What does Peak Oil look like?

Discussion in 'Articles' started by xcel, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG]It is not a question of "if" but "when".

    [fimg=left]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/Oil_Rigs_in_the_Gulf.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG.com - February 20, 2006

    The sun setting on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

    I was surfing the EIA website this morning and created a spreadsheet showing an example of what peak oil looks like from a US perspective as well as our ever increasing imports to make up for the shortfall. Once on a roll, why not create an article out of it.

    What you see below is 90 years of US Crude oil production and import data. As shown, the lower 48 states crude oil production peaked in Oct. of 1970. The second peak shows the Alaskan field’s peak production arriving in Dec. of 1987 and thus the subsequent lower peak. Even with the GOM (Gulf of Mexico) production, the US Crude Oil output is still in decline although in recent years, the production slide has flattened with new wells being punched from one end of the 48-States to the other.

    Unfortunately, even with $100/BBl oil, the US has long surpassed its past peak with the inevitable only decades ahead unless prices rise enough to make unconventional means of extraction profitable. This too will occur and that supply will also dwindle away with an ever more populace planet and its insatiable demand for the "black stuff".

    Peak Oil does not mean production disappears, it means a gradual falloff in supply. With output becoming more and more scarce, prices for what is left climb higher until a new supply/demand equilibrium is reached with upward pricing pressure continuing until a replacement energy source is found.


    A few others that have peaked in the recent past according to the EIA’s International Energy output data.

    MBD = Millions of Barrels per Day

    Argentina in 1998 = .846 MBD. 2003 Output = .741 MBD
    Australia in 2000 = .721 MBD. 2003 output = .512 MBD
    Norway in 2001 = 3.20 MBD. 2003 output = 2.85 MBD
    Oman in 2001 = .970 MBD. 2003 output = .819 MBD
    UK in 1999 = 2.68 MBD. 2003 output = 2.1 MBD

    Overall, here are the regional breakdowns …

    North America peaked in 1984 at 13.1 MBD but Canada is increasing output via the Tar Sands at a faster rate then depletion vs. the rest of the continent. This is helping to stabilize output at or around 11 MBD +. God Bless the Canadians! I have no data on Ethanol production throughout the North American continent other than the .261 MBD produced here in the US in 2005. I see Ethanol production increasing at a geometric rate until such time that the main ethanol feedstock in the US (corn) has pushed corn based food prices out of reach in that problematic supply/demand scenario. .261 MBD of Ethanol is just a touch above 1% of our daily consumption of crude (20.9 MBD).

    Central and South America peaked in 2000 at 6.60 MBD with 2003 output at 5.87 MBD. Ethanol production inside of Brazil is not taken into account so overall, they actually have more overall energy production but crude output has fallen off.

    Western Europe peaked in 1997 at 6.30 MBD with 2003 output at 5.66 MBD. I made no mention of Rapeseed for the production of Biodiesel in Europe but have read that once Crude reaches $70/BBl, many farmers in the UK will switch to rapeseed for production of Biodiesel vs. potatoes given the income earned from that crop will exceed that of the ubiquitous potato! That should scare just about everyone :(

    Eastern Europe and the former USSR peaked in 1998 at 12.3 MBD with 2003 output at 9.93 MBD. Russia in particular appears to be increasing output year over year since 1996 which helps alleviate the shortfall from the rest of the area … Russia is a real wild card here as there are a number of unexplored areas across its vast expanse. To its detriment, the country is an absolute mess in terms of exploration, setup, production, and transportation of Crude supply. Who knows how this will turn out?

    Middle East peaked in 2000 at 21.2 MBD with 2003 output at 21.0 MBD. I believe the Middle East as a whole has now surpassed the peak in 2000 thus are still in a rising trend as far as supply is concerned. Rumors of Saudi production being increased at the expense of longevity w/ a massive increase of sea water injection into their largest field (Ghawar) is disturbing at best … Iran? It would behoove them to pull back on the spigot and watch prices rise. Crippling the West and America in particular appears to be one of their goals with oil income a secondary outcome. Kuwait last Dec. dropped their internal reserve estimates from 99 Billion BBl’s’ to just 48 Billion BBl’s overnight. Not all reserves can be pumped and reserve data from anywhere in the world is as close to magic as one can imagine unfortunately.

