The end of the age of oil? Nah...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by seedspreader, Nov 26, 2004.

  1. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Messages:
    11,456
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    According the Washington Post (June 6, 2004) , the world is on the verge of oil famine.

    Pretty interesting article. I sure don't think we should just go on about business without researching alternate energy sources and cleaner fuel resources, but I have to admit the Chicken Little approach and the scare tactics annoy me.

    It seems that if you can't convince somebody with the facts, then we quickly move to the realm of fear... anyways, some will read this and say "Aha!, I knew it" and others will say it is the work of Big Oil to cover up. Where do you fall?
     
  2. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,143
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    I usually fall on the ice.

    Getting serious, I own natural gas stocks (have done quite well thank you very much) and follow oil generally. The days of $2-$3 natural gas are over. I expect a floor of around $4-$5 and a ceiling of around $10-$11 for the next few years. Rig counts are still not up and it will take a while for LNG imports from outside North America to kick in. Should be an interesting ride.

    It's not that oil and gas have dried up all of a sudden. It's basically that supply and demand have approached equilibrium (roughly) and will tilt towards declining supply relative to demand.

    I would expect increased volatility over the next few years (great for traders, bad for most other people) in oil and gas. Longer term we will see energy costs moving higher, probably significantly in a 10-15 year timeframe.

    Oil is fungible. That means that when we talk about global markets, this is a commodity that is easily diverted. If chinese importers offer a bit more, that supertanker can be diverted from it's (U.S. ?) destination. and of course, vice a versa.

    As with anything, there will be winners and losers. I'm a firm believer that local (midwest) food producers are likely to benefit from higher energy costs. Produce from Florida and California (as well as South America) will be that much more expensive due to high input costs and transportation. Local farmers that focus on keeping input costs down should do fairly well.

    Disposable income (consumers) will go down significantly. Many people will need to live with less. We see this already with the increase in gasoline prices.

    I expect a resurgance of residential development in city centers. At the same time a decline in suburbia (or at least slower growth in values compared to city centers) is likely. People will factor in commute costs in looking at housing.

    I'm not going to hold my breath for alternative energy (on a wide scale). The numbers don't add up.

    We will switch to wood heat (having 20 acres of mixed hard woods helps) and we own gas rights on our property. There are wells in the general area and a collection line through part of our property.

    I guess I'd rather err on the side of caution .

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     

  3. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    313
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2004
    Location:
    SE TN/SW NC
    The rising costs of fossil fuels are just making the alternatives more attractive and feasable to more people. If I had thought that solar was not cost effective, I doubt I would have invested in it. I for one, like having some control over some of my power, and not have to rely on the grid for every watt of power consumed.

    Bob
     
  4. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Messages:
    11,456
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    NW Pa./NY Border.

    NOw that is a philosophy I can agree with, I just can't stand the ignoring of facts and the forcing of fear. It's dishonest. If you think of all the "worst case scenarios" over the years, none have even come close y2k being a prime example. But the principles learned are good ones. Being self-sufficient should EVENTUALLY (not right away) lead to those power sources you speak of. I would love to get involved in solar/wind but it won't happen too soon, I have too many other things I need to learn and work on and the cost of course is prohibitive to me at the moment.
     
  5. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    ZealYouthGuy,

    ... hmmm ... facts, what are they?

    Peak Oil

    What do you think?


    Alex
     
  6. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Messages:
    11,456
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    I think that a website named "Life after the oil crash.com" has determined that it is a biased source.

    Just like one named "forever oil.com" would be a biased source too.
     
  7. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    Yes.

    And what about the facts?

    You know, so many more people wanting oil every day - greater consumption. And flat or decreasing production. Then divide the number of known barrels remaining by the current known barrels a day consumption (make adjustments for lying about the amount left, for various reasons, and for new discoveries).

    Of course make corrections for new technologies - just starting out - a little late, etc.

    And then you get an idea of a possible oil shortage situation, and an idea of when.

    The facts are rather disturbing.

    There are solutions, and they are not being developed properly or at the proper speed.

    Alex
     
  8. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Messages:
    11,456
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    Well, I don't even know if you read my article that I posted or not, but I did read your site. I don't take ANY site that quotes Michael Moore as a source seriously.

    Our friends to the North, (O Canada) have some interesting things to say about running out of oil. http://www.aims.ca/library/watkins.pdf

    So Alex, after doing the math could you tell me when we will run out of oil? Just a year would be fine, not a month or day, oh heck, even a decade would be good.

