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RobertPaulson

Peak Oil - Bull or Bear?

Peak Oil - Bull or Bear?  

104 members have voted

  1. 1. Peak Oil - Overhyped alarmism

    • I'm a Peak Oil bull. It's over-hyped alarmism
      5
    • I'm a Peak Oil bear. This has the potential to take down our civilisation
      55
    • Undecided. It will hurt a but, but ultimately technology will resolve the issue
      34
    • Undecided. I don't really know much about it, thats why I am looking around this board
      10


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The strapline is supposed to read "Peak Oil - Where do you stand", rather than "Peak Oil - Overhyped alarmism" ;) which was the first choice on the poll..

 

I thought it would be a (vaguely) good idea to see where people stand on this issue and the likely mix of the board, although I can guess that most will be 'bears'..

 

Hopefully any discussion around peak oil, likelyhood, timing, implications etc. will be a good deal more measured than some on HPC and we will get a few with anti-peak oil views that stick around to make the debates more interesting.

 

For my 2p worth, I think peak oil and the coming energy crisis will be the defining issue of the next half century, most likely resulting in large or full scale resource wars and a radically different world once played out.

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Guest Justice

GW-Bush want the price of Oil to go up becuse he makes even more money from his Saudi Royal connections.

 

Take away petradolars and americia is done for

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I voted for "I'm a Peak Oil bear. This has the potential to take down our civilisation", simply because it is true. Sooner or later, the oil runs out, and I'm siding on sooner because of the lack of major finds and the fact that you can't really trust the "reserves" figures given by any of the major oil producing nations. Alternatives need to be found quickly to make this a peaceful transition.

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Well I voted "I don't know" not because I don't think it has the potential to bring down civilisation, but because I am not convinced it is entirely technology that will solve the situation. I still believe that their has to be an end to madness before sanity prevails. The crazy lack of consciousness over consuming has to have something to do with it. Either reduce consumption or birdflu might do it for us!

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"I'm a Peak Oil bear. This has the potential to take down our civilisation"

 

I voted this, but it exaggerates my view.

I think Peak Oil will change our economy substantially, and the way we use energy. I expect peopel to drive less, drive smaller cars, with many ditching them altogether, and eventually we may organise more of our cities around public transport.

 

That may actually be a good thing in many ways, because we have surrendered troo much space, and too mcuh importance in our lives to automobiles. IMO, communities would provide better quality of life, if they were organised around pedestrians and street life. How many of you can think of a single tourist attraction that you would like to visit again which has automobiles at its core. Areas where pedestrians rather than cars are in control, are the areas most of us want to be.

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a 'don't know' here, as I don't have much background on this.

 

Stock conservation will help, but will only delay the inevitable. This is the US army's take:

 

http://www.energybulletin.net/13737.html

 

The interesting/scary part is:

The Army needs to present its perspective to higher authorities and be prepared to proceed regardless of the national measures that are taken.

 

Another point is that oil isn't used just for energy. Plastics, synthetic fibres, detergents, synthetic vitamins, cosmetics and paint are all oil based. There must be scope for recycling existing products, or new ways of synthesizing them, but all will certainly require net input of energy. Plastic carrier bags to become a thing of the past?

 

TLM

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Y.

haha.

Do we really need that here? I think not.

But there seems to be something about the web that encourages verbal battles.

I just hope we can keep it on a friendly, and collegial basis here

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Am keen to see if oil bears and oil bulls scrap it out on here as vehemently as they do on HPC.

 

No, I dont think there's any chance of that. When it comes to peak oil it will (or wont) affect almost all of us in the same way. It'd be a fair question 20 years in the future though if millions have had the chance to fill 1000 gallon tanks with petrol.

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It seems to me that as oil gets more expensive then there will be money to be made out of alternative energy sources. So they will be developed. It hasn't happened a lot to date because oil has been readily available and hasn't cost enough to make a business out of alternatives - or at least enough of one. This will change going forward and there may be some short term economic fallout as the adjustment is made. I don't think oil running out will bring our western civilisation crashing down however, we'll just use something else or change our behaviour as appropriate.

 

Society may change along the way. Working from home rather than commuting may well become the norm for office workers. Commuting becoming too expensive will just change the way we do things for example. The work and hence the economic activity will still continue.

 

If travel becomes too expensive we'll just do less of it, and spend more time in our local communites. This was normal a 100 years ago.

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No, I dont think there's any chance of that. When it comes to peak oil it will (or wont) affect almost all of us in the same way. It'd be a fair question 20 years in the future though if millions have had the chance to fill 1000 gallon tanks with petrol.

 

I think increases in energy prices will have the effects of extremely regressive taxation. As with house prices, the least well off will be hurt the most.

 

I don't think the debate here will be so bitter because there is not the same kind of inter-generational equity issue. Our current wasteful consumption of fossil fuels deprives future generations of a valuable resource but price increases impact on every age group.

 

 

I voted bear as usual :ph34r:

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"I don't think the debate here will be so bitter because there is not the same kind of inter-generational equity issue"

 

An interesting point.

