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Has World Oil Production Passed Its Peak?

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the the-sky-is-falling dept.

1250

dido writes "Princeton University geology Professor Kenneth Deffeyes has been studying world petroleum production data and has come to the conclusion that the world hit peak oil last December 16, 2005. If he is correct, total world oil production will never surpass what was produced last December. From the article: 'Compared to 2004, world oil production was up 0.8 percent in 2005, nowhere near enough to compensate for a demand rise of roughly 3 percent. The high prices did not bring much additional oil out of the ground. Most oil-producing countries are in decline."

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I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (5, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730305)

I remember in college a geologist was invited to demonstrate a "resource simulator" for our class. By today's standards it would be considered extremely crude (this was after all, in 1978), (wow, weird unintentional pun).

The simulation was basically a giant video game with a simple graphical display of the world's known and projected resources including but not limited to:

  • coal
  • oil
  • uranium
  • water
  • copper
  • shotgun pellets (just seeing if you're paying attention!)

About 20 students in the class were given controllers, each to (again, crudely) simulate usage and comsumption patterns of all of these resources. Also, some students had controllers allowing them to spend resources to explore for MORE resources.

At the time, and years subsequent that demo stayed with me -- it left an indelible image of what could and probably would be.

The results? Basically, no matter what the students did to conserve, and what they did to increase the resources, the "world" pretty much always ran out of fuel and resources by the year 2020. At the time that seemed pretty far away and I don't think many people felt the need to care. Maybe that time has come.

Another interesting piece of the simulation: there were those students who pointed out these "estimates" of known and expected future discoveries of resources were just that, "estimates". The geologist obliged, and let the students rerun the simulations with a magnitude of latitude, i.e., ten times the estimated resources were allocated! The results then?, about an additional 10 to 20 years of resources before they ran out.

Note: the results (we ran many different trials) weren't ALWAYS about running out of oil and petroleum. On a few occasions there were severe food and water crises. A very interesting lesson.

If supply is fixed, let'd adjust demand. (1, Insightful)

Soong (7225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730352)

Efficiency and cutting back in every way. A big STFU to all the Hummer owners out there.

And maybe over-population is part of the problem too. Stop screwing around!

Re:If supply is fixed, let'd adjust demand. (0, Flamebait)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730415)

You're just saying that because you hate George W. Bush!

Re:If supply is fixed, let'd adjust demand. (2, Funny)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730421)

A big STFU to all the Hummer owners out there.

Just convince Hummer owners that painting them orange and plaid is really cool, then let Dick Cheney out on the streets with a shotgun. You solve the oil consumption problem _and_ any impending shotgun pellet glut, all in one, bold stroke.

Re:If supply is fixed, let'd adjust demand. (5, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730538)

A big STFU to all the Hummer owners out there.


Since Hummer owners want to drive a military-style vehicle, I think we should give them the full experience: every hummer should come with an all-expenses paid 6-month stint as a chauffeur in Baghdad. Nothing shows one's masculinity and patriotism more than Supporting the Troops, right?

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730376)

Note: the results (we ran many different trials) weren't ALWAYS about running out of oil and petroleum. On a few occasions there were severe food and water crises. A very interesting lesson.

I could see a freshwater crisis (we've already had some of those), but such a crisis isn't anything that technology can't solve. (Desalination stations could become a big business.) I'm much more interested in how you came up with a food crisis. North and South America already produce way more food than is necessary, with options to increase production through farming more land or (in the case of South America) improving farming technology. To create an actual crisis, you'd need a population explosion that would make the Baby Boomers look outright tiny.

As for other resources, petrol is probably the biggest concern, bar none. It's the only material that we can't recycle, replace with nuclear power, sythesize, or mine from elsewhere in our solar system. If it doesn't exist as petroleum that can be refined with far less energy than it provides, then it's useless to us. The only option I see (if we actually want to get off of petroleum, not necessarily because we've completely run out) is to move to an alternate fuel such as ethanol. Even if we accept that ethanol is energy negative (which I don't), we can at least target the harvest and production processes to obtain their energy from the nuclear power grid rather than from ethanol. That would allow us to effectively store energy from the grid in a portable fuel form that can completely replace petroleum.

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730425)

Well, energy crises could easily cause food and water crises. We rely on fossil fuels for most of our energy, and we need that energy to pump, purify, desalinate, etc. water. We also need energy to plant, maintain, and harvest crops, as well as to move food from where it comes from to where it's consumed. Also, many fertilizers are made out of petroleum, so the amount of food we can grow -- aside from the need to run farm machinery -- is dependent on fossil fuel supplies.

We have a big enough population that a food crisis is possible if the infrastructure for making and delivering food begins to break down.

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (4, Insightful)

Theatetus (521747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730518)

I'm much more interested in how you came up with a food crisis. North and South America already produce way more food than is necessary

For that matter, Africa also produces more food than its population could consume but has large swathes of famine. Why? Because the hunger problem is now about how much food there is, but where it is and who has it. It's a question of (mis)distribution, not production.

So, if we suddenly couldn't afford to gas up our trucks, all the food being made in Kansas and Iowa couldn't get to Baltimore and Chicago anymore. And, after about two days of that, the Superdome during Katrina would look like a playground scuffle.

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730525)

As for other resources, petrol is probably the biggest concern, bar none. It's the only material that we can't recycle, replace with nuclear power, sythesize, or mine from elsewhere in our solar system.

I take it, then, that you've never heard of biodeisel? [cyberlipid.org] I've also read reports of pilot plants for transforming various animal biproducts such as turkey grease, into petroleum. Not ready for commercial production, yet, but it's not energy negative.

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (1)

jesushaces (777528) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730383)

Of course, the trick was to spend resources in shotgun pellets, effectively extending your resources for another 30, 50 years

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (5, Insightful)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730390)

Basically, no matter what the students did to conserve, and what they did to increase the resources, the "world" pretty much always ran out of fuel and resources by the year 2020

So he wrote a program to demonstate the effect of exponential growth, and modeled some lame "conserve" and "research" options that didn't really effect the growth rate. It was a simulation designed to always come to that conclusion. Big surprise that it always led to that conclusion, huh?

