Skip to comments.What if we don't run out of oil?
Posted on 11/15/2005 7:05:19 AM PST by Dan Evans
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I think that's true, and especially on this website. They don't want to confront problems. They just want to do things exactly as they have in the past, and they assume that mother nature will accomodate.
The demand for oil is skyrocketing. It's gone up by about 300% in the last 10 years. It could do the same in the next 10 years.
I've seen estimates for the tar sands region of northern Alberta suggesting that the oil from that source could sustain current consumption levels in all of North America for more than 500 years. It may not be feasible to get most of it now, but in an age when technology improves in leaps and bounds over short periods of time, I'd say there's a good chance we'll eventually use almost all of it.
Hempseed works and the rest of the plant is productive and profitable.
Excuse me, but if you actually READ what I told you, you'll see I make no reference to "Mother Nature". Technology can, and WILL, if left to capitalism, provide alternatives, IF NEEDED.
Will there be problems? Maybe - but it's not the apocolyse.
Oil = Energy. But Energy does not equal Oil.
You might think that. On the other hand, look at the vast investment that the US auto companies made. Now, they are on the verge of bankruptcy.
I have no doubt that the oil companies will make a profit on their investment. That doesn't mean the price of oil wil not go up, though. In fact, it might be a sign that they expect the price WILL go up.
You can't permanently drive up the price of something by talking about a shortage. The only way to drive up prices is to restrict the supply. From an oil company's perspective it is insane to sit on inventory when the price is high.
These charts don't appear to indicate we're close to running out of oil.
It's basically the equivalent of an oil company that shuts down major drilling rigs but still insists on keeping them in tip-top shape long after they cease to function. You can be sure that company is going to go broke some time down the road.
How do you draw that conclusion, though? Technological changes do not necessarily come in a regular, predictable manner, or at the rate we'd all like. We've got 6 billion people in the world, though, and the world population is growing very quickly. Not only that, but capitalism is making countries which previously lived in poverty much richer, and as they get richer, they demand more oil. The demand is escalating very quickly.
If you read most of these posts, they basically say, "don't worry, there is no problem." When people start saying that kind of thing, you can bet that there WILL be a problem.
I don't really agree with that. The auto industry has vast over capacity, and it's not just employees.
Well said. I like to look for the point at the end of a reason. I think your post is sharp. It points out that the left is nothing more than a puritanical strain of human being. Those willing to accept their dogma are to be blessed, those not are to be cursed.
Hmm... a nuclear pile at every garage? ;)
True, but if you look at the price of gas since the 1980's when it was much higher, the price today is about the same. Prices rise and fall, but over the long run they haven't increased that much.
As the oil companies adjust to the increased demand from Asia and the supply disruptions from Katrina, the price will continue to fall.
Why would anyone bother to cite anything from "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists?" Even the lefties don't use this source anymore.
What you should ask is what market/political conditions would make it so that technological advances that society needs are developed.
A high enough price for a commodity will spur development on a cheaper alternative, but only if the rewards for the discovery of this alternative is large enough to make it worthwhile for the discoverer.
The Big Three companies (not the industry as a whole) have lots of excess capacity -- mainly because they operate under a dysfunctional business model which makes them uncompetitive in the marketplace but at the same time makes it more expensive to cut production than to maintain current production levels.
Its alright. If we can convince the French to allow more Muslims to burn more cars, the auto industry can step up to the challenge. Besides, what are the French going to buy? Peugeots?
And cause the price of oil to stabilize once the "Dooms Day" fear could be eliminated.
In 1900, we were still wedded to horsepower. The thought of most American families owning a luxury like a car was inconceivable. Let alone, 2 and 3 car 'families'.
Who knows where we'll be in 2100?
The reason I come to that conclusion is basically that the problems have ALREADY been solved. Let me state it one more time - Bio-diesel and other methods have already proven to be a FUNCTIONAL alternative.
Forget windmills and solar cells. We can already run the engines we have on other fuels, with some existing technology. NO - it's not cheap right now. But - when gas gets more expensive, it WILL BE MORE ECONOMICAL. You WILL NOT have to ride a bike.
The law of supply and demand (human nature) dictates that when people are willing to get an industry such as that started, they are willing to pay for it, and the prices eventually come down, as more companies want in on the business.
THAT is how I draw the conclusion. If we had as many bio-fuel staions as gas stations, the competition would keep BOTH prices low. We just have to be forced to choose something besides gas, and that will trigger what I'm telling you.
It's not just oil supply. It's that PLUS economics, PLUS human nature.
