1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Peak Oil

Discussion in 'SC Archive' started by Oranjeboom, 28 Sep 2004.

  1. Oranjeboom

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,353

    Location: Kent

    Sorry if this has been discussed before (i tried a search and didn't see anything) but it is a little worrying!
    Some links for those who like me had actually not heard of just how bad things could be.

    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Introduction.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3777413.stm

    http://www.dynamiclist.com/?worldview/peakoil

    http://www.metroactive.com/papers/sonoma/06.09.04/oil-0424.html

    Just a few links there but in a nut shell it seems we can kiss goodbye to life as we know it before long.
    Alternatives, as you read through seem to offer little either.
    Is the future for everyone, and i do mean everyone rather grim?!
     
  2. VIRII

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 24 Jul 2003

    Posts: 30,259

    Potentially it could be. Oil producing nations are certainly going to suffer badly once oil prices rise so much that alternative energy sources become more viable. However oil won't just dry up overnight as it begins to get shorter in supply and prices become astronomical serious research and development will be ploughed into new energy sources, human survival instincts will prevail.
     
  3. Oranjeboom

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,353

    Location: Kent

    I am sure survival instincts will kick in for most, but reading through various topics on this it seems quite who will survive is totaly unknown.
    They are saying the peak could be as close as a few years away and as prices start to climb and resources are battled for there simply is no government ready for what will happen due to this.

    I found this part rather interesting regarding the Americans in Iraq:

    "The reason we don't have an exit strategy is that we don't plan to leave," says Savinar. There's an estimated 20- to 30-year supply of oil in Iraq's reserves, and the longer it stays in the ground, the more valuable it becomes. Heinberg is inclined to agree that the United States has no intention of leaving Iraq, pointing to 14 permanent military bases that have been built there since the war started. These bases complete a line of military outposts stretching through Afghanistan, all situated near areas where large reserves of oil are known to exist.

    It all makes a lot more sense anyway once you look into the oncoming and unavoidable problems.
    I suppose this little snippet would make more people sit up an take notice as it makes it far more 'real' :


    "How will you pay to run your car? How will you get the children to school? How will you heat your house? How much will transported food go up in price?
    How will we pay for plastics, metals, rubber, cheap flights, Simpson's DVDs, 3G phones and everlasting economic growth?
    The basic answer is, we won't.
    This is the message from the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO). "

    They even suggest North Sea Oil hit its peak in 1999 and that the number of major new oil fields discovered around the world fell to zero for the first time in 2003, despite an increase in technological expertise.Are we like many just ignoring this and assuming someone will come to the rescue or are will we really end up fighting for oil just as mad max fought for petrol or your harvester fought for gems in red alert?!

    To quote Richard Heinberg:
    "The world is changing before our eyes--dramatically, inevitably and irreversibly. The change we are seeing is affecting more people, and more profoundly, than any that human beings have ever witnessed. I am not referring to a war or terrorist incident, a stock market crash, or global warming, but to a more fundamental reality that is driving terrorism, war, economic swings, climate change and more: the discovery and exhaustion of fossil fuel resources."

    It seems to me after reading into this some rather massive life altering changes need to happen before long to stop some truly terrible melt down of civilisation.
     
  4. dirtydog

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 47,398

    Location: Essex

    Yes the future does look bleak and it's quite obvious that the true motives for invading Afghanistan and Iraq were oil. I'm not even necessarily saying that's a bad thing, but it would have been nice if the US/UK governments had levelled with us and told us the true reasons - we need the oil.

    Have to laugh at this quote from the first site linked to above..

    $7 a gallon for petrol? Yeah I'm ready for that, I pay it already. Sadly the Americans have had dirt cheap fuel for decades which is largely why it's run out so fast.

