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Peak oil - Mar 24

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


After 'peak oil', 'peak gas' too

A.M. Samsam Bakhtiari, Bakhtiari Oil Consultants
“However, some energy analysts have found a way to belittle 'Peak Oil' by advancing that in case of an oil production peak, natural gas would simply take over --- in other words, gas would timely fill the energy gap between an oil-driven world and the for-ever supply of bountiful hydrogen...

Both the gas take-over and the hydrogen utopia are fallacies brought forward to try cushion the inevitable 'Peak Oil' shock. Not only are massive hydrogen supplies decades away (if ever!), but worldwide natural gas supplies are about to peak too !!

According to my model simulations 'Peak Oil' should now be occurring (within the 2006-2007 time frame [1]) and 'Peak Gas' will promptly follow suit in either 2008 or 2009 [2].

If signs of 'Peak Oil' are now abounding (as we are now in 'Transition One'), the first precursor hints of 'Peak Gas' can now be caught in the wind. Over the past four months I have noted quite a few of these in routine daily news. Here, I will focus on three major ones and their implications:
1. Firstly, in the United States of America.
2. Secondly, a focus on energy behemoth Russia.
…On New Year day, Russia's Gazprom fired a bombshell by cutting gas exports to Ukraine . This was not a one-off shot, but rather the first of an inevitable series of 'export corrections' (the second one was Georgia ). Put in a nutshell, Gazprom's present predicament is untenable…
3. Thirdly, a glimpse at natural gas in the United Kingdom.
…And it all looks to me like being a benign prelude to a dire supply-demand imbalance in the British Isles for the near future…”
(March 2006)
To access the article on Bakhtiari web page, go to the bottom of the page (for the latest article) and click on it.


When will peak oil tip? (from backwardation to contango)

Jeff Vail, A Theory of Power
No, I didn't just make up those words. As you probably know (but I just recently learned), Backwardation and Contango are two terms used to describe trends in the prices of a futures contract over time. Contango is the norm, and it is where the price of a commodity farther in the future is higher than the price of that commodity nearer in the future. Backwardation is the reverse, where the cost of a commodity in the more distant future is less than it is in the near future. Backwardation is not normal, and is suggestive of supply insufficiency. Funny, for quite some time now crude oil has been in backwardation ...

Let's examine a bit of the mechanics--and the psychology--behind contango and backwardation.
(22 March 2006)
Also posted at The Oil Drum. In a previous post, Jeff Vail had More on Oil....


The future of humanity (lecture)

Isaac Asimov (PDF)
...I read that [science fiction story "The Man Who Awoke"] when I was thirteen. I started thinking. I didn't think in syllogisms then, but I now realize as I look back on it that it amounted to a syllogism:

Major premise: The Earth's volume is finite.
Minor premise: The total volume of coal and oil on the Earth is less than the total volume of the Earth.
Conclusion: The volume of coal and oil is finite.

You would think this was so obvious! Now, let's start and make this conclusion the major premise of the next syllogism.

Major premise: The volume of coal and oil is finite.
Minor premise: We are burning some every day.
Conclusion: We will use it all up eventually.

Well I got that in 1933. And so you see how science fiction helps you escape. It helps you escape to the kinds of problems that'll keep you worried for 40 years.
(November 1974
In a free-ranging talk given three decades ago, the late science fiction writer covered many of the themes that now surround peak oil: the end of cheap energy, population overshoot, technological solutions, an aging population. The comments relevant to peak oil begin about 1/3 of the way through the speech, starting with Asimov's retelling of the sf story "The Man Who Awoke" by Lawrence Manning.
Suggested by reader RL. -BA


Stanford lecture series: The End of Oil?
(online resources)
School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University

Editor: Stanford posted online resources for its recent three part lecture series on peak oil, climate change and energy alternatives. The original page has links to PDFs and Quicktime videos. The presentations include:

Part 1: The End of Oil?
What You Need to Know About Oil
Prof. Stephan Graham describes the formation of oil, explains different kinds of petroleum, and characterizes the distribution of known oil and gas provinces.

Oil & War: Revisiting M.K. Hubbert
Prof. Amos Nur discusses declining conventional petroleum resources and how the concentration of oil in countries of the Middle East and in Russia portend a future of geopoltical skirmishes among the countries who need oil and gas.

The Oil Depletion Myth
Prof. Steven Gorelick proposes that the fear of running out of oil is based on a number of fallacies, and suggests that new technologies, non-conventional forms of oil, and energy substitutions collectively will ensure ample supplies of oil for at least the next 50 years.

Part 2: Carbon, Climate, and Consequences
The Atmosphere & Greenhouse Gases
Prof. Azadeh Tabazadeh explains how solar radiation is captured in the atmosphere by a variety of greenhouse gases (GHG) and some aresols and illustrates that GHGs have long residence times in the atmosphere.

Climate Change is for Real
Prof. Rob Dunbar illustrates how the concentration of GHGs has been increasing since the early 1800s and how this is directly responsible for the warming of the Earth.

Forecasting Future Climates
Dr. Michael Mastrandrea uses climate models to suggest that the global mean temperature will rise between two and six degrees C by the end of this century; the higher the rise in temperature, the greater the risk to humans.

Part 3: Moving Toward Alternatives
Changing the World's Energy System
Prof. Lynn Orr suggests that the key to a carbon free energy system is developing a host of new technologies that reduce demand, enhance energy efficiencies, and provide new forms of energy.

Buildings, Cars, Climate & Oil
Prof. Gil Masters describes how buildings and cars are the two greatest consumers of energy; energy efficient buildings and plug-in hybrid electric cars are two ways to quickly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

Banking on Alternative Energy?
Prof. Margot Gerritsen discusses how windmills, photovoltaic cells, biomass conversion to fuels, and geothermal systems collectively should grow to five to ten percent of US energy production.

The Policy Challenge
Prof. Jim Sweeney discusses how higher energy prices, cap and trade markets for carbon dioxide, and other prudent energy policies will allow the US to reduce its dependency on sources of foreign oil.
(November 2005 to March 2006)

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