Open thread

Clearly you guys need an open thread. Play nice. We'll be back soon with commentary from the actual scientists who spoke at Petrocollapse. Perhaps you'll be happier with us then.
Suggesting a change of subjects from some recent threads, we might talk about peak oil...
Talking about purely about Peak Oil is a pretty narrow range, don't you think?  It's pretty much been decided by anyone that knows what they're talking about it will happen.  So, isn't it appropriate we talk both about the fallout, so we can prepare ourselves for it, and the causes long-term and short, so we don't repeat it in the distant future?
Actually, I agree mostly with your comment. My remark was a bit "tongue in cheek". But I can't agree that "it's pretty much been decided by anyone that knows what they're talking about it will happen...". Most people in the mainstream still think we're nuts...

I suppose I'm just a pessimist, but I generally don't consider the mainstream competent. =D
this morning on bbc tv it was announced that a coal fired power station was going to be put back online to make up for the shortfall in gas.
It would reportedly make enough electricity for 3 million homes.

I cannot find the story on the bbc website..

financial times front page is discussing co2 emissions

we have been forecast a cold winter.

Our diesel costs $7.50 a gallon


My sympathies to you, bigfootvegan. It's getting colder here in Colorado and there is a temptation to turn on the heat... knowing that natural gas prices have just jumped about 40% this month alone. The newest power plant planned by Excel Energy is going to be built in Pueblo, a poor community, and it is going to be coal-fired because, obviously, natural gas is in very short supply now and in the foreseeable future. It will be a conventional facility with the usual CO2 emissions, etc. So I echo you plea:

well I am wandering if the government are having problems "squaring the hole"
they need to use coal
and they need to lower carbon emissions

a good article in todays independant

Building a power station is hugely costly and requires years of planning and building. A huge number of Britain's power stations - including most of our nuclear plants - are coming to the end of their working lives. "In order to keep the lights on, we need to build an awful lot of power stations over the next 10 years," Mr Skillings said.
If there is no cap and trade beyond 2012, it may make sense to replace the stations with coal-fired plants. Or if there is to be a bigger crackdown on emissions for the 2008-12 period, or beyond, it could make sense to fit carbon capture and storage technology, or build nuclear.

I like the 'factual bias' of TOD; and it's fine to keep it that way. Personally, in addition, I find that the topic of peak oil only has relevance in a larger scheme in terms of its social, environmental, and economic impact on modern life. So I didn't find the piece on Kunstler to be 'off'. It was part of a report on a peak oil conference. And as several previous commenters observed, regarding their own awakening to peak oil, it was Kunstler and Heinberg that 'woke me up'. And what a revelation. Suddenly 'world news' made sense. (I had known there had to be a touchstone to understanding myriad individual events. For me, peak oil was the touchstone). But I'm fine with TOD staying more narrowly focused on 'peak oil' news. There are plenty of other sites that talk about the socio-economic-ecological implications. (I've not mentioned conspiracy sites; I'm not interested in them).
Okay, since this is an open thread, I'll try to generate a little discussion (that I might learn from as well!):

I am in favor of creating a massive program to replace our fossil fuel dependence with pebble bed nuclear reactors along with a strong nuclear recycling program:

1 - It is IMPOSSIBLE for a pebble bed reactor to melt down.  The hotter a reactor becomes, the LESS reaction occurs.

2 - Jimmy Carter stopped all efforts aimed at recycling spent fuel due to his fear that terrorists might intercept nuclear materials in transit.  By minimizing transit, he sought to minimize the threat.  HOWEVER, 97% or so of spent nuclear fuel can be reused if the 3% that is really "used" (fission products) is removed.  This make nuclear quite efficient and minimizes high level nuclear waste.

3 - Nuclear reactors produce no greenhouse gas emissions except for a minimal amount of water vapor (which returns to earth quickly as rain).

4 - Nuclear electricity can further be used to wean us from dependency on oil through use with electric cars, buses, and trains.

5 - Nuclear power generation does not contribute to acid rain or smog.

I know that disposal of waste IS an issue, but I feel it is more than offset by the advantages above.  Also, this is an EXISTING technology that can be used IMMEDIATELY (pebble bed reactors can be built with relative speed) to decrease our oil dependency in order to lessen the economic and social impacts of peak oil while also mitigating acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions.

There!  Will that do for an open thread topic?

I like the idea of nuclear, but only with certian changes.

If we go to nuclear I propose several changes to the way we live.

  1. An outright ban on incandecant lighting
  2. Insulation of buildings that far exceeds current standards.
  3. A large tax on electric cars (ofcourse, i'd tax gas/oil way more then an electric car). promote electric mass transit, and electric bikes.
  4. large taxs for single family dewlings, encourage and give tax breaks for densly populated dewellings.
  5. no mega huge reactors. make them smaller, and local to where consumption is.
  6. use tax money from electricity from nuclear reactors and gas to subsidize wind generated electricty.

Sorry for the bad spelling...
An outright ban on incandecant lighting

Interesting idea. I think you're getting at the idea that incandescent lighting is more energetically wasteful than other methods of lighting, like say fluorescent. How exactly would you word the actual legislation for something like this? Wouldn't it be better to just impose some kind of tax to make certain types of light less desireable?

Insulation of buildings that far exceeds current standards.

Like how much? How would you handle the regional nature of weather? Some areas will obviously benefit a lot more from greater insulation than others.

A large tax on electric cars (ofcourse, i'd tax gas/oil way more then an electric car). promote electric mass transit, and electric bikes.

Electric cars are more efficient than internal combustion engines in terms of converting the stored chemical energy on board into kinetic energy. But, are electric cars inherently better over the long term? You would need to look at more than just the driving of the car. You'd also have to look at it's production and how the power to run it is generated and delivered.

large taxs for single family dewlings, encourage and give tax breaks for densly populated dewellings.

I'm not sure about this. The goal here is to increase population densities in urban centers? Shouldn't our goal be to get people to move out of cities entirely and back into rural areas? After all, if PO is as bad as some people think it will be, we're going to need more people living in the countryside in order to produce food. What needs to go away are the SUBURBS.

no mega huge reactors. make them smaller, and local to where consumption is.

I totally disagree with this, but would like to see your logic regarding why you think this is beneficial.

use tax money from electricity from nuclear reactors and gas to subsidize wind generated electricty.

What would we subsidize. The solutions we develop need to be permanent, and I'm not convinced that anything developed under a long term subsidy is permanent. If wind power is simple enough to generate, that should be all the subsidy needed. I certainly don't mind seeing a fraction of the tax stream going into research.

I think the best solutions would play to the free market, and pick losers, not winners.

We know there are problems with oil, thus tax it. We know coal produces too many emissions, although it remains an abundant domestic resource: tax the emissions.

Houses are getting excessively inefficient. Perhaps a law that forces developpers to foot part of the elecricity/heating bill (for a limited period time) would work?

The growth of suburbs could potentially be stopped simply through smarter zoning and minimal highway/road development (coupled with more mass transit).

Massive infrastructure upgrades, like a hydrogen network, could also be in order, but not until the solution is proven. Nuclear power's already pretty proven, so a gov. encouraged building bilge there could be timely.

Tax subsidies can be a powerful tool to speed things up, but again, should not be so specifically oriented toward electric bikes or wind power. Instead, for instance, drop property taxes (for a limited period), for land holding (near) 0-emission, 0 consumption power generating facilities.

There's also a major advantage to getting the solutions first, albeit at some great government cost. You can then sell those solutions (and enjoy their benefits), whilst the rest of the world struggles to catch up.

