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Peak oil, myth or reality?

  1. Nov 19, 2004 #1
    I have in other threads assumed that the pessimists are correct and that peak oil is happening this decade. Do anyone have more information if this is correct? Can alternatives like tar sands, oil shale or abiogenic oil be dismissed?

    The peak-oil-this-decade theory is advocated here:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 19, 2004 #2
    Peak oil is a myth 100%.Peak oil is only true when you apply it to the refining capacity, otherwise there is a plenty of oil in the ground to go for the next 1000 years.
  4. Nov 19, 2004 #3
    On the one hand, I'm pretty suspicious of the peak oil this decade idea.

    On the other, I have no doubt in my mind that the statement "we have plenty of oil to go around for 1000 years" has absolutely no logical backing. There is no reasonable way to predict the world's oil consuption 100 years from now, much less 900. There is very little reason to believe predictions of aquireable oil 100 years from now are accurate, much less 900. To suggest that a case can be made one way or another over the next 1000 years is obviously indefensible.

    Like Aquamarine, I'd love to see some journal articles on this subject.
  5. Nov 19, 2004 #4


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    I think it hard to estimate how much is left and the peak is probably no reached yet. However, the peek for easily and cheap oil resource might of been reached. By cheap and easy, I am taking about the "drill a hole and extract" mining.

    Tar sands are expensive and require of several process before the oil is equivalent to the tradional oil source.

    Also, one of the current Tar sand extraction has a major problem, bacterial contamination that degredades oils and decrease the quality of the oil.

    Offshore oil mining is also costly and has great risk associated to it.

    Also we have to look at our consumption of oil. The western world is using a lot of oil and several developing countries, with a larger population, will at some point reach the same status as developed countries. Our consumption will increase with time.

    Also the other question is "Is oil a renewable or non-renewable resource?".

  6. Nov 19, 2004 #5
    I've read a lot about global warming, etc and have never seen anyone (scientists, oil execs, etc) claim the known accessable oil will last much beyond another century. just last night i saw some one discussing a book claiming the peak will be in the next two or three decades (sorry, i can't remember the title).
    i also heard recently, when the oil prices topped out a couple weeks ago, that alberta oil sands were being harvested at a much greater rate because the spike in price had made it profitable. just to give you an idea of how accessible that sort of oil-laden substance may be.
  7. Dec 4, 2004 #6
    Oil shale was tried in Colorado back in the 80s and it was a failure. Lower prices might have had some effect but Mostly I hear that these other processes are not worth while unless the price is much higher. I consider high priced oil to be unusable.
    I heard several sources place peak oil at around 2000 give or take a few years. On that curve I consider the place where demand overtakes supply to be a more important turning point because there the price rises steeply. This "inflection point" will precede peak oil.

    Another indication possibly more relevant than peak oil is peak (world wide) per capita oil which occurred I believe about twenty years ago. This measure is an indication of whether the rest of the world will ever match our living standard. Gains in efficiency have affected this pessimistic result slightly, however the curve is nearly monotonic downward.
  8. Dec 14, 2004 #7


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    In a way, we've already reached "Peak Oil". Per capita oil production plateaued in 1973 and peaked in 1979. Demand in some countries, like China is increasing wildly. If each Chinese citizen consumed the amount of Oil as each American, then China alone would consume all of the current production of the world's oil suppliers.
  9. Dec 14, 2004 #8


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    Late this summer some oil expert was interviewed on the news. He claimed that oil "cannot" go above $75/bbl because at that price oil shale production would kick in and keep the price from rising higher.
  10. Dec 16, 2004 #9

    The world demand for oil (growth curve) crossed the world production of oil (declining curve) in late 2001. The price will continue to go up (like the stock market - not everyday, but year by year) as it has since then. It should be at least $5/gal in 2008. Economically, the slippery slope starts there. An increase of more than 10 fold in new refineries is required, and simply just not going to happen (there are 6 worldwide slated for construction in the next year or so). Major upgrades and modifications are neccessary for alternate extractions (shale, etc.). Most importantly, the aging wells that have been pumping for decades are (for example) 1/2 empty or more. The work to pump this remaining, thicker, drier oil up from ever increasing depths is exponentially harder to do (& requires retooling); this will continue the downward trend in production. Combined with the always increasing world demand (China is just warming up), and Peak Oil is very real.

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2004
  11. Dec 16, 2004 #10
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