Whatever happened to Peak Oil?

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Submitted by EconProf on January 6, 2015 - 11:24am

Remember Peak Oil? A few years ago we were all told that oil prices, then over $100, would soon double and then double again, as the world's supplies became exhausted.
Then along came fracking. Good old capitalism harnessed technology to again stymie the doomsayers. Now the US will become an energy exporter to the rest of the world. In some previous years we imported about half of our oil. Soon we will produce more energy than Saudi Arabia. Once again the market system comes through.

Submitted by spdrun on January 14, 2015 - 1:59pm.

Stopped using Gmail a long time ago and do have my own server (for mail and files).

Online banking is a different question because it's just accessing data that were always available from a bank through a different means. I only use credit cards for online purchases or stuff that I want to track, namely business expenses. For everything else, a good, old-fashioned roll of $20's, withdrawn from the bank works just dandy and reduces stress. I know exactly how much I'm giving the merchant and don't have to worry about checking credit card statements for overcharges.

None of those things are giving home occupancy data or (worse!) video from the premises (Dropcam) to a bunch of corporate dirtbags like Google. There's a line that shouldn't be crossed, and voluntarily installing telescreens from 1984 falls on the wrong side of it.

As far as the average person supporting anti-terrorism laws, the average person is a brainwashed idiot. But even they're getting wise. Read the comments about some of the articles about the NYPD slowdown in NYC -- popular sentiment seems to be more than half in favor of less pro-active policing at this point. I'd have never thought it in the US, but sentiment is gradually swinging to be more libertarian end.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 14, 2015 - 2:17pm.

Would you drive a Tesla with LTE built in?

Submitted by spdrun on January 14, 2015 - 2:25pm.

After I disconnect the antenna cable, sure. If it wouldn't operate without LTE, then hell no.

(But that's unlikely, since that would preclude people in areas with no signal owning Teslas.)

I'd happily accept the tiny added risk of dying in an accident to have the privacy enhancement of no telematics. I might re-connect it at defined intervals for updates.

But in general, I like the IDEA of Teslas. All-electric car, cool. The interiors make me hurl. I want buttons and knobs that I can use with gloves on and feel while driving, not a giant iPad staring me in the face. The original Roadster was perfect as far as user interface. Model S is a big downgrade.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 14, 2015 - 2:22pm.

Libertarian shift you're seeing is self serving.
Most people do drugs of some kind or another, or know someone who does . Btw sugar is a drug. Make drugs legal and you eliminate lots of crimes.

Submitted by spdrun on January 14, 2015 - 2:35pm.

Self-serving or not, it's an interesting trend and goes against where America has been going for the past 35 or so years. All politics are ultimately self-serving.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 14, 2015 - 2:39pm.

I don't think that Tesla LTE is made to be disconnected. If you do, it will cost you at lot of money to repair for updates.
And what's the point? The black box saves the data when not communicating. Then it sends it when data link returns.

Submitted by spdrun on January 14, 2015 - 2:52pm.

https://www.teslamotors.com/sites/defaul...

Location data are not stored, only available in real-time. If it has LTE capability, it has an antenna that can be either shielded, jammed, or disconnected. It will still download updates as needed when the antenna is allowed to communicate.

It doesn't need 24/7 connectivity, otherwise it wouldn't be able to drive through rural areas with no mobile service.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 14, 2015 - 2:57pm.

If you trust that Tesla doesn't keep location data, then why bother disconnecting LTE.

You're causing yourself a lot of trouble, it seems.

Submitted by spdrun on January 14, 2015 - 3:06pm.

Tesla can access it so long as LTE is connected. They can't download logs of it.

(Especially if the GPS antenna is also disconnected so there are no data to log. I don't need NAV - I can damn well read a map.)

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 14, 2015 - 3:16pm.

So you trust Tesla about what is or not stored locally in the back box. But you don't trust them concerning the data stored on their cloud servers.

You will hack the Tesla black box just to make sure, I suppose. Like people jailbreaking the iPhone. But they still carry it around so that location data is being sent to the carrier, and Apple.

BTW, Honeywell has the new Lyric thermostat using geofencing. I have not yet tried it out. So far I like the Nest the most.

spd, don't get me wrong, I understand your point about privacy. But I share my homes with friends, relatives and guests. I cannot rely on anyone to manually turn off HVAC. The Nest is saving me a lot of money.

I had non-smart wifi thermostat before, but I often forgot to turn HVAC off.

Submitted by spdrun on January 14, 2015 - 3:25pm.

Correct. I wouldn't necessarily hack it, but I'd be happy to physically disconnect antennas.

And I don't carry my cell 24/7. I often go out and leave it at home when I'm not in a position to answer work calls anyway.

Or, when I have it, I often leave it in flight mode and check VM periodically -- less distracting that way.

