CBC: Your Basic Petroleum Depletion Story (a Story You're Likely Going to be Seeing a Lot More of Soon)

Hey, correct me if wrong, but are those graphs on the laptop from Stuart's Saudi post from a few weeks ago? Good for you Paul! (links to Stuart's Saudi posts can be found here and here; Paul's website can be found here.)

spread it around people! digg, reddit, linkfarms.

Two comments, obvious to most TODders:

1. It's a hundred years up, but not a hundred years down, because of lower population and consumption on the way up.

2. It (the effects) won't necessarily be gradual once the race is on, once it (peak or pst-peak) becomes commonly accepted.

But, of course, we only saw snippets.

1. It's a hundred years up, but not a hundred years down, because of lower population and consumption on the way up.

But, consumption per capita was much more wasteful on the way up. And, we already know that populations in many of the countries that are high oil users can fall. ie. Japan and Western Europe.

In Canada, a substantial effort is made to keep immigration high in order to offset what would be a decline.

In addition, birthrates in places like Mexico, Iran, and China have fallen massively in recent times.

"consumption per capita was much more wasteful on the way up"

Do you have your "jump to conclusions" mat handy?

(1) Provide some evidence that consumption of oil per capita has decreased over time. We need more than claims and not just an individual case-study (use the world as the unit of analysis).

(2) If your claim IS correct (based on historical data), how can you compare that information to not-yet-happened-data (i.e. non-existent)? You cannot assume trends in data will continue (this is a fundamental flaw of all deterministic approaches).

(3) You provide several countries who have declined in per capita oil consumption (though lack corroborating data). But we already know that per capita oil consumption in the world's single-greatest consumer of energy has remained relatively flat for 24 years. See the following:

For the US, per capita yearly oil consumption has stayed steady between 24-26 barrels of oil per year from 1982-2006. How does this real-life counterfactual impact the world's per capita oil consumption over time? And what happens when you control for periphery countries who experienced rapid population growth, but still could not afford oil? You have to realize that oil consumption has been conducted by the wealthy nations of the world, and their per capita consumption has not variated in recent history. For these wealthy consumers, oil consumption has been a function of population (not technology or whatever Ecological Modernization theory (i.e. nuanced cornucopian) BS you're trying to peddle).

It's also important to keep in mind that for the US and the EU, total energy consumption and total population have remained incredibly linear for the last 25 years as well (see York 2006). If the EU's population is supposed to remain flat, but the US is projected to increase by over 120 million people in the next 40 years, what will happen to our overall energy consumption?

(4) Birth rates don't matter that much in the short-term (you are mistakenly trying to describe growth rates, not total population); it's the shape and dynamics of the demographic pyramid for each country that matters in the near term. That's why each country you mentioned (Mexico, Iran, and China) are projected to increase (projections be damned!--see #2 above) their populations for at least 25 more years.

My view is that per capita consumption is substantially a function of price as your graph helps show. Price is higher on the downslope = less consumption per capita. Short-term there are inelasticities, but consumption is responsive to price medium term. eg. Last year the OECD consumed less than the year before.

I agree total population is going to grow over the next few decades but mostly among low energy users. But I don't see massive consumption growth following from that. Again it comes down to price and the resulting conservation.

So what about total energy? I'm in the early plateau camp.

That's not what my graph shows at all. It demonstrates that regardless of price, per capita consumption has remained relatively unchanged for the past 24 years in the United States. In other words, it demonstrates a tendency towards relatively inelastic demand at the individual consumer level over a 24 year period. In the short term, price is incredibly elastic and demand is relatively inelastic (same trend as long-term).

A "high" energy user--the US--is projected to jump from 300 million to 420 million in the next 30 years. If historical consumption remained linear, that would require an additional 8.2 million barrels a day production. I also see India and China increasing their oil consumption at double-digit yearly rates.

I'm having a hard time figuring you out--are you willfully manipulative or just struggling with the information?

Prices have been low the last 24 years (except just recently), you have to go back further to get the picture.

All those new high energy users are going to be conservationists like you wouldn't believe! :-)

Prices have not been low in the last 24 years--they hit their historical peaks during this period. You need to check your data. Be sure to control for inflation. Be sure the data is from a reliable source:

BP Anual Statistical Review, 2006

US Inflation Rate Conversion Factors


The BP table gives 1980 as the peak for prices. That's more than 24 years ago.

But if your point is that once prices began to fall, there were no further decreases in per capita consumption even though prices were still rather high for a while, I'll grant you that. The expectation of rising prices was gone and so was the incentive to conserve.

100 years or 100 days... either way I've got my new peak oil truck ready:

Now that's funny!! Thanks for making my morning.

It would be great to enter something like this in a parade as a PR gimmick.

The Hummer goes Organic, General Motors' new "strap-in" hybrid-SUV concept car.

"This one we're going to put into production (because Toyota had foresight and bought up the worlds lithium-ion battery supply.)"

Not a bad piece, but of course, the scenarios are fast and furious given what we don't know about the downside decline, which, even in the worst case ASPO scenarios is already being moved forward and upward....the downside will be much more complex than is often given-as a somewhat simple, "ithe production is dropping, run for the hills!"......which makes me point up the "people will flee the suburbs in droves" line.....we're talking about a middle age and aged population with hundreds of thousands of dollars of equity in the property they own.....us old geezers can't flee fast even if we wanted (it'd look like a herd of turtles on the march!) and where the helll we gonna' flee too?

Wouldn't it make more sense to begin re-working the suburban home and local transportation and food systems to be hugely more energy efficient than dwell in the fantasy that we will be able to just run to somewhere else?
Right now, we can't even get people to install solar hot water heaters in the sun belt, so they obviously are very afraid yet, are they?

Roger Conner
Remember, we are only one cubic mile from freedom

Right now, we can't even get people to install solar hot water heaters in the sun belt, so they obviously are very afraid yet, are they?

My view is that those who start doing such things believe in technological fixes.
I think that it would be more useful to build a home that can sustain itself - passive solar heating. I can survive without hot water but I need food in my belly and a warm (at least cool) house to live in.

Anyways - energy is so cheap that the return on investment for "green" upgrades is so far in the future that nobody will consider them and I believe that this is yet again the receding horizon problem. This has been the case for decades and will continue to be so. As energy costs go up so will my taxes and insurance and repair costs.

The breaking point will hit those who can't afford to stay in a house all - at least during the rollercoaster after we know that PO is in the rear view mirror. The wild card is what happens to the jobs.

Right now I'm with a group looking at co-housing aka intentional housing such as Ithaca Eco village. What scares the @#$#@$ out of me is that even though I'm financially sound I'd be jumping into this with people who will need a mortage and a few families defaulting will make the whole thing insolvent.

So how much does one worry about PO and the amazing decline of savings in the USA, the USA debt and deficit, default rates and the money pit / transfer (from the middle class to the wealthy) that is the occupation of Iraq?

It can't keep on keeping on!

