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Report Blasts "Peak Oil" Theory 640

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the a-peek-at-the-future dept.
Rei writes "Today, the Cambridge Energy Research Associates released a report dismissing the Peak Oil theory, suggesting that world oil production will continue to increase for the next 24 years, and then only level into a plateau. The report, which suggests that world reserves are enough to last 122 years at our current rate of consumption, also blasts Peak Oil theorists for repeatedly making unscientific predictions and then shifting them whenever their predictions fail to materialize."
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Report Blasts "Peak Oil" Theory

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  • by John Jamieson (890438) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:03PM (#16856386)
    Does anyone know who they really speak for? Do they have an agenda?
    • by SEMW (967629) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:06PM (#16856454)
      I doubt anyone can prove who funds them, but past keynote speakers at their annual conference have included the energy secretaries of both Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and Rilwanu Lukman, the Secretary-General of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).

      Make of that what you will..
      • by thrillseeker (518224) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:27PM (#16856868)
        Make of that what you will..

        I can't imagine why an energy research organization would actually seek out and listen to national energy secretaries in developing energy analysis - can't they just publish some near-term doom-and-gloom conclusions with only selective data like everyone else?
        • by SEMW (967629) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:50PM (#16857380)
          >I can't imagine why an energy research organization would actually seek out and listen to national energy secretaries in developing
          >energy analysis - can't they just publish some near-term doom-and-gloom conclusions with only selective data like everyone else?

          So when a single company with stated links to oil-producing countries comes up with the conclusion that we should continue to rely on oil, that's "seeking out and listening... in developing energy analysis", but when "everyone else" (and that does include pretty much everyone) comes to opposite conclusion, that's "doom-and-gloom... with only selective data"? That's some good, objective critical thinking skills you got there...
          • WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:23PM (#16858058) Homepage Journal
            Jeezus, instead of arguing the merits of TFA, can we instead discuss TFA instead?

            Like, for example, the report pretty much dovetailing nicely with Peak Oil theorywith the only majot difference being when the peak happens?

            Or how about that he report talks about ALL know oil sources, when in fact Peak Oil theory is based around EASILY recoverable sources, basically making this report an apple and oranges thing.

            This is what Peak Oil sceptics don't get: Yes, we have a shitload of oil, but when you eliminate the stuff that's a PITA to recover, it doesn't leave a whole lot. It will probably take us a few decades at least to run out, but that downward slide is going to be a bitch.
          • by electroniceric (468976) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @04:16PM (#16859062)
            The implicit analogy here is clearly to the "controversy" over whether human activity is substantively affecting global warming, and I think it's a bad one.

            In the case of global warming, you have a set of scientific questions which have been asked and much progress has been made on answering them. The scientific findings have been willfully distorted by outsiders, but nearly all credible climate scientists agree that human activity is an important driver of climate change. Disagreers include a few credible scientists and a lot of shills, hacks and some journalists brazen and arrogant enough to claim to know James Hansen's argument better than Hansen himself (paging Mr. Crichton...). A settled scientific consensus about the facts on human impact on warming does not answer exactly what pathway that warming will take, much less presume to decide what the best policy for addressing that will be. And the debate has nothing to do with Earth making up its mind how much to warm - the warming is reactive to the activity, not the activity itself. So scientists are answering a question about a system that is basically independent of them and their activities. They want to be right, but they don't directly affect its functioning.

            In the case Peak Oil, there is still considerable disagreement among reputable oil geologists, industry analysts and academicians. Not only that but the amount of produceable oil is a direct function of how industry behaves - the activity itself directly governs how the phenomenon plays out. CERA and its clients directly affect the functioning of oil extraction. So the right question is not whether CERA has an interest in presenting the data a certain way, but whether they are credible industry analysts. Despite the fact that what I've read leads me to believe Kenneth Deffeyes over CERA, I don't think it's fair to suggest that they're trying to take an established conclusion and misrepresent it. And to understand their biases, you need a pretty thorough understanding of how the oil industry and oil markets work.

            The only question I've ever seen presented that comes close to the question of misrepresentation is about proven reserves. There have been a number of claims of Saudi Arabia and other vastly overstating their claims. If that's true, should CERA know that? If they do know are they misrepresenting what they know? I don't know CERA, but I know that those are heavy accusations to make, and I'm not ready to make them.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DerekLyons (302214)

            I can't imagine why an energy research organization would actually seek out and listen to national energy secretaries in developing energy analysis - can't they just publish some near-term doom-and-gloom conclusions with only selective data like everyone else?

            So when a single company with stated links to oil-producing countries comes up with the conclusion that we should continue to rely on oil, that's "seeking out and listening... in developing energy analysis", but when "everyone else" (and that does inc

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by awggie (968310)
        OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Extorting Countries). fixed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Some of ">the company's [slashdot.org] largest clients include international energy companies, governments, utilities, and financial institutions.

        Past keynote speeches have been given by the energy secretaries and ministers of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Mexico, Norway, and the United States.

        Which of those stakeholders will tell the public that the oil is running out, and they've planned their geopolitical economies around that curve for decades? Which of those people would avoid lying, manufacturing fake pseudoscience and coo

        • by Doc Ruby (173196)
          Working link to Cambridge Energy Associates [wikipedia.org].
          • by xmedar (55856) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:42PM (#16858440)
            From the link to the Chairman Daniel Yergins [wikipedia.org] wikipedia page-

            Daniel Yergin also wrote and hosted a PBS production called "Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy". This 3-part television production was an advomentary (advocacy documentary) which made the case for free markets by interpreting the economic history of the 20th Century from a capitalist perspective. Yergin interviewed many high profile free-market advocates such as Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Robert Rubin who presented economic history as a battle between centralized command economies and free market economies.

            If he is seriously suggesting that Dick Cheney is interested free markets why does Halliburton [halliburtonwatch.org] get no-bid contracts... DOH! Next they will be telling you the 30% water cut on the Saudi Ghawar oil field [energybulletin.net] is nothing to be concerned about, oh and remember Saddam has WMD and is helping AQ and global warming doesnt exist, oil companies don't conspire with corrupt governments and oh yes fairies and elves really do exist. /sarcasm
    • by Channard (693317) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:16PM (#16856644) Journal
      who are going to be at their next conference. We have..