As far as a thermostat, I wonder if wiring the HVAC to a switch near the door would be as effective as a fancy-schmancy thermostat. Switch in the "ON" position causes the HVAC to do whatever the thermostat tells it to. When it's "OFF", it switches to a setting of 55F in cool mode or 85F in heat mode.

It would be no less intuitive than turning off the lights when you leave. And for multiple doors, you could have several momentary-contact switches working in parallel.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 14, 2015 - 3:54pm.

Yes, but if you forget to flip the switch, the HVAC will run, needlessly costing you money.

I don't much care about forgetting to turn off lights because LED lighting is cheap. But I do have zwave light switches I can control remotely.

The nice thing about about Nest thermostat is that it requires no user action. That's what smart is all about. And smart is how we will save energy in the aggregate and still maintain the same comfort levels.

BTW, the utilities have programs to automatically adjust thermostats a few degrees, for homeowners who participate. They save a lot of capacity doing that. Homeowners can bypass, or more often than not, they don't notice any change in comfort level, in the aggregate.

Submitted by spdrun on January 14, 2015 - 3:57pm.

I'll pick stupid, slightly less efficient, but PRIVATE any day. This being said, there's no reason why occupancy sensors can't talk directly to a thermostat that doesn't divulge personal info to third parties, yet is directly accessible over the Internet. Spyware doesn't need to be included for efficiency, or can be opt-in.

Keep in mind that with IPv6, direct communication between devices on the Internet without third-party mediation will become super easy. (IPv6 theoretically allows every atom on the surface of the Earth to have a static IP times 100).

As far as the utility programs, a correctly designed thermostat could poll a server run by the utility for instructions rather than the utility accessing it directly. One could install 3rd party code (i.e. "an app") on a given thermostat to do so without any privacy risk.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 15, 2015 - 3:01pm.

You're correct about the technology.

I'm however talking about what's available now, and what can be done to save energy now.

I told my neighbor about changing out all the can incandescent lights to LED. That went right over his head. Didn't seem interested. In the mean time he's running the AC and paying money to get rid of all the excess heat.

Submitted by spdrun on January 15, 2015 - 5:24pm.

I wouldn't change them out all at once, but buy a few LEDs at a time to install as the heat bulbs burn out.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 16, 2015 - 10:30am.

Some people leave their lights on all day, especially in the kitchen. 6 lights at 100 watt each. That's a lot of energy. That's my neighbor.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on January 16, 2015 - 10:37am.

Our house has enough natural light where we never keep the lights on during the day. But my mothers much smaller condo has quite a few darker areas where we installed solar tubes, they really work great for otherwise closed off area’s with no windows.

Submitted by CA renter on January 16, 2015 - 2:03pm.

The-Shoveler wrote:
Our house has enough natural light where we never keep the lights on during the day. But my mothers much smaller condo has quite a few darker areas where we installed solar tubes, they really work great for otherwise closed off area’s with no windows.

Totally agree about the solar tubes. Those things are great!

Submitted by phaster on January 18, 2015 - 12:57pm.

EconProf wrote:
Remember Peak Oil? A few years ago we were all told that oil prices, then over $100, would soon double and then double again, as the world's supplies became exhausted.

Then along came fracking. Good old capitalism harnessed technology to again stymie the doomsayers. Now the US will become an energy exporter to the rest of the world. In some previous years we imported about half of our oil. Soon we will produce more energy than Saudi Arabia. Once again the market system comes through.

Peak oil did happen back around 2005, but one has to see and understand the context of the individuals associated with the theory/problem.

To begin, the theory of "peak oil" was proposed in the 1950's by a shell oil geologist named Marion Hubbert and then popularized around the early 2000's by Matthew Simmons (who ran an investment banking services firm for the energy industry) after he wrote the book "Twilight in the Desert."

What these two (DEAD) individuals were most likely concerned with was the peaking of liquid fuels delivered from "conventional" oil NOT tight oil (e.g. oil derived from shale or tar sands!!).

Since you most likely are looking at the problem of "peak oil" with an economics mind set, you might be thinking there is no longer a problem because there is the simple solution of "economic substitution."

From the consumer stand point oil from convention land based fields like "spindel top" in Texas, or "guwair" the superfield in Saudi Arabia is no different from oil derived from "cantarell" which is a shallow water oil field in the gulf of mexico!

Then one has to consider "tight" oil derived from the tar sands in tar sands in alberta, and of course there is the latest source of oil (energy) from shale in barnett TX, and the marcellus in the appalachian basin.

The simplest 30 second way to understand why "conventional" peak oil is indeed a very real economic problem in the long run, is watch the intro to the beverly hillbillies theme song and note the image associated with "bubbling crude"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDgTJulizrs

Long story short, conventional oil is cheap and easy to extract/process and bring to market! BUT the "economic substitutions" for easy to get to conventional oil from unconventional geological formations I mentioned above, requires lots more money and resourced to bring to market!!