"..Big Oil continues to jack-up prices at the pump. ..." ~ Willie Green
And just "who" is "big oil"? LOL
"....over 60% of oil is owned by governments and governments are trying to increase the amount of oil they own and control. For example, government owned companies from India and China are trying to buy oil rights from Canada, Brazil and South East Asia.
Major privately owned oil companies such as ExxonMobile and Shell control less and less of the worlds oil.
How will countries such as China and India react when there is a major disruption in oil supply? Will they allow the oil they control to find its way into the worlds supply system or will they gather it for their own use? ..."
Yep. See my post #74. I agree whole-heartedly.
or will they gather it for their own use? ..."
And why would ExxonMobil or Shell care if they did?
After all, such action would dramatically increase the profit margin of the remaining oil that they DO control.
Frankly, it doesn't matter if "Big Oil" is China, India, ExxonMobil, Shell or OPEC...
NONE of the aforementioned entities have any interest in supplying American consumers with cheap oil that erodes their profit margins.
The enviro-whackos who oppose ANWR drilling are useful idiots who also help keep the price of oil jacked-up.
If they didn't evolve on their own, then Big Oil would've invented them, just to have another bogeyman to blame for high prices.
And Jerome Corsi is just another disingenuous Big Oil shill.
Who cares if his junk science is ideologically opposed to Algore's junk science?
Junk science is junk science no matter which faction of the Republicrat Party is chanting the mantra du jour.
As a mechanical engineer, you should have a decent understanding of math.
average oil production per acre is about 49 gallons
The US uses about 373 million gallons of gasoline per day
This Week In Petroleum, Gasoline
The US uses about 169 million gallons of distillate (diesel and fuel oil) per day
This Week In Petroleum, Distillate
Looking at only the distillate, and only trying to produce 25% of the current need is 15.5 billion gallons per year. Or in soybeans production 316 million acres
Where is that going to come from?
I see many who fit into the above category, including a lot of big-mouthed liberals who drone on and on about how wasteful America, but don't like applying their ideas to their own lives.
I am not sure I agree with that. Yes, the technology is there, but I think you may be underestimating what it's going to cost to produce enough of that fuel to run our economy.
First, I question whether we have enough arable land to grow enough of the stuff, particularly with all the population growth we've had. Even if we do, remember that the cost of soybeans (and every other crop) is low because of oil. If oil is no longer available, then the price of all those crops will go up a lot, both because farms burn oil and because they use the chemicals derived from oil for fertilizer and pesticides.
Then you've got to process the crop, and that takes oil. Of course, we can do all that without oil, but if we do, then the cost of the crop will go up to an even higher price than it is at now.
And it really isn't very affordable even now, compared to oil. I think we're looking at a scenario where we would be lucky to have 1/2 the standard of living that we now have.
All of the gloom and doom comes from the assumption that the oil spigot will be turned off tomorrow, and that there will be an immediate need for something else for us to drive to work the very next morning. Your "analysis" is no different.
Every year, agricultural companies market yield-boosting products that increase crop production. Bio-fuels are not necessarily 100% "bio". Lots of them are mixtures with gasoline. A 50/50 mix would double the length of time we have to use gasoline - IF oil really is depleting at a rate we can't catch.
Every year, labs all over the world make progress in battery capacity. Every year, more and more efficient engines are produced. Ten years ago, there were virtually NO hybrids on the market. Look at that today... There are certain engine designs that could double or triple efficiencies, but are not yet proven.
MY ONLY POINT was, that the SKY IS NOT FALLING. It may be raininig - there may even be a tornado coming, but the SKY IS NOT FALLING.
This whole situation reminds me of a passenger in a car who is screaming that she will be killed by an approaching truck - when all the while, the driver sees the truck and is steering out of the way. Who's driving? Industry. Academia. Entrepreneurs.
All I'm saying is, I don't think that truck is going to hit us. But don't screw up the driver by passing laws that says he can only turn the steering wheel a certain distance, and the he must stomp on the brakes in a certain way.
We could go on all day, but I really have to get some work done. Please see post 82, and have a great week.
I do a lot of investing. One thing that they tell you is that it's very difficult to predict what's going to happen in the future from what happened in the past. Just when things look blackest, that's when the market goes up. Just when everyone is investing like crazy, that's when the market crashes.
Same thing here. If everyone is confident that there is no problem, and we don't need to worry, then that's when you need to worry.
It's sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy, except in reverse. If everyone is worried, then they are careful, and nothing bad happens because they are careful. If they are convinced that the goodtimes will roll forever, then they are wasteful, and reckless, and that causes their own downfall.