These are just a few ideas, please critique and add.

I'd like to add one...

Parking - The "invisible" link between land use and transportation is parking. It is the interface between the two and for 99% of auto trips it is "free" at the end. In reality americans spend somewhere between $150-$300 Billion a year on it. Most of it is payed through mortgages, property taxes, retail purchases, and whatnot. Getting rid of zoning laws that require parking and then even using fees to cover their cost would go a long way to changing the develoment patterns of our cities, suburbs, exurbs, and towns.

Absolutely. Ten, maybe twenty years ago Portland decided to stop subsidizing driving and emphasize mass transit. They now have an excellent "streetcar" system and thriving downtown... Constrasted to Kansas City, a city of like size, whose center is dominated by parking garages and open lots, suffocating all hope for a denser, more efficient lifestyle.
We (USA) have been fairly sucessful with an assult weapons ban and I'm sure we could figure out a way to ban old light bulbs. I think most people agree that using little heaters that make light as a by product are pretty much worthless. Great back in the day, but its time to move on. I'd probably word it something like 'no single light bulb posssessed can consume more than 25 watts of power with out lighting permit zqsrx-235' and the then we'd have to come up with terms for accuriring said permit. They've gotten so good with LED lighting that a 5 watt light can provide a great deal of light. I'd also be nice to see cars start using LED's for lights. You'd be able to reduce engine drag from the altenator significantly, thus making electric and even internal combustion much more efficent.

Not making houses out of wood would be a great start to making them more efficent and better insulated. Brick and concrete is much more efficent and has way less maintanice. They cool better in the summer, and maintain their heat in the winter as well as stand up to the elements better. Clay/adobe(sp?) is also very good and last's a long time. Cost's a little more to construct, but in the long haul it pays off many times over I'm sure. I'd say hire a group to do surveys of efficency in differnt areas, and design building codes that reflec what would be most energy efficent in that area.

You have a good point about cars, especially enviromentaly when it comes to their batterys. It'd be neat to see someone bring to market and car, say a 4 passenger vehicle, that was  enclosed, but also pedal powered (and single person vehicles like this, i'd ride by bike all winter, but the cold gets to me too much). I'd think you could get a pretty light carbon fiber frame that could seat 4, have pedals, and could do 35 miles per hour with 3 or 4 peole pedaling. Electric for lazy people, or people who simply can't pedal or even to back up the pedaling, but mostly pedal for us folk that actually enjoy working out while getting from point A to B.

I think a high rise appartment/condo that was constructed well would be an awesome place to live. I know some of the college dorms in Ames, IA are completly constructed with concrete (the floors and the walls) and then you can't hear your neighbors and it gives you real privacy. I think a nice big tall high rise that was basicly set in a the middle of a field w/ a nice park where the tennants worked the garden would be fabulous. You could take an area of an entire suburb, have light rail train out to the skirts of the fields for people to work and i think that would be a great way to use land. Have the buildings all connected with light rail also, have the buildings say about every 2 miles appart.

I just think localized power seems to make sense, you wouldn't have 50 million people all lose power at once.

Subsidize the creation of wind farms. i live in the midwest, and it blows my mind (pun intended) that wind is not used more. Hydrogen storage could use the excess power to make hydrogen for peak times and for days its not so windy. I think the hydrogen storage should be local also. I think it'd be neat if power basicly worked like the internet, have node stations that all feed and work together to provide fault tolerance.

ofcourse, I have no idea how we go about tearing everything down and re-building, but in my 'post peak positive dream', this is how i'd like to see it.

"Not making houses out of wood would be a great start to making them more efficent and better insulated. Brick and concrete is much more efficent and has way less maintanice."


First, concrete really stinks as an insulator.  Concrete gets 0.08 R/inch.  Compare this with fiberglass batt at 3.14 R/inch. Brick is even worse than concrete. (Numbers come from

Second, concrete and brick have large embodied energies compared to wood products.  (Numbers at

I participate in a couple of mailing lists that focus on natural, green, and straw-bale construction. Much of the discussion at those sites is on minimizing concrete use because of its massive embodied energy.

Concrete and brick have their places in construction (footings, basement walls) and there are new concrete products (like autoclaved concrete foam) that are really interesting, but conventional concrete is definitely not a good replacement to wood as it is used in conventional north-american homes.

Not just concrete, with nothing on the inside of it. You'd have insulation between the concrete and whatever was the inside wall. Foam, fiberglass, or whatever and then your drywall or whatever was the inside wall.

I'd be a concret shell, but the inside wall on the living space would not be concrete.

That would not be more efficent than wood? And last a whole lot longer?

Concrete doesn't always last well. I was just in Chicago, and saw quite a few highway overpasses with chunks literally falling off the bottom of the concrete girders.

By contrast, there are 200-year-old wood houses that are still in great shape.

As far as light bulbs: Most of the non-dimmed lights in my house are fluorescent. When dimmable fluorescents or LED's become available, I'll gladly switch to them. I have looked, and even with Google and Ebay, they're near-impossible to find; I'd have to buy a 12-pack for $150 or something like that.

Dimmable CFLs currently don't work that well based on the one I purchased. On top of that, they are $13 each.

Concrete in housing will last longer than concrete that is subjected to the stress of being part of the road system.

My impression is that it wouldn't be more efficient than wood, but that's mostly because of the embodied energy of concrete (not to mention the drywall).  If you were to forego the concrete and drywall, and just use a lime (ok) or earthen (ie. clay, hopefully from onsight) plasters, both inside and out, over a modern post-and-beam frame infilled with strawbales or cellulose, well then you've got something to talk about.

Some of the most environmentally fundamentalist straw-bale and natural home builders (ie. my friends) still use concrete but only for footings.  Even then, they often use rubble (field stone, miscellaneous rock, recycled pieces of concrete) to minimize the amount of new concrete they use.  But as a footing material, concrete is hard to beat.

Seriously, you really don't need a concrete slab for a home.  A well done earth floor is beautiful, functional, has a low environmental impact, and inexpensive.  You can even insulate an earth floor (underneath and on the sides) to use it for passive heat-storage or passive cooling, not to mention active heating.

And concrete isn't necessarily as long-lived as you might think.  Like all building materials, improperly used, installed, or maintained, it's rather short-lived.

The currently most popular way to build small houses in sweden is from the bottom up:

A concrete slab with tubes for water heating on 0,2 - 0,3 m (8-12") layer of plastic foam.
The floor heating uses low water temperatures with is favorable for a heat pump or deep cycling of a heat accumulation tank connected to a wood or pellet boiler.
Walls made of wooden framework with crossed beams to avoid heat leakage thru the wood, insulated with 0,2 - 0,25 m (8-10") mineral or glass wool giving a u-value of about 0,22.
Two or three pane often argon filled and IR-surface treated windows with a u-value of about 1.3, summer cottages etc often use old style two pane windows with u-value 2.5.
And below the roof very often about 0,5 m of loose fiber isulation.

The most popular ventilation system is to have a fan sucking out air and most often a heat pump to recover the energy in the ventialtion air and heat hot water with it and take some of the general heating load. Fresh air is sucked in thru vents in most rooms, it is often combined with old style radiators. I suspect that ballanced mechanical ventilation with a heat exchanger will get more common since they use much less electricity.