If you are trying to figure out why there there has been a rapid drop in oil prices this past couple of months, one has to think like a a long term investor and a student of peakoil!!!

I myself see the shale revolution of this past half decade as kinda like the "optimistic" atomic energy revolution of the 1950's (IMHO the phrase "too cheap to meter" is a reto sound byte, applicable to "fracking")

Personally I'm guessing there is lots more to the sudden drop in prices of oil than meets the eye.

In other words the current KSA powers that be are borrowing the bill casey CIA playbook of the reagan era (in other words the USA screws the USSR, by investing in oil infrastructure in Sauda Arabia there by lowereing the cost below the cost to produce for the USSR, in addition the USA sells weapons systems to Sauda Arabia which creates jobs in the USA and as another bonus the US consumer gets cheap gas to fuel the SUV fad! So bottom line a strategy was developed so that the economy of the USA during this era is the global winner!!)

Before matt simmons died, I heard he said before we clearly see the downward side of the production curve, there would be an oscillating plateau for a while (i.e. time period we are now in where convention oil production declines would be filled by technology like increased extraction techniques from convention fields, and extraction from tight geological formations like "fracking" from shale)

There is a difference between human and geological time (and it is important to be aware of those differences when trying to understand what exactly is going on).

What we are experiencing now with the economy is the short term effects of money flows in the market place w.r.t. oil prices! BUT in the end society will have to face the reality that there is no way to ignore the laws of physics!!

Submitted by phaster on January 18, 2015 - 11:57am.

harvey wrote:
There is no doubt that we are consuming fossil fuels at a rate orders of magnitude faster than the earth ever produced them.

The market can adjust to short-term supply and demand changes, but in the long-term we will run out.

Nobody really knows how far out long-term is. It could be a few decades, it could be a few centuries.

FWIW the problem isn't one of running out, the problem is how much will it cost to extract and get the resource to market. Personally I'd bet society will have no choice but to face the reality of the problem in decades, based upon the burn rate and the fact that:

A staggering 98 tons of prehistoric, buried plant material – that’s 196,000 pounds – is required to produce each gallon of gasoline we burn in our cars, SUVs, trucks and other vehicles

http://unews.utah.edu/news_releases/bad-...

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 18, 2015 - 2:17pm.

harvey wrote:
There is no doubt that we are consuming fossil fuels at a rate orders of magnitude faster than the earth ever produced them.

The market can adjust to short-term supply and demand changes, but in the long-term we will run out.

Nobody really knows how far out long-term is. It could be a few decades, it could be a few centuries.

Does it matter if we have alternatives to oil? Will continue to need oil for a long time to fly planes, run tanks and military equipment, etc...

But as far as transportation for the average Joe, push comes to shove, we are at a point where we can adjust and not really lose quality of life.

Remember we still have lots of coal.

Submitted by phaster on February 7, 2015 - 10:58am.

FlyerInHi wrote:

Does it matter if we have alternatives to oil? Will continue to need oil for a long time to fly planes, run tanks and military equipment, etc...

But as far as transportation for the average Joe, push comes to shove, we are at a point where we can adjust and not really lose quality of life.

Remember we still have lots of coal.

Liquid fuel(s) is the only viable alternative because of energy density to fly planes, run tanks and military equipment, etc...

what you might find interesting is there was an atomic powered B36 "bomber" back in the 1950's

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8J83RFggzc

also back during WW II nazi germany did indeed convert coal using the Fischer–Tropsch process into avgas because the allied bombed axis infrastructure

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer–Tropsch_process
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_Campaig...

for the USA war effort, we were lucky to have access to conventional oil field and produced 100/130 octane for our aircraft engines (which boosted performance),

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums...

so if/when you hear the main stream media thinking coal is an altarnative, then you'll know we as a society "worldwide" are clearly on the down ward side of the "peak oil" curve

S. Africa is the only example that has historically produced syngas because that part of the world does not have convention oil fields

http://www.sasol.com/sites/default/files...

FYI here is an interesting graph scaled showing production in thousand barrels per day of Crude + Condensate (outside the USA and Canada) with the last data point September 2014 (note the bumpy plateau started in July 2005)

one last thought to ponder is something else I just read about "Why Cheap Oil Does Not Mean that Peak Oil is a Myth"

http://ergobalance.blogspot.co.uk/2015/0...

bottom line its not if but when average joe IMHO is sadly going to have a "crude awakening"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qGM9ypR-UI

Submitted by barnaby33 on February 9, 2015 - 7:09am.

EconProf, are you trolling? Do you believe Jeebus is putting more dinosaurs under the dirt for you? Global conventional oil production has peaked. It actually did so around 05. It seems mighty disingenuous to ask a leading question, put a number randomly extracted from some orifice, then throw in some jingoistic non-sense as evidence or proof. What kind of econ do you teach?