      H.E. Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli, Minister of Energy, UAE and President of the OPEC Conference (2007), David Crane, President & CEO, NRG Energy, Incorporated, David J. O'Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Chevron Corporation

      John G. Rice, Vice Chairman of GE, President & CEO, GE Infrastructure, John W. Rowe, Chairman, President & CEO, Exelon Corporation, Charles W. Shivery, Chairman, President & CEO, Northeast Utilities

      Neil H. Smith, CEO, InterGen, Jeff Sterba, Chairman, President & CEO, PNM Resources, Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil Corporation

      Jake S. Ulrich, Executive Director, Centrica plc, Don Voelte, Managing Director & CEO, Woodside Energy Ltd, Theo H. Walthie, Business Group President, Dow Chemical Company

      Daniel Yergin, CERA Chairman

      H.E. Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli, Minister of Energy, UAE and President of the OPEC Conference (2007), David Crane, President & CEO, NRG Energy, Incorporated

      David J. O'Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Chevron Corporation, John G. Rice, Vice Chairman of GE, President & CEO, GE Infrastructure

      John W. Rowe, Chairman, President & CEO, Exelon Corporation, Charles W. Shivery, Chairman, President & CEO, Northeast Utilities

      Neil H. Smith, CEO, InterGen, Jeff Sterba, Chairman, President & CEO, PNM Resources, Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil Corporation, Jake S. Ulrich, Executive Director, Centrica plc, Don Voelte, Managing Director & CEO, Woodside Energy Ltd, Theo H. Walthie, Business Group President, Dow Chemical Company, Daniel Yergin, CERA ChairmanH.E. Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli, Minister of Energy, UAE and President of the OPEC Conference (2007)

      David Crane, President & CEO, NRG Energy, Incorporated David J. O'Reilly, Chairman & CEO, Chevron Corporation John G. Rice, Vice Chairman of GE, President & CEO, GE Infrastructur John W. Rowe, Chairman, President & CEO, Exelon Corporation

      Charles W. Shivery, Chairman, President & CEO, Northeast Utilities Neil H. Smith, CEO, InterGen Jeff Sterba, Chairman, President & CEO, PNM Resources Rex W. Tillerson, Chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil Corporation

      Jake S. Ulrich, Executive Director, Centrica plc Don Voelte, Managing Director & CEO, Woodside Energy Ltd. Theo H. Walthie, Business Group President, Dow Chemical Company

      Daniel Yergin, CERA Chairman

      I'm detecting an air of possible bias there. Not just is there no-one on the speaker list with an environmentalist bent, but most of the speakers apart from those employed by CERA are heads/employees of major oil/chemical companies.

      • by Ferretman (224859) <ferretman&gameai,com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:28PM (#16856894) Homepage
        In other words, people who would actually KNOW....are you implying that environmentalists wouldn't have a bias as well?

        Steve
      • Not just is there no-one on the speaker list with an environmentalist bent

        It's an economic issue. How expensive is energy going to be. And the peak oil people aren't saying oil is going to run out, it simply gets more and more expensive to extract as the conventional supplies go into decline.

        It doesn't matter what anyone reports anyway, that's just market manipulation from one side or the other. What matters is the actual amount pumped. If it declines or remains static then prices are going up.

        • by Mr Z (6791) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:32PM (#16858246) Homepage Journal

          The way I see it, whether we suck the world's oil reserves dry quickly or we suck them dry slowly, we're still going to suck them dry. There's more profit associated with large demand than small demand, however. Indeed, for a fixed supply, the price vs. demand curve is anything but linear. Furthermore, the time value of money indicates that a given sum of money is more valuable the sooner you have it. If we proactively shift energy demand away from oil, this lengthens the timespan across which we'll deplete the world's oil reserves. This will reduce demand, reduce average prices, and the money will arrive later (and therefore not be as valuable).

          Thus, oil companies have strong economic reasons for wanting to keep demand high. They want to maximize their total profit.

          Peak oil and alternative energy proponents seek to move energy demand away from oil, either by increasing efficiency or by drawing energy from other sources. Either approach reduces the demand for oil, which is what the petroleum industry wants to avoid.

      • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:49PM (#16857356) Homepage
        Yeah. I mean, imagine those people, at an oil conference! Here's who I'd expect to show up at a conference about oil production:

        John Denver, American folk singer-songwriter, Poet Laureat of Colorado, author of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane"

        Don Pearson, management consultant and executive of Folsom, CA's "eRepublic"; trainer of Allstate Insurance Company managers and salesmen in the tenets of L. Ron Hubbard's "management by statistics" approach.

        Frederik "Fred" Deburghgraeve, shoe salesman; former Belgian olympic swimmer and olympic gold medalist in the 100 meter breaststroke in the 1996 Olympic Games

        Gerald Mosse, principle horse rider to the Aga Khan IV; former apprentice of Patrick-Loiuse Biancone and rider for Francois Boutin. Rode Arazi to five straight wins in France.

        Arazi: A thoroughbred chestnut colt who won the 1991 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Has crooked white blaze on forehead.

        Ficus carica: the Common Fig; small tree native to the eastern Mediterranean and southwest Asia; deciduous, with 3-5 cm fruit.

        Vanadium: A chemical element of the periodic table, with atomic number 23. A rare, soft, ductile element used in alloying; good resistance to sulfuric acid.

        Three: A number, numeral, and glyph; the natural number following 2, but preceeding 4; the first unique prime; the second triangular number; integral divisor of natural numbers whose digits add up to a multiple of three.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Red Flayer (890720)
      Well, they do research and provide lots of data to industry. Their agenda is to make money, typically by selling the results of their research, and by providing consulting services.

      Peter M. Jackson, one of the authors of the report, is (was?) a professor of economics at MIT... I believe it's the same Peter M. Jackson, anyway.
    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:23PM (#16856794)
      Please stop. Now. This entire crap about who is paying who is completely useless and counter-productive. If you play this game, nothing will happen, as everyone is paid by someone, and it is impossible to prove that someone is completely disinterested and unbiased. Not only that, but it is utterly impossible, and irrelevant to boot.

