NationStates Jolt Archive

Any Peak-Oil Nuts Out There?

16-10-2005, 19:13
As if the General Forums weren't looked down upon enough, I decided to let this cat out of the bag.

Peak Oil.

For those not familiar with it, the idea is thus:

Drilling of any oil field can be charted as a bell curve, with initial drilling producing very little oil...then more as more pumps are added...drilling peaking when the field is half-drained...and finally falling as it takes more and more energy to get the last drops out.

Individual national and international (organizations like OPEC) fields can be shown to have the same sort of bell curve, as can resources like Coal and Natural Gas.

The craze over peak oil presents several facts.

1: Discoveries of new oil fields have become fewer and fewer over the last few decades, and those few new fields that have been discovered are smaller.

2: Existing fields are reaching their peak.

3: World oil demand is increasing, not just because of developed nations like the US and Europe, but also due to developing nations like China and India.

The predictions are thus:

--Worldwide oil will peak in the next 5-10 years, at which time supply will dwindle as demand continues to increase.

--OPEC-member nation oil will peak within the next 10-20 years, at which time it too will dwindle.

--Natural Gas and Coal will peak not too many years/decades after.

A good source of this information can be found here:

An alarmist source (which I do NOT prefer) can be found here:

Regardless of the "end of the world" tone of the second article, the effect that rapidly inflating oil prices due to increased demand and lowering availability will have on farming, manufacturing, transportation (including that of agricultural and manufactured products), heating and electricity, tourism, and other industries is undeniable.

I've little doubt many will use this as proof the Bush administration led us to war with Iraq over oil, in doing so, lets not forget President Clinton, nor the several other nations around the world involved in oil disputes. This is a matter easily viewed from the Realist please, no Liberal/Conservitave bashing in here. There are enough other threads for that.

This thread is for rational discussion of the potential effects of "peak oil," possible alternatives, and what YOU think we might do as this event plays itself out.

LAST NOTE: I found the following website by a Californian town to be quite reasonable in assessment of the situation and possible solutions. I urge everyone to take a look, especially at the "Recommendations towards Energy Independence for the City of Willits and Surrounding Community" found on that website (second link here).
Desperate Measures
16-10-2005, 19:19
I think it's time for me to buy this car.
I'm coming for you Lord Humungus!
16-10-2005, 19:19
Well, hopefully by the time the world implexplodes because of lack of oil, we will have switched over to some sort of ethanol/hydrogren/whatever fuel.
Of course, it seems that the gas companies want to drag everybody down with them, I imagine they would blow up the first hydrogen car if they could :P
Tactical Grace
16-10-2005, 19:26
You want to have a constructive discussion, and you start off my calling one seide of the debate 'nuts'? :(
16-10-2005, 19:41
Dontgonearthere, actually, I'd imagine it is the oil companies who own many of the "green" cars and are doing much of the research. Afterall, if you were a super-profitable multi-national company about to run out of black gold, wouldn't you want a future too?

As for alternatives: The problem with hydrogen is that it takes electricity to make it, with coal and gas running out too, we'd need a LOT more nuclear reactors (in which case, we'd quickly start running out of uranium too). Not to mention Hydrogen has it's own drawbacks. Ethonal and biodeisal are of potential help, but as explained in the sources, need a lot of cropland. They still wouldn't produce enough fuel to replace oil (in the end, they are just solar, using photosynthesis instead of photovoltaic cells).

Of course, something is better then nothing, no? I do encourage you to read the websites (long as they are), especially the Willits webpage. Quite interesting.

You want to have a constructive discussion, and you start off my calling one seide of the debate 'nuts'? :(

Yes, nuts, all in light humor of course. :)

Unless your one of the "ITS THE END OF THE WORLD" fanatics, and we all saw how dissappoined they were when the second comming...well...didn't come in 2000, and the millenium bug didn't end power forever resulting in mass riots and rampant plague.

Somehow, I don't think your that type. So yes, "Nut," please join us in a constructive discussion. :) [[EDIT: That lighthearted constructive discussion[/i]]]
16-10-2005, 19:42
Wasn't there something about the French testing a fusion reactor some time ago? Should eleminate the need for power. And when the american goverment gets over their crazy hate of hemp we can get plastic and luberciants from there.
hhmmmmm... I've pinned my hopes on the French and Americans working together. Maybe time for a re-think..
16-10-2005, 19:43
If peak oil is true, while inconvenient, it is also the solution to global warming. Done and done.
16-10-2005, 19:59
I can't argue that Lacadaemon. It certainly would put a stop to global warming (assuming it is actually a problem).

DrukenDove. Ahh, I believe what you are refering to is actually a world project, led by the Europeans (Japan and Canada are involved). Last I heard, the US pulled out sometime before the scientists on the project came up with the idea that "bigger is better." That is, a bigger reactor should do the trick.

The funding the US pulled was worth about half the project, so everyone else was scampering to dredge up some funds to try the bigger burner.

Of course, that was all several years ago. I've no idea where the project is now (and don't have a link to it on my new computer). You might try an internet search. Let us know if you find anything.
Zero Six Three
16-10-2005, 20:03

there you go.
16-10-2005, 20:10

there you go.

To be ready for 2016. When's peak oil meant to hit?
16-10-2005, 20:29
To be ready for 2016. When's peak oil meant to hit?

Well, likely before 2016...or at least the proven reserves should peek by then. But remember, this is the top of a bellcurve, not the edge of a cliff. It's not like you wake up one day and oil is just starts growing more and more expensive.

The expense should start diving people off the roads (sorry, bad pun!), but that'll increase prices of transported goods too (like foods). Some people say we'll use up all useful oil by 2030. I guess thats possible given increased demand, but I don't care to speculate on that being the case.

Estimating near-term oil reserves is one thing, estimating far-off demand and world politics is something else altoghether. I donno about you, but I left my crystal ball at home.