Being college I hope somebody spoke up and challenged his assumptions, I also recall models that projected the population continuing to grow exponentially, though the reality has been far from that. Yes resources are being consumed far faster than they are being generated, but at the same time technology is moving fatser than ever too. My 295hp car just got 28 mpg on a 3 hour trip today, in 1978 that car would have gotten about 6-12mpg (since there were no 295 hp new cars in 1978, we'll have to estimate). One thing to keep in mind is that we DO have renewable sources of energy, and technology continues to lower the production costs of these while the non-renewable sources will continue to rise. At some point the two lines cross and we'll switch in a big way. The USA is real good at solving these problems.

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730465)

The USA is real good at solving these problems.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA....*wheeze*... good one.

Er, hang on, were you serious? In that case:

  s/solving/causing/

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (5, Funny)

unitron (5733) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730409)

"shotgun pellets (just seeing if you're paying attention!)"

Funny, Dick Cheney was saying the same thing just the other day. :-)

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (1)

bmgoau (801508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730521)

As part of my economics studies, i have been wondering about what the world will do when oil runs out.

Of course its all the rage to predict the apocalypse, that civilisation will crumble, but i have found that human society (as complacant as it is) is amazingly adapatable, and this shows in quiet a number of economic studies, such as the the relatively small effect of huge oil price rises on world output and historically, the transition of the world from coal to oil and electricity early last century/late 1800's.

I like to think that today manufacturing technology and transport efficency has led to a more adapatable world economy, one that can absorbe oil price increases, and even adapt to a lack of it.

The equation is simple, and is not only confined to oil.
As supply decreases and demand increases, investment is placed into other technologies to alliviate supply problems in order to maximize revenue.
As oil demand increases, money is placed into the development of alternate fuel sources.

We can see this happening as we live today: China's nuclear reactors, hybrid cars and new fuel cell technologies.
All we need now is for development and thus price efficency in alternate fuel sources to reach an equlibrium with the price of oil, for businesses to begin seriously adapting to alternates.

The oil supply problems may even force industries like transport and manufacturing to invest in captial that is more energy efficent, and in turn cleaner.

Without sounding to much like a fantasy, such a transition, although possible from an economic standpoint, doesnt come without a short-term lost in productivity. It will be a while before alternates reach oil parity prices, and before that happens, transport costs will cause cost push inflation, which will in turn decrease our affluency with money.

We'll make it, as long as we have entrepenures, engineers and capable business people seeking income.

Re:I've seen this simulated, it isn't pretty. (2, Funny)

baKanale (830108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730542)

shotgun pellets (just seeing if you're paying attention!)

So when we run out of that very important resource, will we be overrun by zombies?

Oh, we just need some caribou oil. (1, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730308)

Who ever said that render farms had to do with computers?

Sheesh, so general (4, Funny)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730309)

Princeton University geology Professor Kenneth Deffeyes has been studying world petroleum production data and has come to the conclusion that the world hit peak oil last December 16, 2005.

Yeah but what time?

What a load of tripe (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730395)

I worked for a MAJOR oil pipeline and exploration company in the 80's.

Oil prices drove the drilling/exploring companies to Arab countries, just like China is taking certain industries down in the US right now.

If oil prices were to stabilize in the US at a profitable level, exploration and drilling would resume.

But the US would rather let environmentalist driving SUV's sue the living SH*T out of everybody.

This exports the oil production and pollution to some other country rather than allow exploration to continue in the US. At last count only 2.5% of the "projected oil producing land-mass" of the US had been investigated.

It's not a lack of oil, it's a surplus of lawyers.

B

Re:What a load of tripe (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730480)

i see. So digging up pristine Alaskan Land isn't enough? Now oil majors want to dig up every village land in US to exploit the remaining 97.5% of "probable oil producing landmass"?

Hey you know what? You can actually get that law passed easily under B*sh administration !

Good Luck and God Speed to oil majors !

This Prof should play the share market (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730426)

What crap he shouts. Humans have been consuming oil for about a century and the production has always had ups and downs. How can he look at a point 2 months ago and say that that's the peak? There are some largish fields still just being opened up, which makes it more likely that oil will peak at March 17, 2006, 14:03 GMT, or maybe a bit later.

Re:Sheesh, so general (1)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730511)

Do you want Greenwich Mean Time or local time? Also if you need to know the speed of an African sparrow carrying a coconut I'll need to know if you want the speed relative to the ground, the observer or the coconut? Come on you've got to be more specific than that.

Hybrids/Alternative Fuels (2, Interesting)

zefram cochrane (761180) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730315)

If this is true, hope that hybrid technology and alternative fuels come along in a big way in the next few years. Otherwise, we'll be looking at significantly higher gas prices in the coming years.

Re:Hybrids/Alternative Fuels (1)

thaWhat (531916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730377)

I'm in complete agreement there. Here in Sydney there is one (one:-() petrol station experimenting with B30, B50 and B100 fuels which are 30, 50 and 100% biodiesel fuels. With dinosaur extract becoming more expensive, renewable alternatives are more viable every day. I've heard that diesels run cleaner on vegetable oil (read biodiesel) than on the real thing. Can anyone Inform us on this point? (btw, I've heard turbodiesels kick some serious petrol ass - any takers?)

