[colug-432] Overheard a few days ago in a library dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright

Travis Sidelinger travissidelinger at gmail.com
Sun Dec 12 20:18:11 EST 2010

I've known about peak oil theory for about 2 years now.  Though I
thought it seemed we had at least a decade before we had to really
start worrying.  But lately I've started some serious research into
peak oil and I'm not so sure we have that much time remaining before
this become a major issue for the US.

I agree with all the facts you have presented, but there is much more
to consider.  You have to look at how the IEA comes up with their
numbers.  Keep in mind that IEA failed to predict the 2008 prices and
there was a whistle blower that come out against the IEA last year
saying that the IEA down plays the numbers.

Lets take apart the IEA report that there will be of plenty oil until
2030.  First, the IEA is now saying that conventional crude oil (the
cheep ease to get stuff) peaked in 2006.  Thus, the cheep and easy to
get stuff in on a -3.1% decline per year.  This difference will be
made up by wells yet to be drilled, increases in non conventional
oils, and natural gas to liquids.  Well, most (if not all) of the new
wells coming online are the harder to get stuff (like off shore in
5000 ft of water).  That equals rising prices.  Also, you need to
consider net energy (energy return on energy input).  The new wells
going online do not have the 1/100 ratios enjoyed in 1880, or the 1/25
ratios enjoyed in the 70s.  The new wells are much less then 1/8.
Thus, we are having to put in a lot more energy for every unit of
energy we get back.  Now add to this that China and India are doing
everything they can to secure their own claims on oil supplies.  Next
you need to include that oil exporting countries (like iraq) also have
growing economies.  Their consumer oil prises are often subsidised
well below market cost.  Thus, their consumption levels are rapidly
rising.  Next you need to consider that many of these countries are
not friends states to the US.  Now add to this that peak oil
exploration occurred in 1965.  Oil reservoirs being found today are in
hard to get places an smaller and smaller pockets.  We are finding oil
at a rate of 1/4 of that of consumption.  The rosy picture the IEA
puts out that we will have plenty of oil until 2030 may be possibly
actuate for world wide supplies in the ground, but is far from a the
most probable outcome that we will see in the markets.  Some predict
that the US could have no available oil to buy in a little as 10

With the IEA saying that peak conventional oil had occurred in 2006
and with China and India helping drive up demand while world wide
crude oil production has been pretty much flat since 2004, the great
recession of 2008 makes much more sense now.  Most of us understand
supply and demand, but few of really understand how utterly and
completely dependent our entire way of life depends on cheap liquid
energy.  In 2008, supply and demand drove up the price of oil to the
point were it shut down the economy (ie recession).  Then as economic
output dropped off the demand for oil dropped off too, thus allowing
prices returned to normal.  Now as the economy is getting a little
better oil prices are again on the rise and expected to keep
rising...that is until we have the next recession and reduce demand.
Having back to back recessions (while the US figures out that massive
investment in solar and wind is needed) sounds scary enough, but when
you consider the huge amounts of debt we have and that our money
system depends on exponential growth, then the risk of complete
economic collapse becomes a serious issue.  Creditors stop lending
when they know they won't get their money back (ie the economy must
shrink...a lot).

Plus, consider how much energy we use to simply put food on our store
shelves.  For every one calorie of food we eat, we spend on average 10
calories of energy to product it, and some types of food (such as fish
and beef) are much much higher.  It has been calculated that the
amount of food that average North America citizen consumes in a year
requires the equivalent of 400 gallons of petroleum to produce and
ship.  We use oil in our trackers, for pesticides, refrigeration,
processing, and transporting our food.  It's not driving our cars we
will have to worry about.  It is food production that will be a major
concern when oil supplies tighten.

There are a number of possible paths we could take, anywhere from an
ordered economic decline with a major shift to renewable energy, to a
complete collapse in economic and social systems.  Banks, oil
companies, even our executive branch, and many others know this is
quite possible.  The current debated is about when and how serious the
impact will be, but you'll think with something this important and the
fact that numerous studies say it could take a decade or more to make
the shift to renewable energy, that we would be all hands on deck
trying to make that shift.  Thus, with our government instead simply
trying to maintain the status quo, it seems that compete economic
collapse is the more probable outcome.

Here are a couple great videos I've come across.  I highly recommend these.
  * http://www.postpeakliving.com/preparing-post-peak-life
  * http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse

Some other good sites for information:
  * http://www.postcarbon.org/
  * http://www.theoildrum.com/

I'm trying to do everything here that I can to prepare.  First I'm
trying to educate people.  Second I've been preparing my home.  But
surviving something like this isn't something one can do on their own.
 Strong communities will be the key.  Thus, we need to be building
communities that will be ready, and that is what I'm hoping to do


On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 3:52 PM, Steve Roggenkamp <roggenkamps at acm.org> wrote:
> I've subscribed to the aspo-usa weekly newsletter for several years.   See
> http://www.aspo-usa.com for details and much information.
> Yes, the idea of peak oil is disturbing.
> More disturbing is the lack of discussion from our political leaders.  We
> keep hearing the message about "green energy", but we don't hear why we need
> to switch to green energy sources.  I think many of our political and
> corporate leaders understand the magnitude of the issue, but are afraid of
> the backlash should it become well known and discussed.
> Several events lead me to believe peak oil is or will be occurring shortly:
> 1.  Why do we have to drill wells in 5000+ feet of water?  A: That's where
> the best remaining oil reservoirs are located.  We've drilled all of the
> "easy" oil.
> 2. Why didn't the Saudis increase production during 2007-2008 when crude oil
> was selling for $125-150/bbl, despite the pleading/cajoling from the Bush
> administration?  A:  Could it be they were already near their maximum oil
> production capacity?  Or were they wanting to save their remaining oil for
> their children?
> 3.  The International Energy Agency dramatically revised downward their
> maximum oil production capacity estimate from about 106 mbbl/day in 2030 to
> about 99 mbbl/day 2035 in just a year.  Right now we're consuming about 88
> mbbl/day.  This seems to be a huge shift in just a year.
> One effect will be to dramatically increase energy prices for everyone.
> Think about what a shift to electric cars will do to the price of
> electricity to run our data centers.  Right now there are many efforts afoot
> to increase data center power efficiencies by reducing energy used to cool
> the equipment inside data centers.  Another is the push towards virtual
> servers, allowing us to increase the amount of work (transactions,
> computations, etc.) from a given piece of equipment in the right context.
> We ARE living in interesting times.
> Steve
> Travis Sidelinger wrote:
> Has anyone on the Colug list been researching "Peak Oil"?  I'm finding
> some very disturbing information.
> ~Travis
> _______________________________________________
> colug-432 mailing list
> colug-432 at colug.net
> http://lists.colug.net/mailman/listinfo/colug-432

More information about the colug-432 mailing list