    Africa is still experiencing increased output with development of the Sudan and Nigerian fields. How long this area can be considered a reliable supplier to the worlds insatiable demand is yet to be proven. The recent news of internal Nigerian instability is already raising fears of disruptions both real and imagined from that continent.

    Asia and Oceana (whatever Oceania is ;)) peaked in 2000 at 7.54 MBD with 2003 output at 7.327 MBD. There is a lot of offshore fields yet to be discovered and exploited so this area of the world has some promise for future production.

    A small note about ethanol production from corn in the US … The largest corn producing state in the US is Iowa. Approximately 17% or 375 Million bushels of Iowa’s ~ 2.2 Billion bushels of corn output for 2005 were dedicated to the production of Ethanol. My home state of Illinois’ is the second largest corn producing state in the US. Of the approximately 1.7 Million bushels grown in 2005, approximately 17% was consumed in the production of Ethanol. The third largest Corn producing state is Nebraska. Of Nebraska’s 1.3 Billion bushels of Corn output, almost 25% went to the production of Ethanol. This should help add some perspective to the amount of Corn used in the production of Ethanol in the US as of late 2005. The US as a whole produced ~ 11.0 Billion bushels of Corn for the 2005 growing season and ~ 1.3 Billion bushels were used to supply just a small fraction above 1% of our daily liquid fuel needs. In other words, almost 12% of the entire US’ corn crop is directed to Ethanol production which supplies < 1.2% of our daily transportation fuel!


    I suspect we will see an expansion of Ethanol production over the next 5 - 10 years with technology improvements and switch grass vs. corn as the feedstock in cellulosic production facilities but this is just whistling passed the graveyard at this point in time given the sheer magnitude of liquid fuel we consume on a daily basis :(

    All is not lost however. In regards to the fuel supply question(s), we will see articles on Tar Sands, Oil Shale, BTL (Biomass to Liquid) fuel, and CTL (Coal to Liquid) fuel in the not too distant future …
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  2. tbaleno

    tbaleno Well-Known Member

    Great article.
  3. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Platinum Contributor

    Interesting Article.

  4. twinotter

    twinotter New Member

    I've created an interesting flash map that lets you visually explore world-wide oil production and consumption on a country-by-country basis. You can see a lot of interesting phenomena in it - the fall of the USSR, the rise of Chinese industrialism, various Mid-East events, as well as the peak oil production of the US and other countries. Take a look!


  5. tbaleno

    tbaleno Well-Known Member

    Great flash map.
  6. andy

    andy Well-Known Member

    Great job, Rudy! It's neat to see South America has basically remained level for 40 years.

    Asia, on the other hand is getting scary :eek:
  7. imike24

    imike24 New Member

    Well done. Thanks :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2007
  8. Bike123

    Bike123 Well-Known Member

    New peak oil film on CBCNewsworld
    by Andrew Evans

    DATES: Monday September 15, 2008 at 10 pm ET/PT & Sunday September 21 at 8 pm ET on CBC Newsworld

    Shot in 13 countries over a four-year period, Oil Apocalypse Now? reveals the myths and conspiracy theories surrounding the future of our world's oil supplies. It includes interviews with over 30 of the most influential people on both sides of the argument to examine if the oil age is coming to an end.

    Is there a conspiracy of silence to keep the truth from us? In the last four years world oil prices have tripled. Why? One school of thought blames the weak U.S. dollar. Others say commodity speculators are behind the rocketing oil prices. There is a third voice growing in strength that points to another reason - supply and demand are driving prices up. As supplies diminish and production becomes more expensive, the world faces even higher prices and perhaps the collapse of global production. Then there's talk of missing OPEC barrels. Oil Apocalypse Now? tries to separate the facts from fiction.

