Friday, October 26, 2007

Hubbert Peak Oil.

I'm copying an entire essay taken from [] by Chris Rhodes. If he objects, I will remove it.

In 1956 a paper was published which will be of greater significance to the future of humankind than those reporting on the structure of DNA or the Theory of Relativity. Its title was "Nuclear Energy and the Fossil Fuels", and it was written and presented by M. King Hubbert at an oil-industry conference in Houston, Texas, while he was in the employ of the Shell Development Company. At first Hubbert was not taken seriously in his conclusions that the peak in oil production would follow the peak in oil discovery by about forty years, and so the best year for US oil output would be around 1965 - 1970, roughly 40 years after the most successful year of oil finds, in 1930. He was right, and thenceforth US home oil production has fallen to the extent that the nation now imports two thirds of all the oil it uses, a colossal 20 million or so barrels a day, or one quarter of the world's requirement of oil.

In days before computers, Hubbert would have drawn the graph by hand (probably with the aid of a flexy-curve, or simply freehand as I used to find best, before PC's were available routinely, and mathematical analysis packages such as the Origin programme, which is installed on this machine). The Hubbert peak is based on a logistic function, which is a restricted exponential, and the first derivative of it corresponds to a peak. The derivative of this (i.e. the second derivative of the logistic function) gives an inflexion, where the point at which the curve crosses the baseline corresponds to the peak maximum. The logistic function includes the familiar S-shaped curves that relate to the growth of bacteria and to enzyme kinetics such as those of Michaelis and Menton.

The Hubbert curve (peak) may be defined as:

Q(t) = Q(max)/(1 + ae^bt),

where Q(max) is the total recoverable amount of crude oil in the ground to start off with, Q(t) is the cumulative production (i.e. how much oil has been pulled out of the ground to date) and a and b are constants. Accordingly, the year of maximum production (peak oil) is given by:

t(max) = (1/b)ln(1/a),

and for the world altogether, with a peak discovery year of 1965, this appears as 2005. There is much speculation and analysis that oil production has already peaked, and it is my suggestion that enhanced recovery methods alone have maintained the present output of oil, much of it from the giant fields in the Middle East. It is obvious that the resource is concentrated in only a few particular regions of the Earth, vide supra, and also Russia, South America and Indonesia. Countries such as Iraq and Iran may become swing-producers, i.e. that produce more oil than they use, and I have read opinions to the effect that the Iraq war if not started in the interests of obtaining oil for the West, might become a worthy swing-producer, thus averting economic starvation at least for a few years. Iraq has about 140 billion barrels of oil, and Iran about the same, and so at a level consumption of 30 billion barrels a year for the world in total, we might get almost 10 years worth of supply from there. It is significant that Western companies such as BP and ExxonMobil have been granted 30 year contracts to exploit the Iraqi oil.

Not everybody agrees with the Hubbert analysis and some argue that we will be able to access around four times as much oil as there is present under the Earth in the form of crude-oil, by which they mean the Canadian tar-sands, oil shale, oil made from coal or from gas, biomass and so on. However, this does Hubbert a considerable disservice because he was talking explicitly about cheap oil, and it is this that will inexorably run out, most likely during the next 5 - 10 years. Hence there is no consolation to be found in any putative 3.7 trillion barrels of oil figure, because bringing that into reality will be extremely expensive both financially (to take an economist's standpoint) and more precisely in terms of the energy and other resources such as water that are mandatory in those actions necessary to do so.

We are not about to run out of oil. We will be able to produce hydrocarbons (oil) for decades to come, but not at the cheap prices we are used to. I am working on a rough figure of assuming that everything (and I mean everything - food, clothes, and all else) will cost about twice what it does now in that 5 - 10 year period. That would correspond to a $200 barrel. This will be uncomfortable especially for those who already bear considerable debts, particularly in the UK, which is the most indebted nation in Europe. We also drink more than anyone else apparently, and have a greater incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, which makes me think that the era of the "stiff upper lip" has rather passed for the English. Many of these problems may well be "cured" by a huge hiking-up of general costs in terms of booze, travel and the overused "plastic friend" - the credit card which often proves less than amicable.

Another feature of Britain is that we have "lost" most of our manufacturing industry, and so we buy cheap imports from e.g. China and therefore fuel the economic enterprise of that nation. Without imports to the West of washing machines, TV's and so on, the Chinese economy will grind onto the hard shoulder, and our own economy, based as it is around the "service sector" will crash too meaning that less service-businesses will survive if people have less cash in their pockets to buy their services, and an according loss of jobs in that industry.