Most new small houses have 1 or 1,5 floors and cellars have become uncommon since they are a little to expensive to build. The living area is usually between 110-200 m2. (1200 - 2100 square feet? )

The current main heating systems for small houses are with VERY rough
Direct electricity  40% (shrinking fast)
Heat pumps  23% (growing fast)
Oil  9%  (shrinking fast)
District heating 9% (growing)
Wood and wood pellets 18%  (growing fast)

The abnormal ammount of electric heating is due to overinvestment in nuclear power during the 70:s and 80:s giving a long lasting dumping of cheap electricity. This is ending now due to increasd onsumption and export to other european countries.

Air conditioning is uncommon but is becomming more popular, mostly as a feature on air-air heat pumps for heating during spring, autumn and not so cold winter days.

The achilles heel is the electrical heating and electrical water circulation. The heavy concrete floor stores enough heat for about 24h during cold winter days before the house freezes. Long lasting grid breakdowns during cold spells is the most likely major disaster.  The building standard has been driven by a wish for comfort and energy efficiency. Comfort is important since people have invested to have the houses comfortable during very cold -20 C (-4 F) days when most of the winter is more like -5 C ( 25 F)  (Varies between locations. )

(I hope I got all the "funny units" right)

How do this compare to new built housing in different parts of USA?

State code in Oregon requires as a minimum: (R = 1/U)
Walls R-21 via 2x6 walls
Ceilings R-38
Floors R-25
Windows U-0.40

There might be additional codes for each city.

The State encourages building or renovating a house beyond the minimums specified.  They also provide tax incentives to add solar hot water, solar PV and/or wind if appropriate.

The radiant floor system you mention is becoming somewhat more popular, but still a novelty.

The majority of houses are wood framed. 2300 sqft average? (but you see lots of the 3000+ sqft on 5000 sqft lots)
Some of the 3-5 story multi-family bldgs are using steel instead of wood.

Heating is mainly electrical, with older houses using oil and usually converted to natural gas (also prevalent in new homes as well).

There is only one district heating system I know of in the state.  

I think the radiant floor heating system mostly is popular due to comfort reasons, people figured out it was comfortable in a bathroom and concluded "hey, lets have it in the whole house". You also dont get any ugly radiators but that require well insulated windows. It can save some energy compared with radiators but manny turn up the floor temperature instead of using 2$ slippers. It gives more potential savings then actual savings.

There has recently been some downward trends in insulation thickness, house customers have to keep asking for thick insulation or the house builders build with less to get better margins or a lower price. I suspect one of the limiting factors are the banks, they often include the running cost in the calculation on giving a loan or not and they know that a better built house is worth more to them if their customer defaults.

It would seem easier to level a tax at the state or local level.  

For a given level of lumens, no more than X watts can be used.  Above that threshold the tax kicks in. And have the tax increase every two years making it more expensive to purchase lighting that doesn't meet the lumens/watt requirement.

Use the money to assist low-income households switch their lighting to CFLs, LEDs or whatever the next lighting tech is.

"no mega huge reactors. make them smaller, and local to where consumption is."

What news on co-generation.  The idea rattles around in my head that a house loses enough energy when heating itself to compensate for a goodly amount of its electrical requirements.

A question about pebble bed reactors: can they be desined as breeder reactors or would that need to be done elsewhere?
I think that has to be separate due to the failsafe nature of pebble beds (too much separation from the fuel to be enriched).
Molten salt breeder reactors are also very interesting.
Did you read that comment the other day where one of the skeptics posted a link to his article about how critical it is that we start recycling and re-using our nuclear waste? It sounded good, but I don't know enough about the production of nuclear energy to really know if he's full of it or not.
I'm not against nuclear energy but some of the issues need to be dealt with. I think the public perception is that nuclear energy still has too many problems associated with it. Europeans have more nuclear energy than we do but their public opinion polls suggest most people would like to cut back on nuclear energy.

Other than the need for energy, are there things happening in the nuclear field that can change public perception of reactors? Of course, the changes have to be real. Americans are fed up with public relations campaigns that aren't particularly truthful.

Nuclear energy is one of those things that might cautiously go forward if there's also a more aggressive research program dealing with waste issues.

We're going to need multiple approaches because it's not clear what the consequences are going to be for any particular set of solutions. Alternative energy people, however, will find nuclear reactors a real threat if security and waste issues continue to languish and the consequence is that things like solar and wind languish as well. For people concerned with longterm environmental issues, exchanging CO2 for radioactive pollution is not much of an improvement.

Actually that bit about Jimmy Carter stopping all efforts at recycling used fuel for plutonium for fast breeders is a Republican lie. He had nothing to do with it. The collapse of plutonium recycling was simply that we discovered huge amounts of incredibly rich uranium ore between 1973 and 1976 and the bottom fell out of the uranium market as prices collapsed almost ninety percent.
Sort of like when we discovered the East Texas field, and the Persian Gulf fields in the thirties. Shale oil couldn't compete and it all shut down. Britain turned to oil imports and closed the mines.
For all the new folks that might have missed one of the key links on the right side, the "Who are we? Why do we do this?" might be a good read...

The NYC site, which Ianqui and I run is dedicated to "Helping NYC understand, prepare and adapt to peak oil".

For your always, keep it real guys and gals.

Since I'm an "old-timer" here at TOD, peakguy, I wasn't sure why you posted this reminder to newbies. What do you see as the problem? -- aside from the occasional "crazies" that any website like this gets. Also, since this is peak oil we're talking about, it's good to remember that many mainstream people think we're crazy too - you, me, HO, PG, Ianqui, SuperG, Stuart, et. al. And that's despite the fact that we're all pretty conscious and smart people... There's obviously a lot of risk in a site like TOD and damage control to be done. Maybe that's the answer to my query above.
Because I'm feeling crochety today, Dave, I might add to both yours and peakguy's comments that people should also realize that they're more than free to not read any post and resulting commentary that they find offensive and conspiracy-theory laden. No one is tying their hands behind their backs and forcing their eyes to stay trained on these posts.
You should be sorta careful with respect to the whole conspiracy theory kerfluffle that occured today. From my experience, conspiracy theorists tend to drive out the more "productive" members of an internet community, as they tend to beat the same dead horse over and over, are impossible to have any kind of a discussion with and also just sorta clog up bandwidth.

There's a couple of boards I used to frequent fairly often that I stopped going to ( being the most noteable) that I stopped going to because I got tired of reading 8 posts about how The Jews, The Democrats, The UN, the Illuminati or Grey Space Aliens With Bug Eyes were working to take away our freedoms and devalue our dollars in order to find one post about an actual economic topic.

I'm not saying that you should limit people's speech, or shy away from controversial topics, but a succesful bulliten board is like a garden. It needs to be well tended, and some times you have to pull out the weeds.

We've had people come in and troll, but they don't stay too long mostly because people here A. know a lot more than the troll and B. don't take the bait.
Cool. I'd hate to see this place turn into "the conspiracy theory zone." But then, I guess you guys would just shut it down.
I think we'd take action if it went too far off the rails (in our eyes) - we definitely value having an informed debate with knowledgeable people and want it to be worth the while of such people to come here. So far, we've exercised a very light hand. An occasional bad thread is bound to happen. Also, the peak oil problem is inherently multi-disciplinary: of course oil supply issues are foundational, but the various alternatives to oil are within scope, as are the economic, political, and ecological consequences of the various options. Different people will find different parts of that spectrum of interest.
I just thought it might be a good intro for some people that might have joined us on the new Scoop site, post-Katrina/Rita which has grown quite large now. It is good to see all the new faces

I just wanted people to know where we were coming from.