      The only thing that really matters is whether what people say holds up under scrutiny. Is the data they use accurate? Are their conclusions valid? Do their theories agree with their data? Can their theories be falsified? Did they use proper methodologies when testing their theories and collecting their data? Did they cherry-pick?

      What's that you say? That's hard? Tough shit. If you can't handle a rigorous discussion, shut the fuck up. You're not contributing. No matter what your mom or your school teacher told you.
      • by cnelzie (451984) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:38PM (#16857082) Homepage
        It's most definatly usefull.

            The past has proven time and time again that reports provided by people backed by certain corporations, such as Cigarrette Manufacturers, Oil Firms and both the RIAA and MPAA are filled with half-truths, straight lies, clear misrepresentations of data (once the data is brought out into the public space), as well as a number of other "Dirty Pool" tactics.

            Simply because of who is backing this report, the publishers of the report have a tremendous amount of work that they must perform in order to be taken as anything other than what any "corporate shill" will say.

            If they are not 100% open with the methods they used, the data they collected as well as with the stastical analysis they performed, their work is going to be suspect. Perhaps their first line would be to see if they can get their report published in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

            Personally, I would be far less skeptical of a piece that could make it into a peer-reviewed medical journal.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Kohath (38547)
          It's most definatly usefull.

          Yeah, come on! Ad hominem attacks against people work great! They are super useful! And they're sooooo much easier than thinking.

          We've had a lot more success since we started appealing to the fear and hatred of people than when we appealed to their intellect. Fund-raising is way up! And we can convince our followers of anything we want. We just tell them that Tobacco companies lied to promote the other side and the cash rolls in.

          The press loves us too. You can't teach peop
      • by joto (134244) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:46PM (#16857262)

        What's that you say? That's hard? Tough shit.

        Well, instead of just saying "tough shit", and giving up, some of us have come up with better metrics to judge what "experts" say. (And given the nature of experthood, we can't evaluate their arguments independently without becoming experts ourselves).

        One of the methods people use to evaluate the statements of experts (without becoming experts themselves) is to try to find out if they have an agenda beyond educating people about stuff. If they are paid by some organization, such as the catholic church (the earth is the center of the universe), the tobacco industry (smoking is healthy and makes you look good), the oil industry (burning fossil fuels is a long-term environmentally sustainable practice), or someone else with big money and questionable motives, many people rightfully become skeptical to the statements, even without having become experts enough to evaluate the science behind it themselves.

        You're not contributing. No matter what your mom or your school teacher told you.

        I'm sorry. The people who are not contributing, are the people who are getting paid to spread misinformation (i.e. lie). The people who try to find out if misinformation is spread, are meta-contributing. You and I are meta-meta-contributing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NeutronCowboy (896098)
          Err, no. Meta-contributing is not contributing. It's doing squat. This form of meta-contributing simply assumes that someone in a specific group will cause others to lie.

          some of us have come up with better metrics to judge what "experts" say.

          ROFL. Better metrics? You've got to be kidding me. Better metrics than understanding the subject matter? Like what? How much money someone pays someone else? Who pays whom? All you're doing is identifying whether someone draws money from someone you don't like. At th

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Pfhorrest (545131)
            ROFL. Better metrics? You've got to be kidding me. Better metrics than understanding the subject matter? Like what? How much money someone pays someone else? Who pays whom? All you're doing is identifying whether someone draws money from someone you don't like. At that moment, you're politicizing what should be a scientific debate. At that moment, you become part of the problem that surrounds the Global Warming debate.

            I'm not saying that you should blindly trust anything that a tobacco company says about t
    • In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:24PM (#16856820)
      In other words:

      "I don't like what they're saying. Is there a way we can slur them with a phony conflict-of-interest implication or some other kind of ad hominem? Dealing with arguments on their merits is too hard."
      • Re:In other words (Score:4, Insightful)

        by yasth (203461) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:38PM (#16857068) Homepage Journal
        You obviously haven't played around the energy field much. Oil companies and cartels use lots and lots of shell companies to counter global warming and other "negative" press. It is certainly a valid question to figure out where this entities loyalties are. A government funded entity (assuming those governments aren't OPEC members) is generally considered more reliable then, a private study paid for by interested parties. This is true on both sides.

        In this case it seems to be estimating peak oil at 24 years out, instead of the now - 25 years out peak oil people are saying. They assume a clean shift away from oil at the "plateau" is all. There isn't a whole lot to dispute or refute. Their undulating plateau actually looks like it heads down quicklike around where the graph cuts off as a matter of fact. The best that can be said for it is that it is an optimistic peak oil aligned estimate.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:39PM (#16857092) Homepage Journal
      Everyone has an agenda.
      Even Slashdot does. For example why was this story classified as HARDWARE and not Science or Politics?

      The people that say oil will run out have an agenda. They have a world view that colors everything that see. They may believe everything they say or believe that they must put everything in the most dramatic way so everyone so that they can move people to action.
      The people that say that we have a lot more Oil feel exactly the same way and act exactly the same way.

      The truth is that the "Peak oil" group is probably wrong.
      Oh and these people are probably being overly optimistic as well.
      In other words they are probably both lying but believing every word they say.

    • by syphax (189065) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:02PM (#16857636) Journal

      These guys are legitimate. I'm quite sure their client list includes big oil, coal, etc, but their business is selling information to these companies, not shilling for them. The energy companies have plenty of alternatives for that.

      That's not to say that CERA is right, but they certainly are worth paying attention to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RexRhino (769423)
      It doesn't matter who pays their bills.

      http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/circumsta ntial-ad-hominem.html [nizkor.org]
  • by TopShelf (92521)
    But then how confident can we be in their assertion that Peak Oil is 24 years off? It's hard to predict where oil production technology will lead...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ElectricRook (264648)

      But then how confident can we be in their assertion that Peak Oil is 24 years off?


      Well, in the 1970s, PEAK OIL predicted we would be out of oil by the mid 1980s.


      History... repetition... You do the math.