The mathematics of Hubbert's theory is very interesting but as I have pointed out before, there were only so many squares on that sheet of graph paper in reflection that there is only so much cheap oil that can be drawn up from the Earth, [i.e. Q(max) in the above equation], hence no matter what values we chose for the constants (a) and (b) or whether we use a Gaussian or Lorenzian distribution or some other mathematical device, the future of humanity will unfold, in ways that will be only evident to later history, upon a world devoid of cheap oil, and to kid ourselves otherwise is an act of addicted denial. We need to plan a society based on localised communities and less dependent on apparently limitless cheap transport, and cheap products made from oil.

(3) "The Hubbert Curve: Its strengths and weaknesses" By, J.H.Laherrere:,m
(4) "Hubbert's Peak - the mathematics behind it", By Luis de Sousa:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New World Order, Forged in the Gulf

Click here for the full and LONG story by Andrew G. Marshall

(If the page comes up blank or without the article, click on the sidebar "Middleast" and look for the title and author. It was wayyy too long to copy here. It took me almost 2 hours off and on to read and absorb all of it. Of course, I'm slow that way.)

Is anybody ready for a short review of American geopolitical history to the present? You'll find it in this article. I think we often need a reminder. I did. The article puts many pieces of the puzzle together concerning American geopolitics over at least the last 30 years or so.

The author implies how and why different governmental figures implemented the things America and Britain has done and what role certain think tanks, politicos, multinationals, and individuals play(ed) in the scheme of geopolitical events that have occurred and are occurring.

I would roughly guess that 95% of the populace doesn't even have the attention span to want to find any of this out or to remember it. Even if they did, they would not give it much afterthought. Personally, being the kind of deep thinker I am, I feel kind of powerless myself but I simply don't have the kind of heart to drop it just because I can't do anything about it. I hate to be melodramatic but it just makes me hurt inside for all the poor innocent souls out there who have to endure the brunt of a worldwide geopolitical game run by a huge bunch of untouchables. One day it could be me. I wish I could convince those in control that we, the human race, are all no more important than the jellyfish, including them. Not that we aren't important to each other on an individual basis or that human life isn't precious. To the contrary! Everything is precious! However, none of us last forever, just as with the jellyfish.

Here's a few things I learned or subconsciously re-recalled from the article. Did you know our government helped form the Taliban and covertly supported reviving and kindling Islamic fundamentalism so that they would resist any attempts of control from the USSR? We funded and supplied them with ammunition to fight the Soviets in the Afghan-Russia war? Did you know that in WWI the Brits more or less appointed the Sauds as the Royal family for Saudi Arabia? The Saudis are Sunni and Iran are Shia. They've hated each other for at least a century. There was a dispute between Iraq and Kuwait over whose oil was near their border next to each other. Kuwait was using their oil, Saddam had lots of debt owed to a lot of multinationals and could not produce enough of their own oil to pay off the debts. When he asked the U.N. and the U.S. Sec. of State Baker if he could invade, they said they had no opinion. He invaded, we attacked. The Kuwaitis never alerted their military about the possible invasion! Afghanistan was the key location (in between) for extending a planned pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. OBL is a member of the Saudi Royal family. 911 was perpetuated by Saudi Islamic fundamentalist extremists. The neocons and the big oil multinationals (U.S., Europeans, Arabs) disagree on how to control the Iraqi oil at this point--privatize and split it up or state oil-run OPEC member? That Brezienzki (sp?) was the left's Henry Kissinger. Brezienzki wanted to monopolize the Mideast and Asia covertly, the neocons and big oil believe things are best won by brute military might. Oh, there's much more in that article. I'm just not remembering it all right now.

The sad part about all of this is that I bet no children within our educational system have ever been taught any of this nor ever will. If so, there might be some more informed people in our populace today who would understand what is happening. No longer is it taught how to think but mostly what to think by process of not presenting the whole picture. Heck, some people might even side with the law of competition and fully agree with these actions of worldwide imperialism (which is contrary to my conclusions). I would be okay with that. I just wish we were told the truth. The WHOLE truth and not just little soundbytes of news snippets from the oligarchy called the mass media. What we ought to have is an informed electorate who votes in elections on foreign, economic, social, environmental, etc., policies from the various think tanks! All the candidates have been are representatives of certain policies designed by these think tanks!