It's a lot easier just to roll over, pull the covers up and forget about PO and just keep on keeping on than it is to think about this!

"I think that it would be more useful to build a home that can sustain itself"

Then I would suggest the following. Dig a large level area the size of your pad into a sloping hillside. Form it up with a 12" concrete forms and pour the walls. Lay your plumbing and then pour the pad. Leave only the front open. Cover the top with earth. Put in one flue for a wood heater. Place the cold air return right over the top of the woodheater(in the ceiling). Plan for one room to not be heated and serve as a 'root cellar' for storage of supplies,firearms,etc. The airhandler will distribute the heat from the woodheater and the backup electric or gas HVAC system is there until TSHTF.

You now have a home you can live in with or without heat or cooling. Its highly defensible and very economical to build and weather proof(tornadoes,earthquakes,etc).

As I was building my loghome on the identical foundation as above my neighbor came over and did exactly what I described above except that he has a storage space above instead of an earth covered top.

He can heat it easily. Its extremely comfortable. It fits well with the environment. It was not too costly to build.

I doubt many are going to go this way since they wish to have others ohhh and ahhhh over their visible lifestyles and tend to place them in plain view. I live way back up near the woods away from the plain view and not prone to being ripped off so easily. Ifen you wish to sneak up on me you have to outfox my dogs. Dogs don't do well near roadways either. You need to build with a view to the future and all possibilities.

As you said...'easier to roll over and pull the covers up(and over your head).


Ummm, I've often wanted to do this but the cost/time to complete such a project discourages me... so the next best thing, I think, would be "converting" an existing home that is built of rock (about 12in thick) and building up earth around it, putting in skylights, solar water heating and solar pv. The house has a fireplace with a heat-o-later (sp?) that has two small fans on the bottom. It does a good job of drawing in cold air and pushing out warm at the top. The house is in central texas where the heat can be as bad as the north's cold.

Here on the Big Island, a lot of people have solar hot water, but they have an impetus: high electricity prices. When people start having to pay through the nose for something they've always taken for granted, they at least consider altering their behavior--especially when they realize it will NEVER GET ANY CHEAPER.

Thanks, PG - it sure is more visible up here than in the Drumbeat. Yes, those are Stuart's graphs. They really make the point visually (ie. they slope steeply in the right direction) and I figured everyone here would get a kick out of seeing them.

Regarding the symmetry of the 200-year spike graph I use, I contemplated whether the downslope should be even steeper. In the end I decided that a) we just don't know how the competing drivers of population growth, population die-off, demand growth, demand destruction and efficiency are going to play out against each other, so b) it didn't matter because even a symmetrical curve drives the point home like a 10-pound sledgehammer.

Actually, the video made me feel that Peak Oil wasn't a big deal. If I didn't know better , the video would leave me with a feeling that:
a) The problem is decades away (right there they would lose me).
b) By the time the problem arises, if it arises, "we" will have fixed it by then...

just my opinion

PS. Isn't Peak Oil a fact and not a theory?

just to get technical, the idea that petroleum supply will follow a certain distribution is a univariate hypothesis. :)

the problem becomes that all of the independent variables that are prior and causal to this are production-centered, so if you want to go bivariate (a true hypothesis), or multivariate (a true "theory" the level of which depends on the scope of the concepts involved...), you need to lay those out as well. At one point someone was working on a "concept map"/theory of the variables that are causal/prior to petroleum supply...I can't remember though.

oh as for your first part, I think this is exactly the approach/set of frames that the media will continue to present--get people thinking about the question itself, present the controversy between two sides, etc. It will be after that when folks will be better primed to think about and discuss these ideas.

It will be slow...so slow, until world events dictate otherwise.

It depends on what you are talking about. This is one of the communication problems of "Peak Oil". At the field and region level, the theory has been confirmed. The world is a separate level of analysis that has not yet been proven--and can't be until oil (and what type...) production either peaks or doesn't.

Note: I'm pretty sure it'll peak--but I can't create a projection when the true population = 1 and I don't have data for that single case.


Perhaps you should take a box of Kleenex with you on that presentation. From the looks of a couple of those folks in your audience, they could use it. That's good. You're getting through.

I share the link to your site with friends (they are never grateful). My kids have seen your slides and reading list.

An aside... does your TDI have as good acceleration from 0-20 as the 540?

Well, the TDI sure has less tire-spin :-/ Actually, I've been really happy with the low-end grunt of the diesel, and the fact that I had it chipped takes care of whatever lingering testosterone is left over from my misspent youth.

BTW, since that was taped I've stopped using biodiesel. The biofuel article on my site make it clear why.

Good page on bio-fuels. I am against them, same reasons... with one exception. I think it might be useful for farmers to be able to make limited amounts of diesel. We will continue to need massive amounts of cereal grains and I don't see how draft animals or fellows like you and I swinging scythes are going to get the job done.

At this point the mention of the unmentionable words "Peak Oil" by the MSM is the most significant thing.
For the religion of growth and business as usual this is as terrifying as the ancient Jews uttering the terrible name of God. Personally I am getting the feeling that the MSM is doing the spade work to prepare us for the ultimate revelation that the peak is real and near.
I am sorry to repeat it but I think that the most likely near term scenario is as below and we should be preparing as suggested by Westexas, RR and many others here.
1- The immediate issue is economic recession rather than peak oil however an oil crisis may be the trigger of the recession. Knowing the likely starting date of the first significant recessionary episode is more critical than knowing the date of peak oil. PO will be seen from hindsight but the recession will be obvious. If the USA or its proxy attacks Iran then the price of oil will spike and the world economy will go into recession almost immediately. If this attack does not happen before the end of the summer of 2007 then it probably won’t happen for several years if ever.
2- Canada is unlikely to go into recession before the USA however Ontario could lead us into recession if the big three auto companies decline significantly. The third quarter of 2006 showed a negative growth of .1% in Ontario. Two negative quarters in a row define a recession.
3- Peak oil will be fixed in volume but its impact hidden by economic down turn. The point of peak oil is that once it is reached (or caused by the initial recession) the world will never see another era of wealth and growth as was the last half of the 20th century. However most of us will have to deal with the chaos of the transition and decline. The end result will be left to our grand children and their children. Whatever human world results will be of their making, baring a nuclear war or climate change totally re-writing the rules as our last selfish gift to them.
4- “Exburbia” such as Dufferin County will begin to depopulate as commuter residents leave to find work or avoid an unaffordable commute. Abandoned houses and itinerant squatters will become very common in these areas.
5- The price of oil/gas will drop dramatically as there are dramatic demand drops caused by the recession. Even though there will then be adequate supplies to cover demand oil will remain priced out of common usage for the many of us destroyed by the recession. Technological development of alternate and efficient vehicle systems will be reduced to almost nothing. The only development might be in the area of mass transport, transit and railroad restoration as most of us will not be able to afford anything else.
6- The price drop will shelve most of the expensive E&P and enhanced recovery projects for years and they will never again be able to catch up production to (2006?) peak levels. The inability to raise capital will severely retard deep water and tar sands development. In the short term there will be plenty of more conventional oil to fill demand. However as the years pass declining production will accelerate, making attempts at economic recovery shallower and shorter.