EROEI is a bitch, and non conventionals are expensive. Peak Oil was never about the alarmism you are attempting to attribute to it. Rather the sure and certain knowledge that as a planet we are over the hump on the cheap stuff. It was however a way to plan for a less energy dense future. Unless of course that PhD of yours will allow you to defy the laws of thermodynamics, then all bets are off.
Josh

Submitted by EconProf on February 9, 2015 - 7:55pm.

barnaby33 wrote:
EconProf, are you trolling? Do you believe Jeebus is putting more dinosaurs under the dirt for you? Global conventional oil production has peaked. It actually did so around 05. It seems mighty disingenuous to ask a leading question, put a number randomly extracted from some orifice, then throw in some jingoistic non-sense as evidence or proof. What kind of econ do you teach?

EROEI is a bitch, and non conventionals are expensive. Peak Oil was never about the alarmism you are attempting to attribute to it. Rather the sure and certain knowledge that as a planet we are over the hump on the cheap stuff. It was however a way to plan for a less energy dense future. Unless of course that PhD of yours will allow you to defy the laws of thermodynamics, then all bets are off.
Josh


Actually Barnaby, I haven't posted a single entry since I started this thread, so I don't know who you are referring to.
My point still stands: The market system is underappreciated as an efficient way to allocate resources and harness technology. In this case, the high price stimulated exploration, new extraction techniques, and conservation, so prices fell. Peak Oil alarmists underestimated capitalism's virtues, so their predictions have turned out wrong.
You're welcome.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on February 10, 2015 - 11:03am.

barnaby33 wrote:
Peak Oil was never about the alarmism you are attempting to attribute to it.

There's alarmism for sure. Peak oil is part doom and gloom just like people agitating about the national debt and skyrocketing interest rates. They are buying guns and gold bars, and farm land, or whatever they do to prepare for when SHTF.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on February 10, 2015 - 11:14am.

phaster wrote:

bottom line its not if but when average joe IMHO is sadly going to have a "crude awakening"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qGM9ypR-UI

Crude awakening. I love the pay on words.
I'll save it to watch later. I watch a little bit of the end.

I don't believe in the doom and gloom. Stock market collapse? Only the 1% being able to afford air travel? life like it was before oil?

No doubt oil will eventually run out and be in short supply.. but there are alternative and we can plan for it. If we don't plan now, it would be our own fault for not doing so. For example we would easily limit auto engine sizes and cut consumption in half. We'll have less automobile choices but our standard of living would not be affected.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on February 10, 2015 - 11:44am.

FlyerInHi wrote:
phaster wrote:

bottom line its not if but when average joe IMHO is sadly going to have a "crude awakening"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qGM9ypR-UI

Crude awakening. I love the pay on words.
I'll save it to watch later. I watch a little bit of the end.

I don't believe in the doom and gloom. Stock market collapse? Only the 1% being able to afford air travel? life like it was before oil?

No doubt oil will eventually run out and be in short supply.. but there are alternative and we can plan for it. If we don't plan now, it would be our own fault for not doing so. For example we would easily limit auto engine sizes and cut consumption in half. We'll have less automobile choices but our standard of living would not be affected.

I Still believe Skunkworks is about to put Big Oil out of biz, but anyway, if California would allow more fracking, we would put Texas and Dakota way down the list of biggest Oil producers in the US.

We could become energy independent in a few years, That's what's got OPEC running scared, We don't need them.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on February 10, 2015 - 3:16pm.

Talking about saving resources....

A lot of people don't believe in conservation. Drill baby drill and use it all up as soon as we can, notwithstanding the fact that oil and fossil fuels are finite resources.

Money on the other hand is a man made concept and infinite. But, for some reason, we ought to ration its use and limit growth and human well being.

Submitted by spdrun on February 10, 2015 - 3:54pm.

I support rationing both. Keep the plebes renting and walking to work. Tackle housing inflation, global warming, and obesity in one swell foop.

All joking aside, money does have to be rationed to make it useful. Unlimited amount of money in circulation would make money worthless, which would defeat the point of money. The question isn't whether to ration, but what level to ration it at.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on February 10, 2015 - 3:58pm.

spdrun wrote:

All joking aside, money does have to be rationed to make it useful. Unlimited amount of money in circulation would make money worthless, which would defeat the point of money. The question isn't whether to ration, but what level to ration it at.

For now. But who's to say that, with technology, we can't invent something better than money as a means of exchange?

What is importent is to maximize human productivity and creativity which are infinite. If people are willing and able to work because of lack of money then that's a self inflicted wound to human well-being. Aren't we smarter than that?

Conservation of fossil fuels is like putting them in the bank/storage for future retrieval and use.

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