Further articles (5, Interesting)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730323)

Here's the site devoted to peakoil: http://www.peakoil.net/ [peakoil.net]

A huge chunk of Saudi exports come from one gigantic field. This means our eggs are in this one basket. Here's an article that discusses that field, and the chance that the Saudis might have screwed it by over-extracting. If you do that, you limit how much you can get out later; you might lose the reserves. [I'm guessing you might damage it, but that some future technology might make it recoverable -- just at a higher cost]

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/80C89E7E-1D E9-42BC-920B-91E5850FB067.htm [aljazeera.net]

Re:Further articles (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730386)


http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/80C89E7E-1D [aljazeera.net] E9-42BC-920B-91E5850FB067.htm


Weird. Did anyone else notice the black vans with government plates pull up outside their houses when they clicked on th

Re:Further articles (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730412)

A huge chunk of Saudi exports come from one gigantic field

Yawn. Saudi is number 3 on the list of oil exporters to the US, led by Canada and Mexico. In Canadian oil sands alone there is a 100 year known reserve, with even larger deposits of frozen methane off the West coast. So meh.

Also, over-extraction can reduce long-term production but that is cured by shutting in wells then letting them re-pressurize. So meh again.

Re:Further articles (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730501)

Yes yes, and we were 10 years away from running out of natural gas back in the 70s. There's always someone to say that fossil fuels are almost gone and then, what do you know, we find more! I'm not saying there is an unlimited supply, but the sky isn't always falling either.

Re:Further articles (1)

scotch (102596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730523)

The boy who cried wolf was eventually right.

many more baskets (2, Informative)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730529)

Only 12 percent of the oil The US imports comes from the Mideast.. So the Saudi share must be less than that. What is amazing is that a conflict such as Iraq has affected the price so dramaticly considering this percentage.. and the fact that the oil has not stopped flowing. The original price hikes were insurance do to "possible" stoppages from the conflict.. of course, I guess it's like getting a raise at work, you never want to make less after that. Let's face it, it's going to take some type of serious government price and profit controls to turn back the clock.. and it will be painful to see, but if no one is willing to buy at those prices because they can't make any money, then the producers will have to drop the price.

Good luck seeing this happen in this administration, regardless of the BS of reducing americas "addiction" that Bush spouted off... Sheesh he sounded like he was part of the green party !... I beleive this about as much as I beleive he didn't really know there were no WMD's in Iraq... Bush will let the inevitable happen, inflation is coming.. because it has to, to pay for these increased costs.

wow. (4, Insightful)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730326)

If this is true, it's extremely important news to practically everyone on the planet. With a 3% discrepency in what we produce and we consume (and presumably that discrepency will grow for a while), it's essential that we begin to displace oil with other energy sources. Essential. We are completely screwing ourselves otherwise. I mean right now, I'm sitting here reading slashdot instead of writing a paper that's due tomorrow. That's a really bad idea. But sacrificing what literally powers our lifestyle and existence as we know it is doubtlessly a whole lot worse.

And the scary part is, we've procrastinated for so long, I'm not so sure that we'll find a suitable replacement in time, at least not before there are widespread disruptions in global energy supply.

Re:wow. (3, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730408)

And the scary part is, we've procrastinated for so long, I'm not so sure that we'll find a suitable replacement in time

DON'T PANIC! Even if we have reached "peak oil," however that is defined, it will be a long process. Production will start a long, slow decline, and prices will start a long, steady rise. New conservation methods will come on line as prices rise, consumption will fall, and lifestyles will change, further slowing the process. And we can always fall back on nuclear energy.

Re:wow. (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730448)

There's an old saying. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Proclaiming "don't panic! The problem will solve itself, gradually!" Is comforting, but I honestly think that mindset is going to lead many people to just avoid, say, buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle; on a widespread scale, it'll actually cause a dramatic decrease in oil use, not a gentle one. If Joe Sixpack will pay $50,000 for a vehicle to do a job that a $15,000 vehicle could do, on the same line of reasoning I'm sure he'll be willing to spend $5 on gasoline too. He'll bitch and complain, but he'll keep driving his gas guzzler.

Re:wow. (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730462)

"DON'T PANIC! Even if we have reached "peak oil," however that is defined, it will be a long process. Production will start a long, slow decline, and prices will start a long, steady rise."

You obviously don't know the effect what happens if the prof's findings are true and this gets to the mainstream media. Governments, companies and people will start stockpiling and prices will skyrocket. People WILL panic, no matter what anyone says.

Re:wow. (1)

Clockwork Apple (64497) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730500)

That would be fine,but we are seeing a rapid rise in consumtion globaly already. Both of those together mean its going to get bad faster than you think.

And slashdot jumps the shark... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730331)

Oh nooo... we've reached peak oil! Oh wait... we already reached peak oil... last year. Or was it the year before that? No, it was definitely 1974... yeah...

See?

http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/ [hubbertpeak.com]

1970's...

That was only in the US, not globally (4, Informative)

paul-h-squared (202475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730502)

It was US oil production that peaked in the 1970s, not global oil production. There's a huge difference there.

Isn't this exactly what oil companies want? (2, Interesting)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730335)

Wouldn't oil companies want to reduce production so that they can hike up prices for the oil that they currently have? Or am I missing a basic element of economics?

Re:Isn't this exactly what oil companies want? (4, Interesting)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730350)

Actually I don't think so. Artificially causing spikes in oil price just causes more people to seek other energy sources, causing demand for oil to decrease. Then again, our infrastructure is almost hopelessly dependent on oil, so I suppose there would be a demand either way. Anyway, I don't think this kind of production decrease is really that calculated. Occam's razor; we know we're running frighteningly low on oil (virtually guaranteed depletion in our lifetimes). This naturally causes more difficult/expensive, and thus, lower production. Or, on the other hand, do you really think it's a grand OPEC conspiracy to get the whole world to pay more for oil, that just happens to correspond with overwhelming geologic evidence that we simply don't have an unlimited supply of oil?

What geologic evidence? (1)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730460)

. Or, on the other hand, do you really think it's a grand OPEC conspiracy to get the whole world to pay more for oil, that just happens to correspond with overwhelming geologic evidence that we simply don't have an unlimited supply of oil?

The oil companies control the oil research, so we have no way of knowing if they are under- or over- estimating.