      • Re:OK... (Score:5, Informative)

        by hitchhikerjim (152744) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:17PM (#16856660)
        No, Peak Oil has never predicted that we'd "run out".

        They predict that the demand will outstrip the supply of cheap oil, forcing us to shift to more expensive supplies and creating shortages that drive the price beyond a reasonable means. They draw a standard set of supply and demand curves, and show where they cross. What's most interesting to me is that it's not the supply curve that's the issue -- it's the demand curve.

        And they're less worried about cars than they are about what that steep rise in prices will do to all manufacturing and industry in the west.
      • Re:OK... (Score:5, Informative)

        by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:26PM (#16856848) Homepage Journal
        Huh? Hubbert's peak said that production in the UNITED STATES would peak in the 1970's, and decline thereafter. And he was right(he said global peak would come about 50 years after the peak in the US). Outside of Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico there aren't very many huge oil producers in the United States anymore.

        There used to be a lot more, but they ran out of oil. In fact, take a look around Western PA to see what devastation running out of oil can wrought on communities. Oil City [wikipedia.org] is an aptly named example.
      • Re:OK... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rei (128717) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:28PM (#16856908) Homepage
        Even this report is rather pessimistic.

        Technologies that exist and are already economical at current oil prices:

        * Coal liquifaction (we have several hundred years of coal in the US alone)
        * Thermal depolymerization (~$70/barrel from almost any organic waste).
        * Bitumen (huge Canadian deposits)
        * Ethanol (both corn and sugarcane)
        * Biodiesel (soybeans)

        Borderline technologies or technologies that exist but require higher oil prices to be cost efficient:

        * Cellulose-derived ethanol
        * Farmed plankton biodiesel
        * Oil shale
        * Methane hydrates/clathrates
        * Direct Fischer-Tropsh synthesis from any CO (or even CO2, indirectly more lossy), and H2 (which can come from H2O). I.e., as long as there is power (do you see any "peak electricity" theorists out there? Not many), there can be oil (prices vary depending on component sources). As for H2:
        ** Electrolysis from any electricity source
        ** Nuclear power thermolysis
        ** Direct solar H2 production
        ** Farmed bacterial H2 production
        * Direct utilization of H2 (or other fuels produced from common ingredients + "power") in vehicles.

        As for those who say, "Well, sure, there are alternatives, but we don't have time to switch," this isn't true either. It takes much less time to bring a new field or plant online than it takes to drain an oilfield. About the worst time to bring an oilfield online is about 10 years, in the case of a remote field in an inhospitable location with no existing infrastructure. Expanding an existing field into less economical deposits can be as little as a year or two.

        Peak Oil is a nonsense theory, and deserves to be exposed for what it is. There've been dozens of predictions since Hubbert, and not a one has been correct.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sparohok (318277)
          You seem to be debunking a strawman that has nothing to do with the peak oil theory.

          Peak oil is a theory regarding future rates of conventional oil extraction. It is not a prediction of impending doom or a crude oil price forecast, nor does it have anything to do with unconventional oil or alternative energy. Should some futuristic technology make petroleum obsolete, that would neither contradict nor prove peak oil; it would simply make it irrelevant.

          Many people use peak oil as a foundation for their predic
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:05PM (#16856430)
    And I don't know why anyone else should either since I'd like to think that we as a species are smart enough to come up with an alternative fast enough to avert this. And even if we don't, we'll come up with something really really fast. We run out of oil, we'll use the shale in Colorado. We run out of that, something else will pop up. Fusion should be viable long before then, we'll have better solar energy, etc.
    • by deego (587575)
      you said: "And I don't know why anyone else should either since I'd like to think that we as a species are smart enough to come up with an alternative fast enough to avert this."

      I agree that we are smart enough to come up with solutions. But that is not a reason to "not care" as you say. Rather, it is when the species *cares* that it can come up with new plans. I agree that our species is smart enough to overcome oil deficits and even global warming -- but the warnings that scientists are raising are PAR
  • by greg_barton (5551) * <greg_barton AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:06PM (#16856446) Homepage Journal
    Today, the Cambridge Energy Research Associates released a report dismissing the Peak Oil theory, suggesting that world oil production will continue to increase for the next 24 years, and then only level into a plateau.

    And, if our demand for oil increases?

    The report, which suggests that world reserves are enough to last 122 years at our current rate of consumption...

    Oh, I see. They assume our demand for oil will never increase. The developing world's demand for oil will never increase. China's demand for oil will never increase.

    I'm usually not this blunt, but this seems like a good time: are the authors of this report FUCKING IDIOTS?
    • by AutopsyReport (856852) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:15PM (#16856618)
      If I'm not mistaken, Hubbert's theory was based on historic and current data, not futuristic estimates of production and consumption methods. They are not assuming the world's demand for oil will be stagnant, but rather suggesting that at our current rate, reserves will last 122 more years. This is more accurate than an estimation based on future practices.

      It's pretty hard to predict future consumption and production patterns. The best evidence we have is historic, which has naturally formed the basis for their argument.
    • by dch24 (904899) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:16PM (#16856656) Journal
      Okay, this is not a flamewar. In the article they have a graph which I thought showed the increasing supply matched by the steadily increasing demand in China. What did you get out of that graph? Am I missing something?
    • I'm usually not this blunt, but this seems like a good time: are the authors of this report FUCKING IDIOTS?

      Well, I do believe they think themselves quite smart when they count their payoff money. They probably figure that when the shit hits the fan they will be retired with enough resources to weather whatever storm will come at all of the rest of us, "suckers".

    • by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:18PM (#16856702) Homepage Journal
      I like how they accuse Peak Oil theorists of delusion, and then they pretend that demand for oil isn't increasing in order to make their unlikely target realistic.

      "world oil production will continue to increase for the next 24 years, and then only level into a plateau."

      Yeah, a plateau is NOTHING like a "peak". Oh, they expect it to ever again INCREASE after 24 years? It sounds like the wonks that pegged the peak as far off as 24 years, [which seems unlikely due to their constant demand criteria which we know is wrong] can't even twist the numbers into something that means my kids will live to the age I am now before their world is shattered by transportation and energy crisis.
    • by MightyTribble (126109) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:25PM (#16856832)
      And, if our demand for oil increases?

