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If and when this plays out seems like there will be companies that will win and those who will lose. Any ideas of the best and brightest, or the best plays, that will do good in this enviroment? Shredder
I don't think "oil" will be going away too soon, now that prices have risen far enough to make it profitable to tear up a large chunk of Alberta...

Athabasca Oil Sands - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Oil Sands ETF - Seeking Alpha

Some may remember the oil shale mini-boom during the last big energy squeeze. It remains to be seen if they can get the production costs down enough to make it profitable now...

Oil shale - Wikipedia

In any case, I'm sticking with VGENX for my silly-money.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:31 AM   #15
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And, we're only addressing the fuel side of this.

The DOE has a great page for kids on what else oil and oil byproducts are used in:
nonrenewable - OIL/Petroleum

I'm not an alarmist or anything, but I'm pumped about retiring and living a more agrarian lifestyle. However, even the lfiestyle I have in mind will start to degrade if we run out of oil. Even if I'm making my own biodiesel, I need tires, belts, etc.

As a counterpoint, there are an estimated 5-16 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's north slope. A realistic estimate I've seen is that we could get 5-8 billion (the 16 billion calls for us getting lucky, basically). I'm sure we'll end up drilling there at some point, but the question is when and what does the world look like then (maybe talks about resource wars aren't so odd when you project 20-50 years down the road).
Unfortunately, the US burns 7-8 billion barrels per year.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:36 AM   #16
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Bottom line is, there is a finite amount of oil.
True, but I doubt that we are anywhere near depleting it all... We haven't even found it all yet. Usable alternatives like shale exist and are now economically feasible at 90 bucks a barrel... not so when it was less.
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It is being consumed at a rate greater than it is being produced.
I don't think so... we have had regional gasoline issues and those were production issues, but I don't think it is because of us using more oil than they can pump out of the ground. That's why the oil cartel is not in favor of pumping too much out of the ground at one time ... it lowers the price for everyone .
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Inevitably, we will run out. The only question is when.
inevitably we are all dead ... don't think we will ever see the end of oil...

IMO, now that there is a crisis, you will start to see real alternatives (not trading one resource for another like corn 'fuel').
The car companies had electric cars on their drawing boards since I was a kid... if only I could find that Mechanics magazine and others from my high school days. The choose not to do anything about it for whatever reasons... hmmm (musing) think if GM or Ford had taken the lead 10 years ago with electric cars, they may have avoided the sh*t they're in now.

'Necessity is the motherhood of invention'... well, we sure do need it NOW! This is what the government should be diverting funds into.
I believe that people being the economic beings that they are will start to put money into alternative energy research and development. Where there is money to be made, there are smart people out there who will go for it. Americas a great place, but now with the global economy, we have more arms and legs working on everything....

I dunno, ... we may have to sit with blackouts and power shortages in the interim,... I hope not .. but so far, it has not gotten to that point.

By the way, in many other countries they do have regular power outages, water outages, food shortages, ...etc. [wave flag here] We'll figure out a solution ... we always have. Not necessarily because we are smarter (although that might be the 'collective' case), but because we know how to make a buck.
'Greed is good', Gorden Gecko
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:43 AM   #17
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I sincerely believe we are, yes. However, in my non-scientific poll of friends and acquaintances, I'm one of the few that believes that (the other positive respondant being my conspiracy theory friend that also thinks Bush may be a lizard-man).
What do your friends think these wars are about? Democracy?

Does Mr. Cheney look like a democrat?

As to how will things shape up in the future, quien sabe? But it will likely involve the US, Russia, China and their respective "allies" as active players, and the Persian Gulf and West Africa as playgrounds. The US is trying to make inroads into Central Asia, but I would expect Tsar Putin to shut that crap down pretty quickly.

And of course the entire seaworld will be involved, as all this stuff has to be shipped.

We tend to assume that vital commodities will always be traded in free markets open to all. Why we would think this I don't know. The history of free trade is very short and periods of its dominance tend to be widely separated.

On the other hand, there is along history of taking resources by might, or tying them up under exclusive contracts which are backed by geopolitical alliances beneficial to the parties, and harmful to those excluded. These alliances are in turn backed up by the threat or reality of military force.

For those who would like a well written and simple primer on oil and gas exploration and production and the oil industry in general, the following link is very good IMO.

The Oil Drum | Science 1101 - Petroleum and Peak Oil

Ha
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:47 AM   #18
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How do you know when peak oil is here (or almost here) ?

I think it's when the CEO of Shell Oil writes something like this:

About Shell - Two Energy Futures

right after he gets back from Davos.

It includes: "Regardless of which route we choose, the world’s current predicament limits our room to maneuver. We are experiencing a step-change in the growth rate of energy demand due to rising population and economic development. After 2015, easily accessible supplies of oil and gas probably will no longer keep up with demand."

But I'm not buying the "collapse of civilization as we know it". The price will go up, we'll learn to live with a little less and pay a little more for the energy we use. The transition would be smoother if we had started it sooner, but that's politics.

I was looking at a Honda Fit yesterday. I'll be content driving it when other people decide that 4,500 pound SUVs become too expensive to drive.
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:50 AM   #19
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What do your friends think these wars are about? Democracy?
Sadly, WMDs and demcracy, and I decided at that point I couldn't be bothered to find the clip of Bush saying the war was never about WMDs.

I need some better friends
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Old 01-29-2008, 10:52 AM   #20
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True, but I doubt that we are anywhere near depleting it all... We haven't even found it all yet. Usable alternatives like shale exist and are now economically feasible at 90 bucks a barrel... not so when it was less.
Yep. Down here in the oil patch there's a real boom going on. Fields that weren't viable producers when oil was less than $50/barrel are real money makers at $90+.

Those old fields still have lots of oil in them and it's now profitable to spend the money to extract it. Old J.R. Ewing would be proud.
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