Re:Isn't this exactly what oil companies want? (1)

jnf (846084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730461)

Artificially causing spikes in oil price just causes more people to seek other energy sources

It worked for Enron.. at least for a while, and california still uses electricity (and they didnt crash because everyone changed energy sources either)

Re:Isn't this exactly what oil companies want? (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730471)

Actually I don't think so. Artificially causing spikes in oil price just causes more people to seek other energy sources, causing demand for oil to decrease.

Did you notice that most of the alternative energy technology is in the hands of companies which are ultimately owned by oil companies?

BP Solar is one excellent example. We're Eco Friendly advertisements, check. Dog and pony show, check. Diversification with continued monopoloy on the energy market for when oil dries up, check.

In 50 years, you're going to be at the BP/Esso/Exxon/Shell/Hess/Whatever "electric stations" having the battery pack in your car charged (or swapped- I remember Discover 10-15 years ago had a story about stations exchanging charged packs for uncharged packs). Grumbling about the battery exchange tax. The $/kW rate. How solar panels cost $10k for 120W. How you're prevented from charging your car at home for "safety" reasons.

As for the dog and pony show, you're seeing it already with hybrid SUVs and such. Jeremy Clarkson hit it best. "Look at it. It's just a regular transit van, with a bunch of decals slapped on it. Mercedes comes out of a meeting with the prime minister and whispers to BMW: 'talk a lot about hydrogen and electric. Big gasolene engines BAD!'"

So... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730336)

...we've hit the peak oil again I see.

Ethanol (3, Interesting)

ivan kk (917820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730342)

The rising prices make ethanol based petrol a much more viable alternative.
Perhaps new cars will implement the required modifications to prevent corrosion throughout the engines from higher percentages of ethanol in petrol.

Re:Ethanol (4, Interesting)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730373)

I tend to agree. Here in middle America there's a hell of a lot of land that could go toward production of E85. Most cars out there now can run on it with only trivial modifications (making sure there's no aluminium in the fuel line and adjusting the timing belt). Our infrastructure can easily adapt to it. In fact, there's a good chance you're already putting E10 in your car right now.

Ethanol is a hell of a lot closer than the far-fetched hydrogen economy proposed by the US's current executive administration.

Re:Ethanol (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730399)

Ethanol is a hell of a lot closer than the far-fetched hydrogen economy proposed by the US's current executive administration.

If ethanol is economically viable, then let's quit giving Archer Daniels Midland tens of billions of dollars in corporate welfare, and see whether people still buy it.

-jcr

Re:Ethanol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730487)

Ethanol is probably the only near-term transition solution available. Who cares about ADM, anyway. After a few decades of ethanol, perhaps fuel cells, batteries, etc. will have really come of age. We can't just shrug off oil in a few years. My existing and big-ticket (compared to everything else I own) car will live longer than that.

Re:Ethanol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730406)

Not sure why aluminum matters, but it's probably there, many engine blocks are aluminum, probably segments of the gas lines.

BTW: Get that shitty ethanol out of my gas. For all I know, the increase in burn time, without changing the timing, is destroying my engine a little bit at a time(more than normal).

Re:Ethanol (2, Insightful)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730513)

It's not that simple.

With current consumption, we'd have to farm an entire continent basically, just to make up for how much oil we use. So, do we tell the people of South America or the people of Africa, that they have to move so we can build our giant ethanol farm?

Nuclear is the only way, and we really need fusion. We should have spent $400 billion on a crash fusion program, not on the Iraq folly.

Re:Ethanol (1)

karlfr (897006) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730429)

Ethanol won't solve the problem because it takes huge inputs of oil to produce the fertilizers to produce the corn or whatever you're using to make the ethanol. It actually ends up being a net loss. Not to mention the fact that oil is used for lots of things (drugs, plastics) for which ethanol can't be used as a replacement.

Re:Ethanol (1)

whistlingtony (691548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730481)

I'm not sure ethanol is the answer... It requires a LOT of farmland. I'm not sure our supply can keep up with a real demand.

To boot, farming isn't as easy as putting seeds in the dirt and collecting later. If we intesively farm any plot of land it will go to shit reeaaaaally fast. Soil is something that has to be husbanded, managed, cared for. Large scale farming (agribusiness) is already an ecological disaster as it is if it's not done correctly.

If you don't take care of your soil, it becomes less and less fertile. It starts requiring larger and larger amounts of chemical fertilizer, which frell up the environment pretty bad. Soon you get soil erosion, and then you're frelled. You have to let it lay fallow for a long time to recover.

Then there's water usage for all that irrigation. The water supply isn't a tap you can turn on and off... Only so much filters into the ground at a time. Then you run into salination issues, further messing up your soil.

And of course, demand for more farmland requires us to keep clearing land. There's this funny little thing called an ecosystem. The more complex it is, the more stable it is. If we chop it all down to plant a monoculture, we'll just frell ourselves again the next time a disease or pest comes through.

Ugh.. Ethanol...

Face it, the answer is to:
Conserve - Won't happen, people suck.
Kill 5 billion people - Works great, people resist it for some reason.

We won't do either of those, so like any population ours will rise until it consumes too many resources. If you want a glimpse of the future from an economic and ecological perspective, look at countries with populations that are growing too large for their space. China is a great example. They're destroying thier soil, they have problems generating enough electricity. They have population problems. They have disease problems. All these things stem either directly from too many people, or from the side effect of all those people trying to live like kings.

and it will only get worse as they all try to buy cars and gizmos.

Ouch. I've depressed myself....

-T

Slashdot articles like this have "correct" answers (-1, Flamebait)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730345)

Of course oil production is in decline and we are all fucked. We can blame all of this on the greedy Americans (because noone else uses oil), Chimpy McBushitler, Christians, and Micro$oft.

Re:Slashdot articles like this have "correct" answ (1)

biggerboy (512438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730363)

Yeah, like those Chinese factories. They run on switchgrass.