From 1972 to 1981 there were three recessions, no doubt caused at least in part by the 9x increase in oil price. During the period there was never a yoy price decline; lower prices did not arrive until new supplies arrived from the north slope, north sea and siberia.

IMO we will never again see lower prices yoy.

During the period there was never a yoy price decline

But remember, there was also substantial inflation during that period when wages rose, too.

Inflation adjusted crude prices shows that 1978 was lower than 1977.

'72 was lower than '71, BTW.


Right. And what do those inflation conversions say about the cost of 1977 oil in 2006 dollars? $45.04 a barrel.
How about 1978 oil? $42.15 a barrel.
How about 1980 oil? $87 a barrel.
How about 1998 oil? $15.71 a barrel.
How about 2005 oil? $54.52 a barrel.

That should say something about the price elasticity of oil under various supply conditions.

Why do you bring up "rising wages" during the 1977-78 years? Average inflation-controlled wages, and more importantly, 4 out of 5 of income earning American households, have experienced declining wages since 1975. Try this: Look up "United States of America" in the CIA World Fact Book and see what it says under "Economy".

It also means that you're trying to throw the wool over TOD readers' eyes by saying "Look! Inflation went up, oil prices have actually been going down, even during the supply constraints". That's not very nice. Stop misleading people. That's twice on this post you have provided confounding cornucopian information that is, without any question, factually inaccurate.

You mistake me here. My point is that even durings times of supply constraints, the real price of oil can remain flat and even fall slightly. i.e. Don't count on year over year increases.

Why do you bring up "rising wages" during the 1977-78 years?

To make the point that nominally incomes did not remain stagnant in the face of oil prices rises. ie. some of the impact of rising crude prices was offset by rising nominal incomes.

I'm no cornucopian, BTW. Just not a doomer.

Nominal dollars are not inflation controlled. That was the whole point of my post. REAL wages declined. Wages DID NOT rise. Real wages declined. And have been declining for 32 years (since 1975). The real wages were in decline while real oil prices were going up. The noose is tightened from both ends.

Check the accuracy of your oil prices (the link you supplied in the previous post)--they are way off. The easiest to use and semi-standardized propaganda resource for a lot of oil data is the BP Statistical Review.

The difference between real and nominal is clear to me.

I'm saying that there were some years during the period in question (the oil crisis years) where nominal wage increases outpaced the nominal rise in oil prices. Wages may not have been rising generally in real terms, but they did (some years) rise relative to oil and (more importantly) gasoline.

Let me see if I can find the data to back up that assertion! :-)

Well, another way of putting it is that during some years, it's likely that the real price of oil fell faster than real wages (1975 and 1978 for instance, using BP data).

The whole point of my original post was to question blanket statements about what occurred year over year during those years.

ADDENDUM (March 25): for real average earnings data see here (table B-47):

From 1974 to 1975, real average hourly earnings (total private) contracted by 3.1%. real price of crude (using BP data), fell by 8.7%

From 1977 to 1978, earnings contracted by only .2 % but crude fell 6.4%.

Real wages (according to this series) rose in '76 and '77.

The whole point of my original post was to question blanket statements about what occurred year over year during those years

You can't just pick out one year that fits your hypothesis and ignore the larger trends. Average wages are bad metrics of wages in a capitalist economy. If the top 20% of income earners are pulling in record wages, but the bottom 80% is stagnant, the average wage still rises. Breaking wages into to quintiles is a good way to illustrate this. See below:

Real Household Income by Quintile, Average Household Income, and GDP in the United States, 1984-2005

This data is from the Consumer Expenditure division of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Notice how the top 20% experienced significant wage increases during this period and everyone else remained stagnant (with a slight increase for the 60-80% earners in the past couple years)? The yellow line is the average household income during this time--it stays above the actual earnings of more than 60% of the US population due to the divide between the wealthy and working class. Relative changes in real average wages and real oil prices don't mean that much to real people--their real wages were really stagnating. You can also track the (self-reported) energy expenditures of Americans using the same data set, which would give you a better idea of the impact of oil prices and wages on consumption patterns.

Most people do not realize how little American households actually earn--it should be apparent that the "average" wage that gets tossed around is a bad descriptor of the reality most of us face.

Great graph. It would be great to see the same for 2 decades prior!

My point was not about larger trends. (No disagreement there) It was about the situation year over year. Which was the phrase the original poster used.

I don't think I have a hypothesis. What I'm claiming is right there in the BP data (and in the wage data).

I'm no friend of capitalism, BTW. Although perhaps more likely to say we are stuck with it. There's no neo-con cheerleading going on.

My main point was that it is wrong to count on recessions to lower oil prices. From 1972-81 oil went up 9x in nominal terms, and, nominally, never fell; this was the trend. To my knowledge nothing else, certainly including wages or cars, went up 9x. Inflation was indeed running rampant - I was working through the period - but the primary cause was oil itself; the recession hiccups neither changed or modified the trend.

the recession hiccups neither changed or modified the trend.

Crude seems to have been flat to falling during the recession years even in nominal terms. (BP data)

But, as you point out, the trend was up as was the trend for real GDP. i.e. The recessions were hiccups as you say.

So, I take it post-peak you are projecting (along with rising oil prices) continued real GDP growth with recessionary hiccups?

You are probably correct, but the issue of price wont be a big one because most of us won't be able to afford either cheap or expensive energy. IMO the issue of oil production peak will be totally irrelevant in our lives. There won't be a shortage in the short term because demand will fall well below available production capacity. However we will be too busy trying to survive wherever we are.

I think you left out a few important factors.

If the government collapses, and without a steady income of taxes , it surely will and there goes Social Security and Medical Services and the rest of our law enforcement.

And if the economy collapses then there will be ZERO oil products being shipped to this country. Without the static workforce most all services and products will not exist.Hey, no commodities to trade nor workerbees to pollenate the hives(trading , hedgefunds and other smarmy shit).

At this point total chaos will start to reign. It will be survival of the fittest once more and with a vengeance as nature kicks in with a mighty rush.

The dieoff will occur and on the other side of that , depending on who wins-white hats or black hats- will decide what becomes of us eventually. Good or bad. Many will perish. The slacker youth will go first as their tattoo parlors dry up and they have nothing else to sustain them. The ones on life sustaining meds (viagra and so forth) will go next. Yuppies next as they never learned to walk. The lawyers will die like flies , as well they should. yada yada yada......

Its all a house of cards. When it tumbles there is nothing to stop it.

Ohhhhh...just walk to town for food and put up some PE panels? But who will collect the garbage or do your nails then?