    My point continues to be the same, we should be looking at other sources of energy and making them inexpensive. We won't until the market demands it. If Oil really goes to 182/barrell like Mike Moore and the boys insist and gas is $7.00 a gallon you can bet, and I say bet your bottom dollar that the auto manufacturers and everyone else will be falling all over themselves to produce the next best seller. For every website and study you give you can find another that says the opposite. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. If you remember correctly, (and I do) from growing up that all of our fresh water would be used up by now and there would be mass rioting due to all the oil shortages. I know, I know, it's coming, the point is it was supposed to be here already.

    So when is it coming this time?
     
  9. fordy

    fordy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,282
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
    .............As long as demand and supply are out of balance the disparity will create higher prices . But , the major producers of oil(i.e. the countries where the fields are actually located) have enough savy to know that a stable pricing structure is really advantageous to them . If , prices get Too high demand will fall somewhat and if Alternative Technologies can make significant improvements in efficiency then the cost per manufactured unit should fall with the cost reduction(s) that accrue to manufacturers who mass produce their products . The gov't may have to subsidize the initial production of whatever item is being marketed with income credits etc. , but we can make the transition if , we as a nation , collectively , see the benefit and make up our mind to reduce our dependence on Imported oil . ..fordy... :)
     
  10. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    Zeal,

    I think Watkins talk is not easy to follow. I would not quote such convoluted discussion.

    However, I can understand the Peak Oil concepts, and agree with you and others, that the truth is somewhere in the middle. We’ll see soon enough what’s happening - depending on who we listen to, Peak Oil for the world is somewhere between 5 and 40 years off. As long as we get other sources of power up and running in time, then not too many problems. However, because people refuse to think there is a looming problem, not enough is being done now.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with the Peak Oil author, Matt Savinar quoting Michael Moore, though I didn't focus on that aspect of the Peak Oil concepts, as you did. ‘Michael Moore’ must be a ‘poison word’ for you - I do not understand, the obvious to others, political slam you are attempting, but that’s fine - you don’t like what Michael Moore says, OK, I get it. Why throw the baby out with the bath water?

    Thanks for bringing your different point of view to those of us who are struggling with the idea of a possible looming oil shortage.

    Alex
     
  11. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,166
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Location:
    Middle of nowhere along the Rim, Arizona
    Long before oil goes to $150 a barrel, we'll be making it out of carbon based garbage for significantly less than that. Oil will become a renewable resource manufactured rather than mined, and will become a way to dispose of everything from plastics to turkey guts in an environmentally friendly way.

    *shrug* The first plant to do this is already under construction here in the US, to use, as I recall, the offal from a Butterball plant to make the equivalent of light crude. The technology is there to do it -- it's been done and demonstrated to be practical on a small scale. It'll just take investment in it. (And as I recall, the estimated _production_ cost per barrel is $15 once the plant is online.)

    Scare tactics amuse me.

    Leva
     
  12. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    329
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    "Long before oil goes to $150 a barrel, we'll be making it out of carbon based garbage for significantly less than that."


    It's going to take a helluva lot of turkey guts to replace oil.
     
  13. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    Thermal depolarization is a great technology. I am personally very excited about. However, too little, too late. TDP is currently producing 600 barrels a day. Long way to go. On the right track - need lots more!, and real soon, too bad, no cigar.

    From another post of mine.

    Good Luck to all of us with our head in the sand looking for oil - acutally it's there - Canadian 'Tar Sands' - lots of oil there, for a price and a big ramp-up in production, for awhile.

    Let's all wake up! And not be scared, let's get to work. What do you say world?

    Alex
     
  14. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    If anyone wants answers to every single incorrect, misleading, or inflated "fact" in Chris Bennett's article http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=41613, then read "The Oil Age is Over", What to Expect as the World Runs Out of Cheap Oil, 2005-2050, by Matt Savinar, JD, ISBN 0-9755118-1-5. Or listen to an interview, from his website, previously quoted.

    The facts are there, and detailed references for further investigation are shown.

    A good read. Not a scare, a call to action.

    All the best to us all.