Any group of people who are like minded, will tend not to debate seriously and overlook common assumptions. Like-minded people begin to slowly leave reality and follow group think. I'm not saying that has happened on this web site. Rather, I'd like to encourage people to play devil's advocate and challenge general assumptions from time to time. We all should try to take the opposite position - whatever it may be - research it with energy, and post it. Perhaps with a disclaimer or something. If nothing else it would double check positions and views taken.


I'll say it has happened. I started reading a couple of weeks ago and I commented quite a bit last weekend. I'm in the industry as a manufacturer. I've been in the industry (upstream, midstream and downstream) for 12 years.

Peak Oil is a vital topic. But it is long on conspiracy. This particular site seems (for the time being) a bit more focused on science. But it is still long on conspiracy theory and wild speculation. And it seems to becoming more so.

I guess I did think it happened here, particularly the Doom and Gloom scenarios with food shortages and anarchy. Why not some future outcome less theatrical, say flat oil supply the next 5-7 years, anemic world economic growth of 1 to 2% with a touch of stagflation and poor job growth. For most of us, that would stink, but it wouldn't exactly be reverting to an agrarian society.


The other interesting thing about this site is it attracts people outside the scope of science.  For instance, more of us in the liberal arts fields.  I understand science and it's (limited) uses, but the reason that doom and gloom theories abound is not because the people that are here like melodrama.  If we did, I'd imagine we'd spend more of our time watching soap operas and less time educating ourselves in the area of societal energy production.  The reason is, there are many of us (myself included) that agree that the natural sciences are the leaders of the Peak Oil Event, but the sociological impacts belong to study by the social sciences.  That's why I spend my time, not debating the effects of high rig density drilling, but analyzing the causes and effects of peak oil upon our society.  And in the end, who has more "right" to the intellectual domain of this concept?  Neither of our groups.  

That being said, the reasons for the doom and gloom forecasts are all involved with value conflict sociology theorists and political/evolutionary psychology, two branches which deal with the the mental effects upon a person in his command-and-control structure, and how evolution designed us to be brutes in order to secure resources for ourselves.  

The problem lies not in how much economic recession there is, but the perceptions behind it.

Believe or not, slick, I come from a liberal arts background. My degree (mathematics) was a part of the liberal arts college of my university. I was a 'Philosophy of Greece' class away from a minor in philosophy. Yeah, that Enlish lit class gives you SO much more insight into phenomenally technical issues. Bullshit.

While you sociologists and psychologists fret about the future (not that there's anything wrong with that) I'll just keep working to ensure the peak is farther in the future than is currently predicted. And as an evil capitalist I'll make big boy money doing it.

The problem is that we believers must contentd with the fact that the hoi polloi must be converted, or we will not be able to effect the changes neccessary to save ourselves.  It is enlightened self interest to get most people onboard (and be prepositioned for maximum profitability).
Yea... great job at warping the issue.  If you want to go that route, we can also make science into a liberal arts backround:  science is a study of philosophy, philosophy is taught as a liberal art, therefor, science is liberal arts.  Bullshit.  That is just messing with the common definition.

Further, I've never taken an English lit class in my college life.  And, I've never claimed insight into the technological issues.  The only things I've ever posted on are economics, social impacts, and politics, which, wait for it... wait for it.. YOUR technical mathematics degree gives you no more insight on that me with technical issues.  

Keep working on pushing back that peak.  That way, we can simply dump the problem on the next generation.  After all, it's worked so well up to now.

Dude. Sometimes, you say smart things fairly often but invariably you come off as a complete D*CK while in the process. If you find yourself wondering why people react to you with such hostility, you might want to consider not insulting everyone.

Yes, I agree that liberal arts type insight is less "useful" than technical insight, but you gotta keep in mind that most people are of the "liberal arts" persuasion. If you insult your target audience, they're never going to listen to you no matter how technically right you may be.

Well, my assumption has always been that a lot of the doom and gloom scenarios that roll around in people's heads are simply due to the common fallacy of extrapolating current results much further into the future than the evidence really warrants.

THAT would be an interesting topic, by the way.

Well, keep in mind that your average person isn't trained to be inherently suspicious of anything reported as fact that doesn't have evidence to support the supposed factual nature. Also, I suspect that conspiracy theories are just maddeningly seductive. I suspect that there is some sort of inherent human need for drama.
Okay, that's an easy one (devil's advocate mode ON):  there is no oil crisis because oil is not a fossil fuel.  We are simply making the wrong assumptions and therefor looking in the wrong places for oil.  Oil is actually a normal part of planetary formation.  This theory is known as abiogenic petroleum origin and is supported by evidence that large amounts of petrochemicals may exist in other portions of the solar system where no like is known to have ever existed.  A really good explanation of abiogenic petroleum origin may be found over at Wikipedia.

Supporting the theory is the fact that oil does not match the chemical composition expected from plant degradation, the existence of very deep fields, and the existence of fields which span multiple geologic eras.  Multiple examples of fields which exist contrary to the predictions supported by biological origins for oil are listed in the Wikipedia article.

If the abiogenesis theory of oil genesis is correct, the oil reserves available to us may be many times greater than all the currently known reserves combined.  Peak oil would therefore not be a problem for the next century or more at the earliest.

Devil's advocate mode OFF.

Okay, I find abiogenesis an interesting an plausible theory (given my background in physics and astronomy), but not completely convincing.  However, the evidence is, I believe, strong enough to warrant testing the theory by doing additional exploratory drilling in areas which abiogenesis says are likely to contain oil that biological genesis does not.  Of course, if abiogenesis is right we're going to have to get doubly serious about greenhouse gas emissions!

Didn't the Scandinavians explore this idea for awhile with very deep drilling? (Or did they have some other idea in mind?) It doesn't sound like anything ever came of it though that doesn't necessarily disprove the idea.
Correct, all that was found was the diesel oil in the drillig fluid...
What we're seeing here on TOD is a tiny taste of the kinds of reactions we'll see out in the world at large when the stuff starts to hit the fan. If we can collectively keep our sanity and stay on task on this site it will give me more hope that society at large will be able to do the same.

Having said that, I have a lot of faith in this group's ability to keep up the high quality of the discussion.

"replace our fossil fuel dependence with pebble bed nuclear reactors"

three questions:

applying the nature of peak resource to uranium, how many years of fissionable material is available once you have completed converting whatever percentage of oil consumption into breeder output?

how much additional petroleum will you consume in the construction of infrastructure and acquisition of the uranium feed-stock required, as opposed to not undertaking such a tack?

if the root of your need is to provide the species with a sustainable and environmentally neutral source of energy, how does the impact of mining the raw materials for construction, mining the uranium, processing spent fuel and storing waste meet this goal?

tin foil hat

applying the nature of peak resource to uranium, how many years of fissionable material is available once you have completed converting whatever percentage of oil consumption into breeder output?

Good question!  Breeder reactors and pebble bed reactors are different beasts.  Pebble bed reactors are very SAFE non-breeding reactors.  Breeders actually produce additional fissionable material from material which is not originally fissionable.  Nuclear recycling greatly increases the available fuel, but breeders create new fuel from related materials, thereby greatly extending the time we have during which nuclear fission is viable.  I expect that would give us the time we need to live very comfortably while developing next generation sources such as nuclear fusion.

how much additional petroleum will you consume in the construction of infrastructure and acquisition of the uranium feed-stock required, as opposed to not undertaking such a tack?

