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06-18-2009, 07:25 AM   #1
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General trends: the peak oil scenario

I had to do a presentation on a seminar on a totally different subject, however I did some worldwide trend research.
While Googeling, I did notice some more trends.
Let me share some of the ones I also explored with you, the first is:

The Peak Oil scenario.

There is absolutely no consensus in the world when we run out of oil, except for the fact that we will.
Many people, papers and also individuals try to predict the worldwide oil peak production date. Like: from then on, its runs downhill.
The Oil companies did report much more oil reserves than they had in the past to not have their share prices drop. That should be under control right now, due to the SOX act. Still the various sources have no agreement on the peak date.

A fact to add to this scenario is the trend in car sales (and the % of people owning cars) in China. See: China bucks car sales trend | Video | Reuters.com
I've spoken to somebody working for a shipping company.
He says that currently the chinese are desperatly looking for more iron ore than the current can import. With car sales rising there, we can expect a even faster oil consumption.

A few pictures I picked up:

I find the first one the most interesting diagram.
It is an attempt to add all reported reserves, reported usage, predicted usage and trends in resources found.

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06-18-2009, 07:44 AM   #2
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i was always under the impression that more oil goes into plastics production rather than gasoline refinement...

so this whole car issue is moot, particulary if people start buying cars with less than 6 cylinders.
06-18-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
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bymy141: have you ever brought up an intense topic

So I am not at all an intense person (or am I :-), but here are my retorts:

Price Fluctuations
When you get to or near peak oil you can expect large fluctuations up and down in prices forever until the resource becomes quite scarce and is used much less. Until then prices mostly overal trending up.

Governments
This is not a topic governments will ever to tackle straight on and honestly in public. Although Obama is doing quite a bit of it.

Birth Rates
A related topic you will hear governments tackle far less even, if ever, is the hot potato of birth rates, and the related ideal of 'Zero Growth' proposed by a number of organizations.

Worldwide the population is expected to continue to rise for decades, barring major events, and start to be limited due to shortages, climate problems, wars over water, and other pleasant prospects. And a lot of the rise is taking place in parts of the world who are rapidly becoming greater consumers per capita of energy, plastics, minerals and what have you - China, India, and a number of other countries.

Psychology
Our individual and group psychology is far from well adapted to tackle this limited resource issue, nor the population growth, pollution, and climate change.

Grass Roots Activism
Counteracting some of this increasingly are efforts by various small groups and NGO's worldwide. If you want to be inspired about these, in a photographically beautiful way, check out the recently released Canadian documentary 'Fierce Light', filmed all around the globe.

Raymond Kurzweil's Predictions
Raymond Kurzweil of course is a maverick. Also many of his technology trend predictions from 3 decades ago were very accurate, as he embraced the exponential growth characteristic of them.

So there may be more than wishful thinking in his current prediction about alternative energy. He claims that we 'only' need to capture 0.01% (if I remember the order of magnitutde correctly) of the solar energy that hits our planet. And that the current research in nanotechnology used to catch energy in alternative ways will yield exponential results such that by about the mid-40s we will have matched our energy needs. Intriguing, not easily dismissed given the source, and yet I wonder whether he is overly optimistic re technology being sufficient to save the day.

Hope
Havel Vaclav, then playwright, and later prime minister of Czechoslovakia, once fell into a deep hole (literally) and thought he just might die in it because there was no way to make his voice carry far and no-one might find him for days. (He's not an hysteric or prone to overdramatize, playwriting aside.) But he maintained hope.

He was later quoted to say that hope is not related to the knowledge that a desired outcome will happen or even is likely. Rather it is an attitude and an orientation in the direction that is deemed the best direction to go in.

Personally I feel very worried about peak oil, birth rates, climate change, the worlwide rise of insanely violent, self-righteous and rationalizing and deluded groups all in the name of ... (you fill in the blanks please, this is a public forum), and perhaps a few other things.

But the human world has always been on the brink of disasters, like a leaky boat we are constantly having to bail water out of. And humanity is extremely resilient and resourceful. In all honesty I have no idea in what shape we will be at the next turn of the century. The thing to do is to live in hope ŗ la Havel Vaclav.

And to give into LBA, ABA and even CBA almost as often as your muse will make you because life is short :-).