    Everyone agrees that if oil production is going to increase it will have to come from the group of 13 oil producing countries known as OPEC. But can OPEC really do it? We meet the men in power and find out that all may not be as it seems. Travelling to Kuwait the documentary team uncovers exclusive evidence that world oil reserves may be exaggerated by up to 50%.

    But fears about our oil supplies aren't limited to missing OPEC barrels. Travelling to the U.S. Oil Apocalypse Now? examines arguments from The Association for the Study of Peak Oil, a group of industry insiders who've been warning of a coming Oil apocalypse for over 30 years. Through fascinating archives, viewers are able to look back at the oil shocks from the 1970's, when prices shot up but then fell back again. Is this time any different? What are the implications if oil prices continue to increase? What are we doing about it and what are the alternatives to our heavy dependence on oil?

    Oil Apocalypse Now? is directed and produced by Andrew Evans for Acreditor Films in the UK.

  9. gplcoder

    gplcoder Active Member

    An excellent, eye-opening article.

    We have been lied to. Those of us who are in the know are preparing for the end of oil. Those who ignore the truth and listen to the lies will pay in more ways than one.

    I also refer you to the excellent movie A Crude Awakening and the scientist who accurately predicted US peak production in the 70's and who predicted peak planetary production around 2000.

  10. Vooch

    Vooch Well-Known Member


    You are going to create a firestorm with this one -
  11. wokwithm

    wokwithm Well-Known Member

  12. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

    How does this chart look like if it was only for sweet/light crude oil or if if it only looking at heavy crude oil production?
  13. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    The chart is for sweet crude, there are vast reserves of sour/heavy/shale crude.. but they will need different refineries to handle that oil, at an increased cost.
  14. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    And AFAIK they have far worse EROEI.
  15. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Its part of the cost, after all this is free stuff you pump out of the ground.
  16. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    It's more than just cost. Nothing under EROEI=1 can do any good, even if it's free.
    Or... solar/wind/water oil rigs/refineries, anyone? :D Sounds like a stupid idea, but I can imagine them as an act of desperation :rolleyes:
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Herm:

    The chart is of all crudes, not just sweet crude. It is what we produce, what we consume and what we import.

    Reserves of various grades of crude, crude like or other natural resources is another matter altogether.

  18. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Whats the EROI return on GTL?.. its negative, you lose about 30% of the energy in the NG to make methanol (and worse with higher fuels).. but you are converting the fuel into a more valuable form that is more convenient to use. We dont care, its free stuff that comes out of the ground. It can be sold at higher profits.

    EROI on wind power is almost infinite, yet its one of the most expensive forms of electricity available because its intermittent and unpredictable.
  19. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    "I have no data on Ethanol production throughout the North American continent other then the .261 MBD produced here in the US in 2005. I see Ethanol production increasing at a geometric rate until such time that the main ethanol feedstock in the US (corn) has pushed corn based food prices out of reach in that problematic supply/demand scenario. .261 MBD of Ethanol is just a touch above 1% of our daily consumption of crude (20.9 MBD)."

    Why are you assuming ethanol has pushed food prices higher?.. it usually has very little correlation since corn prices have very little to do with the cost of a finished food product. Perhaps except meat animals, and bourbon.

    Ethanol has probably peaked, since its restricted to 10% blends max and E85 is not that common.. BTW, read a comment recently of an Regal Turbo E85 user, he reports only a 10% economy hit.. so there is some potential for cash savings there if you can get E85 cheaper than that. Try to test one of those with E85 if you can.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  20. Bike123

    Bike123 Well-Known Member

    EROEI isn't nearly infinite from any source. Wind turbines, solar panels, etc. have energy invested in them, and they don't have infinite life. A lot of energy goes into drilling, esp. offshore, and the well doesn't produce forever.

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