Any construction project is minimal compared to the overall consumption of energy.  Once one is done, it's energy output should handle the building of the next one or several.  It takes oil, coal or gas initially, but then you are successfully boot-strapped.

if the root of your need is to provide the species with a sustainable and environmentally neutral source of energy, how does the impact of mining the raw materials for construction, mining the uranium, processing spent fuel and storing waste meet this goal?

My goal is neither PERMANENTLY sustainable nor completely environmentally neutral energy.  Instead, I'm suggesting a solution that works for a long time period (decades to centuries) while allow us to maintain something similar to our current standard of living while minimizing, but not eliminating, environmental impact until science and technology progresses to the point that we have other alternatives.  I am NOT an advocate of the idea that a magic bullet technology will appear to save us from peak oil, but I do believe that science and technology can give us good solutions in the long haul if we can get by the short term problem that oil is peaking.

Waste storage is minimized via recycling.  Long term storage is an issue for the remaining fuel and for low-level storage for decommissioned reactors.  However, our current waste storage solution for fossil fuel sources is to belch it into the air -- something that has tremendous environmental impact.  It is an issue, but I think it is less of an issue than the current means of "managing" waste!

According to the eia there's enough 235U to supply all (transportation included, via hydrogen or some other method) the world's energy needs for only 5-25 years. Yet that's without breeder reactors and recycling. Breeder reactors can make 238U, the form of the vast majority of the world's uranium, fissable, and (apparently) recycle 97% of the current fuel. That's basically endless nuclear power, so far as we are concerned.

I have heard that a large objection to the Yucca storage facility is it's inability to keep solid for 10,000+ years. Please someone tell me there are more sane objections, for despite my full sympathies to the people of 12005, we're looking for 100-200 year fixes, and can't survive as a race if we look that far to the future.

If nuclear energy is a tolerable risk and one of the solutions to Peak Oil (and I would emphasize the word 'one'), then the biggest obstacle facing nuclear energy may be public perception. If safer nuclear reactors exist (and if they can be made safer still and be economically viable), that information is not really part of public's perception. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl still color the public's mind. Attached to that history are other concerns, exaggerated or not, about waste. When people learn that radiation can last 10,000 years, it doesn't sit well with them. If there is factual information that addresses these public anxieties, and that can withstand analysis from different directions, it would be useful to get that information out in ways the public can digest.

As for CO2, I don't understand the dynamics, but the perception of CO2 appears to be far more neutral in the public's mind than radioactive waste. It's very important to talk about CO2 but possibly a more useful angle of talking about the problems of fossil fuels, and particularly the dirty fossil fuels that we probably will fall back on more and more, is the toxicity of petrochemicals in general. As just one example, off the top of my head, there are areas of the country where ground water is not usable without major treatment because of all the insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers that have leached into the water. By the way, does anyone know if there is such a thing as a toxicity index for the various kinds of energy resources in use?

I wish I had not donated my Energy Atlas of the World to the Center For Land Use Interpretation or I could answer you directly. I really need to replace that with the 2005 version. As I do not have it on hand, I will not hazard a guess. Well, yes I will. Couple of thousand years.

This site will provide the impetus for me to buy these resources (they ain't cheap).

Okay. I wanna see the calcs where you derive a thousand years of our current level of living standards using fissile Uranium alone. I'm not saying I don't believe you, but my gut cries out for more than you just saying so. If it's true though (and doesn't require that we tolerate an ocean of waste nucleides) I think that's cool.
As I said, I will buy the necesary resource. It is published annually. Give me a couple of weeks to get it. At roughly $700 it ain't cheap.

Last one I owned gave in great detail energy reserves of evey contry on the planet. It included biomass (forests). coal, uranium, lithium (fission), oi, gas, oilsands, oil shale, etc. Damn good book.

It'd be intersting. I did a quick read on breeder reactors and it sounds like a good idea, as long as you make a couple of assumptions about implementation:

(1) Deal with the proliferation question decisively.
(2) Ensure that people is building amd running the plants aren't cutting ANY corners during construction or operation.
(3) Have a reasonable solution for nuclear waste storage. I agree that it's absurd that we're trying to find a way to bury this stuff for a million years. We should be focusing on a safe way of storing it for 100 years, with the hope that either newer tech comes along or we find someway to use the waste.
(4) Develope a set of government regulation that pretty much forces energy generators to suck X percentage of the energy out of the material through recycling (and breeding) before being allowed to convert virgin ore.

I honestly think that nuclear fission is never going to be a method of power generation that will or should be left to the "free market." It's just too damn dangerous.

I freely admit I'm a pessimist, but after some of the wild Y2K claims that I bought into I'm reluctant to be a complete gloom and doomer. History shows that people have a poor track record when it comes to accurately predicting things. I think the dire warnings from some in the Peak Oil community do serve a purpose, which is basically to scare and shock people into action.

I see what has been happening during the past 2 years as a wakeup call. In particular the results of Ivan, Katrina, and Rita are a HINT of what could happen under the right circumstances. From what I've read Al Queda has shifted their rhetoric towards disrupting energy supplies, which is very bad news for energy starved countries across the globe. On top of that you have canaries in the mineshaft, in the form of less developed nations, which are telling us about the potential for catastrophe. We should pay close attention to the plight of these countries who can hardly afford oil, fertilizer, and seeds now. It may be countries in the EU, states in the US, or provinces in Canada that are next.  

I don't believe neoliberal economics is the answer to our prayers. In my view the economic system we have is an elitist cult where the minority prosper disproportionately in comparison to the majority. I'm not a socialist politically speaking, however I think we can learn some things from socialist countries. Marx and others have warned about the pitfalls of capitalism, but history hasn't proven him right beyond doubt QUITE YET. However, it's within the realm of possibility that he will proven correct eventually.

On the flip side, I think that there must be a way of living in a balanced way without living in a hippy commune. How are communes going to produce solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, alloys, and all the other things we would need to maintain our technological level? Clearly none of these communities will be self sufficient any time soon.

At the same time I don't think socialism or capitalism have found the correct balance. There must be some amalgamation of systems that can produce sustainable, technological societies. In the end I think we will be forced to find the answers through trial, error, and circumstances favorable to change. The current systems vying for power across the world have too much momentum in general to change direction.

I believe in the phenomenon of peak oil, yet I'm ambivalent about how it will all play out. In my view it's just one more pressing problem the world is facing. We live in a world where more and more destructive force is available to humans. Einstein and other scientists lived to regret some of the genie's they let out of the bottle. But it doesn't take a hydrogen bomb to do a great deal of damage on a planet with billions of people living proximately.

I do have a lot of hope for a better future. If we don't destroy our "manifest destiny" to spread throughout the universe, I think we have great potential to advance cohesively. We must learn to work together and do away with fiat money and usury. Most of the founding fathers and progenitors of the USA didn't believe in these things. Americans and the rest of the world have been swayed to follow a very dangerous course. Frankly, I don't want to have my money tied up in paper currency or financial markets.

Society, in my opinion, isn't likely to go all the way back to the dark ages any time soon. Even if things do get sticky in the near future, there will be many future waves of prosperity. They may not be in the form of 3 gasaholic SUV's in front of a suburban McMansion. But really happiness is not about how much you have, no matter what the commercials have told you all of your life. Happiness is a result of having your physical, psycho-spiritual, and sexual needs met.

The comments on the New York website that Kunstler is irrelevant or a distraction make no sense to me.

Peak oil is not just about depletion statistics.  Peak oil is also about the impact of those statistics on people's lives.  That is what Kunstler addresses.