    Alex
     
  15. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    528
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    The Oil Embargo in the late 70's that had us waiting in long gas lines only cut production 5%. We don't have to run out of oil to wreck havoc on our economy and way of life. We have doubled our numbers in this country in the last 36 years. Think about that. What took nearly 200 years, took only 36 years. Part of the argument of running out of oil is the forcast of population growth and useage of oil. There is an argument out there that the Earth simply cannot sustain the number of people on it and still replenish natural resources.

    I have another angle. In this country, we have an abundance of water, food and oil/gas. Yet, there are people going hungry in this country. There are people unable to heat their homes. There are people that don't have enough water or have water fit to drink. You don't have to have a depletion of something to not have something. We may never run out of oil, but I figure the time will come that only the rich will be able to afford it.
     
  16. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

    Messages:
    14,760
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Back in the USA
    First of all demand for oil has not exceeded or even matched supply. The current high oil prices are due to speculation and nothing else. OPEC has reserve capacity. The natural gas price went through the roof because of the large number of gas fired combustion turbines the electric utility industry built over the past few years. The supply lines to those units are around 18". You can imagine how much gas one of those things burns.

    What you're seeing is greed at work. It goes back to the saying "Bears can make money and bulls can make money but pigs get slaughtered." Sooner or later the prices will fall. The relevant fact about gas fired turbines is that they can be shut down or started in a heartbeat to meet demand for electricity. That's not the case with a nuke or a coal fired unit. The factor to watch is the demand for electricity. With all the outsourcing I can't believe the demand for electricity will continue at the same rate. Factories are the big users. Some of the gas fired plants will continue to run because they've replaced coal fired units whose owners didn't want to spend big bucks on antipolution equipment. Others will simply be turned off from the dispatch center.

    Every time oil prices skyrocket, folks predict the end of the world as we kinow it. It didn't happen in 1972 and it won't happen now. There's been a theory around a long time that oil and gas didn't originate form dead dinosaurs and vegetation. Lately more proof of that has developed. We're finding bacteria in places we never expected including near undersea vents and deep in the earth's crust. Add to that the discovery of natural gas much deeper in the Appalachians than previous wells were drilled. As for high gasoline prices one company has been working on a process to make gasoline from waste natural gas that's normally flared. They recently made a breakthrough and claim that the process is profitable even if oil prices drop below $30 per barrel. They believe they can generate four million barrel of gasoline a day eventually.

    One thing is certain, most folks will always read some newspaper story and wet their pants. Another fact to consider is that Bush may inadvertantly end up being one of the presidents who did the most to improve the environment. If current events mirror 1972 expect gasoline demand to fall over the next few years as folks buy higher mileage cars like hybrids. With the additional impetus to hybrid vehicle development we may see a much longer drop in demand for gasoline which will impact oil prices and bring down all fossil fuel pricing including that of natural gas.

    If I was to make a prediction it would be that the oil industry is on the verge of a long term decline in pricing.
     
  17. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Messages:
    11,456
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    Me personally I see oil companies merging with other power producers and a few superconglomerates that will be very diversified, producing WHATEVER sells.

    The same way that AT & T stands for: American Telephone & Telegraph

    But they work in everything and not telegraph's now, Exxon, and the like will work on harvest power sources everywhere.

    I also personally think that if all the other power sources were so viable and usable at an economic scale that the oil companies would JUMP on the chance to lock up those future markets. Oil is dirty, hard to get, and expensive. If it were cheaper to produce power another way cheaply and then sell it at only a 20% discount from the rate of oil produced power they would become wealthier than their willdest dreams. But that is the reality, with the distribution infrastructure that exists today, it will take tinkers, hobbyists, and yes even (shiver) some activists to make ANY form of power viable, just the same way when the automobile first came on the scene, it is not like there were Gasoline stations everywhere, in fact many people had the same argument, why get a car, you can feed a horse anywhere, and they are stronger and more efficent... well you get the idea, it took the hobbyists and idealists to develop the market for a car.

    It will take the same thing for the worlds power fix, someone will have to develop the market. And I will go on record to say that as long as a solar/wind system to power my house "sometimes" (and still needing a fossil fuel backup) costs thousands and thousands of dollars, that most people won't take the plunge. Most people don't want to have to fire up a generator to blow dry their hair or to make a waffle on the electric griddle in the morning.