Airdale--I see it no other way. Unless its martial law and we become serfs to the state BUT we own far to many weapons to see that as possible. The soldiers aren't apt to stick around just for the hell of it since they have families as well. The politicos will be bunkered down and incapable of doing much else.

The professor explains hydrocarbons to the layman

What the heck did that guy say? My hearing must be getting really bad as I age....

Hey Dave, where did you dig this up? Is it actually from "the end of suburbia", which I haven't seen?

A vital personal response to Peak Oil we can make at this point is to find (or found) and work with local organizations that address the Carbon Twins -- peak oil and global climate change.

Today I spent about 5 hours at a planning retreat for the Midtown Greenway Coalition board of directors here in Minneapolis. The Greenway is a very long bike/pedestrian throughway that runs East-West right through Minneapolis, connecting the Mississippi River to bike/ped paths and bike lanes and neighborhoods all the wasy into the western suburbs.

We hope to put a streetcar alongside the bike/ped paths in the Greenway, providing yet another transportation mode for those less able to bike and walk long distances.

Also, plans are underway to connect the Greenway with St Paul by putting a bridge across the Mississippi River and connecting with the expanding network of bike/ped paths on the East Side of the Mississippi.

Eventually, we could connect as far west as maybe 10 oe 15 miles west of the city all the way to the Wisconsin border with a fine bike/ped and transit corridor.

Various gardens have been planted along the way for years now, and this "permacultural" aspect of the design is taking off as well.

Also we are working on better access and directional signs for entries onto the Greenway. Neighborhoods are taking more ownership of the project, and development is increasing along the Greenway.

The first motivation to do this is to "think globally and act locally" regarding global warming, but now peak oil enters into the conversation as well.

Again, it is absolutely vital to engage our communities in projects which begin to model ways to prepare for the future. As time goes by, people will be more motivated to join in.

I agree, community participation will be vital. The Seattle Parks Foundation is coming to talk to us, Sustainable Ballard, http://www.sustainableballard.org, and one of my questions about their proposed http://www.seattleparksfoundation.org/project_BandsOfGreen.html linear parks project is: how many fruit trees can we plant?

The IEA will be releasing a book on the Carbon Twins of peak oil and global warming on March 28, 2007.

However, the term “energy security” is used instead of “peak oil”; “climate policy” instead of “global warming”.

Energy Security and Climate Policy – Assessing Interactions


glad to see you are of the few getting the awareness out there, Question; in your presentations do you mention Matt or Colin and thier specific bios?

When ever I am talking about this, I swing the conversation over to who these people are so I don't present myself as a doomsayer or negative minded person. Too bad you did'nt get a phone call from Harper or Baird,.. second thought maybe you will after that segment aired.


I'm going to give this video a week and check the number of views. I think it will give an idea of the number of people following the issue.

No, I don't mention Dampbell, Simmons or Deffeyes by name, though I spend some time on Hubbert. I usually say that my conclusions are based on the work of people who have spent their lives working in the petroleum industry, though the conclusions I draw are entirely my own. I then let the facts and the logic that links them speak for themselves.

I don't mind presenting a negative tone. In fact, I'm convinced that's what is missing from the public debate on this issue. Those who are shaping the discussion pretty well follow the same line as the analyst in this clip - the situation isn't that bad, there's lots of time left and technology will fix it anyway. That's why the two man-on-the-street comments were so compalcent. I'm sorry, but the situation is in fact extremely dangerous, and the public discourse is in desperate need of a note of urgency.

My next move is to start bugging the politicians directly.

My next move is to start bugging the politicians directly

Best done with a sandwich board over your shoulders and a blowhorn in your hand.

The piece that is missing from this, and a lot of the other talk about the PO issue is the remarkable "flatness" of oil consumption in recent decades on a per capita basis.

While its certainly true that total global oil consumption continues to incease year over year, on a per capita basis oil consumption has been flat since 1982, at 4.45 barrels per person per year (mean) with a standard dev. of 0.07 barrels per person per year and a range of 0.26 barrels per person per year across the 24 year period.

I think it's fair to say that since the last big oil shock in '81 the oil market can be discribed as a form of "zero sum game" in which the consumption of those who are using more has been achived "at the expense" of others.

It's not clear to me why that is not a central thread in the discussions at TOD...

[Data sources Oil production: BP yearly review, Population US census online database]

John: This is not the only stat that cannot be discussed at TOD. The last 20 years has been a period of extremely mediocre global oil supply growth (the worst period ever).Meanwhile, the last 20 years has been the best period in history in terms of churning out megamillionaires globally. The overwhelming TOD logic is that mediocre global oil supply growth or even flat oil supply can correlate highly with record creation of megamillionaires, yet a slight decline in global oil supply will magically cause the global economic system to implode, with "stockbrokers yelling sell" in unprecedented unison. America is a country using 45% of the world's gasoline, while contributing 20% of the GDP. Obviously there will be restructuring, but realistically there hasn't been any real "growth" in the US economy in the last 25 years. What you have with this de-industrialized,"financial" economy is a zero sum game, the transfer of wealth from the many to the few. Where is the evidence that declining oil supply will inhibit this transfer?

That is most certainly not the "overwhelming TOD logic"--that is an explanation that does not make any sense whatsoever. Go read this. Oil is simply a commodity--and I argue as you do, that it is possibly the most crucial--but it is still a commodity within the greater political economy of capitalism. Capitalism is why we have wealth transfers (ever since the capitalist usurption began), which will continue until the end of this economic age (we have had brief turns towards more emancipatory economic systems throughout the 20th century--the future is unknown).

Where is the evidence that declining oil supply will inhibit this transfer?

There is absolutely none, even if we use ‘evidence’ very loosely, including ‘hints’, etc; in fact, one might make the argument that the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots (I speak world-wide; of course one can question it; point to exceptions, contrary trends, etc.) is, at least in part, the outcome of energy shortage, provided we define ‘shortage’ as related to desire - or demand, though it is not the same thing - and the anticipation of acrid competition in the future.

If the content of that one too-long sentence is accepted, the consequences are: the poor will become poorer.

I agree with your second point:

the oil market can be discribed as a form of "zero sum game" in which the consumption of those who are using more has been achived "at the expense" of others.

But I'm not sure about your first:

The piece that is missing from this, and a lot of the other talk about the PO issue is the remarkable "flatness" of oil consumption in recent decades on a per capita basis

What is it that you want to discuss about this finding? You skipped the other half of the equation, though. Oil consumption has risen linearly with population for 24 years as well. Per capita consumption is remaining stable, but population is exploding. This is where your second point is correct: the developing world was tossed whatever scraps of oil was left over when the wealthy countries had their fill.

It's clear that we have an uphill struggle. The economist was saying that having more efficient cars and finding a bit more oil will stave off that awful day for ever (that was the impression he gave). He also said that policy decisions based on rapidly declining resources lead to economic damage. That is, because a natural situation leads to bad things, nature must be wrong.

The people at the petrol forecourt were also typical. "I'm sure they have a contingency plan." "I think we'll find a way to solve the problem soon after, or just before it becomes an issue."