Engineers are fascinated by data, but most people are bored and unmoved by raw data or even graphs of raw data. Politicians don't care about any numbers other than campaign contributions or the numbers of voters they can turn out.

The only way that peak oil becomes meaningful for most people is when they see what it means for them and their way of life in concrete terms.

The only way anything is going to change is for social and cultural commentators like Heinberg and Kunstler to reach more people.

Actually, marko, some of us think Kunstler's message is great... and I agree, peak oil is not "just about depletion statistics". There are two levels to consider:
  1. Is peak oil real? -- and attempting to demonstrate that. Look at Stuart Staniford's posts, for example. Or ASPO, Simmons, Koppellar, et. al.
  2. If it is real, as people argue, what are the outcomes and what are we going to do about them?
Kunstler assumes #1 and deals with point #2. He acts as an Old Testament Peak Oil "prophet". Bless him for that.

Petroleum engineering, geology and HO's posts, in addition to mathematical modeling and Stuart's posts, are not likely to get most people off their complacent backsides anytime soon. I think the work they do is important and indispensable and creates the ground for a greater awareness. But after the groundwork is laid, unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to do. Sorry to be so blunt.
I don't think "reaching people" is the correct route.  If anything, we've learned in the past 5 years you don't have to actually listen to your electorate, as long as you pretend you do.  The fight should be taken to corporations, with the main arguement of complete destruction of their bottom line.  THAT will get things done.  
Bring it on. Please valiant peak oiler Descolada bring it on, destroy my bottom line. Good friggin' luck.

You don't stand a chance.

You are a corporation then, Mad Oilman? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
I replied to this earlier.  For some reason, it didn't post.

I'm not really sure how to interpret this.

The fact that you obviously didn't understand what I meant shows your lack of understanding in this concept.  It's not going to be ME that hurts your bottom line, nor will it be a large group of peak oilers boycotting, or any of that bullshit.  It's going to be peak oil itself.  Tell me how the vast majority of corporations will be able to survive post-collapse.

By bringing this to their attention, and most of them outside the energy sector have just as much knowledge of this as the American public, perhaps that will cause change.  They certaintly have the ear of the politicians more than we do.

I'm glad that you opened up this open thread as I've got something to say.

I'd like to see more discussion on this site about how we could theoretically work to decrease general consumption of various types of fossil fuels. Things like conservation, improving effciency, alternative power sources and different ways of organizing society. I'm talking about technical post along the lines of the posts about how one actually goes about drilling and using an oil well. Perhaps this goes beyond the scope of this website . . .

As for that whole Jevan's paradox thing, I find it to be utterly useless. It simply seems to be a sophisticated way for people to say, "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here." I don't like feeling hopeless. Also, more technically, I think it looks at the problem incorrectly. When applying Jevan's Paradox to the question of Peak Oil, I think the question implicitly being asked is "How can we stave off the onset of the peak through conservation?" For that question, perhaps Jevan's Paradox applies and is an appropriate answer. However, I've never seen any tests of Jevan's Paradox that indicate whether or not the theory has any validity.

More importantly, the whole issue is besides the point. I'm far more concerned about the post-peak world, as that's where all the real problems requiring real solutions occurs. Conservation (assuming Jevan's Paradox is false) only delays the peak, but that delay is finite. Peak Oil can-not be delayed indefinitely unless we drop oil consumption below the rate at which it's being formed, whatever that is.

So, the critical questions become those regarding the methods by which we might decrease our oil consumption at roughly the same rate that the supply depletes in ways that minimizes societal disruption for us and also preserves the accumulated knowledge of civilization for our descendants. I'm not really interested in discussing anything else.

In particular I'm not interested in conspiracy theories. Conspiracy problems don't solve problems, they just paralyze you with hopelessness.

Agreed. Problems, but coupled with solutions. Good solutions, specific solutions, maybe even tried solutions. It is very hard to get someone to listen to how doomed they are if you don't give them a light at the end of the tunnel, and no politician will ever speak of peak oil unless he can offer a way out.

Granted, this site still does an exceptional job of factually outlining problems, and lack of solutions is something that plagues all of society (ie war protestors).

Unfortunately the solutions mean sacrifice, something that the last two generations have really never been asked to do. You have to go back 3 generations to find people that were asked to sacrifice their immediate "wants" for the collective "good".
True, but that shouldn't stop us from asking them now. We just need some clear cut solutions, and the fault will be entirely theirs if they refuse.

We have also still succeeded at accomplishing great things in those last 3 generations, without the huge sacrifices of an all-out war. The 70's oil crisis and subsequent consumption declines being is the most applicable, and the moon launch and huge economic growth are the best indicators of our society's ability to accomplish the impossible. We just need to harness the right energies.

Unless of course you think our success has been based entirely on cheap oil... in which case I must say that we still have enough "cheap" oil left to pull out atleast one more miracle.

Jevan's paradox is kind of simple to explain actually, at least to my mind.

When you use a commodity more efficiently, that commodity becomes more valuable; at any given price, the commodity in question becomes more desirable (because you can make more stuff with it under the new efficient processes) and demand for it increases, relative to demand under inefficient use.

There are only two real solutions for lowering demand in the face of market forces: rationing, or raising taxes.

Two thoughts on Jevon's Paradox:

  1. It may be true (to a certain extent) in a world of abundant, cheap fuels. It may not be so true after WPO.

  2. I don't believe that the effect is 100%. And with education and individual commitment to reducing externalities (at the least), the percentage of savings put into substitute energy use can be reduced even further.
I agree we need to stay focused on the energy side of the conversation.  

How long is conventional going to last at current supply?

What will we use to make up the shortfall when it declines?

I disagree that we all agree peak oil is imminent.  Peak oil as a theory is sure to be proven someday.  But seeing it come true this year or 20 years from now has a lot to do with how much traction alternatives will get.  I remember the 70 and alternatives then.  Lots of good ideas, clear focus on efficiency and it all got destroyed when oil was cheap for a decade.  Same thing could happen between now and 2015 if there is plenty of supply before a peak.

With respect to what will replace oil.  This site has a litany of ideas.  All worth considering IMO, but none except wind and solar are ready for prime time.  All should be pursued at research and development level but wind and solar should be in full blown production to ramp up energy capture.

IMO the big hurdle is that wind, solar, passive solar (for less energy needs), biomass, etc. all require decentralization compared to conventional energy, including nuclear.  I think the U.S. needs a mindset change in how to capture and distribute energy.  The current model is very large producers, very large distributers (some times the same as producers) and customers.  Customers are NEVER producers in the framework.  The producers don't really want them to be.  If too many customers became producers how would they make a profit?  They might end up only as distributers with low margin.

This is where we all started before electric lines and power equipment and where we must return after peak oil.  We have to invent a model to empower people to capture some tradeable energy at thousands of local sites.  The energy captured could be used immediately at the source (heat a home, cook some food, charge a battery for transportation, do some local work) or if in excess can be dropped onto a grid and distributed.  People with extra short term need would draw from the grid.  There would need to be an army of people to install, fix, upgrade, coordinate the decentralized and distributed grid.

Some people would want to cheat and be more users than suppliers under this system.  But in an energy scarce world, not having ability to capture your own energy would open you to NO energy under peak loads.  The suppliers wouldn't be contributing much to the grid at that time.

The key is not to focus on one energy type. The key is to put up some guidelines on what will be allowed (no deforestation to burn wood, no relaxation of water & air quality to allow unfettered strip mines, etc.) in capturing or converting energy to transmitable form.  

