Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Top Story of the Year: Global Oil Production Peaked in 2008

The top story of the year is that global crude oil production peaked in 2008.

The media, governments, world leaders, and public should focus on this issue.

Global crude oil production had been rising briskly until 2004, then plateaued for four years. Because oil producers were extracting at maximum effort to profit from high oil prices, this plateau is a clear indication of Peak Oil.

Then in July and August of 2008 while oil prices were still very high, global crude oil production fell nearly one million barrels per day, clear evidence of Peak Oil (See Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of "Oil Watch Monthly," page 1). Peak Oil is now.

Credit for accurate Peak Oil predictions (within a few years) goes to the following (projected year for peak given in parentheses):

* Association for the Study of Peak Oil (2007)

* Rembrandt Koppelaar, Editor of “Oil Watch Monthly” (2008)

* Tony Eriksen, Oil stock analyst and Samuel Foucher, oil analyst (2008)

* Matthew Simmons, Energy investment banker, (2007)

* T. Boone Pickens, Oil and gas investor (2007)

* U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2005)

* Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Princeton professor and retired shell geologist (2005)

* Sam Sam Bakhtiari, Retired Iranian National Oil Company geologist (2005)

* Chris Skrebowski, Editor of “Petroleum Review” (2010)

* Sadad Al Husseini, former head of production and exploration, Saudi Aramco (2008)

* Energy Watch Group in Germany (2006)

* Fredrik Robelius, Oil analyst and author of "Giant Oil Fields" (2008 to 2018)

Oil production will now begin to decline terminally.

Within a year or two, it is likely that oil prices will skyrocket as supply falls below demand. OPEC cuts could exacerbate the gap between supply and demand and drive prices even higher.

Independent studies indicate that global crude oil production will now decline from 74 million barrels per day to 60 million barrels per day by 2015. During the same time, demand will increase. Oil supplies will be even tighter for the U.S. As oil producing nations consume more and more oil domestically they will export less and less. Because demand is high in China, India, the Middle East, and other oil producing nations, once global oil production begins to decline, demand will always be higher than supply. And since the U.S. represents one fourth of global oil demand, whatever oil we conserve will be consumed elsewhere. Thus, conservation in the U.S. will not slow oil depletion rates significantly.

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap. There is no plan nor capital for a so-called electric economy. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment. The independent scientists of the Energy Watch Group conclude in a 2007 report titled: “Peak Oil Could Trigger Meltdown of Society:”

"By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame."

With increasing costs for gasoline and diesel, along with declining taxes and declining gasoline tax revenues, states and local governments will eventually have to cut staff and curtail highway maintenance. Eventually, gasoline stations will close, and state and local highway workers won’t be able to get to work. We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel and gasoline powered trucks for bridge maintenance, culvert cleaning to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, and roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, large transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables from great distances. With the highways out, there will be no food coming from far away, and without the power grid virtually nothing modern works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated building systems.

It is time to focus on Peak Oil preparation and surviving Peak Oil.

4 comments:

timx said...

Previous commentators on your blog, who believe that America can drill their way out of trouble, have clearly missed the point completely (as indeed did Sarah Palin); however it may be that the present 'credit crunch' and consequent reduction in demand may defer the inevitable by a year or two. I have not read through your archive, but I presume you are familiar with the Transition Movement, whose philosophy is one which I think will provide some answers. The main thrust is that solutions to the impending crisis will be brought about from the bottom rather than the top - although it would be great to be able to take national governments along. Unfortunately they, along with big industry, appear to keep their heads in the sand. However, I shall continue to pursue local solutions!

novacadia said...

As difficult as it is to pinpoint specific systemic "devolutions," in general, the trend and dynamic is irreversible. This is a given for Peak Oilers. What continues to boggle my brain is the degree to which the public is out of the loop...with no small thanks to the media gatekeepers.

In your last para. in this post you have you take an initial step towards describing the collapse of the industrial nation state. Such collapse will not be limited to the United States.

In your list of infrastructure meltdown, you have failed to include the manufacture of ashpalt. Let's not forget that it is also an oil byproduct.

Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D. said...

Hi Novacadia,

You are right, the same scenario will unfold for all of the world, including Europe. France's nuclear power depends on the highways for maintenance of the power grid.

I agree about asphalt, and even if there is a surplus of asphalt from refining heavy oil and tar sands, the diesel to deliver it will be very expensive.

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Cheers
M