Last edited by lc_toronto; 06-18-2009 at 01:34 PM. Reason: Formatting and minor contents improvement
06-18-2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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Don't Be A Sucker

QuoteOriginally posted by lc_toronto Quote
Personally I feel very worried about peak oil, birth rates, climate change, the worlwide rise of insanely violent, self-righteous and rationalizing and deluded groups all in the name of ... (you fill in the blanks please, this is a public forum), and perhaps a few other things.
The only thing we have to worry about are the criminal gangs called governments. They want you to feel worried so in the hysteria, you will voluntarily pay more taxes and give them more power. Their very power is derived from their monopoly of the use violence. Most violence is caused by governments. Against people in other countries and especially against their own citizens. Peak oil is a myth. Read a book about the history of the petroleum business. Constantly, the worry about running out of oil ends up being unwarranted. Global warming. Your handle makes me assume you're from Toronto. Global warming will be a boon to Canada. Too bad it's not going to happen. Stop watching TV and cancel your newspapers.

06-19-2009, 03:04 AM   #5
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Hi, thanks for replying.

Let me start to say that I'm trying not to be politically engaged.
Iíve worked / consulted for governments, for oil companies at senior levels around the world.
I think I have some understanding of what is going on there.

So, oil will run out. It's a logical (there is no renewal process that is fast enough) and the resource depletion facts are there.
One can deny it or believe ďgovernmentsĒ (as a worldwide organized group) are trying to use this to maintain a state of fear, or study the data.
Perhaps some governments do, still the facts are there. We will see a peak production somewhere is the future.

Let me get into the details discussed:

Price increases when resources become scarce.

Rightly so, it will lead to less oil consumption, also to the use of alternative resources as they come more economical viable. Wind, water, tidal, etc.
Also, better energy efficient housing, production and transportation will become economical attractive.
So, it might be a good idea to focus your business development in that area.
We must remember however, that there is a very large coal reserve in the world as well.
Iíve worked in South Africa in 1978 for some time, they were cut off from external oil supplies, SA developed a process to get oil out of coal then (the Sasol installations).
Still, as long as we are extracting oil from the sources we will deplete them further.

Governments.

This is a complex matter. It very much depends which government we are talking about. The Saudi? The Europeans? The Thai? Myanmar? Russia? The Africans?
Iíve seen a lot of negative emotions on the US government on this forum, independent from the party in power. Emotions blur opinions, also mine.
It will be hard to have an objective discussion on this topic I guess.

Birth rates.

Iíve done research on this topic 5 years ago. It is true that world population is growing fast. It is also true that in a few areas population is dropping (Russia for instance).
It will be interesting to see the effects of this.
Another trend I stumbled along was the one of fresh water availability per country per head. Combined with the birth rates you can see a problem emerging.
Iíd say, high volume migration of people out of these areas is likely to happen in the coming decades.

Psychology.

This has not been within my interests. Perhaps I should enter that as subject as well.

Grass Roots Activism

There is a lot of that in the Netherlands, and not all good.
The first political murder we have had for many centuries (the killing of Pim Fortuyn in 2002) was done by an animal protection extremist.
I donít know what position to take here. Perhaps it is all part of evolution and inevitable to happen.
Perhaps resistance is futile.
I've done a lot of reading on global warming. The best estimated trend data on world temperatures goes back 2000 years. Within that range current temperature rises are scary.
However, that is not enough to understand if it is all man kinds doing.
The suns activity over the last 11 years is also different from the existing observation period.
The sun being the main source of energy by far, is mostly left out of the equation and considered a constant factor. What it is not.

Raymond Kurzweil

Iíll have to do some reading here. I have not read any of his work yet.

Hope.

Isnít that part of the psychology subject? Hope is often connected with religion. Religions benefit from hard times. Religion is one of the important factors in socio demographic and political developments.
People that believe act upon doctrines, they do not act based on facts.

Criminal gangs called Governments

Depending upon were you live, you definitely need to worry about your government.
I doubt that raising taxes is the main motivation that is driving them.
Governments are people based organizations as any, with ďnormalĒ people motivations as: job security, believes, ambition and sometimes compassion.
If you are so lucky to live in an environment where you can freely vote for another government (and where they count votes right), at least you can influence the system.
It may not be ideal, but you are part of a worldwide minority.

- Bert
06-19-2009, 06:16 AM   #6
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A few replies:

Peak Oil
It is hard to argue that we are not after or nearing peak oil. The controversial oil sands projects in Western Canada have become economically viable because much of the cheaper oil extraction is dwindling. In the future, perhaps near, we will see very costly oil extraction, e.g. from certain spots in oceans, when increased prices will make them worthwhile economically.

Price Shocks, and More Extreme Social Events
It does not take much to bring governments and communities to their knees if you are the supplier of their oil (or fresh water, for that matter), only the will to do so.

I was old enough in 1973 / 1974 to remember the fear permeating Europe when OPEC twice turned down oil exports. In Belgium we had car-less Sundays and the wide avenue we lived on was silent.

