What Happened to the Great 2005 Peak Oil Collapse?
The rapid growth in North American oil production leading to the global oil glut, has dominated public concerns about oil for the past few years. Oil surpluses are likely to continue to dominate oil markets through next year — according to the IEAs latest forecast — and likely for many years to come.
Global demand growth is slowing at a faster pace than the group initially predicted. The IEA left its forecast for demand growth for 2017 unchanged from its prediction in June at 1.2 million barrels per day, but cut its forecast for 2016 consumption growth to 1.3 million bpd, from 1.4 million. __ Reuters
US President Obama has unwisely boosted US government spending through the ceiling while at the same time promoting anti-business and anti-energy policies. These counter-productive policies and regulations have weighed heavily on the US and global economies for eight years now. A prolonged global recession looms, if new directions in US leadership fail to appear. Deep economic doldrums are reflected in lower demand for commodities — including oil.
During a global oil glut, oil companies tend to cut exploration budgets to improve profits. Such moves reflect the cyclic, boom-bust nature of oil markets for the past 100 + years. At this time, oil gluts exist not only in North American oil fields, but in Iran, Iraq, Angola, Nigeria, and even Mexico — which has suffered severe infrastructure underinvestment for decades.
In fact, with new infrastructure we could easily see significant up-production from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and producers across MENA, Central Asia, black Africa, and parts of Latin America — in conventional oil alone. If you want “new discoveries” you may have to wait until the long-term glut from old and very old discoveries plays out. That is the economic nature of the oil game.
Unconventional Hydrocarbons are a Whole New Game
Global unconventional oil & gas reserves have barely been tapped — much less delineated. Just as global reserves for conventional petroleum have tended upward over the past century and a half, global reserves for unconventional petroleum are set to skyrocket — once current oil gluts are worked through the economic system. This may take many years to accomplish.
Besides tight rock oil & gas, other unconventional hydrocarbon supplies include bitumens from oil sands and heavy oils, kerogens from oil shale rock, massive quantities of gas hydrates, and the promise of unlimited supplies of man-made hycrocarbons of all types — using nuclear reactor heat as the process driver.
Western governments have struggled under the heavy weight of suicidal green energy policies for well over a decade, and many — including Germany — are nearing the breaking point where low quality, unreliable, intermittent green energy can no longer meet the moment-to-moment life or death needs of a modern industrial economy. Such governments — including Obama’s US energy regime — have only themselves to blame for any catastrophes that result from the fatal mismatch between big wind and big solar, and modern power grids.
Nuclear power has been neglected due to political pressures from radical green leftists — leaving societies increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic power shortages and shutdowns. Such radical groups hope and long for a “great human dieoff” that results in the death of between 50% and 90% of all humans on the planet. What they are achieving instead, is growing human hardship — in both the developed world and in emerging worlds.
The economic problems of over-installation of big wind and big solar are just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Besides higher electricity costs to consumers and an increasingly unstable power grid, foolish green energy crusades are creating vast ugly and polluted wastelands of derelict wind and solar farms that are abandoned years before their purported expiration dates.
At least the dead turbines can no longer kill raptors, bats, and other flying creatures, and may even serve as nesting places for their former victim species.
At Tehachapi in hapless Kern County, north of Los Angeles, officials had no provision in law requiring developers to cover the future tear-down costs of the wind turbines. At first, that may not have seemed like a big deal. But the federal tax breaks soon dried up and the developers vanished, leaving behind thousands of rusty, cranking turbines standing in rows like soldiers on the windy plain outside Tehachapi.
Although green radical hacks will deny that such derelict eyesores exist, I have seen them with my own eyes. And so can you if you take the effort to explore a bit.
But the derelicts of the past are nothing to the derelicts that will result from the modern day heedless rush of desperation to build monstrous wind and solar farms across formerly pristine landscape. Who will pay for this travesty? Apparently no one, if the past is any guide.
It is up to the rest of us to keep track of who has done what in making the human world less livable, and the human future less abundant and expansive.
Peak Oil Is a Political Phenomenon and Always Will Be
As long as western governments are dominated by dysfunctional energy policies, there will be peak oil fanatics — even in long-lasting times of oil gluts. Because such people are mired in truisms such as “the world is finite with finite resources” they will remain incapable of looking to root human causes of shortages and abundances.
Intelligent and resourceful humans will not run short of energy. But North Korea – style bad government can certainly hobble, imprison, or kill productive and innovative humans to the point that they are unable to provide the resource infrastructure that modern societies need. Peak oil fanatics are of that breed of human who would promote or allow such a hobbling.
The resources are there — more than we can imagine. But we have to be able to get at them and convert them into usable form. Advanced nuclear power & heat are crucial to a cleaner, more abundant, and expansive human future. And as we have seen, nuclear process heat can convert cheaper hydrocarbons — such as coal, natural gas, gas hydrates, kerogens, bitumens, biomass etc. — into more valuable fuels, polymers, fertilisers, and other materials in high demand.
Peak oil fanaticism is but one form of defeatism or doomerism. It is a doomer club for lonely, aging alcoholics and depressives with nothing truly important to do with their time. Pity them if you must, but for the most part just ignore them. Other than an occasional reminder of their brittle obsolescence, that is the best attitude to take.
Crying Wolf about Oil Supply by Michael Lynch Michael Lynch was a peak oil debunker before peak oil debunking was cool.
Peak Oil Debunked blog archives
The Peak Oil Debunked blog covered the peak oil scene through the mid and late 2000s during the highest peak of frenzy. Irreverent, insightful, amusing.
“The biggest supporters of Peak Oil almost all are petroleum geologists; almost none of them are economists,” said Ronald Bailey, an author and science correspondent with Reason magazine who has written extensively on climate and energy. “They really don’t understand markets.”
…. human ingenuity in form of fracking and other innovations proved again that extent of resources is determined by technology and markets not just the accumulation of stuff in the ground.
Much more at the Google-frozen website, Al Fin Energy