      Production will cope. It's in the report.

      Oh, I see. They assume our demand for oil will never increase. The developing world's demand for oil will never increase. China's demand for oil will never increase.

      No, they don't assume that. You're conflating their position. They make two seperate points:

      1. That if our consumption levels remain flat, there's 122 years of conventional reserves left. They make this point for illustrative purposes to counter the 'peak oil' argument.
      2. That consumption will rise (the "Asian Phoenix" scenario) but that total oil output (conventional and unconventional ; tar sands, new extraction techniques, etc) will rise to cope.

      They're not idiots.

  • Public perception. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hal2814 (725639)
    Peak Oil theory is a big reason why a lot of folks don't take environmental issues like global warming or ozone layer depletion seriously. I still remember our science book in high school saying the world would run out of oil by 1982. (It was already 1994.) When people see that sort of crap side by side with other environmental issues, I can see why they don't always take the other issues seriously.
  • ... That oil will remain a long-lasting, stable and commercially exploitable resource after 24 years of increased production?

    I think someone's been sniffing too much gas.
  • Bury all the oil executives deep underground until they turn into oil (like the dinosaurs). Problem solved!
  • So from what I understand, the people who say the Peak Oil concept is fake do so because they believe that we will always be able to discover more oil. As technology progresses, we'll have deeper drills, better understanding of where to look, better scanning ability to actually see what's down there, and so on, for the rest of time.

    I completely understand their point of view. After all, I have millions of dollars in pirate gold buried in my front yard somewhere, I'm just waiting for technology to advance
    • Huge find in Utah (Score:3, Informative)

      by thule (9041)
      Their point is valid. There recently was a huge find of oil in Utah. It was previously overlooked because our understanding of where to find oil was wrong. We have better tools now. We can drill deeper.

      Also, remember when the price of oil is sufficiently high that other types of oil that are not as pure are viable for processing.

      Even if we run out of the liquid stuff, we could turn to coal liquification. North America has huge reserves of coal. We could become the Middle East of coal liquification. W
  • by MajorBurrito (443772) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:09PM (#16856508)
  • by jbrader (697703) <stillnotpynchon@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:09PM (#16856516)
    122 years ain't shit. The way things are going with medical research we might all still be around and wanting to gas up our Hummers in 122 years won't these guys be pissed then.

    Alternate energy sources and fuel conservation are a good idea under any conditions.

  • by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:10PM (#16856536) Homepage Journal
    You Peak Oil conspiracy theorist! How dare you suggest the world is running out of oil? We'll have enough for the next 120 years! How dare you suggest we change our ways or find alternative sources of energy?!?

    (Oh, well, nevermind that we really are going to run out sometime, and that all this means is our children or grandchildren will be stuck with the problem instead of us, or that this now gives us more time to think up solutions that we should take advantage of immediately. You're still a conspiracy nut and you're wrong. So there.)

  • I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chipset (639011) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:11PM (#16856546) Homepage
    How long it will take for people to blast this as Industry fallacy.

    I say there's been so much doom-and-gloom about oil, every prediction I can remember about oil running out has been proven wrong time and time again. As our technology increases, we will find ways to get more oil out of existing locations and find new ones. Hmm. Go figure.

    Hell, in 1879 Edison invented the light bulb. Who would have thought after 100+ years, the only thing a house from 1890 and 2006 would have in common is a lightbulb? And now the idustry is changing with LED bulbs for just about everything these days. I bet the next advancement doesn't take 100 years.

    In oil, there's money. And a ton of it. So, advancement will happen much faster. We will use it more efficiently and get it from places we never thought possible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Qzukk (229616)
      will find ways to get more oil out of existing locations and find new ones.

      And when we use up those, we'll find more, right? And when we use up those, we'll find more, right? And when we use up those...

      The fact that at some point we will run out of oil is obvious (after all, how many times the mass of the planet can we possibly burn in oil?) People are just really bad at guessing when.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You seem to be missing one of the key points of the "doom and gloom" scenario: The problem isn't getting to the oil --- the problem is the COST of getting to the oil. Once you consume one gallon of oil to pump one gallon of oil out of the ground, you might as well pack up and go home. Game over.
      • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by johnbr (559529) <johnbr@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:21PM (#16858028) Homepage
        a) That is only true if you use oil to run the pumps. Wind, Solar, Geothermal, Hydro, Nuclear power are all viable options. Or even, *gasp*, coal and natural gas!
        b) People are tricksy things - some of them will find ways to clear the oil of the wells more efficiently.

        I know that many of you out there are young, and you probably find the prospect of the mundane existence that we all share to be terrifyingly bland. Many of you are hoping, in your secret hearts, that *something* changes and the world becomes a much different place, where a 9 to 5 existence in a cube farm is no longer a possibility. So you latch on to disaster scenarios, like Catastrophic Global Warming and Peak Oil, because they offer the kind of dramatic "world-changing" catastrophe you hope to bear witness to - to be one of the survivors, one of the pioneers of the new, simpler Earth.

        (and for those of you who read this and say "That's not me", that's fine. I'm not talking to you)

        But Peak Oil is not the catastrophe you might hope it will be. It will result, at worst, in a gradual increase in oil prices, causing people and countries to shift slowly away from oil-consuming technologies. It might be messy, and there might be shortages (although virtually all shortages will be caused by government price caps), but the fundamentals of the market have not changed just because Peak Oil is capitalized.

        Many people criticize CERA, and claim they are industry shills. Fair enough, I make no claim as to their veracity and ethical fiber. However, don't forget that the Peak Oil advocates are also receiving money and attention for their claims, and the more catastrophic a picture they paint, the more money and attention they receive. For a professor or a scholar, notoriety is as valuable as cash in terms of book deals, speaking engagements, etc.