Re:Slashdot articles like this have "correct" answ (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730388)

I suppose I'll feed the troll and assume you're being sarcastic, trying to point out that (nearly) everyone uses oil. I agree. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that the US government has what amounts to no real plan to get the nation off heavy oil consumption besides a few buzzwords in slick-sounding speeches.

Re:Slashdot articles like this have "correct" answ (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730438)

Point well taken. But if you want to lower total consumption it makes sense to pick the low-hanging fruit first so to speak. And for various reasons, the US is using oil out of proportion to its population and GDP. Other highly indistrialzied countries manage to have just about the same living standard on very much lower consumption, which would indicate that you could achieve quite substantial savings without actually sacrificing anything.

Re:Slashdot articles like this have "correct" answ (2, Insightful)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730439)

If you are reading this... sometime try browsing a Slashdot story on energy or global warming at "0" or even "-1".

You will then understand what it means to live in a bubble, where controversial issues are fully settled by politics and personal biases.

(One might also realize how popular elections are lost and won, despite the "genius" expressed in this forum.)

And the other products (5, Informative)

zekt (252634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730346)

There are a hell of a lot of other things which do not go to waste during the production process of oil and gas. Examples include the tar/bitumen you put on roads and paths, chemcials that go into make plastics - the list goes on (just hit wikipedia and look up Oil Refinery). Point being that most of these 'by products' are all consumed at the rate they are produced... they are going into useful products. You can expect to see rises across the board for all of these products as well.

Cutting down oil use is not going to be just about cutting petrol/gas usgae - it is going to be about making more durable consumable products than are currently churned out - and being happy to pay top dollar for them (just like out parents had to). Believe it or not, the 'good old days' of 'well built products' may just come back... that should make our grand parents happy.

Global Warming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730347)

Quit complaining about global warming. Now, it must be in decline as well.

A Dream Come True? (0, Troll)

sycodon (149926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730351)

Isn't this what all the envirofundamentalists have been dreaming about? Haven't they been trying to bring about this situation through artificial means like restrictions on drilling?

They should be throwing parties!

But, being the terminally unhappy people they are, they'll just blame Bush and not MoveOn.

It's the Club of Rome - again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730365)

In 1972 the "Club of Rome" published "Limits to Growth", full of dire predictions about how the world was destined, among other bad things, to run out of oil by 2000. Yawn. It didn't turn out that way in 2000 [energybulletin.net] , and it probably won't turn out that way in 2025. In fact, recent history has shown that dire predictions usually don't come true. [cato.org]

Re:It's the Club of Rome - again (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730447)

Your CATO link basically argues that price decreases are evidence of resource abundance, when they can just as easily be explained by improvements in extraction technology. But this made me laugh:
Two weeks before Julian died, I was driving through central Iowa and was surprised and delighted to find gasoline selling for 89 cents a gallon. I hadn't seen gas prices that low since before the OPEC embargo in the early 1970s. I instantly thought of Julian. It was one of those little real-world events that confirm that he was right all along.
January 1998... those were happy days indeed.

Re:It's the Club of Rome - again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730524)

Um, here's a clue. Try actually reading the book, not just repeating third-hand misinformation. At no point in the book did they predict any specific dates for any events, in fact they go out of their way to emphasise several times that the model isn't predictive to that level of detail, but rather that the shape of the graphs in response to different changes in key variables is the whole point of the exercise.

Re:It's the Club of Rome - again (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730547)

That's pretty dumb. One day, the earth will be consumed in the fires of our sun going nova... so yeh, dire things will eventually happen. If we run out of oil next year, are you still going to be sarcastic, because they were off by 7 years in the prediction?

We need to find better ways of doing things. But the rich are too comfortable to continue making money with the old ways, and probably aren't clever enough to find new ways.

Why the peak? (3, Insightful)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730381)

Is this peak simply an artificial creation - an attempt by oil cartels such as OPEC to limit production and maximize profits on a finite resource - or due to some technical issue or actually pumping oil? The author also seems to support simple extrapolation by stating that "By 2025, we're going to be back in the Stone Age" rather than attempting to analyze the actual cause of the problem.

Perhaps I've missed something, but I do not entirely trust his conclusions. If what I've stated is incorrect, please feel free to correct me.

Re:Why the peak? (4, Interesting)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730427)

The author also seems to support simple extrapolation by stating that "By 2025, we're going to be back in the Stone Age"

That's certainly overstating it a bit, but on the other hand, most people seem to be of the mindset that 'oh this peak oil thing was just something someone made up. Don't believe the hype!' They think it's like Y2K. Scary...until it really happens and it turns out it wasn't so bad after all....

I really, really, really, wish that was the case. But I'm afraid it just isn't. A lot of people are living in fantasy land right now and assuming that any spike in oil prices is going to be like the 1970s. But after a point, it won't just come back down. Extrapolation works rather well in this case because there's no real reason to believe that the world's oil consumption is going to dramatically decrease, and considering that oil-producing countries are basically operating on the same fields they always have been (because there just aren't very many new ones). Oil price fluctuates because of the rest of the supply chain, not because there are new wells being drilled and others shut down all the time. Relatively speaking, it's a fairly predictable economy.

Re:Why the peak? (1)

Adamis3 (745993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730496)

Only so much oil was produced. It took millions upon millions of years. Some was easy to find and pump out, some hard. Most was in the middle. We started with easy. We just reached middle. Now it gets harder and harder.

Up until now a given amount of effort got so much oil. A little more effort got a little more oil. On the down slope it's the other way around. A little more effort gets a little less oil. Next time still more effort, still less oil. Eventually it takes more energy to get the oil than you can get from the oil.

At that point everyone decides to give up and go home.

As for facts and figures about oil fields, how much, etc. Start with "Peak Oil Primer." [energybulletin.net]

Refining waste products? (1)

xlv (125699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730403)

What happened to the tech(s) discussed here a few years ago about refining farm waste or even more general "landfill" type waste into oil? Did they run in problems scaling up? Do any of you have links to recent developments in that field?