    We need a comparable power source. Most people don't want to make the tradeoff. It's why it has taken until the market has demanded it for the hybrid cars to become a viable alternative. They deliver "almost" as much power and the trade off isn't bad, considering the economic savings in the long run, but that is only for the commuter, what about the guy running with 40 ton down the highway, a hybrid isn't going to cut it and are YOU willing to give up your oranges, bananas, overnight ebay cost saving deliveries? That mentality kills me, it's like the people who complain about all those evil cell phone towers popping up everywhere to their latte-sipping, enviromental activist friend, as they talk on their cell phone and complain because they keep dropping a signal.

    That's where I jump off the boat, when I hear someone cry foul of "big oil" blah blah blah, and they are still taking advantage of all the things that the horrible evil petroleum brings to them, including their electric, fruit, and cheap clothing. Too many extremes.

    I can tell this is a hobby horse for some of you, which is fine, ride it if you like, but everyone burning wood and generating their own power won't work. Why do I say that? Drive into a city one day and you will get the idea. How many "solar panel/windmills" would it take to fire up the electrical needs of that one highrise apartment? Where will they put them?

    Maybe the answer is that they all move out of the city and stop those "icky" manufacturing jobs. Can they move near you? It's crowded enough here already.

    AND, do you have a forge or the ability to create replacement parts for your hybrid? It takes ALL of US to live in the world, get over the kick that you are doing the world right and everyone else is doing it wrong, join the race and work toward a better community, even for those big city types that seem (in so many people on this boards opinions) to be eating up all the resources.

    I keep reading that the breakdown is just around the corner, and if it is, you can feel smug and content to say "I told you so" and go live your "self-sufficient" life, but you may find out you need everyone else, just a little more than you thought. Unless of course you know how to make PV cells without electricity and thousands of dollars of material, but of course if you can do that, then you must be part of the conspiracy holding that information from us peasant-farmers. :rolleyes:
     
  18. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

    Messages:
    14,760
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Back in the USA
    "Oil is dirty, hard to get ...." Nope! Arabian crude is easy to get and cheap to produce. It would still be cheap as dirt if it weren't for oil traders and/or OPEC. OPEC tries to maintain a market price high enough to get the maximum profit but not high enough to make other alternatives feasible. The oil traders took pricing out of OPEC's hands. The longer this goes on, the more money investors will put into alternative energy development.

    The Canadian oil sand development took off years ago. it's been hot for several years after drying up a few years after the earlier surges in oil prices. The current high oil prices just provide more impetus. The US also has extensive oil sand deposits. Like I said oil pricing and subsequently all fossil fuel prices will drop.
     
  19. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,274
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2003
    Location:
    Colorado
    Darren said,
    This is not fact, its your opinion. Bush is opening roadless wilderness areas to gas and mineral developers. Is this helping the environment? I suppose it depends on your definition of "improve" and "environment". Maybe your thought is natural gas burns cleaner than oil.

    Darren and ZealYouth seem to place as much emphasis on pie-in-the-sky new technologies as others are placing on the decline of oil supply. I agree with some of what they said, but could easily imagine a period of time where new technologies aren't ready and oil costs skyrocket. It's such a complicated scenario that I don't see anyone being able to accurately predict even the short term future.

    I don't agree that oil costs will go down. Europe pays more per gallon than we do. Although I see some people taking steps to become less dependent on oil in their lifestyle, it doesn't seem to be the norm. As Mudwoman wrote, our population is increasing too quickly. Everyone wants those SUV's, bananas and oranges, cheap clothing and electronic gizmos. China is quickly gaining an appetite for our consumptive lifestyle and so are many other countries.

    I don't recall where I heard it, but the Saudi's are preparing for the inevitable decline of their own supply. It doesn't make sense to believe there is not a point where oil production will no longer meet the demand. Zeal, you wanted a year, or even a decade when that would happen. Not being able to pin-point it doesn't mean it won't happen.

    Zeal said,
    This is exactly why I feel there will be some real hard times when the oil supply dwindles, the price skyrockets, and alternative technologies are not ready. I truly believe hydrogen can save the day, but where is the focus now.
     
  20. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

    Messages:
    11,456
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    NW Pa./NY Border.
    Perhaps if I was in one of the Arabian countries it would be easy to get and cheap to produce... but that doesn't change the fact for you and me. As far as OPEC, I suppose we can't hate them anymore than we hate the Grange or the Autoworkers Union or any other union. The funny thing is we taught them the use of unionizing and controling supply. Standardizing and uniting and merging are all part of our global economy. Unfortuanately it exists, so we have to try to figure it out.