It's an upward trend, though, even after you correct for inflation, because the supply is exhaustible. That's what happens when you've got an exhaustible commodity. How fast it goes up depends on how fast you use it. Right now, we are using it very fast, primarily because of the exponential economic growth in India, China, and Russia.
You can find some other points in history where the price was higher after correcting for inflation. One of those was after the OPEC oil squeeze in the 70's. However, I don't think that I would want to relive that. Comparing the current situation to that, and thinking that it proves things are pretty good, is just nuts. That was the blackest economic situtation since the Great Depression. It's not saying much to say, "well, it was worse then."
I'm not suggesting that we should pass laws to solve this problem. I'm suggesting that people need to put more money and effort into solving the problem, and stop pretending that the problem doesn't exist.
Although frankly, I would be in favor of giving companies incentives to do research on things like biomass, fuel cells, etc. The problem with relying solely on the private sector to do that is that the only way to recoup investments like that is thru patents, and that is a very ineffective way of doing it. A lot of things aren't patentable, and patents end up in court. They also expire. In addition, they are basically monopolies. Anything that depends on a monopoly to make it work is at best what the economists call a "second best solution."
I never thought of the left as puritanical. They may pretend to be, but I've always seen them as hypocritical, hedonistic wasters like Barbara Streisand.
There was a book out recently, "Do as I say, not as I do", that exposes the lifestyle of these creeps. According to the author, even Ralph Nader is a fraud, living in luxurious homes in his children's name.
As I recall those lines appeared during the Nixon and Carter administration. The reason gas lines appear is because of government controls keeping the price too low. Of course they kept supplies off the market. After Reagan was elected he removed the price controls and the price shot up, and the gas lines disappeared.
If the oil companies are allowed to charge whatever they can, you will not see people lining up for gas because they will sell those inventories with the high prices. This is something that regulators don't like to talk about.
Read this from Wikipedia:
Then we'll probably run out of vinegar.
I am not of that mind set. I see constant technological advances in the oil industry. As an example, a decade or so ago, the West Sak, Schrader Bluff and Ugnu oil fields where not even counted in the reserves because the oil was too thick to bring to the surface (they are shallow relative to the permafrost in the North Slope). They are in the same area we have existing infrastructure, we routinely drill through parts of the formation to get to deeper oil so we have proven the existance and location. In the past couple years, West Sak and Schrader Bluff have started production with newer technology. The three fields have up to 36 billion barrels of oil. Tar Sands and Shale are now producing fuel and will become huge. I do not see any sky falling. Alternative fuels can and should be investigated, but realistic in the capability and requirements. And federal tax dollars should not be used to fund one industry against another when developing fuel.
The price of gasoline is influenced much more by political and economic factors than anything else. And I really don't see a long term trend in gas prices. Five years ago the price was lower than it was in 1970 even BEFORE the Arab oil embargo.
Yes, but the oil companies were losing their shirts at that time. It was not sustainable. If you want to look at the trend, you need to factor out the time periods when the market was not operating at a sustainable level. One of those was in the 90s.
The other thing you need to do is look at the price of oil, not the price of gasoline. The price of gasoline is heavily influenced by the refining industry, which has its own issues. An increase in the efficiency at the refinery level could mask a trend.
How old will you be if that ever happens?
So it's just a matter of price. Oil at my price is what I want.
And alas, $0.25 oil was exhausted long ago.
The problem with relying solely on the private sector to do that is that the only way to recoup investments like that is thru patents,
And yet, surprisingly, the industrial revolution and prosperity came about because of the private sector and the temporary monopoly of patents. We know that using government enterprise is a bad way to go because we see what happened to the Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba, etc.
I'm old enough to remember the '78 shortage, and I remember reading in National Geographic that world oil reserves would be exhausted by the year 2000. Well, here we are.
I remember that when I was a kid, they said that the Mets would never win the World Series.
You can't assume that just because folks were right (or wrong) before, they will be right (or wrong) this time.
In fact, where what you think has an impact on consumption and investment, it's very likely that what you think will turn out to be wrong.
And today people are complaining about excessive oil company profits. It all averages out, but try to tell that to guys like Bill O'Reilly or to government pukes as they fire off subpoenas to oil executives.
An increase in the efficiency at the refinery level could mask a trend.
The increase in efficiency IS a trend. That's one reason price, supply and demand stay under control. 150 years ago machinery was a tiny fraction of the efficiency it is today. That's what the doom-sayers overlooked then and one of the things they overlook today and that's why we haven't run out of coal fifty years after we were supposed to.
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