Re:Refining waste products? (1)

diablomonic (754193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730505)

thermal depolymerisation [boosman.com] good place to start. From reading elsewhere(cant remember where, some forum discussion by knowledgable people) looks like some of the companies claims are probably overexagerated (eg probably 60-70% efficiency not 85 or whatever it is they claim) however It still appears EXTREMELY useful, and I hope some serious investing goes into it to build more of the plant's around the world

Great wikipedia article on this, too (4, Informative)

P0ldy (848358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730405)

In 2004, 30 billion barrels of oil were consumed worldwide, while only eight billion barrels of new oil reserves were discovered. Huge, easily exploitable oil fields are most likely a thing of the past. In August 2005, the International Energy Agency reported annual global demand at 84.9 million barrels per day (mbd) which means over 31 billion barrels annually. This means consumption is now within 2 mbd of production. At any one time there are about 54 days of stock in the OECD system plus 37 days in emergency stockpiles.
-- Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Peak what??? (2, Informative)

elzbal (520537) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730417)

So we can now make predictions about permanent peaks in vastly complex - and to a great extent, cyclical - industrial systems only two months after the peak? If we determine a peak after two years, I might believe it. Two decades, I'd certainly believe it. Two centuries, I'd say it was fact.

But two months?

In other news, according to my analysis of the decline of light since I awoke, peak brightness was 10 hours ago. In other news, I became increasingly agitated over the last 5 minutes, and I reached peak happiness 7 minutes ago. :(

Re:Peak what??? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730514)

Actually the two months is only a tiny fraction of the timescale involved. What I am saying is, that if you see steady growth for what, 100 years, then you see a huge decline in growth and a steady increase in consumption, then you draw the conclusion.

One of the other posts mentioned that there are less than 2 months of worth supplies in OECD reserves at all times, and a bit more than a month of worth of emergency stockpiles. I think two months is exactly the time needed to evaluate changes in the system.

Use more oil... (5, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730418)

The faster we use up all of the economically obtainable oil, the sooner people can stop whining about using it all up and the sooner we can get on with whatever is next.

Re:Use more oil... (2, Insightful)

abdulwahid (214915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730459)

The faster we use up all of the economically obtainable oil, the sooner people can stop whining about using it all up and the sooner we can get on with whatever is next.

The trouble is it doesn't work like that and the sooner people reaslise the better. Moving to any new system first of all takes years but secondly takes energy. For example, how many cars and gas stations in the US? How long would it take to convert all of those so that they can fuel hydrogen cars and to change all the gas stations to be hydrogen ready? What about the new facilities for producing the hydrogen and transporting it to the gas station?

Obviously this all take time and energy yet these are the two things we don't have. If we really have crossed the peak we can expect to see energy prices start rising dramatically. The existing oil, which will be there for some time, will cost more and more to extract. It will also eventually take more energy to extract than is gained from it as a fuel, thus no longer making it a fuel source even though there is oil left in the ground.

Cars are just the start of the problem. There is also electricity generation, fertilisers, plastics and many other products that are hydrocarbon based products. These also have the same problems of high energy and financial costs for moving to a new system.

What is really needed is urgent action and a cut back on life style. This may be a hard decision go make (and not something that will make politicians popular) but if we don't do it. Nature might just force a change in life style upon us.

Economics will take care of it (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730515)

Don't worry - it's not like all of the oil in the world will stop at once.

Day N-1: oil is $100/barrel...

Day N: Sorry, no more oil.

It won't happen that way. As we come to an end of oil supply (if ever) the price will obviously rise, but it won't do that overnight either. As it does, the big switch-over you are worrying about will just happen. This is the real world - not a binary on/off simulation. Real people don't follow static simulations, they tend to squirm around a bit and do odd things when conditions change.

So far, in my personal observation, gasoline prices haven't even kept up with inflation over the last 30 years or so, which kind of tells me, on a fundemental, imperical level, it isn't scarce yet.

Many problems are politcal problems before they are engineering problems.

Short/medium/long term (1)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730545)

Here's the plan

As oil prices rise to about $300 (US 2005 $) per barrel, the cost of automotive gasoline in the USA will be roughly equivalent to the high end of what Europeans have been paying for the last decade, with some dodgy factors thrown in to represent the effect on GDP.

Now, as you might have noticed, that is serious money.

At that point maybe the USA consumer will move away from going to pick up the milk in a 2.5 ton SUV. They will start to drive 100 hp diesels.

That, in itself, is likely to be too little too late.

Plan A: But, as the cars get smaller it gets easier to integrate electric vehicles into the fleet. Electric commuter cars are a reasonable solution for a reasonably sized minority of the mileage in cars, and preserve the autonomy that we like.

To power the electric cars we'll burn coal, initially, and then nukes.

Plan B is that we start turning coal into oil.

I think Plan B is better than plan A. In practice we'll do a lot of both. At $300 per barrel many technologies make more sense than dinosaur juice.

It's only going to get worse. (4, Insightful)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730420)

We can only expect these problems to get exponentially worse with all the growth in China and India. Hundreds of millions of people getting wired for electricity and generally starting to use petroleum for the first time will come with a high cost indeed.

Re:It's only going to get worse. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730466)

it looks like bird flu might just take care of that problem for us.

Re:It's only going to get worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730543)

As opposed to the cost incurred by the hundreds of millions of people in the West who were quite happy to use petroleum for decades?

The flawed assumption... (1)

SoCalDissident (953017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730432)

There seems to be an assumption that we have been looking for oil with the same intensity, but if there is ample currnet supply, where is the incentive for oil companies to look for more oil? If a company can make more money by doing less work (and making the supply smaller while the deman keeps growing), where is the incentive to find new supplies

Birthday (0, Offtopic)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730440)

Hey! That (12/16/05) was actually my nineteenth birthday. What a lovely present!

Re:Birthday (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730528)

Too bad civilization as we know it is going to end before you have a mid-life crisis.
"By 2025, we're going to be back in the Stone Age"
Buy a sports car now, while you still can.

