Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Friday, March 11, 2005

Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk management

I just got hold of a copy of the study referred to in my recent entry: News Just In: "The End Is Nigh!" - Official. I'm only about a third of the way through (it's 91 pages) and it makes pretty sobering reading. Even though it's all the stuff that I've been harping on about for the best part of 7 years. Seeing the realisation dawn in the eyes of those you were trying hardest to convince isn't even a remote victory.

I'd been hoping they'd come up with something to prove me wrong.

Anyways, for those of you who'd like to read the report in full, I've made it available for download from my website (it's a 1.2MB PDF):

Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk management

For those who don't wish to trawl through the entire 91 pages, I've extracted the conclusions from the Executive Summary...
  1. When world oil peaking will occur is not known with certainty. A fundamental problem in predicting oil peaking is the poor quality of and possible political biases in world oil reserves data. Some experts believe peaking may occur soon. This study indicates that "soon" is within 20 years.
  2. The problems associated with world oil production peaking will not be temporary, and past "energy crisis" experience will provide relatively little guidance. The challenge of oil peaking deserves immediate, serious attention, if risks are to be fully understood and mitigation begun on a timely basis.
  3. Oil peaking will create a severe liquid fuels problem for the transportation sector, not an "energy crisis" in the usual sense that term has been used.
  4. Peaking will result in dramatically higher oil prices, which will cause protracted economic hardship in the United States and the world. However, the problems are not insoluble. Timely, aggressive mitigation initiatives addressing both the supply and the demand sides of the issue will be required.
  5. In the developed nations, the problems will be especially serious. In the developing nations peaking problems have the potential to be much worse.
  6. Mitigation will require a minimum of a decade of intense, expensive effort, because the scale of liquid fuels mitigation is inherently extremely large.
  7. While greater end-use efficiency is essential, increased efficiency alone will be neither sufficient nor timely enough to solve the problem. Production of large amounts of substitute liquid fuels will be required. A number of commercial or near-commercial substitute fuel production technologies are currently available for deployment, so the production of vast amounts of substitute liquid fuels is feasible with existing technology.
  8. Intervention by governments will be required, because the economic and social implications of oil peaking would otherwise be chaotic. The experiences of the 1970s and 1980s offer important guides as to government actions that are desirable and those that are undesirable, but the process will not be easy.
I will be writing much more about this very soon.


Blogger Ms Vile File said...

Good gracious, Mr Bliss. Could you lower the standards of your reading material?
If you ever want to me to make some insightful commentary on your posts, you might want to consider writing about Jilly Cooper novels or why Stephen King sucks arse.

I will continue lurking silently until then.
Yours in Abject Ignorance of Anything Remotely Worthwile,

Ms Vile File

12/3/05 18:46  
Blogger James Bulkice said...

I had a read also. Made me very depressed. Had to sit for a while just staring out. Pretty much sums everything up about life though doesn't it? Love your blog by the way. I keep coming back.

13/3/05 18:44  
Anonymous David Duff said...

Maybe too late for you to get a copy, but today's 'The Business' has an excellent leader on the effects of the current hike in oil prices. In my never-ending quest to keep you (and now James Bulkice) away from the bottle of pills, I can tell you that these oil prices will simply stimulate currently moribund alternative sources of energy.

There is also a fascinating article reporting that the giant corporation BHP Billington has paid $7.4bn for 38% of the world's current uranium stocks. According to the report, it will only take a tripling of the current uranium price to make it worthwhile extracting uranium from sea-water!

As they say, normally such a price rise would cause a fall in demand, but uranium only accounts for 2% of the cost of nuclear power. So, cheer up, chaps!

13/3/05 23:43  
Anonymous The Drones said...

Hooray! More nuclear power! Lovely - just what we need.

For more depression:
The Himalayan glaciers are melting

The Drones

14/3/05 10:14  
Anonymous David Duff said...

"More nuclear power! Lovely - just what we need." complain the Drones, more ironically than they realise, because that is exactly true. Not the least of the 'benefits' of the oil price rise is that the search for alternatives is going to be very serious from now on, and all the non-viable fripperies of wind and tide power will be dumped.

14/3/05 10:32  
Blogger L said...

These days I've frequently been considering the life of a recluse; it can be so damn depressing to hear about how irresponsible we are when no one really wants to do anything about it....

An Occasionally Incurable Misanthrope

15/3/05 02:18  

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