Originally posted by Stratrf_Rus
The first national discussion about Energy crisis was in South Carolina somewhere around 1870, the contents of the discussion was mostly about Whale
Oil, but included Petroleum which at that time was understood to have a reserve of maybe ... 5 to 20 years.
Then it was projected oil would run out...unless more was found.
At their techonolgical levels, that is exactly what would have happened. However, since they became aware of how dire their cirumstance had become,
they pushed for technologies that would allow them to survive. They expanded on how to find and tap more reserves and how to use what they could
We're in the same boat today.
Peak Oil does not actually take into account the exploration business, though it says it does. Peak Oil merely looks at developed exploration as a
means to project actual exploration.
More exactly, peak oil looks at the feasability and energy conversion rates of tapping those potential un-found reserves as well as current production
For instance, exploration in the Rockies reveals a reserve of 1.5 Trillion barrels of Oil.
As I mentioned in this thread: www.abovetopsecret.com...
That "find" has been rendered just about useless at present by
the shear fact that it takes more energy to convert oil shale into usable oil than you get from the oil that you recover. Yes, it's possible to do
it, but it's grossly in-effciant and increases the production costs by atleast
50%. Currently, it's believed that it is impossible
recover oil shale without expending more energy than you get.
The problems of reserves and explorations is that reserves rarely exceed 20 years. In the metals industry, most metals have a global reserve of about
20 years. But we have mined these metals for thousands of years...the obvious answer is we simply keep finding more (expanding the reserves as we use
Oil is no different, except that in the 1930s - 50s we explored a region that had so much oil it blew the charts. It created a reserve of as much as
150 years. We've drilled it for 50 years now and there's a lot left to go in these Arab lands.
Whoa! Hold on there big guy.
Oil is much
different. Infact, your example is a total non-starter because you are compairing apples to firehydrants.
Metals compose a MUCH higher persentage of the big rock we live on than oil does.
Metals are not destroyed when we use them. Metal is recoverable via recycling and we've been doing that for a very long time.
Medivel Briton did
face "Peak Iron" during a time after the romans left and the chaos forced most mining opperations to close down. The sword
was overshadowed by the club simply because there wasn't enough metal around to make swords!
FYI, oil is made of organic matter that is concentrated and compressed over a long period of time. There is a finite period where organics of any type
have existed on this rock and it's nothing compaired to the geological age of the planet. This means that it is a provable limit to the amount of oil
that can possibly exist.
Because of that it was easy for anyone to over-look the fact that exploration still occurs and new reserves are found. Thus the developable and the
developing reserves became segregated.
Do you really think people haven't thought about this? Yes, there is definatly more oil yet to be found within our planet, but the question is "how
much of it is recoverable"? There's been in-depth studies into this and many resent oil find have been the outcome. Great news, right?
These finds are mostly the scraps of what's geologicly possible to be
found at recoverable depths. If the serious people thought there's lots
more easy oil to be found, why do you think they'd be at all interested in Oil Shale (which, as I mentioned, is hell to work with)?
Peak Oil claims we are running out of oil, merely we haven't developed many of the fields we've found (another has been found in the Gulf of
It's not about "running out" it's about "decreasing energy returns opposed to current consumption". I'll explain this in more detail below.
If Peak Oil theorests looked at actual total reserves (not merely developed ones) then they'd realize there's plenty of oil at our present
If more people really understood what peak oil is about, we'd likely have a panic on our hands. It's a complex issue that has been mis-understood
and minamalized so much that the real problems have become obscured.
As I said, peak oil is about diminishing energy returns in the face of current consumption. That sounds simple, but many people just don't "get
it". Let me attempt to paint an example:
Let's say you are thirsty and the only way you can get a drink is through a straw. You start with a short staw and it's no big deal, but the more
you drink the lower the level of your life giving water becomes. Eventually, your staw isn't long enough to reach the water anymore. No biggy, you
get a longer straw and all is good. The problem comes in when you get extreamly long straws. There is a point at which you simply can't expend enough
energy sucking on that straw before you die of thirst.
That's a very simplistic example and doesn't deal with many of the surrounding issues that are facing us, but it's a good start to help you
understand the real problem.
Some of the other obsticals that are facing us are non-obvious and no-one ever thinks about them (unless they are directly involved, ofcource).
It's a well known fact that the deeper you go, the more pressure is exerted. This means that the deeper you have to go for your oil, the denser it
is. That thick, sludgy oil is hard to suck up and you have to use more and more energy just to get it to "flow". Various technologies have been used
to help with this, but it all comes down to more energy used to bring up less oil.
Think about it. Those pumps have to be fueled by something
, right? You increase the amount of energy expended dramaticly when you need to send
as well as up.
Bellow a certain depth, oil changes from a liquid to a solid (incedently, this is how most precious gems are formed). You can't hope to extract solid
oil. It's hopeless. That means there's a limited depth that we can even hope to find useable oil.