    The exhaustion of fossil fuels is a major issue and will become even more major in the near future. Why then are we continuing to build more airports, fuelling growth in air travel (which uses huge amounts of fuel). Why don't we take measures to control the world population which is too high for the planet to sustain. Why do we keep banging on about economic growth as being a good thing; the planet, its resources and this country are not infinite in size; we cannot keep growing ad infinitum. Sadly our government and all governments boast of economic growth as a great achievement, and ignore the price we'll all have to pay for it in the end.
     
  5. Bear

    Capodecina

    Joined: 24 Oct 2002

    Posts: 12,612

    Location: Bucks and Edinburgh

    I agree in part that we might/will pay for it in the end but the government are voted in to run the country now. Without economic growth, you wont get lower unemployment and our standard of living wont go up due to increased wages etc. These things are fundamental for re-election amongst other things.

    Without these things we would be too engrossed in our own poor situation to care about the future and companies will not have the money for investment into future technologies.
     
  6. Glaucus

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 11 Mar 2004

    Posts: 76,645

    All total BS, well not total BS but near enough. We could survive without oil in this country within 10 years. Electric cars are allready viable, many trains are electric. Infact the only to bussiness i can think off that need oil are petrol and plastics. Plastics can be made from plant and stuff but is more exspensive. As for fuel there is very little that cant be made electric. Ie big machinery and planes. If every home had a power plug for an electric car and work places had the same and it was mass produced like normall cars it would be fine. And the extra power plants could be nuclear. So when and if we do run out off oil i dont see a majour rework off lifestyle.

    As for oil peaking this is true it will peak. As for it running out nope utter carp, In all sea resevoires there is still 40% of the oil left down there cos it aint "economicaly" viable to extract. Land based ones im not shure about. Put it this way i cant see oil running out within are lifestyles, although we probably will have moved away from it before then anyway.
     
  7. The Edge

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,730

    Location: Birmingham

    There are billions of barrells of oil under Antartica that are not economically viable to extract.

    Yet.
     
  8. nero120

    Soldato

    Joined: 12 Jan 2004

    Posts: 6,824

    Location: Londinium

    I agree AcidHell. I really cant see that much bad coming out of the situation. Oil, while useful is not the nicest thing in the world, and the sooner we are free from it the better. Hydrogen economies will take its place and we will be much better off for it. The only question is, what will the middle eastern countries do when no one in the developed world wants to buy their oil?
     
  9. Beren

    Mobster

    Joined: 30 Jul 2004

    Posts: 2,833

    Location: Auckland

    My primary interest in this is first how much notice will we have before oil resereves are dangerously low? It would take decades to build enough nuclear power stations to take over from all the electricity generated by fossil feul at the moment. This then begs the question what is going to happen when the rest of the world realises that the US has sat itself on the major oil reserves and wont sell it.
     
  10. dirtydog

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 47,398

    Location: Essex

    Oil is used for lots of things, not just transport. Plastic is made from oil and I hardly need point out how many things we use are made of plastic.
     
  11. scorza

    Caporegime

    Joined: 22 Jun 2004

    Posts: 26,685

    Location: Deep England

    I'd like to know if we have done the same? and if not, why not?
     
  12. dirtydog

    PermaBanned

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 47,398

    Location: Essex

    Indeed - the US really would have all the power then.
     
  13. elbows

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,156

    If you want to know how seriously the US takes its energy security, sniff around the internet for stuff relating to Dick Cheney's Energy Taskforce. Under the Freedon Of Information Act some people managed to get some stuff from these meetings released, and the material included maps of Iraq and a few other countries oilfields, along with details of who had the rights to work those fields.

    So when I hear people liek Blair say that Iraq was about our future national security, I dont think this is a lie, because energy is an issue of national security! However it appears the Iraq project may not be going according to plan, it is wise to assume it was intende to be a medium-term solution to oil supply issues, trather than a quick fix. In the shortterm it is making things worse, only time will tell. I also fundamentally oppose using force and war to buy us time, but Im not in charge, and people didnt really want to tackle this stuff seriously before the war.