Because of this a number of European countries signed the European Arab Dialogue, which promised no more oil export shocks in exchange for open border policies for immigration from the middle east, complete freedom and no constraints for these immigrants to live their culture no matter the local culture and laws, and all that was labelled by related organizations as Eurabia as far back as the 70s. Fast forward a few quick decades and in terms of democracy, freedom from violence, religious and cultural freedom, Sweden and the Netherlands today, to take but two examples, are night and day compared to what they were only 10 years ago.

Even here in Canada, about the least likely country for it in the world (so far) other than perhaps Australia, New Zealand, the US and a couple more, there was an attempt to make Sharia law legally binding (at least here in Ontario) two years ago. That attempt will probably be renewed in the near future.

Don't get me wrong: I am not against muslim and arabic people, but I do believe that they and the rest of us are increasingly hijacked by the extreme fringes, which today, statistically, are no longer fringes. The head of the Italian Muslim world spoke about this for 10 minutes on Canadian public tv (TV Ontario) in the spring of 2002. I was so amazed to hear him speak so openly about this and other topics that I thought he might get lynched, and that I replayed the tape a few times to transcribe every word he said to email it to my friends. He said that there was much money behind the extremists of his religion around the world, and no money behind the moderate voice. And of course the moderates have much to lose if they speak up or start activating strongly. I am concerned that the entire world is gradually being hijacked into that fringe world. Oil has had its role to play in this.

Fresh Water
In the 70s one of the kids in my class presented a talk based on an article he'd read that in 30 years or so there would be wars waged over fresh water. In history and increasingly today wars or variations of them have been waged by, among others, nations who have a river or body of water at their mutual borders.

I never really understood why the Chinese were so interested in the bit of mostly inhospitable land (if beautiful) that is Tibet, against the (rather meek) outrage of the word. Why they would beat and kill monks in front of journalists with film cameras. I thought that perhaps I'd come across one of the more important reasons for this when I read an article last year from India about the upcoming disputes with China over the control of the sources of major streams... located in Tibet... I have nothing personal against the Chinese people, but realize that their fresh water needs in the future will be even vaster than they are today.

Generally, you must be right: there will be migrations of large numbers of people due to water shortage - and much strife.

Governments
Agreed. It makes a big difference which governments we are talking about. Here in Canada for instance we have a good deal of disfunctionality and lack of the better types of leaders in our municipal, provincial and national governments, but we still enjoy something closer to the ideal of democracy than most other countries.

I try not to believe too much in the emotionally manipulating messages from governments, or advertisers.

Psychology
I meant this as a common-sense statement. If you look at the events of the last couple of generations, and from any time in history, it is clear - I think - that we are well-adjusted to certain challenges life brings us, e.g. finding food and shelter, waging wars, developing new technologies, getting along within small groups of people, you name it... - but not at, e.g. making all our important decisions based on what will be a good choice for seven generations hence - as, we're told, some native indian tribes used to make their decisions. I don't know whether they did, but know that their world was simpler in this regard and even then it must not have been easy to do.

Hope
I agree with you re. 'hope' when it is used to point to religion-based hope.

I was writing about 'hope' when it is pointing to a different orientation in a person or society - the one described by Vaclav. You can find it in many people, including many who are atheists or agnostics. For example, in many scientists. Or, for that matter, in many decent people: you don't go to the desparing mental state, and you keep going in the direction that seems to be the best choice, whether the desired outcomes seem likely or not.

Global Warming and Solar Output
However high is humankind's contribution, there is no doubt that the average global temperature has been and is rising quite quickly. I'm not sure whether climate change will make Canada warmer, but many scientists believe that we've been experiencing more chaotic and extreme weather everywhere on the planet as a result. Here in Canada too the weather these last years has often been very atypical very often.

What I always remember when hearing about climate change is a little article in the newspapers from about a year ago. A scientist in Britain, not a maverick, is predicting that we are due for a severe cooling of the planet, based on cycles in solar activities. He just can't say whether this will be in a decade (sic) or half a century, or a century. I have not tried to google this since. Probably should because I keep thinking about it. If he is right, we should probably still try to become energy efficient, and less reliant on oil. We should in any case try to reduce our accelerating use of all resources, so the major problems heading our way will at least be smaller. Not sure how to do that re fresh water... other than more equity and peace between nations (yeah, right) or far smaller birth rates in countries with high birth rates (also extremely difficult).

LBA
Like I said, life is beautiful and short, so give in to your LBA often enough :-).