It's an uphill battle that I don't see being won until the shit hits the fan.

The bottom feeders on this site, who have some how temporarily escaped from their normal lives at the bottom of the gene pool, through self righteous and slanderous abuse, have managed to lose us one of our brilliant contributors.

Robert Rapier's contributions were intelligent, professionally presented and added enormously to the debate and our knowledge. And now he has gone.

To those of you who abused him about his HL post: You are a bunch of idiots and do not deserve him or the excellence you find on TOD. As you have amply demonstrated, you do not understand it anyway, so why bother? Keep your nasty comments to yourselves.

Is that true, RR is gone? Sad if true. But I don't think a few nasty words are good reason for throwing in the towel. Any one who puts anything up on the net has to expect a whole range of counter opinion, some of it very crude. One just ignores it or replies to any valid part and moves on. I don't really buy that as a reason for not participating. Nor do I regard Saildog's remarks as model of civility.

The very best thing about TOD is the sharp but civil clash of opinions, ideas and interpretation of data -- especially between those who actually know something about energy. Drumbeat is second, supplying clashing clips and blogs.

the biggest thing about Robert that angered me was he used his status to post his his side on the main site as a normal article. which is put /above/ the drum beats where this argument started. these articles are not pointed to other blogs or digg, or slashdot with the comments visible. this removed the possibility of westexas to to a counter article where everyone could see.
he vindictively used his position to get a leg up on a argument he was losing. if it was any other place he would of been striped of his status and baned.

Maybe it would not have been filled with so much vitriol if Jeff (WT) were given a spot as a TOD contributor/senior contributor. Maybe not. IMHO he should be one--hands down, no questions asked. He has much to offer and his knowledge is right up there with the best.

But whether or not the editors ever give him that status, I personally consider Jeff to be a senior contributor even if his name doesn't show up on the front page. Many others likely feel the same.

i think this whole incident would not of happened if WT was a contributor too.
to put it plain and simple RR was loosing because he was ommiting key area's or just plain ignoring them, but i think pride got in the way and he used his status to counter WT in a way WT can't counter.

True, my reply was not civil. But then it was only directed at the abusers. The vast majority who didn't abuse Robert will not object to my post I am sure.

Actually I am really upset by the RR affair. We have lost a great contributor. I reflected for a good few hours on what happened and decided to try and balance the gap between remaining civil at all times and standing up for Robert who puts allot of effort into his posts.

So, I wasn't civil, but there are times when you need to stand up and be counted. I hope it doesn't happen again, but if it does, I will probably react similarly.

He didn't say he would never come back, and it did get way out of hand. I'm amazed at the quality of all of the detailed diaries as well as detailed comments since I assume these people also have a day job. Impressive energy and dedication from all involved.

Well... yes and no. RR's essays on ethanol were really spot on and I think, earned him his "bones". His latest foray into models and particularly Hubbert, were less successful. A lot of reasonable folks felt his manufactured data was not appropriate. They made good points and Robert's response was, what shall we say... less than accommodating?

Did it get nasty. yes. Should it have gone that way.. No, it should have been more mature. It would have helped, I suspect, if the editors had have provided some buffering. The buffering could have been two-fold. 1) the Titanic analogy needed softening. It was unnecessarily antagonistic. And 2) once the thread went sour, a wise comment or two from the editorial board might have given everyone pause.

I, for one, expect RR to be back, at least I really hope so.
He's too tough to get terminally discouraged. What I hope is that we learn that diplomacy matters. Because it does. To build a consensus you need everyone, not just your buds.

As I recall, Robert said something to the effect that he was taking a “sabbatical” or vacation from the Oil Drum; I expect that sooner or later he will be back.

But the unfortunate thing is that all this emotion and passion was wasted on something that isn’t all that relevant anymore. From what I see here is that most of the consensus seems to have coalesced around Peak Oil either already having happened, or happening in the next few years. And as I mentioned before, in the time-frames required for any meaningful “mitigation” to occur, to-day and some date in the next few years are both, for all practical purposes, NOW.

I don’t think we need to waste our time and energy trying to predict the exact date of Peak, rather, until and unless some new Ghawar is found (fat chance!), or some credible evidence emerges that Yergin et. al. are right and Peak is 20-30 years out, we should take as a working principle that we are at Peak, and the discussion should be about what we should be doing now. Robert was never advocating a 20-30 year off date for Peak Oil, as I recall he said something about it being about three years out. And as I said above, that’s NOW!

Ultimately, whether Hubbert Linearization works or not, just by looking around we can see the handwriting on the wall, more and more oil regions and countries are slipping into decline and the outcome seems inevitable.

Unfortunately, as I see it, it won’t be until two or three years after we go off the end of the bumpy plateau that the situation will be sufficiently self-evident for enough people to be aware enough so that this discussion can happen beyond the pages of the Oil Drum.

Antoinetta III

Well said SailDog.

Sadly it's a fact of (Web) life that maybe 20%-30% of the contributors to each web log etc really should be somewhere else.

Some are stupid
Some are ignorant
Some are plain nuts
Some simply enjoy being argumentative
Say may be lonely and need interaction with other humans

Whatever the case, it seems that it's now something that all Web users have to put up with.

I've been reading this site off and on for a few weeks. I don't really have the time to keep up with the latest posts and comments.

Is this a site mainly populated by doomers and "run for the hills" types or is it a place where similar-minded people vent their frustrations?

Are we all going to die, like RIGHT NOW if Al Gore doesn't get his way?

it's a site with people of every perspective, bringing evidence and reasoned argument to bear on what the hell is going on with our energy picture.

It's complex, it's important, but it's also mind boggling and personal--that's why we try to keep it as empirical as we can Not easy, believe me.

There are doomers, there are moderates, there are cornucopians. All have their reasons for believing what they do. We can all learn from each other if we leave the ego at the door and keep the argy-bargy outside.

Prof Goose,

Over the last few days I haven't seen to much reasoned argument or evidence other than posts by Fractional_ flow, Pschwart and Ace which were backed up by evidence, or first hand techncal knowledge of the oil industry.

By cross referencing articles by highly experienced geophysicists who have posted to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists over the years it is possible to work out a very compelling picture of Saudi, Iraqi and Ghawar reserves and how much is left, but after the level of discussion of the last few days I would not be prepared to post my analysis

If you and Leanan would like to see it privately let me know

Well, I for one would like to see it. Just keep in mine that this latest contratemps is the endpoint of an extended argument that has been going on for weeks now, ever since Stuart made his Saudi post. It was more about the Saudi decline than the HL method.

Hi Down Under,

Thanks for your comments.

I'd also like to see your analysis.

re: "after the level of discussion of the last few days I would not be prepared to post my analysis."

Is there anything specific that might help this?

Perhaps you might write up an article and...ask for the editors to moderate the discussion? or...post some groundrules? (Or something?)