    I find it quite laughable at the billions of media words about WMD and how it was lies and all that, yet very very few mediamindsappear to then turn to the question of why we actually went to war then!

    Anyway peak oil is a bit easier for people to believe in after the way oil prices have been going, after the Shell reserve scandal, after the media started to report a bit more detail about the oil situation (see numerous BBC articles).

    For people who think the impact wont be harsh, I ask you simply to look at the 70s oil crisis. The stuff like "winter of discontent" of the late 70's was not just about the Unions, thats for sure. That was a temporary problem due to political issues, yet it still had massive and farreaching affect on the economy and people lives. Pretty much every spike in oil prices since the 40's has been followed shortly thereafter by recession, so I expect a recession in 2005 but hopefully Im wrong.

    I dont know if oil production has peaked quite yet, but it doesnt appear to be far away. The current problem right now is that supply is only just keeping up with demand. This will have many of the symptoms of peak oil (eg higher prices) but is nowhere near as bad as when the world cannot deny that production has permanently peaked. Because the markt etc still assume that supply and demand will be balanced again in the future, wheras thats not going to happen when production starts a permanent decline.

    I think one of the misconceptions & safety blankets people have for this issue is that the oil isnt suddenly going to run out. It doesnt need to run out to have dramatic effect on all our lives. The point about oil and other fossil fuels is how artificially cheap they are as an energy source. As soon as worldwide demand clearly outstrips supply, there will be no looking back, prices will soar and as they do, various things in our society & economy will start to become unviable.

    Turning to the UK in particular, our own oil (& gas I think) production peaked a couple of years ago. We are now starting to import more than we export. Gas supply is probably a more pressing issue in the shortterm for the UK, it got the House of Lords worried, the main problem is that ensure adequate supply you have to assume that one year in 10 there will be a much higher use of gas over the winter period, due to extreme weather etc. It is these events that will show any supply weaknesses up in a rather dramatic fashion. Apparently 10% of this countries GDP is from primary energy production, so I think this means we will see our economy hit rather hard in the medium term.

    The war on terror is real, but the terror is the oil running out!
     
  14. elbows

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,156

    Consider that the events of this millenium are your notice, its already here. As massive price increases are the inital effect, there is no way people are going to publically announce that oil has peaked, overnight the price would go nuts. I would think that part of the management of this crisis will involve ensuring the price rises gradually "for all sorts of other reasons", any price rise is bad but huge instant mega-price spikes are going to make things worse.

    As for the rest of the worlds countries realising whats going on, dont think they havent! Just because these issues are not discussed in the public domain, doesnt mean countries dont know whats going on behind the scenes. Governments have access to actual facts that I can only dream of, so unless Ive been sold a complete kipper about current energy situation, they know well enough.

    Its a very difficult balance. For example Chinas rapid growth has made supply-demand problems much worse, but our own economies are intertwined with these nations. The massive potential number of consumers & the cheap manufacturing capabilities of China are of great use to us, so we dont want them to suddenly collapse. We want to be in a position to "manage" the situation and there are many many ways to do that.

    For example, if peak oil isnt quite here yet, and all we are seeing this year is a temporary supply-demand imbalance, demand needs to be brought down a bit without totally breaking the economy.
     
  15. shadyseti

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 May 2003

    Posts: 2,927

    Location: Abingdon , Oxfordshire

    If the country as a whole diverted its resources NOW to the concept of living without oil , or at least excepting that what oil is available is going to be very expensive , then maybe in 10 years we could be on the way to being prepared. The problem is that the general "plan" seems to be to wait till the problem actually happens before starting to even plan as what to do about it .

    I really hate the idea of building nuclear power stations , but am realistic enough to accept that they are our best mid term solution for providing electricity and that electric powered machines and devices will be the best solution to the post available (or affordable) oil age.