Also less devisive because an opinion about the property market is often taken as a threat by someone who holds an opposite opinion. In reality, I dont think it is the case, but Bulls seem to feel threatened when the Bear case is articulated- as if it could matter- but does it?

 

I don't think that people who think there is NO PEAK OIL crisis feel particularly threatened by those sho disagree. At least not yet. When a political agenda builds around this view, as it may do, that may changed

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How many of you can think of a single tourist attraction that you would like to visit again which has automobiles at its core.

 

What about the big auto museum in Munich? I've never been, but I've heard it's quite something. There is also the National Museum at Beaulieu in the New Forest, very well worth the trip. I'm not a fan of mass mobility either, but do like cars of before about 1980. After that they became too globalised and boring. Nowadays they are all Volvos, or worse.

 

Peak Oil should not take down our civilization, but I suspect it will knock the West off the top slot over the next thirty years. US and UK will sink into financial and banking crises. Our individualistic, undisciplined cultures are not compatible with the collective restraint and national focus/organisation that will be needed to deal with shortages. The basic problem is that the masses are absolutely clueless and the executives don't have the courage to admit the issue or the quality to lead us through it.

 

Already US drivers are getting violent at gas stations. Look at the fuel tax protests in this country. That's a foretaste of what is coming. Cars are such cherished fetish objects that people will feel degraded when they can't use them. That will be dangerous.

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I like Old cars.

 

And internal combustion cars themselves,

may only be found in a museum in 20 years time

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Already US drivers are getting violent at gas stations. Look at the fuel tax protests in this country. That's a foretaste of what is coming. Cars are such cherished fetish objects that people will feel degraded when they can't use them. That will be dangerous.

 

 

I would not want to tempt fate, but it is a surprise that so far there has been no repeat of the fuel tax protests of 2000, despite the rise in prices at the pump. Can't be long in coming if the oil price stays this high or goes further. £1($1.80) a litre, can't imagine US drivers paying that, even with a devalued dollar.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4221296.stm

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I would not want to tempt fate, but it is a surprise that so far there has been no repeat of the fuel tax protests of 2000, despite the rise in prices at the pump. Can't be long in coming if the oil price stays this high or goes further. £1($1.80) a litre, can't imagine US drivers paying that, even with a devalued dollar.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4221296.stm

 

I was also wondering why we hadn't had a reprise of these demonstrations. The only reason that I came up with is that those that can genuinely afford it will just keep on paying. I do quite low mileage, so petrol prices at the pump could double from what they are now without really worrying me unduly, (affects on CPI could obviously be another matter, though).

 

However, it's possible that those individuals, that might protest may be so up to their eyeballs in debt, anyway, that any fuel increase is just rolled up into their current new loan/overdraft/MEW/credit card, and is just absorbed, unless all these energy rises hit a critical level, or IRs are hiked.

 

It seems that anyone these days can afford pretty much anything if they are prepared to sell their souls and borrow beyond their limit. A bank credit squeeze will affect this, but will probably hurt people in other ways (can't use one loan to pay off another, etc), before they even notice the fuel inflation. This is why IMO, that even a small IR hike could have quite a devastating impact. Anyone else got any views on this?

 

TLM

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I hate cars and wish I didn't have to own one, but I live in a rural area, and wouldn't want to live in the city. Society is built around everyone using a car so it is very hard not to. I am really looking forward to things changing so I can ditch the car.

 

The other thing I am suprised no one has mentioned is the implications for food production. I believe that ammonia, extracted from oil, is extensively used as fertilizer on crops to increase production. As the price of oil goes up, so will the price of food, and when it runs out, production will drop. This is especially worrying as the global population is still rising.

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The other thing I am suprised no one has mentioned is the implications for food production. I believe that ammonia, extracted from oil, is extensively used as fertilizer on crops to increase production.

 

Surely there's got to be better ways of producing ammonia than from oil. It's a natural waste product.

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Ok i was wrong the ammonia is from natural gas not oil. See here

 

This article also makes the point that there are other ways of obtaining ammonia, so this isn't really such as big issue as some people make out. I think there could still some cost implications though.

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Ok i was wrong the ammonia is from natural gas not oil. See here

 

This article also makes the point that there are other ways of obtaining ammonia, so this isn't really such as big issue as some people make out. I think there could still some cost implications though.

 

It's the cost implications that are the point. Peak Oil does not mean we run out of oil, it means we have to pay more and more yet we will slowly get less and less in return.

 

It's a bit like riding a bicycle. Going downhill with the wind behind you you are laughing and you can carry a couple of passengers no problem, but when the road turns up and the wind swings against you then no matter how hard you work you can't keep up the pace you had. You have to sling off the passengers and just to keep moving at all you really have to sweat.

 

It is surprisingly difficult to get this point across to a society conditioned to believe that oil is either cheap and plentiful or else it is "running out". We will never run out of oil, but the days of downhill and tailwinds do appear to be over. The possibility of die-off comes about not because there is not enough to go around, but because under threat societies will close in on themselves and act with blind selfishness. Look at the world today - there is more than enough of everything to go around to satisfy basic needs but nonetheless 80% of humanity leads a hard life utterly alien to the 20% who live within the comfort zone created by knowledge and cheap energy.