        Let's review:

        • Demand for a good causes the price to rise.
        • The rising price gives businesses the incentives to supply that good to the market.
        • As the supply increases to meet the demand, the price levels off, reducing the incentives for new entrants.
        • Changes in supply may cause existing suppliers to fall short.
        • This causes other businesses to enter the market, and provide supply, possibly in a variety of new ways. Many of the world's paradigm shifts happen because a businessman discovers a novel and unusual way to solve a problem.
        • This causes the supply to increase, or causes the demand to fall.
        There is nothing about the oil industry that does not fit this model. We know that we don't capture all the oil from the existing wells. We know there are lots of alternatives, both in terms of oil-like solutions and solutions that are completely unrelated to oil (solar, nuclear, telecommuting). We know that as the price rises, people will drive their cars less (we saw that after Katrina, for example) *You* know that if the price of gas was $10 a gallon, you would find ways to reduce the number of trips you took, take public transportation, carpool or walk, or find other ways to reduce your personal gas costs.

        Well, everyone else can take those options as well.

        There is no catastrophe here. It is not going to happen. If you want to fret about a catastrophe, contemplate supervolcanos and asteroid strikes, and how much the survival of every living thing on earth depends on humanity's ability to advance technologically as rapidly as possible.

  • by DigitalRaptor (815681) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:13PM (#16856592) Homepage
    The world doesn't have to run out of oil before we have to feel it's effects dramatically.

    The fact is that if the United States were cut off from foreign oil we would last 2.87 years at our current consumption.

    But we wouldn't remain at our current consumption. Rationing and hording would be quick, which we got a taste of in the 70's IIRC.

    Very little new oil is being found, but consumption is going up very quickly in countries like China and India. The rest of the world wants to live like Americans, and as they do there simply won't be enough. Period.

    That may not happen today, and it may not happen in the next few years, but it will happen in the next few decades. And in my opinion that will be the cause of WW3 if it hasn't already taken place and no alternative energies fill the vacuum.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chacham (981)
      Very little new oil is being found

      Correction. Very little of the new oil that has been found is being allowed to be drilled for.

      You think conservatives are big oil? The liberals ban oil exploration and than claim a shortage. Methinks the liberals must have lots of oil stock.
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheSam (636870) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:13PM (#16856598)
    ...so now we have 122 years to procrastinate finding a solution our limited fueld supply rather than 24 years...
  • by Angostura (703910) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:15PM (#16856638)
    I hope they are wrong. I simply don't believe that unprompted, the world population will change their oil consumption behaviour sufficiently to avert catastrophic climate change. Running out of oil is the only way that we will be able to avoid a very nasty fate by forcing the pace of innovation in alternative energy sources.

    Sorry to be depressing, but I find the prospects very depressing.
  • Statistics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by simpl3x (238301) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:17PM (#16856680)
    Looks pretty unscientific to me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil [wikipedia.org]

    I smell an agenda. Of course much of the Peak Oil writing can be exaggerated, but my feeling is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The statistics have also been reasonably accurate, and with so many oil companies over estimating reserves, how exactly are we to know what is cost effectively extractable?Hubbert estimated using the tried and true "what gets taken out of the ground" numbers. Saudi Arabia has not been able or willing to prove that they can draw more.

    Like global warming it's an argument taking away from the real issues. With a bit of attention and care with most resources we can do just fine. We are simply not respecting our general environment.
  • by indytx (825419) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:18PM (#16856690)
    From Answers.com:

    "CERA was acquired by IHS Energy in 2004. . . . Some of the company's largest clients include international energy companies, governments, utilities, and financial institutions."

    http://www.answers.com/topic/cambridge-energy-rese arch-associates [answers.com]

    "IHS is one of the leading global providers of critical technical information, decision-support tools, and related services to customers in the energy, defense, aerospace, construction, electronics, and automotive industries. We have developed a comprehensive collection of technical information that is highly relevant to the industries we serve ."

    http://www.ihs.com/About-IHS/ [ihs.com]

  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:37PM (#16857056) Journal
    (This is from something I wrote up earlier this year, regarding a question I asked Professor Kenneth Deffeyes [wikipedia.org] (a proponent of peak oil ideas) during a Q&A session after a talk he gave at my university. If anybody has a better answer, I'd honestly be interested in hearing it.)

    Today there was a talk in Beckman Auditorium by Kenneth Deffeyes [princeton.edu], Princeton professor emeritus and author of one of the more popular books on that ever-popular meme, peak oil. He discussed his belief that we had hit peak oil sometime around this past Thanksgiving, and that oil prices are going to fluctuate wildly and rise in the next 5 years of so.

    During the Q&A period I went up to the microphone and asked the following: During your talk you briefly mentioned the futures market. Currently on the oil futures market, you can purchase a contract for a barrel of oil to be delivered in, say, the year 2010 or 2011 which is actually cheaper than a barrel of oil today [edit: nowadays it's actually slightly higher, 62 vs. 58]. What are your thoughts on why this is the case?

    In his response, he had mentioned that he had been asked a similar question after he gave his talk at Merrill Lynch, basically: "If you really think oil prices are going to rise, why don't you put your money where your mouth is and buy up futures contracts?" He said to them that he wasn't too knowledgeable about futures contracts, and afterwards read up on them a little and found some of their intricacies bewildering. He said that he would want to purchase futures options for the coming few years, due to the extreme price fluctuations he expects, followed by regular futures in the longer term.

    I'm not sure I bought his answer. Although I'm not sure about how far ahead one can purchase futures options, regular futures can definitely be purchased for 2012 [tradingcharts.com], which should be well into the period of soaring prices he predicts.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      According to Bloomberg, today's dated Brent spot was $57.95 and WTI spot was 58.76. On the other hand, The Dec 2008 Nymex light sweet crude future is at 68.20. So in fact, oil prices have to rise substantially for you to break even on your long futures position.

      But let's say that you firmly believe that by Dec 2008 oil will be trading around $80. If you are right, does that mean you will make a big profit by going long the Dec 2008 future?

      No. The reason is that futures contracts have daily settlement to mit
  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @02:44PM (#16857216)
    The Hirsch Report [wikipedia.org]

    Its the best rebuttal to Yergin and CERA.

    The Hirsch report, written by Robert Hirsch of SAIC, was commissioned by the Department of Energy in 2005. To try and avoid some of the controversy around the exact date of 'peak', he sidestepped it, and rather tried to perform an objective analysis of what effort would be required to mitigate such a peak, in three scenarios.