    Current (no pun intended) battery technology is one of the main problems with providing electric powered vehicles. You have a choice of bulky and heavy lead acid batteries that if treated with care can last years (ie never discharged more than 50% , ideally never discharged more than 20%) or the current laptop type batteries that are much smaller and lighter but are not likely to last very long.There is a sports car in the states that runs on a large bank of laptop batteries, though from memory it needs a new set every year or two and the batteries alone cost more than most cars today. Then you have the need to set up a vast battery recycling industry which would take time , and start building the outer cases of batteries from something other than plastic as expensive oil will mean expensive plastic.

    The major car manufacturers have currently practicly abandoned the idea of battery powered cars and fuel cells are no where near viable at present , unless you are very rich as precious metals are used in the construction and unless we make a major scientific break through or discover alcemy that position will not be changing.

    Only 30% of the UKs railways are electified and it would certainly take us a decade+ to do the rest and would cost a "few" quid as well.

    The biggest problem the world faces with a peak oil crisis , is that the American ecconmy is based around the availabilty of cheap oil and if America starts to have problems the rest of us will feel it (one way or another) , add in the fact that the bulk of the current known oil reserves just happen to be in the least stable and least pro west part of the world and it could get very interesting.

    Shady
     
  16. PlacidCasual

    Soldato

    Joined: 13 May 2003

    Posts: 6,537

    It would be interesting to see how our economies would function with less energy at their disposal. Commuting would go out of the window straight away as would holidaying abroad for the masses too I guess. The investment (political and financial) in public transport might be quite staggering. The question then begs would this be a transition phase to a fusion era or would it be the way of things to come. I'm just imaging a future where the vast amounts of farm land is turned over to biofuel crops in a "closed" carbon cycle. The equation associated with consumer goods would change power used would become of vital importance.

    Interesting stuff but difficult to predict.
     
  17. nero120

    Soldato

    Joined: 12 Jan 2004

    Posts: 6,824

    Location: Londinium

    I don't think they are as far away as you think. Bush made a speech about how he committed alot of money to researching hydrogen fuel technology, and most of the major car manufacturers are commited to developing hydrogrn fuel based cars, as they know that this is the future of their industry. Do not underestimate the power of greed!
     
  18. atpbx

    Capodecina

    Joined: 21 Oct 2002

    Posts: 21,452

    To be honest, we all knew this Iraq malarky was about the oil fields, Hussien was harmless to anyone outside his borders and to be quite frank, the lines we were being spun by labour were a bit pathetic.
    I should think all the major oil producers realise that should the situation require it the US will move them aside to take control of their oil.
     
  19. Beren

    Mobster

    Joined: 30 Jul 2004

    Posts: 2,833

    Location: Auckland

    What you also have to bear in mind is the fact that oil companies WANT us to be reliant on oil. Now I dont know how much of a conspiracy theory it is that oil companies have been supressing other forms of fuel. I would expect it to have been happening to a certain extent though.

    I do think it is a larger problem than many of the general public percieve. Is this due to the government suppressing stories that it thinks would feul fear? (Sorry bad pun:rolleyes: )
     
  20. shadyseti

    Mobster

    Joined: 18 May 2003

    Posts: 2,927

    Location: Abingdon , Oxfordshire

    Remember that the same manufactures also spent billions on battery car prototypes and basicly gave it up as a bad idea.

    http://www.eet.com/story/OEG20030522S0017

    We can make fuel cells now , but the construction requires precious metals , so we are just swapping from very expensive oil to very expensive metal , which is fine for those rich enough to be able to afford to chose but no good for the vast bulk of the worlds population.

    There is also the "small" question of how to cheaply and cleanly produce vast quantities of hydrogen and then distribute it , and then get the infrasture set up nationwide to make it practical.

    we also need to change the materials that cars are made out of , as there is a lot of plastic in cars at present and that will be very expensive.

    I am sure that fuel cell's will play an important role at some point in the future , but the chances of the bulk of the UK's cars being powered by them in a mere 10 years is practicaly zero.

    Shady