Thursday, January 06, 2011

Stuart Staniford Serves Barbecue of Crow at The Oil Drum

Brian Wang points to a recent post by Stuart Staniford: New High of Liquid Fuel Production, at The Oil Drum. Given that "peak oil" was supposed to have occurred in either 2005 or 2006 (take your pick), more recent peaking in 2008 and 2010 could be seen as something of an embarassment.

Of course, true believers in peak oil will protest: "We were talking about crude oil, not all liquids and condensates!!!" Fair enough, I suppose, if a bit irrelevant to the doomer argument. After all, if alternatives can fill the gap, what is all the hoopla over "peak oil doom?"

Regardless, Brian Wang thinks that with the build-up of Iraqi oil, plus new non-OPEC oil, crude oil production itself may experience another peak before long. That would call for a double-crow bbq at TOD. Oh, but then the true believers would claim they had been talking about Saudi Arabian crude oil peaking, not global crude production. And so it goes, ad infinitum....

Here's the thing: With the steady buildup in unconventional fuels such as CTL, BTL, GTL, etc., "peak crude oil" starts to lose its sense of threat, and one wonders what all the peak oil societies, associations, conventions, and doomer dieoff clubs are all about.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Much is in the definition of 'peak oil' - are we counting only crude oil or everything including biofuels. Definition is important, especially to keep in-check those pursuing an agenda. It seems crude production is rising, but still about 1MM barrels short of the previous peak. But in the face of this broad peaking event, alternatives are sprouting everywhere - various bio-fuels, GTL, CTL, etc. that breaks the doomer theory that because crude peaks, the world dies off.

That oildrum author has very interesting (more interesting than volume imo) data on price vs. production that approximates a supply curve. This is where the crude oil peak will be obvious when alternatives become cheaper than new oil production, and oil executives stop investing in new, relatively costly oil fields.

2:38 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Good comment.

Crude oil production will inevitably drop off naturally, as cheaper alternatives become more available to substitute for more expensive crude.

That is commonly referred to as "peak demand" -- an idea which most true believers in peak oil DOOM! are not open to.

It is not that society magically becomes more efficient in energy use, or that wind and solar magically become useful forms of power generation.

Electricity -- via nuclear power -- can replace liquid fuels in certain niches, with a little help from creative engineers.

But in the near to intermediate future it will be as you say: liquid substitutes for crude oil will become cheaper than much of the difficult-to-obtain oil selling at high prices.

12:13 PM  

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