    • by radtea (464814) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:51PM (#16858612)
      The Hirsch Report is full of gems, including clarification of exactly what "peak oil" means:

      "It is important to recognize that oil production peaking is not 'running
      out.' Peaking is a reservoir's maximum oil production rate, which typically occurs
      after roughly half of the recoverable oil in a reservoir has been produced. In
      many ways, what is likely to happen on a world scale is similar to what happens
      to individual reservoirs, because world production is the sum total of production
      from many different reservoirs."


      And some information on CERA's past record:

      "In 2001 Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) stated 'The
      rebound in North American gas supply has begun and is expected to be
      maintained at least through 2005. In total, we expect a combination of US
      lower-48 activity, growth in Canadian supply, and growth in LNG imports to
      add 8.95 Bcf per day of production by 2005.'"


      In 2005 CERA "now finds that 'The North American natural gas market is set for the
      longest period of sustained high prices in its history, even adjusting for
      inflation. Disappointing drilling results ... have caused CERA to revise the
      outlook for North American supply downward ... The downward revisions
      represent additional disappointing supply news, painting a more constrained
      picture for continental supply. Gas production in the United States (excluding
      Alaska) now appears to be in permanent decline, and modest gains in
      Canadian supply will not overcome the US downturn.'"


      For all the thoughful, deeply informed people who have dismissed peak oil with the claim that "the stupid enviros can never get it right, Club of Rome, blah blah blah...", I strongly suggest looking for the beam in your own eye before complaining about the mote in ours.

      Peak oil theory is based on a very simple idea: the best first order measure of future oil supply using any technology at any price is the amount of oil still in the ground, and that amount can be estimated based on the amount already extracted. If this theory is true, then we expect the current production rate (P) divided by the cummulative production (Q) to be a straight line when plotted against the cummulative production.

      It is an undisputed although often ignored fact P/Q vs Q is a straight line to a good approximation over the past fifty years, both in the continental United States and worldwide. It does not deviate in war or peace, in recession or oil crisis, by more than a small amount. The deviations are significant, but the undoubted fact remains that to first order we have an exceptionally good model for world oil production that is consistent with the past half century of extraction data.

      If you want to deny peak oil, you have to claim either:

      a) There is some other factor that dominates the first-order term in world oil production

      or

      b) The higher-order terms are at some point going to dominate.

      Of the two, the latter is clearly the only really plausible move, and it is not really denying peak oil but rather accepting that economies will adapt to the very real fact of peak oil.

      Oil sands, coal derviatives and non-geologic sources may both become significant factors at some future price with some additional technologies. My own favourite is algal biodeisel, which seems like just about the perfect source of liquid fuels, as it is essentially solar->liquid hydrocarbon conversion at very high efficiency. But there is very little investment going into it for some reason.
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:02PM (#16857640)
    While details about when vary between different predictions, the theory of peak oil (and it applies to peak X where X is any extracted, non-renewable resource) is simply that at some point a maximum rate of production will be reached and after that never exceeded. (And, as a common corollary, providing there are no adequate substitutes, that increases in demand after that point will lead to extreme increases in price in the long term rather than increases in quantity consumed, as the rate of production is a long-term limit on the rate of consumption.)

    This report claims that after 24 years, an extraction plateau will be reached which will never be exceeded.

    This reports idea is slightly different from that suggested by peak oil in that the "peak" in peak oil refers to the idea that production will actually fall at some rate, while this report suggests a plateau, but that doesn't really change the fundamental dynamic is that increasing demand for energy and other products of the oil industry (plastics, etc.) cannot, whether with a peak or a plateau (which is merely the "best-case" limit of a peak) be met with increased production, but instead higher prices.

    While it certainly diverges sharply from the timeframe predictions of many peak oil theorists, it fundamentally confirms that principal problem envisioned by peak oil: a production limit that will be reached in a fairly short time.

    (Of course, since the supply of oil is finite, unless the rate of extraction is lower than the rate at which geological processes create oil, it is clearly impossible for a plateau to hold in the longest term, so it seems unlikely that any "plateau" will be a long-term state rather than merely a transitional period before a decline.)

  • by Aging_Newbie (16932) * on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:26PM (#16858112)
    I will believe this when I hear that the oil companies have built enough new refinery capacity to process all this oil for the next 14 years. Let them put their money where their mouth is. If the oil companies actually believed that peak oil were not the case, they would be building capacity so they could sell all that they could pump. Instead, we hear about limited refinery capacity. Believe me, a refinery can make lots of money if there is lots of crude feeding it. I hope they reveal all the facts behind their assertions in a traceable form since available capacity in oil fields is always held pretty close by the companies that own them. It sounds to me like propaganda since the US finally has reacted to the price shocks that precede peak oil and if we give up SUVs etc. it could really rain on the oil company parade. There is a lot of money to be made by the current glut/shortage mentality. Let the glut make people insensitive to the cost of their actions and then collect lots of money with a shortage from the inflexible deamand that results. Also, read another view [theoildrum.com] which challenges some of their assumptions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The lack of new refineries has nothing to do with peak oil or a bunch of oil companies conspiring to rip you off. Instead, it has everything to do with the fact that, thanks to environmentalists (specifically, their lawyers) and government regulation, it's been nearly impossible to get this sort of thing approved in the last few decades. Oh well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DerekLyons (302214)

      I will believe this when I hear that the oil companies have built enough new refinery capacity to process all this oil for the next 14 years. Let them put their money where their mouth is. If the oil companies actually believed that peak oil were not the case, they would be building capacity so they could sell all that they could pump.

      If an oil company did this - I'd think they'd gone stark frigging insane.

      Why?

      Because refineries are horribly capital intensive - it takes decades (under the b

  • by Jerry (6400) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:43PM (#16858456)
    at the height of the Arab oil embargo, exclaimed that there was "no energy shortage" and said that "at the current rate of consumption we have 600 years of oil left."

    Fifteen years later, during the 1987 oil crisis, they ran a similar ad but this one said "at the current rate of consumption we have 200 years of oil left".

    Amazing. In 15 years we lost 400 years worth of oil!!!