Last edited by lc_toronto; 06-19-2009 at 06:30 AM.
06-19-2009, 11:13 AM   #7
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While debate goes on and on as whether we are running out of oil or not, one thing is that is happening is worldwide consumption is increasing and creating supply issues that are affecting prices. If demand excedes the ability to produce and refine the oil then it doesn't matter whether we are running out or not, the result is the same. Its only a matter of time until until some country ( name any) decides it isn't getting its fair share of what they consider they need and decides to take it and a war is going to erupt. Nobody needs to be a prophet to see this one coming.

Our climate is a constant changing thing. If you look at records going back as far as they go, the one thing that can be counted on is that there are always periods of extreme change from time to time. I really don't know if global warming is caused by oil and coal consumption but we do know that most of North America and Europe was covered by glaciers not very long ago and they have been steadily melting and the world has been getting warmer. It has been the result of this natural global warming that has enabled worldwide populations to grow this large and create the current problem.

There seems to be a very disturbing belief among some people that somehow our politicians can pass laws and enact policies to fix all this and somehow stop climate change from happening. Not being wasteful is a good thing for lots of reasons. So is recycling and I'm not against any of this. I live in the Adirondacks and we have a long tradition here of getting the most out of everything we own and jokes abound about everything an Adirondacker has ever owned is still on his property. This is not going to stop the climate from changing. There are natural forces at work that can change things very quickly. Far better that we should be prepared to live in a changing world and be willing to live a sustainable lifestyle than rely on laws and politicians to give us false hopes.
06-19-2009, 01:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
While debate goes on and on as whether we are running out of oil or not, one thing is that is happening is worldwide consumption is increasing and creating supply issues that are affecting prices. If demand excedes the ability to produce and refine the oil then it doesn't matter whether we are running out or not, the result is the same. Its only a matter of time until until some country ( name any) decides it isn't getting its fair share of what they consider they need and decides to take it and a war is going to erupt. Nobody needs to be a prophet to see this one coming.

Our climate is a constant changing thing. If you look at records going back as far as they go, the one thing that can be counted on is that there are always periods of extreme change from time to time. I really don't know if global warming is caused by oil and coal consumption but we do know that most of North America and Europe was covered by glaciers not very long ago and they have been steadily melting and the world has been getting warmer. It has been the result of this natural global warming that has enabled worldwide populations to grow this large and create the current problem.

There seems to be a very disturbing belief among some people that somehow our politicians can pass laws and enact policies to fix all this and somehow stop climate change from happening. Not being wasteful is a good thing for lots of reasons. So is recycling and I'm not against any of this. I live in the Adirondacks and we have a long tradition here of getting the most out of everything we own and jokes abound about everything an Adirondacker has ever owned is still on his property. This is not going to stop the climate from changing. There are natural forces at work that can change things very quickly. Far better that we should be prepared to live in a changing world and be willing to live a sustainable lifestyle than rely on laws and politicians to give us false hopes.
You're right that our climate is changing. It has since God created the earth. The debate is over whether it's manmade and more and more scientists are saying it's not.

There are reports that the US has more oil than most middle east countries. Government and environmental wackos have prevented us from drilling. thing is even if we didn't need it it's more of a national security issue. The refineries are running at about 90% when ideal is less than that. There is no room for a major screwup yet they will not and have not allowed a refinery to be built in 30 years. They have leases in the Gulf of Mehico they can drill but they aren't. Why? Because that's not where they feel the oil is. And government propaganda keeps throwing that out. Why would anyone drill and expend all that money if the confidence is high that it would be a dry hole?

Better yet why was the geological report pulled so suddenly? It was there one minute and pulled as I was reading it.

06-20-2009, 10:40 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by graphicgr8s Quote
You're right that our climate is changing. It has since God created the earth. The debate is over whether it's manmade and more and more scientists are saying it's not.

There are reports that the US has more oil than most middle east countries. Government and environmental wackos have prevented us from drilling. thing is even if we didn't need it it's more of a national security issue. The refineries are running at about 90% when ideal is less than that. There is no room for a major screwup yet they will not and have not allowed a refinery to be built in 30 years. They have leases in the Gulf of Mehico they can drill but they aren't. Why? Because that's not where they feel the oil is. And US (added) government propaganda keeps throwing that out. Why would anyone drill and expend all that money if the confidence is high that it would be a dry hole?

Better yet why was the US (added) geological report pulled so suddenly? It was there one minute and pulled as I was reading it.
It seems like you do your best to display your grunt against the US government in almost every discussion.
It feels like a lot of anger, frustration and negative energy.
I hope you can still get some positive energy out of using your Pentax camera.

- Bert
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