I don't see any one source being able to replace oil and NG, or even coal eventually.  We have to use what works in any particular environment.  Live in the midwest - use wind, solar and biomass.  Live in the Rockies- use wind, solar, geothermal and maybe falling water.  Live in California - use solar and wind.  Northeast - use wood, wind and falling water.  The specific mix will have to be different by region.  But not all regions need the same thing.  The south needs primarily air conditioning and refrigeration.  The northeast needs primarily heat with refrigeration less of the time.

The key in all of this is to get as much renewable into the mix as possible, supplemented with conventional fossil and nuclear.  Drive for efficiency and distributed energy capture and production.  We need a mindset that every household can and should be finding ways to capture and save energy.  

Mimic what nature does.  Have lots of small energy production systems rather than a few huge ones.  It is a much more robust system that can't be damaged easily.  Millions of individual light harvesting membranes exist in each plant cell.  And each leaf on a tree has lots of cells.  The amout of energy captured per cell is tiny, but the canopy of a large tree converts one hell of a lot of photons into chemical energy each day, only a fraction of which is net gained due to respiration.  That small fraction drives all growth.  The beauty is that losing a few leaves doesn't affect the system a whole lot.

Appoaching energy from this standpoint connects people to their energy usage vs production every day.  They can't help but look for efficiencies.  We would creat a huge number of backyard tinkerers trying to improve the systems.

I don't see any of this happening until we change the corporate and government mindset that controls energy.  All the tax codes and incentives are against decentralized systems.  Bigger makes more money now, so bigger is where we will go until collapse.  We need to talk about how smaller is the right approach to peak oil and energy and use policy to create the playing field.  

Discuss how this appoach has huge growth potential for specific types of businesses.  Switches, carbon fiber, batteries, technical jobs, installers, all these would be large employers and steady employment for years.  Manufacturing, in the U.S. and every country could become more localized.  Lots of small manufacturing shops to make custom onsite installations.  Large business oportunities to chase efficiency through design and better equipment.  Some of this is pure growth but a lot, by necessity, will be replacing energy hog with better equipment.  Recycling will be huge.  Much better to recycle than de novo (make from new) manufacture anything metal, glass or plastic.  

Chasing waste streams will be another growth area.  Trying to eliminate all waste (because it will be somebody elses raw material) will truly be embraced.  That will have positive benefits for the environment.  Heavy manufacturing can coexist with superclean environment because nothing is going to get released without scavenging for useful materials.  Currently there is cost benefit on waste.  If it is cheaper to ship or dump, do it rather than clean it up or find a partner that wants your waste.  Many businesses have stayed solvent just making money off their waste streams but most pay to have it removed.

The key is to have the government and business climate set up so that these things make money, but not doing these things costs more.  I agree with a post above.  Don't try to incentivize some potential winner.  Penalize everything you don't want people and businesses doing.  The market will then work in favor of energy capture and efficiency instead of favoring the established system.  The established system doesn't need help.  It is the entrepeneurs and risk takers that need a help when they are little.  Incubate lots of little guys rather than subsidize a few big guys.  That is what we need to talk about to people who are still skeptical of peak oil.

PG, are you reading or off for a while? I sent you some email on a peak oil subject....
He's gone at a conference. We make our feeble efforts in his absence.
yeah, sorry gang...TRW gets in the way now and again...  :)
Hey, did everyone see that the Energy Bulletin is on hiatus?

They direct folks to a number of sites including TOD, which they comment is "VERY ACTIVE". Nice plug.

I hope they come back soon.

I started reading about Peak Oil last winter, when gasoline prices started to rising significantly in my area.  

Peak Oil seems to be a fairly sound theory.  What surprises me, however; is how strikingly different it is from other forecasts about the future.  I am specifically thinking about Ray Kurzweil's Singularity.  

What Kurzweil postulates is that humanity's exponential growth will continue.  Basically, technology will break through any limits we encounter.

So, do you folks think there is any merit to the Singularity hypothesis and how does this idea mesh with Peak Oil?

(BTW, This is my first time posting to TOD.  Keep up the good work!)

Kurzweil must have missed the bit in parallel programming where you learn that there are always necessarily serialized sections of code that limit how fast things can go. Singularities (except perhaps for black holes) are always avoided in the real world when you get down into the details; it's only with a big picture view that it looks like something might be shooting through the roof.

And in a sense, with that definition, we're in a singularity right now - that's what those old "hockey stick" temperature and CO2 graphs are all about. It's not a good singularity though - at least not yet. Time will tell :-)

The hockey stick has been proven to be a fraud. No matter what the inputs, the hockey stick emerge. How about that?
Nope. Real climatologists are pretty solidly behind the hockey stick. Check the discussion at Real Climate.
Give it up, Stuart. Don't bother.
The more I read your comments, the more I wonder what you are doing here.  Obviously, you're not hear to participate in the discussion, and seem more intent on stirring up trouble.

What is your motive to being here?

I am certainly interested in the insights of a guy who runs a global oil industry equipment business (though he may be better versed in oil technology than climatology).
If y'all can be generalists so can I. And climate does affect my business. Significantly (a few hurricanes just proved that emphaticaly).
Regardless of his background, every site needs a couple of contrarians if you want to maintain quality. If the situation degenerates into a bunch of true-believers, all you have are constants choruses of "Amens!!" and that's never a good outcome, unless you're in church.
  Was at a meeting of a local organization last night, when one of the people mentioned getting emails about Peak Oil--and that he had done some investigating and said, if true, was quite scary. (First time I heard someone locally say the words 'Peak Oil'.)  Then he went on to say about the tremendous amount of oil is in Utah and Wyoming... but environmentalists and rich people with vacation homes were blocking drilling.  Other people chimed in--all scared to death of natural gas and gasoline prices--but they seem to think the problem is either a) the fault of environmentalists or b)a conspiracy of the oil companies.  (I was coming down with some sort of virus and unfortunately didn't have the energy to get into a heated discussion on the topic.)
  I'm afraid this is the general public's reaction to the energy crunch we're experiencing--it could be solved but for restrictive environmental laws or the windfall profits of Exxon.  To get people to understand the reality of peak oil, will it take someone in authority (and a little higher up than Roscoe Bartlett) to bring it to the public's attention?  (Next time I see the guy who brought up PO, I'll turn him on to this site.)
  A couple of the folks at the meeting also mentioned how some of the wells in Pennsylvania Oil Country that haven't pumped in years are pumping again.  Sign of the times.  (There are some very old wells up there, I think some over 100 years old, that still pump out oil, albeit miniscule amounts.)

If I may add, in defense of Ruppert, his book "Crossing the Rubicon" is what first opened my eyes to Peak Oil.  Until I read the book, I had been under the impression that the Caspian was the next Saudi Arabia; I guess I had missed the bulletin that it didn't pan out.  In any event, one can understand and discuss peak oil with or without seeing world events as a geopolitical tussle for oil.  (And one step removed, with or without seeing 9/11 as part of this geopolitical tussle.)  While I'm inclined to agree with much of what Ruppert says, I do like that this site gives me my Peak Oil information "straight".  That is, pretty much confined to that issue, without going off too much into, say, geopolitical or survivalist discussions.  (Been here for about six months--whenever you were first mentioned at Kevin Drum's site, though this is my first comment on the new server.)