Give Genetics, Nanotech, and Robotics their DUE (0, Offtopic)

bariswheel (854806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730442)

Let me tell you a story... All statisticians thought, in the 1970s that with the rise of population and nothing being done to thwart crime stats, Chicago's crime rates were going to go off the charts. NO ONE disagreed. Roe V. Wade came out and they legalized abortion. Guess what...crime rates dropped to the ground. Everyone was baffled. Before all the conspiracy theorists start interpreting this observation of this princeton scientist, make sure you look into GNR. The bottom line is, guys, we have absolutely NO idea what's going to happen in the next 10 years. One thing for sure, is that it's going to be an amazing and exciting 10 years. It's pointless to make predictions at this point. Why? Because the world as we know it is changing so fast we don't know what the variables are to making any predictions. and if you really want to be lightened up and all these hippies are depressing the hell out of you with their 'end of the world' stories, GO READ THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR, by Ray Kurzweil. baris

Wrong wrong wrong (1, Funny)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730443)

His methodology seems to be that when 1/2 the oil has been used, that is "peak oil". But that isn't peak oil. Peak oil is when the barrels shipped per month hits the highest of all time. That point hasn't come yet. Sorry, it just hasn't. The world has the ability to ship quite a bit more than it is now.

Of course, that just means the oil is being used faster, and when peak oil REALLY comes, the drop off will be rather sudden and acute. Don't panic yet, but DO start building the bunker.

Re:Wrong wrong wrong (1)

nikster (462799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730527)

No, the drop-off won't be sudden. There is tons of oil in the ground, it's just getting ever more difficult/expensive to get it out. Therefore, the prices will just increase steadily and at the same time because the prices go up, people will use less and less. This is what the OPEC is trying to prevent - they are trying to keep the prices down because they know very well that the prices will go up no matter what. They want to prevent people from switching to something else while they still have oil to sell.
I have worked in the oil industry - the technology to get oil out of the ground is pretty incredible and getting ever more sophisticated. We are talking Billions of Dollars of investment for a single well. Previously unattractive oil-mud gets interesting once oil passes a certain price. The times where you just dig a hole in the ground and wait for oil to splurt out are long over.
The turning point is reached when it costs a barrel of oil to get a barrel out - at that time, there is still oil in the ground, it's just not economical to retrieve it. Until then, prices will increase steadily.

Oil is running out - this time for real. All the oil companies have renamed themselves in recent years - suddenly they are all "energy" companies. The clearest signal comes from BP - formerly "British Petroleum", new name "Beyond Petroleum". No, I am not making this up. It doesn't exactly take a genius to figure out what's going on.

Re:Wrong wrong wrong (1)

nick this (22998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730537)

If you use the Hubbert methodology, algebraically (and empirically, based on the US oil peak) peak oil production is indeed achieved at the midpoint of oil depletion.

See here [princeton.edu] and here [hubbertpeak.com] for examples.

Geologically based only estimates (1)

erbmjw (903229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730445)

The world can produce a great deal of bio-diesel and ethonal - hopefully this will spur greater efforts into expanding the production and delivery facilities for these fuels as well as the mixed versions. ie gasoline- ethonal blends, etc Not that I want to slow hybridization/efficiency efforts - all on these should be expanded by both consumer desires and by govenment incentives.

Oil sands (2, Informative)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730446)

I've been reading about Canadian oil sands since the 1970s. They used to be a curiousity because the oil was too expensive to extract. Well with the spike in oil prices they are now competitive and have the advatange of not getting more expensive to extract. The estimates run between a 200 to 400 year supply. I hate to see them become the answer because it means more CO2 but they won't run out in our lifetimes. If you want proof Bush only cares about backing the American oil companies he won't even discuss Canadian oil with Canada. China is the country pursing Canada. Our oil companies don't control it so we aren't interested. This is about corporate profits. Shortages cause price increases which increase profits. The irony is if they can drive prices up enough Canada is going to get as rich as Saudia Arabia and they won't run out in a hundred years. The governemnt is shooting us in the foot and no one is even talking about it.

Re:Oil sands (3, Interesting)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730540)

Your numbers are a bit off. It's estimated that the oil sands in Canada contain just under a third of the world's remaining oil - hardly enough to last 200 years. That oil is in a heavy bituminous sand (clay, water, oil and sand mixture). Right now, it is strip-mined (requires oil to run equipment). Over 80% of the deposits are too deep to strip and require new technologies. Extraction of oil from the sand requires tremendous amounts of water and heat (currently generated with natural gas, which is getting scarce itself).

Each barrel of extracted oil from the tar sands requires the release of more than 80kg of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and about 5 barrels of waste water - not to mention the environmental nightmare caused by strip-mining. There is no easy answer to our oil addiction. It's certainly not to be found in Canada's north. It will stave off the inevitable for a few short years, at tremendous economic and environmental cost, but our world will change forever.

The good news is that we will be "forced" to rediscover local agriculture and commerce. No more "made in China" stickers on our locally made goods, and craftspeople will regain the stature they once had. Just remember that suburban "starter mansions" will be the slums of the future -- to expensive to heat, too far from shops, farmland and gathering places to be worth inhabiting. My advice? Learn blacksmithing in your spare time.

The problem... (3, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730450)

I have a minor in Geology and recently took a class on Geology and World Affairs, the Professor has his Ph.D in Petroleum Geology and worked in the field for around 30 years with a focus on the North Sea and Texas Oil. That professor also professed the Peak Oil theory, however a problem with him, and other Petroleum Geologists with a focus on "rock oil" is an over specialzation on "rock oil". When I asked during our discussions on Peak Oil about Tar Sands or Oil Shales, I was told that "...if it don't come up through a pipe most Petroleum Geologists don't know a damned thing about it." And that in particular, this Professor with his 30 years experiance didn't know a damned thing about it because that isn't what his firms worked on.