Oh, I'll get off my soapbox now. There was a really awesome saying I liked off one the blogs called Blue Girl, Red State and it says: "America is founded on four boxes: 1) The Soap Box, 2) The Ballot Box, 3) The Jury Box, and 4) The Ammo that order. LOL

CNN International: "World at peak oil output"

This is a re-hash on another article I linked to (and it seems everyone else in the peak oil blogosphere as well) only it adds a contrary view to the German-based Energy WatchGroup study's claims. See below:

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The world has reached the point of maximum oil output and production levels will halve by 2030 -- a situation that will eventually lead to war and disaster, a report claims.

The German-based Energy Watch Group released a report Tuesday saying the world's oil production peaked in 2006 and from now on will drop by around 3 percent a year. It says that by as early as 2030, the global availability of oil will be half of what it was at its peak.

"It's a very serious result," said Hans-Josef Fell, a German lawmaker from the environmentalist Green Party who commissioned the report. "I fear the world will come into a big economic crisis in the coming years."

The report warns that coal, uranium, and other key fossil fuels are also in declining supply. It predicts the fall in fossil fuel production will bring with it the threat of war, humanitarian disaster, and general social unrest.

But Leo Drollas, who leads oil and gas market analysis and forecasting at the Center for Global Energy Studies in London, said there are plenty of supplies and no looming crisis. He said the report sounds like "scaremongering."

Drollas says production could still slow one day, but only because new reserves will be considered too difficult or expensive to extract.

"Oil could be left in the ground and we could move on to another fuel in the future, not because we're running out of oil but because, economically speaking, it is not worth extracting the oil," Drollas said.

The debate comes as oil prices have hovered at record level. Wednesday morning, NYMEX crude was listed at $84.96 a barrel; oil prices topped $90 a barrel last week.

Analysts do agree, however, that oil prices could continue to rise, especially if there is further instability in the Middle East.

I also have another geopolitical analysis article to post next regarding a different but deeper perspective on the oil situation. I've come to the conclusion that if oil has peaked or not--is indifferent to me at this point. It will sooner or later no matter what. I'm beginning to realize that I would prefer to live lower on the totem pole, in peace and with a sound conscience than to contribute the the greedy geopolitical interventions of any country, any elite, any government, blindly well-intentioned or not. One thing I definitely hate about this world is the law of competition. Ugh. All I can say is keep reading until it hurts. You often are reminded that on the macro scale of things in this world, there is just no gaining control of some things like cooperation. You can influence and win over many to your worldview but it will NEVER include everybody.

Rocket Stove Assembly/Cooking Demonstration Video

For mp4 video click here.

This is a very good and inspiring demonstration on how to make and use a rocket stove. The video also demonstrates how to use a purchased, cheap solar cooker. I haven't made one myself but I will keep this with plans to try one out. If I can't have my outdoor brick oven yet, I will try this in the meantime!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Steep decline in oil production brings risk of war and unrest, new study says

Story from the UK's Guardian, click here.

World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.

The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected. The report, which predicts that production will now fall by 7% a year, comes after oil prices set new records almost every day last week, on Friday hitting more than $90 (£44) a barrel.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Corn ethanol requirements passed by senators??

Someone on one of my lists just posted this link of a chart presented by Matthew Simmons on corn ethanol requirements recently passed by the senate. Oh boy , this puts "eminent domain" in a whole new light....this means I might have to move to Michigan or Ohio!

A nice Peak Oil article from Grand Forks, ND

Click here for full story.

In your Homecoming speech this month, you said that the “peak oil” era is coming to an end, which sounds ominous. Can you tell us what you mean?
The best way is a quote from Cambridge engineer researcher associate Dan Yergin. “It took us 125 years to use the first trillion barrels of oil, and we'll use the next trillion in 30.”

That defines in my mind the issue we're facing, but there is a huge debate going on between basically two schools of thought. One is the Cambridge Energy Research Association's thought, which is that we have plenty of oil in the world, and we are good at developing technology. In spite of the fact that energy information agencies are forecasting we will be using another 30 million plus barrels a day of oil in the world between now and 2030, and technology will find a way to do that. That's one school of thought.