I grew up in Northwestern Pennsylvania (please note that I am only in my twenties) and most of the local oil wells have been pumping my whole life.  In fact, there is a refinery in Bradford that only refines oil pumped out of Pennsylvania.
Cheney and company can't affors to admit to Peak Oil because the next knee jerk question from the press will be:

When did you know it?
And how much did you withhold from us for how long?
Billion to billion+ barrel field has been discovered and delineated in a very remote part of Utah recently. The exploration company had to rent a helicopter rig (an oil drilling rig that can be flown to site in sections by helicopter) as no roads exist in this location. They will.

There is a tremendous amount of NG in Colorado. Permitting and leasing issues are slowing drilling down.

There is also a very, very tight gas formation n Colorado known to hold trillions of cubic feet. But it's tight.

The US government (in a desire to find a peaceful use of nukes) triggered an atomic blast deep in this formation to free the tight gas. It worked. Problem was the gas had quite a bit of radiation content. Well, it was worth a shot I guess

I live in Colorado. I follow these issues here. I am not sure whether it is worth my while to tell you that you are completely full of shit about NG in Colorado, oil in Utah, oil shales, etc.

There is always the hope here at TOD that you'll just go away since you can not ever conceivably prove your points about energy production in this region...
Sorry Dave, I'm not. At least in this case.

A major field has been discovered in Utah in the last 6 months. I'm too lazy to pull the O&GJ article but it is there. Really. Since I read it weekly, well, you know.

And the tight gas? I've seen the footage from the nuke shot. It's from the 60's but it exists.

I owned Patina Oil & Gas (POG) for many years. Rocky Mountain gas and oil. Made 3 times my investment in 2 years. No gas. No Oil. Right.

I live this industry Dave. It puts food on my table and nasty capitalistic investment dollars in my bank accounts. The Rockies are a huge growth market for me. You can deny the gas and oil. You can't deny the driling for gas I curently support in your state. Tell you what. I'll be a sport and update this post tommorrow. And I'll let you know the current number of gas and oil wells being drilled in CO. Is that acceptable?

And that going away thing? Never. Y'all nead a reality injection every once in a while. I'm more than happy to provide it.

I appreciate having insights from the industry. As for a reality injection, there's short and long-term reality. You said you're drilling hard now to stave off the peak. Thanks. But also means that long-term you're at least partially on board with us. It's a big tent here, and even closet peakers are part of the flock.
Dave, I admit I was a little skeptical about Mad Oilman's claims about Colorado and Utah. Just finished looking it up. Like everyone else, I'm aware of nuclear testing in New Mexico, Nevada and the Pacific but there were other tests including two areas in Colorado that had nuclear devices detonated years ago, one near Rifle and the other near Grand Valley. Both have NG deposits. Rifle is estimated to have 2.2 trillion cubic feet. (See:

At least three oil companies are involved in the area: Ecana, The Williams Cos., Inc. and Yates Petroleum.

My post is after Stuart Saniford's who notes the story about Wolverine Gas and Oil Corp. The exploration is near Sigurd in south central Utah (ironically not far from a place called Richfield). The company is claiming 100-200 million barrels and suspects there may be more than a billion barrels in the general area. The figures are considered by some to be pie in the sky. In addition, Nevada is taking an interest since they have some similar structures.

Here's a couple of links to the nuke gas stimulation test:

This is a good recent article about the test.

Here's the actual film (you can order it from the DOE if you want to see the entire thing)


There are currently 79 rigs drilling for oil & gas in Colorado (Baker Hughes rig count 9/23/05, O&GJ October 3rd).

Colorado is currently producing 60,000 barrels of oil a day (O&GJ production report 9/23/05, O&GJ October 3rd)

Unfortunately I don't have the gas numbers handy. But they are significant. Biggest problem keeping Colorado from really being drilled is regulation and permitting.

I'm guessing this is the recent oil discovery in Utah.
A tiny oil company has snapped up leasing rights to a half-million acres in central Utah that it says could yield a billion barrels or more of oil.

Geologists are calling it a spectacular find -- the largest onshore discovery in at least 30 years, located in a region of complex geology long abandoned for exploration by major oil companies. It's turning out to contain high-quality oil already commanding a premium at Salt Lake refineries.

With the secret out, industry players expect a bidding war to break out at the next Utah leasing auction, set for May 17 in Salt Lake City.

"This is huge for the state of Utah," said Larry Nation of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. "The budget for the entire state of Oklahoma is virtually built on oil revenues. I could see that happening in Utah in the future."

At today's prices the oil reserve could bring Utah $5.6 billion in royalties, state auditors conservatively estimate. Although the discovery is still playing out, the oil will take years to recover, and some skeptics question the company's projections for a region yet to be fully surveyed.

"It's just very highly unlikely because the U.S. onshore has been picked clean, if you will," said Fadel Gheit, senior oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York.

"That's like finding a wallet in the subway after all the cleaners went through it. It's possible, but very highly unlikely," he said.

Gov. Jon Huntsman said he was aware of the discovery, "and we are tracking the progress with great interest. If the prospects prove to be true, it will be important that the resources are developed responsibly."

For context:
If Wolverine could produce 1 billion barrels at once, it could satisfy the nation's demand for about 45 days -- less than the reserve that Congress may open at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which by equally speculative estimates may contain 10 billion barrels of oil.
You are correct. That is the find I wrote about.
There's lots of tight gas between Michigan and New York. It's been produced in small amounts since 1854 or so. It's just to expensive to ship to California to compete with me so I don't pay attention to it.
It's good gas, but well productivity is too low for much use other than just burning it on site to heat schools and factories in unusually favorable areas.
Recently I read someone stating that we needed Survivability in all this!

IF we have 99% of our Total World energy Production next year, from this year's totals.  Not much changes.

But if Its a 2% drop per year, or higher, or even the 1% drop every year for 10 years, then we will start seeing the changes hurt more.

The USA and most high energy users, could take a nip and tuck here and there, and be fine for a few years at 1% per year.  But the Hurricanes are showing us that a 5% loss hurts.  

 What if next year we had another 5% loss.  Who would it hurt?  Farmers!

 Who needs the farmers some would say.  What would we eat others would say.

 As our Total Global Energy Production heads south, And our total world Population grows still.  We are going to see what gets pinched first, whether we like it or not.

 Who knows how we are going to survive this?  I don't!


           Blackberry,  Wild in much of the USA, be careful of snakes when you pick them and wear thick clothing, and enjoy summer to early fall.

There's so much discussion going on about whether or not peak oil is real, and what that will do to the world economy.

Some take the side that peak oil is a theory, just that, and that somehow we'll come through and life will go on just as it has before pretty much. Others are forecasting doom & gloom and complete breakdown of the world as we know it.

Here in the UK, the issue of oil is just starting to make itself known to Joe public. Most of you will know that petrol retails around $7 a gallon here. That's starting to hurt people, and together with double digit increases in the cost of electricity and gas for domestic use, it's getting tough for some people.

Whether peak oil is real or not, there are some serious issues starting to be played out and surely it makes sense for people to take the blinkers off and realise that its just as easy to put a pullover on as it is to turn up the thermostat a few degrees; or walk to the corner shop instead of driving half a mile.

The problem is, people don't do that. They cut back in other ways. Less nights out, less discretionary spending, and then that feeds back into the wider economy.

So, whether peak oil is real or not, there are certainly real issues being caused by oil that need to be addressed.

i have a question about refining, are the oil companies asking for more refineries? or is this congress' answer to the fuel costs?


Wow.  $3.299 for diesel here in Champaign, IL.  Unleaded never made it this high even after Katrina, and is ONLY 2.889 right now.
Diesel hits record high