My view is there are many readers of this site who don't post and they would also be interested.

Groundrules are a bit of work, if people aren't used to them. However, the rewards are great. Examples of groundrules, no labelling (eg. "This is terrible") but rather specific references, and reactions...(www.cnvc.org, www.newconversations.net).

Or, if you do share w. PG, could you please email a copy to me as an attachment?


Yes I might do that. I just couldn't be bothered coming back all the time debating with people who are rude and don't know what they are talking about such as Robert Rapier has been through recently. I have done quite a bit of research on AAPG postings and other sources and what I have found backs up everything Matt Simmons says and is based not on my opinions but those of world class geologists.

Hi Down Under,

Thanks and looking forward.

I'm also sure others would be as well. Stuart's article today seems to have comments attached w. greater care taken towards how they are expressed, so perhaps people are learning...just thought I'd mention this, in case you would like to post. In any case, I encourage you to share your work w. others (and I'm definitely in the interested group).

Robert Rapier is right about HL and he's not alone. The curve on the way up could have taken any shape because it's a economic curve, specifically GDP/(GDP/bbl). Any number of things could have changed the shape - WW III, bird flu, asteroid strike - you choose. The fact that geology, investment and technology allowed supply to rise to 85mbd is a completely unrelated event. People who think demand creates supply are called economists not engineers.

HL is a theory without a hypothesis. OK, oil production is never a square wave and it rises then falls, and the area under the curve will equal URR at the limit but so what!

There must be some similar process or behavior at work in order for HL to produce similar outcomes in different oil provinces if that is what it is doing. We need an explanation of what HL is measuring. Is it below ground or above ground factors or one driving the other? Here, at least is a hypothesis:

The infrastructure put in place for an oil field closely correlates with the initial estimate of URR. URR(E) determines the size of the investment and thus the rate of extraction. This correlation will tend to produce similar production histories for different oil provinces and similar HL plots.

Is that why HL works? It maybe. Think about Prudoe Bay. What inputs set the size of the pipeline that carries the oil away? It's the kind of investment decision that would attract a huge amount of analysis. Did they take the rate at which the fields could produce and the URR(E) and came up with a flow rate which sized the pipe? No one would put in a big pipe for a small field or visa versa. This stable relationship of geology driving investment size provides a [possible] explanation for the repeatability of HL plots. Colin Campbell has stated that BP's internal URR(E) for Prudoe Bay was spot on but they under reported at the start. Reserves rose as more was moved into proved as per SEC rules.

I for one would like to know what I'm being asked to believe about HL.

There are doomers, there are moderates, there are cornucopians.

And we all come here to engage in intellectual caged combat:


Who wants to dance with the Chimp?

I'll dance with you Chimp. Just remember that I'm old and we're from the same side of the "hill", so be gentle.

How about a slow waltz or a even moderate "twist" for some excitement? Bossa Nova? Mashed Potatoes? But no disco/night club/rave stuff...that was/is way after my time.

A little "flailing around" to the Dead maybe? With or without accoutrements appropriate to that era?

Good flailing around but definitely not the Chimp:


Oh goodness, maybe in my youth (on a REALLY good day).

I'll have to stick to mild flailing to the Grateful Dead or the Stones, with a few drinks to loosen up the old joints.

Hi CyroGuy. Welcome to TOD and the end of the world as you know it (that's if you choose to stay). Energy is the defining issue of our times, and has many dimensions, but perhaps the two most important are oil supply (or lack of it) and global warming.

Al Gore didn't add much to the science. The discussion has moved way on from that point. No, Al Gore's supreme contribution is that he has helped push global warming much further up the agenda; and now it is a mainstream topic, if not world wide, certainly in all of the worlds major western countries. And for that he deserves all of the lavish praise he is getting. It is no mean feat to achieve what he has in the face of a hostile establishment.

On oil supply, the subject is at one level simple in concept, but once you start digging it becomes a whole lot more complex. Once you understand oil supply, you understand global politics and much of the crazy things that are done in our name. Oil is perhaps the most valuable of all commodities and until now production has risen seamlessly to meet rising demand. Now it has stalled. The world produces and consumes about 84 million barrels per day (mbpd); and has done so since late 2004. Oil production has failed to increase for 2½ years and there are grave and justified fears that it may never increase again. If you think you will be able to fill your tank with ethanol instead you have been duped. No one really knows if oil production wil increase or not, but if it doesn't, then it will also start to decline in the next few years. Various bodies such as the International Energy Agency in Paris (the oil establisment) are predicting that oil production will be 110mbpd in 2020. But even they don't know. It could instead be 70mbpd. If that is the case your life could by then be quite tough. It all depends on how we, the people of the world, react. History tells us we will react badly and the situation in the Middle East is blamed by many on oil. Hope tells us that somehow we will react wisely, but on present showing we won't.

So, this site is not doomerish. It is quite technical and focusses fairly heavily on the timing of Peak Oil (the time when the world produces the most oil ever) since it will determine the economic consequences that follow. There is some discussion about that and a bunch of related topics. There are also a couple of other sites to review. My favourites are www.energybulletin.net and www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net. Both those sites contain great introductions to Peak Oil.

So, have a read. Give yourself a little time; and keep an open mind. If you do learn the basics, you could come away and think it is a load of BS in which case you can just walk away. But I bet you don't! Not if you have a brain in your head.

Re: "If you think you will be able to fill your tank with ethanol instead you have been duped."

It's becoming clearer to me that post peak the USA will experience the greatest stress of adjustment of any country in the world. Within the USA it is also becoming clear to me that certain states or areas are going to lead the country into the decline partly because of their location but also due to their attitude toward renewable energy. California has for years been the trend leader. With its anti ethanol attitude it is becoming obvious the me that California will lead us into the abyss of Post Peak Oil. Indeed it will not be possible to fill up your tank with ethanol in California and similar states because they have rejected it or can't produce it. Other area's of the country like the Midwest and Iowa in particular will have less stress because it has embrased ethanol and other renewables such and biodiesel and wind. Blanket statements that assume all areas of the USA will experience the same stress as the Post Peak Oil world unfolds are hard for me to accept.

Indeed, one of the different properties of a lower energy world will be the presence of much more diverging local trends. The energy to nivellate the differences, to transport goods from place to place will no longer be available and using local resources becomes much more economic.

Speaking to GyroGuy but posting under Saildogs comment.

Yes there are doomers here as well as cornies. And there are experts here and ones who want to take over the podium.

Mostly though there are a lot of folks like you who come here and wonder just what the hell is going on!!!!

Some want to embrace the coming chaos, some hate to see it but are preparing, and most are just doing a lot of commenting and not much else. Its a micro view of what is not happening in the rest of the world. The rest of the world don't really give a rat's blue ass what happens as long as Starbucks is still serving and the SUVs are still around.

So consider yourself lucky to have stumbled inside and start to consider where you are and where you wanta be.