Another school of thought says we are at the maximum point of producability, and so it's decline from here on down. That's the “peak oil” theory.

If you look at production in North America or any of these mature basins, or even production from the Williston Basin, you'll see a demonstration what “peak oil” looks like. When you deal with a finite resource, you can develop it, produce it and keep increasing it up to a point. Then, once you go past the mid-way point, you're into decline.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Age of Scarcity Industrialism by John Michael Greer

Click for full article here.

In this article, Greer applies Kubler-Ross' stages of grief, death & dying to the greater American society's attitude towards the awareness of a slow decline of petroleum energy in the past 25-30 years. My only comment is that as an individual, one doesn't always flow successively from one stage to the next. Remember, sometimes these stages occur simultaneously or can fluctuate into one and out of another and back again. The five stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. At what stage would you say we are as a country at this moment?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Radio New Zealand quotes Association for Study of Peak Oil's Bruce Robinson

Click here for short news story. "Oil at $87 a barrel is cheap"

Click here for full story.

..."According to US government forecasts, world petroleum liquids consumption is expected to increases from 83 million barrels per day in 2004 to 118 million barrels per day in 2030.

That's an increase of almost 30 percent and there are not enough new oil reserves to meet this demand.

"The price of oil has to increase otherwise it would be betraying the laws of economics," said White.

"I bet that in 10 year's time after the Asian population has boomed and gentrified and peak oil has hit home hard, you will have to agree with me that oil at $87 a barrel was cheap, cheap, cheap," he said. ..."

I was wondering why Myanmar (Burma) was of such importance...

in the U.S. news lately. Please don't misunderstand me, Myanmar is just as important as anyplace else but the U.S. media doesn't pick up news on places like this unless there is some interest in it for them!

Myanmar's "Saffron Revolution": The Geopolitics Behind the Movement

If the article doesn't show up, click on Southeast & Asia and look for the title dated October 15, 2007.

$88/barrel of oil and nobody's blinking

Click here for yahoo comments on $88/barrel oil

Why is it that the price of a barrel of oil has hit an all time high and the physical world is not even blinking an eye? Is it because gas prices aren't that high yet? It's still only $2.71 at my benchmark gas station. I guess everyone's has become accustomed to the higher prices and are glad that it isn't $3.50/gallon yet.

In other news today, I've heard that 2/3 of the working population is saving next to nothing for retirement and that the majority is planning on spending more this year on Christmas than last year!? To add to that, food prices are outrageous. Maybe people don't buy food or cook anymore, so they aren't aware. Maybe they all eat out all the time.

Well, I just thought I'd bring it to anyone's attention who runs across this blog. I just thought I'd let whoever know that 7 years ago a barrel of oil was around $20/barrel and now it's made it to about $12 within the $100/barrel of oil mark.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

An Experiment in Back Yard Sustainability

I'm working on things like this in my own backyard.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Peak Oil: Alternatives, Renewables & Impacts

Click for full .pdf written by Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D. here.


"This paper examines scientific and government studies in order to provide reliable conclusions about Peak Oil and its future impacts. Independent studies indicate that global oil production peaked in 2006 (or will peak within a few years) and will decline until all recoverable oil is depleted within several decades. Because global oil demand is increasing, declining production will soon generate high energy prices, inflation, unemployment, and irreversible economic depression. Alternative sources of energy will replace only a small fraction of declining oil production. Because oil under girds the world economy, oil depletion will result in global economic collapse and population decline. As oil exporting nations experience both declining oil production and increased domestic oil consumption, they will reduce oil exports to the U.S. Because the U.S. is highly dependent on imported oil for transportation, food production, industry, and residential heating, the nation will experience the impacts of declining oil supplies sooner and more severely than much of the world. North American natural gas production has peaked, importation of natural gas is limited, and the U.S. faces shortages of natural gas within a few years. These shortages threaten residential heating supplies, industrial production, electric power generation, and fertilizer production. Because U.S. coal production peaked in 2002 (in terms of energy provided by coal), the U.S. will experience significantly higher coal and electric prices in future years as coal production declines. The U.S. government is unprepared for the multiple consequences of Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas, and Peak Coal. Multiple crises will cripple the nation in a gridlock of ever-worsening problems. Within a few decades, the U.S. will lack car, truck, air, and rail transportation, as well as mechanized farming, adequate food and water supplies, electric power, sanitation, home heating, hospital care, and government services."