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Re: [carfree_cities] "Enough oil to last for 500 years"

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  • Jeremy Hubble
    The article seems to be fairly accurate. I don t know the details of the numbers he sited, but they do seem to be relatively in line with what I have heard
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 1, 2004
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      The article seems to be fairly accurate. I don't know the details of
      the numbers he sited, but they do seem to be relatively in line with
      what I have heard before.
      He does acknowledge:
      "It is true that in the long run, an economy that uses petroleum as a
      primary energy source is not sustainable."
      Although he then refutes any quest towards sustainability due to the
      natural progression of energy sources. Perhaps "Environmental
      Darwinism" would be a could name for this argument. Just milk the earth
      of a resource until it is not economical to do so anymore. Don't worry
      about any of the other damage caused by society.

      A few interesting points left out of the article:
      1) Oil shale reserves have not been tapped because of their cost. A
      sustained hire cost of oil would be required before they would be
      utilized.
      2) Yes, tapping all sources of possible oil may provide enough fuel for
      500 years at 2000 consumption rates. At 1900 demand the oil supply
      would last for millennia. However, the only way that consumption will
      stay anywhere near 2000 levels is if there is a focus on
      sustainability. (Or alternatively, a mass destruction of a large
      percentage of the world's population)

      His conclusion also leaves out a few very significant points:
      "Over the next several decades the world likely will continue to see
      short-term spikes in the price of oil, but these will be caused by
      political instability and market interference -- not an irreversible
      decline in supply."

      He left out the market itself. There is a significant effort to produce
      oil, as well as risks involved. Exploration efforts may turn up
      nothing. Natural disasters may occur. Demand may exceed forecasts. All
      of these can lead to short term increases.

      The OPEC web site contains an interesting FAQ on their view of oil
      prices. They prefer steady, stable markets. If prices rise too high,
      the world may seek alternate sources of energy, thus depriving member
      countries of their primary income. If prices are too low, income is also
      reduced. According to OPEC, we should blame taxes imposed by our local
      government for the high cost of fuel. If taxes were reduced, fuel would
      be cheap. (And thus the market would be able to sustain higher prices,
      and more money would flow to oil producers instead of local
      governments.)

      "J.H. Crawford" wrote:
      >
      > If you need to know what the extreme optimists are saying,
      > here's where to read it:
      >
      > http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/editorial/outlook/2599065
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > -- ### --
      >
      > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      > mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com

      >
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... The number simply don t make any kind of sense at all. Even optimistic sources like IEA and USGS are nowhere near this optimistic. ... The cost that is
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 1, 2004
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        Jeremy Hubble replied:

        >The article seems to be fairly accurate. I don't know the details of
        >the numbers he sited, but they do seem to be relatively in line with
        >what I have heard before.

        The number simply don't make any kind of sense at all.
        Even optimistic sources like IEA and USGS are nowhere
        near this optimistic.

        >1) Oil shale reserves have not been tapped because of their cost. A
        >sustained hire cost of oil would be required before they would be
        >utilized.

        The cost that is causing these sources not to be tapped is not
        the economic cost but the energy cost. It takes more energy
        to mine and process this stuff than you get from it. It's a
        non-started in general; there may be a few specific cases where
        the shale is near the surface and sufficiently concentrated
        that it can be produced with less energy than it releases, but
        you can pretty much forget about the oil shales.

        >2) Yes, tapping all sources of possible oil may provide enough fuel for
        >500 years at 2000 consumption rates.

        impossible; even 100 years is extremely unlikely

        >At 1900 demand the oil supply
        >would last for millennia.

        No, oil consumption would have had to quadruple since
        1990 for this mythical source to last "millennia" or
        2000 years or more . In fact, oil consumption is not up
        all that much in the past 14 years, certainly far less
        than a doubling.

        >He left out the market itself. There is a significant effort to produce
        >oil, as well as risks involved. Exploration efforts may turn up
        >nothing.

        They will turn up more than nothing, but they are unlikely
        to yield any really big finds; the large fields were mostly
        found decades ago, and there have only been two reasonably
        big finds in the past 20 years.

        Regards,


        -- ### --

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
      • Jeremy Hubble
        I did not realize that energy was the main limiting factor for oil shale. That does truly destroy his numbers. However, I can see some benefit from it. Even
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 1, 2004
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          I did not realize that energy was the main limiting factor for oil
          shale. That does truly destroy his numbers. However, I can see some
          benefit from it. Even if energy use does deplete most of the world's
          petroleum, the oil shale can be used as a source of petroleum
          byproducts. And, if the demand for petrol becomes so strong that
          companies seek the shale, we may still win. In order to make it viable,
          oil companies must make it economically viable. Since they are
          producing fuel energy than they are consuming to produce it, they would
          have to make significant investments in renewable resources to do it.
          This may include devoting significant efforts to advancing solar, wind,
          and other power sources. (Though too much of this money will probably be
          spent on the 'hydrogen dream') Big oil could eventually help put itself
          out of business.

          Also, my original note was:
          At 1900 demand the oil supply would last for millennia.
          1900, not 1990. I'm fairly certain that a few 1000 years is fairly
          conservative based on the use in 1900, though I don't have any hard
          numbers on use 104 years ago.

          Jeremy



          "J.H. Crawford" wrote:
          >
          > Jeremy Hubble replied:
          >
          > >The article seems to be fairly accurate. I don't know the details of
          > >the numbers he sited, but they do seem to be relatively in line with
          > >what I have heard before.
          >
          > The number simply don't make any kind of sense at all.
          > Even optimistic sources like IEA and USGS are nowhere
          > near this optimistic.
          >
          > >1) Oil shale reserves have not been tapped because of their cost. A
          > >sustained hire cost of oil would be required before they would be
          > >utilized.
          >
          > The cost that is causing these sources not to be tapped is not
          > the economic cost but the energy cost. It takes more energy
          > to mine and process this stuff than you get from it. It's a
          > non-started in general; there may be a few specific cases where
          > the shale is near the surface and sufficiently concentrated
          > that it can be produced with less energy than it releases, but
          > you can pretty much forget about the oil shales.
          >
          > >2) Yes, tapping all sources of possible oil may provide enough fuel for
          > >500 years at 2000 consumption rates.
          >
          > impossible; even 100 years is extremely unlikely
          >
          > >At 1900 demand the oil supply
          > >would last for millennia.
          >
          > No, oil consumption would have had to quadruple since
          > 1990 for this mythical source to last "millennia" or
          > 2000 years or more . In fact, oil consumption is not up
          > all that much in the past 14 years, certainly far less
          > than a doubling.
          >
          > >He left out the market itself. There is a significant effort to produce
          > >oil, as well as risks involved. Exploration efforts may turn up
          > >nothing.
          >
          > They will turn up more than nothing, but they are unlikely
          > to yield any really big finds; the large fields were mostly
          > found decades ago, and there have only been two reasonably
          > big finds in the past 20 years.
          >
        • J.H. Crawford
          ... Sorry, I mis-read 1900 as 1990. Regards, -- ### -- J.H. Crawford
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 1, 2004
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            Jeremy Hubble said:

            >Also, my original note was:
            >At 1900 demand the oil supply would last for millennia.
            >1900, not 1990.

            Sorry, I mis-read 1900 as 1990.

            Regards,


            -- ### --

            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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