Myself , when it gets silly I leave for a while and go do whats important. Like farm or grow food. Otherwise its a good a place as any on the net and better than most.

A word of advice. Don't get into the religious areas. Its a bummer. Expect some of your best posts to go totally unanswered. They may be too good. And above all try not to suck up for as the donkey said.."no one likes a suck up".

Airdale...good tail winds to you

This is probably the best site on the net for technical analisis of peak oil,and surrounding issues.

This weekend{friday}I attended the showing of "Crude Awakening"which was hosted by Thom Hartman,of Air america,and author, of "Last hours of ancient sunlight" This topic will eventually recive the attention it needs sooner than later I belive,as world events may force the u.s. to start getting serious about controling energy usage.

Thoms opinion is in the next 6 months we will all see the mainstream accept peak as reality...and start to deal with it...rationaly I hope.I spent sat. planting 16 cherry trees,and laying out my Kiwi grove.Plans into action.It is time to do whatever you plan on to face this future.

Not a good time to plant trees. I believe you will have to keep them well watered. That said I am transplanting some thornless blackberries that were dying from too much shade.

Without my gardens I would feel completely vulernable.

I was worried about all the news regarding honeybees , since I raise some fruit trees but checking the holly bush by the house I saw hundreds of them crawling all over it.

Apparently some nearby wild bees are doing fine in my area. No one nearby has hives so I believe they are wild colonies.


I have a spring,and am also spending some large dollars on a gravity fed irrigation system.I have been setting up mason bees for 3-4 years now...and will continue.I have seen some studies about the fact commen houseflies are better pollinators than originaly thought,another natural redundency.

I still want bees.I dont remember where I saw that it was BT geneticly engineered pollin that was causeing the bee dieoff.I see some hellatious lawsuit comeing over that....
My orchard,vines,spring,and garden are becomeing my life...

Airdale, I presume you mean Airedale, if you are naming yourself after the dog. My folks had quite a few, they are great.

As an ex-Yorkshireman I can tell you about Airedales. They come from the valley of the river Aire. Look it up, it runs through Yorkshire near Leeds and Bradford.

Before airfares go up and cheap flights are history you should go there and spend some time in the dales. It's good for the soul.

Many subjects, such as evolution, peak oil, the natural gas cliff, climate change, or, in a different register, genocide / war around the world (how many deaths in Iraq?) - matters or consensual science and ‘fact’ - are, in the OECD, but most spectacularly in the US, debased and turned into questions of opinion.

As if one was dealing with enzymes in face cream, judging movies, preferences for porcelain, esoteric beliefs, etc.

If Kylie Prada, 12 years, supported by her parents, insists on her right to NOT hear about Darwin (or perhaps soon, peak oil?) in her school, because of her sincere religious beliefs, that demand has legitimacy, and may even be fought out in the courts.

In case of a bird flu pandemic, Darwin would be responsible for Kylie’s survival. Technotopia, with vaccines appearing out of the sky, and the Doom of the Apocalypse, with deserved death lurking nearby, are not adequate models.

The cause? Generally invoked, are: a) democracy itself, ‘free speech’, everyone participates, leading to cacophony, etc. b) capitalism, as the ‘free market’ leads to individualism, atomization of society, neglect of the common good, c) loss of power of central, national Gvmts, d) a ‘new’ or even ‘new age’ class analysis, with the PTB or other elite powers such as the rich sneakily pitted against the ‘people’, e) the decadence of the West, material comfort leading to spiritual, moral, and physical decline, f) poor or stagnating education, usually seen as a result of one or the other of the above, lack of scientific understanding is often treated the same way, g) television, h) corruption of science, which has become subsumed to commercial interests and is no longer disinterested, see ‘capitalism’... and the list could go on.

So far, though, the West is doing fine with its new colonialism. Africa is sinking fast, but providing us with what we need. In part. For the moment.

‘Peak oilers’ seem to be caught between all these cross currents..

if this is too broad for TOD or seen as OT please say so or delete, only thinking about the 'message'..

Nothing to worry about, my friend has written the Canadian gov't and here is their reply:

The Prime Minister’s Office has forwarded to the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, a copy of your correspondence of February 12, 2007, regarding your concerns about Canada’s natural gas supply and peak oil. Minister Lunn has asked me to respond on his behalf.

The most recent estimates from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers show that natural gas reserve additions in 2005 were greater than production. The 7.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of reserve additions more than offset the 6.2 Tcf of production to yield a production replacement rate of 123 percent. Canada currently has 57.9 Tcf of proven natural gas reserves which, at current production rates, would last approximately nine years.

In other words, if producers stopped drilling for natural gas tomorrow, current reserves would last approximately nine years at current production rates. However, as you pointed out, approximately 15,000 natural gas wells are being drilled each year in Canada, which add to our natural gas reserves. On account of a healthy reserves replacement ratio, Canada’s reserve-to-production ratio has been constant at approximately nine years of production since 1999.

The fact that more wells are being drilled should not, on its own, be reason for concern. For example, in Canada, much of the increased drilling activity is targeting shallower, non-conventional sources of natural gas such as natural gas from coal or coal bed methane. As the conventional natural gas basins mature, these shallower, less-productive, but longer-lasting wells represent a very positive source of natural gas production for the future. We anticipate significant growth in non-conventional natural gas production, which necessarily entails increased drilling.

In response to your concerns about natural gas supplies for the future, a measure known as “remaining resources” provides a more comprehensive picture. Remaining resources includes the following :

– Remaining proved reserves, which are drilled, well known and are being produced now, or will be produced soon;
– Discovered resources, which are drilled, well known but not yet on production because of a lack of infrastructure (e.g. Mackenzie Gas Pipeline); and

– Remaining undiscovered resources, which are estimates of natural gas that will be found in the future.

There is an estimated 367 Tcf of conventional natural gas resources plus an estimated 80 Tcf of unconventional natural gas remaining in Canada. At current production rates, these resources would last more than 70 years. Note that even remaining resource estimates do not consider the enormous natural gas hydrate resources that may become economic to produce in the future. In sum, we do not believe that Canada is running out of natural gas.

Please allow me to assure you that Natural Resources Canada is very aware of the issues and the specific aspects of the peak oil debate. World oil reserves and production have increased over time due in part to technological advances that have improved the efficiency of finding, developing and transporting oil. However, because oil is a finite resource, the world may experience a decline in production at some point in time. Key organizations, such as the Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency, along with other respected groups do not see this decline occurring for several decades.

To ensure a smooth transition from an oil-based economy to one based on new and alternative energy sources, the Government of Canada is investing now in research and development to advance technology and encourages the use of renewable energy sources to meet our energy needs. Natural Resources Canada is a major funder of this research and is working closely with public-sector and private-industry partners to increase the use of renewable energies, to develop new fuels and technologies, and to encourage the responsible use of conventional energy, which will help secure Canada’s long-term energy future.