    Both statements were right, of course, but what the oil companies were COUNTING on was that most folks would NOT understand that "at the current rate" doesn't mean that the rate wouldn't INCREASE. It seems that most folks STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND.

    Now, we have politicians running for office with the promise that they will "replace oil fields with corn fields". To make matters worse, the US government is subsidizing corporations who make and run Ethanol plants, which immediately begs the question "If Ethanol is capable self-sustaining energy production sufficient to replace oil, why does it need subsidies?"

    Independent studies by academic agricultural and environmental experts report that Ethanol requires an input of 54,725 BTU more for each gallon produced than you'd get by burning it. On the other hand, Ethanol industry sponsored studies claim Ethanol has a net energy of 17,058 BTU per gallon. Whose right?

    Let's look at the problem in another way. Assuming pro-Ethanol groups are correct, how much Corn will it take to replace gasoline as a source of energy?

    From http://www.farmdoc.uiuc.edu/marketing/grainoutlook /html/012306/012306.html [uiuc.edu] we have the following facts:
    1) The USDA's January estimate of the size of the 2005 U.S. Corn crop came in at 11.112 billion bushels.
    2) Planted acreage of Corn in the U.S. in 2005 totaled 81.759 million acres, with a calculated yield of 135.9 bu/acre.

    From Ethanol industry sources we find that the more efficient Ethanol plants can generate 2.68 gallons of Ethanol from each bushel of Corn. Therefore, 11.112 billion bushels of Corn can supply 30 billion gallons of Ethanol.

    A fact of chemistry that economic theory cannot change is that Ethanol supplies 76,000 BTU/gallon and gasoline supplies 120,000 BTU/gallon. In other words, it takes 1.5789 gallons of Ethanol to replace the energy in 1 gallon of gasoline. That COULD mean that 30 billion gallons of Ethanol will replace 19 billions gallons of gasoline. But, in reality, Ethanol produced from Corn replaces even less. From a pro-Ethanol website, http://www.ethanol-gec.org/corn_eth.htm#concl [ethanol-gec.org]:
    "We conclude that the NEV of corn ethanol is positive when fertilizers are produced by modern processing plants, corn is converted in modern ethanol facilities, farmers achieve normal corn yields, and energy credits are allocated to coproducts. Our NEV estimate of 16,193 Btu/gal can be considered conservative, since it was derived using the replacement method for valuing coproducts, and it does not include energy credits for plants that sell carbon dioxide. Corn ethanol is energy efficient, as indicated by an energy ratio of 1.24, that is, for every Btu dedicated to producing ethanol, there is a 24-percent energy gain. Moreover, producing ethanol from domestic corn stocks achieves a net gain in a more desirable form of energy. Ethanol production utilizes abundant domestic energy supplies of coal and natural gas to convert corn into a premium liquid fuel that can replace petroleum imports by a factor of 7 to 1."

    That "7 to 1" is 7 gallons of Ethanol are needed to replace 1 gallons of gasoline! Here is how it is figured: about 58,942 BTUs must be supplied from external energy sources for each gallon of Ethanol produced. To be self-sufficient Ethanol must return that energy, leaving only 17,058 BTU/gal available as excess energy. Or, dividing 120,000 by 17,058 shows that it will take 7.0348 gallons of Ethanol to replace eac
  • by AmazingRuss (555076) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:49PM (#16858576)
    Looking at that chart, the only difference I can see between their line and the one they are "debunking" is that their line wobbles for a while before the downtrend is clear.

    Both theories look equally valid, as presented, and both have pretty much the same implications, with a 20 year time difference. Short term thinkers are the only ones that will be impressed by this.
  • by SlideGuitar (445691) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:51PM (#16858622)
    http://www.energybulletin.net/ [energybulletin.net] and in particular: http://www.energybulletin.net/22442.html [energybulletin.net]

    http://www.theoildrum.com/ [theoildrum.com] and in particular: http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/11/14/18285/6 47 [theoildrum.com]

    Whether we will ever exceed current production levels is an entirely open and empirical question. Even if we do, that doesn't prove that "Peak Oil" is "wrong"... just that we haven't hit it yet. The evidence I read suggests we're approaching the top.

    Read this too:

    http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/11/2/204936/5 16 [theoildrum.com]

    http://www.energybulletin.net/22213.html [energybulletin.net]

  • by mckyj57 (116386) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:56PM (#16858734)
    Check out http://peakoildebunked.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] -- he has hundreds of articles that little by little debunk Peak Oil scare theorists. He makes an excellent case, and when I had a moment's concern about peak oil (for my daughter), I saw that and was greatly reassured.
  • by gordona (121157) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @03:58PM (#16858770) Homepage
    There are perhaps a couple of things to consider about peak oil that may not have been considered. One is that at any given price point, there will be a peak in oil availability. As the price of oil goes up, the oil that is more expensive to obtain becomes more economical, such as oil from oil shale or heavy crude. However, that oil is much more difficult to produce and the production of that oil is probably not at the same rate as for the lighter crude that is easier to produce. Thus the peak for oil production is different than the peak for oil availability. One may peak while the other may not. The market factors may inhibit the production of the more expensive oil because fewer people may be willing to pay for it. In addition, other forms of energy will become more economical for R&D as the price of oil rises which may also inhibit the production of that oil. There are also other factors such as a producer wilfully withholding production to keep the price up. What is very interesting to me here is that with the high price point of oil, Venezuela's reserves of heavy crude is probably the largest in the world making them the de facto leaders of OPEC, something tp which the Saudi's and the US are rather resistant.
  • by jay si (1027770) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @04:34PM (#16859456)
    I am loathe to draw conclusions fom a blurb about a report, but three things strike me: 1. The blurb stipulates "at current levels of consumption." And i feel pretty good that global population will stabilize and that India and China will immediately cease industrializing. Because otherwise, "current consumption levels" become sort of irrelevant. 2. Even in this scenario, we're hearing that we have 24 years before production plateaus, and then 100-odd years before there's a problem. So really, we're really just quibbling about dates, not the phenomenon itself. 3. With regard to fossil fuel, good to remember that no one is making any new dinosaurs.

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