 

I have a suspicion that knowledge and cheap energy go hand in hand. The cheaper energy is, the more complex a society can be, the greater the sophistication of products and experiences and hence the higher the educational aspiration. But if energy gets expensive, then the division of labour unwinds and there is a reduction in sophistication and hence a reduction in knowledge. How many people in the world could build a PC from basic materials? Nobody can, because the PC you are using is the product of effort and knowledge by thousands of strangers who know nothing of each other and each contributes but one page of a very thick book. Provided the system holds together, all well and good, but should there be major disruptions, this could lead to knowledge disconnects that accumulate to a decline in technical competence.

 

Or, to put it another way, there is a very great amount of informal knowledge in the world that exists only because of the habit of people going to work each day in specialisms and using it. But if their work was interrupted for any length of time, that habit of knowledge would disappear, because people would forget, and so little of it is written down.

 

The dangers of Peak Oil are very subtle, but extend so deep into our society that in fact the chronic impact could be profound.

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There are some interesting production charts posted on this new thread at PeakOil.com:

 

http://www.peakoil.com/fortopic20921-0.html

 

Basically these are IEA data. They show that global production has not changed in the last couple of years and that there is a "rolling over the top" tendency to the trend. 2007 would see a fall in production if the trend continues.

 

On the other hand, the CEO of TOTAL has predicted PO not until about 2020 or even later if global demand can be restrained.

 

Make your own mind up. I have come to follow this principle: that whatever the experts say, no matter how highly qualified they appear to be, it's what actually happens that counts. I'd say the message in the actual data is disturbing, to put it mildly. Equally, it could just be a dip or shelf whilst new projects are brought on line.

 

We shall just have to wait and see.

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This is from Money Morning. They better find those new projects fast.

 

BP090606.gif

 

The International Energy Agency projects global demand for crude oil will reach 121 million barrels a day by 2030. That's a 47.5% increase from today's level. But even if such a level of production could be reached, it would only be at much higher prices.

 

There is virtually no spare capacity in global oil production as it is. Now Chinese demand is forecast to double, while US demand grows a further 25%. With demand already so close to exceeding supply, would you bet a 4x4 jeep on oil trading at $70 per barrel 25 years from now?

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We're clearly at one of those points in history where we extrapolate ahead and our vision does not make sense. The world will never produce 120 mb/d of oil, that much has been made clear by analysts and is clear enough to even one with superficial knowledge of the industry.

 

I am reminded of Victorians who projected that London would be buried under so many feet of horse manure by 1920 if then current traffic increases were to happen. We're in the same sort of position now, but none of us can figure how our consumer lifestyle can spread to billions more people.

 

Obviously it can't. The energy crisis is primarily political rather than technical. There would be more than enough fossil fuels IF WE USED THEM EFFECTIVELY. The current model of society is consumer anarchy, with governments having little real authority to control the indulgent whims of the fatted masses. This is why there is so much waste. If you want to kill a child pedestrian, our society has little real objection provided a motor car is used. I would suggest that the innovation will be a change to some kind of authoritarian rule that constrains indulgence. This has to be the case for reasons that go beyond oil depletion. We can't build all the airports to satisfy the demand for budget holidays, and we can't build all the roads to satisfy how much the kids want to drive.

 

Maybe people will rediscover how useful the bicycle + train or bus combination can be. Or they will accept driving quite small and efficient cars (which would be a lot more fun than current "safe" cars anyway). There is no magic energy solution to move on to.

 

Maybe we are dumber than yeast....

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No6,

Those are huge rates of growth.

If the oil does materialise what will fill its place? Coal? Uranium? Something new?

 

Or will we need to learn to live with much less energy?

 

- -

 

SOME BELIEVE in Magic and/or Hidden Reserves

 

(this is from a GEI advert):

There are 71 billion barrels of oil waiting to be discovered in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico... There are another 85 billion barrels off the coast of West Africa... And the waters that surround the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea could hold as many as 300 billion barrels... But the greatest secret of all is how much oil lies – untapped – beneath U.S. soil. You'll be amazed when you see the numbers.

 

Even better, I want to show you which companies are drilling this oil – so you can get there first. It's all there in my free report, The Oil Story No One's Telling.

 

@: http://www.dailywealth.com/signups/SDW_oil...CFScJFQod2mY07w

 

-goes on, with some intriguing comments-

 

In recent weeks, for example, DailyWealth readers learned:

 

+ Why natural gas is much cheaper than oil right now... and the best stock to play it.

 

+ Why timber has been the best-performing asset of the past 40 years... and how ordinary people are taking advantage of timber investments right now.

 

+ Where to find the best CD rates in the entire world, paying over 8%.

 

+ A unique way to own gold and silver that could double your money in the next few years.

 

Why water might be one of the best investments for the next decade, and the best way to make an investment right now.

 

MAYBE I will have a look one day

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