Canada’s oil resources are more than sufficient to support our current and future energy needs. Based on our current rate of production, Canada has sufficient oil to meet our needs for about 200 years. The Government supports increased energy efficiency and the development of renewable fuels, alternative energy sources and technologies that can reduce our dependence on petroleum.

Thank you for writing on this important matter.

Yours sincerely,

Howard Brown
Assistant Deputy Minister
Energy Policy Sector
Natural Resources Canada

Cool! An official government response to peak natural gas.

Many of our local experts won't agree with the Assistant Deputy Minister's conclusions, of course. But the real question is, Are the production and reserve stats correct?

Is there obvious falsification of the data?

I wonder how they square it with this:

Natural Gas Has Biggest Gain in 7 Weeks as Oil Prices Increase

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas rose the most in seven weeks in New York as prices for rival oil-based fuels climbed.


A decline in imports of natural gas from Canada may lead to higher U.S. prices this summer, said Peter Linder, an energy analyst with DeltaOne Capital Partners in Calgary.

"We're going to have the biggest decline in western Canadian production in the history of the industry," Linder said. "There's going to be 400 to 600 million cubic feet a day less production from western Canada in 2007 versus 2006."

Linder said the combination of falling imports from Canada, the potential for production disruptions from hurricanes, and a tighter supply picture than a year ago will work to keep gas prices in the $9 to $10 per million Btu range this summer.

That's an 8% decline in production this year...

That's projected, though. Hasn't actually happened.

Prices in the US are still way off their peak.

It is happening. Nov/dec canada production down sharply. Canada needs all of their 660 rigs to drill the 15,000 and climbing holes they need these days... but they sent over 1/4 of their fleet south to help us maintain our production. Projecting that production will continue down throughout the year is not difficult given their crashing rig count. Meanwhile, canada is expected to use at least 300bcf this year for tar sands, the us more for ethanol plus new gas peaking plants, and population is anyway growing 1%/y.
Prices are half of their peak because of warm winters and large volume in storage, but we are burning our way through it... if canada sends us 1tcf less this year, we must destroy some demand by end 07.

David Hughes would beg to differ with that rosy picture.


Note how the reserves go from 57.9 Tcf to 367 Tcf in a few lines after some other definitions are pulled out. This is comparing apples and hypothetical beets. The 367 Tcf are not proven and it is only the behaviour of the proven reserve number that matters. Large annual increases in rigs to drill marginal "crumb" fields is not evidence that we have no problem, it is evidence that there is a major problem.

This is like the HL debate. The focus should be on the scale of new discoveries and the diminishing chance that serious new finds will come along. This is at the same time that demand is relentlessly increasing.

The Assistant Deputy Minister has taken the rosy view of reserve replacement. Here is what the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and the National Energy Board had to say about Alberta's reserves:

Alberta’s initial reserves, as booked by the EUB/NEB, have increased by an average of 105 109 m3 (3.8 Tcf) per year over the past four years. If these increases continue at the same rate, it would take about 16 years to find all of the undiscovered resources of conventional natural gas estimated in this study. The project team anticipates that annual additions will decline in future years and thus it will take longer to find all of the undiscovered resources. Alberta’s annual production is in the order of 136 109 m3 (4.8 Tcf), a volume that exceeds annual additions. Consequently, Alberta’s remaining reserves will continue to decline.

Alberta is responsible for about 80% of Canada's gas production.

Other NEB studies are pessimistic about the recovery potential for unconventional gas — they expect maybe 5% of the admittedly large resource (Manville formation is about 300 Tcf) can be produced — and recently it is unconventional gas production that has kept overall production flat since peaking in 2000.

Another point, most of the remaining 'reserves' of conventional gas are 'undiscovered' reserves. It is instructive to look at where this gas is expected to be found. Most of it is to come from the high arctic, much of it offshore, or in deepwater between Labrador and Greenland. The gas companies don't seem to be in a hurry to develop these 'reserves'. I wonder why!

I thought the CBC reporting was pathetic. If one accepts that oil is a finite resource, how could peak oil be described as a "theory"? If it is a finite resource, peak oil is inevitable and the only remaining question is when it will be fact.

Agreed. There will be a year of peak production.

Where I am coming to disagree with the main view here is that I'm beginning to doubt the production curve will have a 'peak' shape. ie. that it will be a logistic curve. If we have a plateau for decades, the peak date will just be a technicality.

If production plateaus at current levels, it will still be a major pain in the ass for the world but unlikely to lead to anything like a die-off or societal collapse among developed nations.

Right now, I don't think Stuart Staniford's case re Saudi oil is that strong. His next post may convince me, though. In that case, my views will darken.

I thought the CBC reporting was pathetic.

I agree. It's a good reminder for me of why I don't watch television news (and haven't done so for years).

Yes, extraction of a "finite" resource by definition cannot last forever, and thus there must be one year in which more is extracted than any other year. i.e. finite implies peak, by definition. The "theory" part of "peak oil theory" has primarily to do with the shape of the extraction curve and the reason for that shape, but that is well beyond the capacity of any of these CBC producers to comprehend, apparently.

As for "No fossil fuels for him" - total bullshit. B20 is 80% fossil fuel! EIGHTY PERCENT! It's like saying someone is a vegetarian because they had french fries with their hamburger.

And CBC is one of the better television networks out there...

Prof G…yes, to Stuart’s graphs on the laptop: the Haradh influence.

To RR,
Don’t know if this is rumor, but as a TOD reader, I hate to see you pack it up. You’re a passionate Peak Oil researcher and I think I speak for many when I say, “Take a break, if need be, and come back”. Your hypothesis on HL wasn’t wrong. Even to a layman, it’s easy to see that the URR moves, that there seems to be no single algorithm that accurately pinpoints a URR. It was a great subject. I look forward to more. Robert, as an outsider looking in, I will tell you, “throw the ball out to the kids but don’t get too involved in the game….” .
Thanks for all your contributions.

Here is a link to a CBC piece on peak oil from almost two years ago:

Also I have been struggling with what the future might be on my personal,family,local and greater levels.
Also trying to attract some attention here locally. Here are my thoughts on my local peak oil group.

Hi jo,

Thanks. I tried to read it, but somehow was not able to do so. Do you have to join the shelburne group in order to read it?

Sorry, I think you do have to sign up but membership is open so if you would just jointhe message will be open. You wont get too much harrasment from the group as I am about the only one posting anything at the moment. And you can un-join at any time. Shelburne/Dufferin County in Ontario is an Ex-burb of Toronto and the majority are desperatly hoping that if they keep their heads under the bedroom community covers all this will go away. Watch the CBC programme too. For the MSN it is decent and especially considering it was the spring of 2005.

Aniya .. sorry I did that to your name

Thanks, Don,

I did manage to read it. I'd encourage you to continue, especially with any positives you might see as possibilities (though this may not be popular, it's what I'm interested in, personally).

Thanks for the encouragement Aniya. I try to build local connections and talk a lot to friends and neighbours. I think when the crunch comes trhey will remembr and not be so shocked.