Now then, I don't know what Professor Kenneth S. Deffeyes background is, but I can see he is writing books on the subject as so has a vested and economic interest in this theory. Furthermore he seems to discount Ethanol, fuel cells, Methane hydrates, oil shale, and Nuclear power, as "shimmering dreams" so I think one needs to take what he is saying with a grain of salt since, as stated before, his vested interest to make money at this point is "peak oil".

The truth behind "rock oil" right now is that there is alot being used, and there is alot out there and there are still a good number of basins which have not been explored, including the Arctic Ocean and there is alot of oil we can recoved in "played out" areas with new techniques and with new technologies.

I don't believe it, for one... (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730452)

It's been speculated that theres as much oil in Canadian beaches as there was in the middle east. Yes, yes, I know; its not economic to refine it. Only when the price is under $30/barrel. What are we at now? $55? $60?

Its very possible that we've got plenty of oil left to consume. Its also been speculated that only 25% of the oil in some fields was actually mined. As the price increases, it will become economically feasible to mine this oil as well. I'd say we're good for at least 25 years, maybe up to 100. But the way things are going, we're acting like we've got all the time and oil in the world, which is NOT TRUE. We need better energy policies. I'm not one to "beat around the Bush" [dual meaning intended] on most topics (yes, what we are doing in Iraq IS going to have a positive benefit, its just going to take a lot of time. But it could have been planned better, instead of this rushing in thing. See: having more troops, planning for difficult-to-deal-with-insurgence.), but slashing funding to research into renewable energies is NOT acceptable. Problem is that our 4-year term presidential ordeal forces those campaigning to push for whatever will whip up the majority of the public's opinion into the frothiest emotionaly frenzy in the quickest time. But if I recall correctly, we do have the republicans to blame for this energy-funding-slashing.

We desperately need a committed effort to sustain budget spending on researching renewable energy sources. We _could_ be on our last 30 years of oil.

Re:I don't believe it, for one... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730536)

Yes, there are estimates of vast amounts in the Tar Sands and the Oil Shales in North America.

The US Energy Information Agency estimated that in 1999 550 billion barrels of oil could be extracted from Tar Sands at $30 US per barrel and lower. At $40 or more per barrel 500% more can be extracted from oil fields and reserves of any type than can be when the oil is at $30 US per barrel.

The total size of Shale Oil as of 1999 was estimated to be 242 times the amount of conventional petroleum reserves. There is up to 8 times more Shale Oil than petroleum, natural gas, coal, peat and tar sands combined.

OF COURSE oil has peaked... (0, Offtopic)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730458)

Oil has peaked.

This fact is undeniable, given that dissenting views are summarily modded down....

(PS, mod this up.)

Dog bless oilsands (1)

freeweed (309734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730467)

Huh. One trillion barrels produced over human history. Let's say 100 years of continuous pumping, with of course more pulled out in recent years.

The oilsands in Alberta, Canada are currently estimated to hold over a trillion barrels of reachable oil. Near as I can tell, that's another century's worth. Now, we're using far more oil than we were during WWII, so let's look at current usage. As of late we're running about 30 billion barrels annually, so 1,000/30 ~ 33. 33 years of oil, assuming the Middle East disappears, Russia decides to stop pumping, Venezuela burns all of theirs somehow, and all of the smaller-producing countries stop as well. This is one small Canadian province providing every last drop of the world's oil, for 33 years. Considering this is less than half of known reserves, we can safely go with 70 years of oil.

A bit Chicken Little, maybe, calling for the Stone Age in 20 years then. This guy sounds like the Steve Gibson of energy research (OMG YOUR WINDOWS COMPUTER HAS RAW SOCKETS!!!!!!). Yeah, there's an issue. Definitely, we should do something about it soon. But the end of civilization in 20 years? Ridiculous.

Peak Oil proponents seem to only look at conventional oil supplies. The linked article claims we only have a trillion barrels of oil left in the entire world. Sorry, but I can drive over that much in an evening. What will happen? Oil's going to stay expensive as hell, that's all. $20/barrel minimum, and that's a very optimistic number. Oil companies need in the range of $30-40 to make oilsands business profitable, and expandable. So bye-bye SUVs.

In the meantime, any IT folks (or pretty much any other occupation, but this is Slashdot after all :) looking for good-paying work, come visit. We're looking at a labour shortage of nearly 100,000 people just in the construction industry alone over the next 5 years. Plus, there's mountains :)

Re:Dog bless oilsands (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730499)

Sounds pretty optomistic.

Of course, the oil being pumped out of northern Alberta's oil-sands is not nearly as nice as the light-sweet crude you get from the middle east. Alberta's oil tends to be quite sour, thanks to the bitumen. There is some light sweet crude there, but not much.

The oil, which is expensive to mine and process, also isn't easily transported, and is really only suitable for diesel.

And it's not trillians; according to this article [msn.com] , it's more like 175 billion barrels, and potentially 315 barrels with technology improvements.

And according to this article [mises.org] , "There's a lot of sour crude in the world, more than anyone can use. More than anyone wants right now."

I'm Canadian, and while the oil is a huge economic benefit, it's not quite what the media would have us believe.

Solar power, wind power, and water power are the way of the future.

Hubbert peak (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730494)

Just read up on the Hubbert peak.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbert_peak [wikipedia.org]

In Capalist west Russian gas delays Hubbert peak for 10 years.
In Soviet Union KGB delays you for 10 years.

Whoohoo, step 6 already! (-1, Flamebait)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730495)

We're halfway there! Only 50% more to go and then we will have finally kicked our addiction to oil [cnn.com] for once and for all!

Professor Deffeyes (1)

s0rbix (629316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730509)

Prof. Kenneth Deffeyes seems to be retired [princeton.edu] .

and the price of oil has been up how long? (4, Insightful)

DECS (891519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730520)

So the price of oil goes up momentarily for what, a year? And this analyst decides that, since oil producers didn't instantly develop the technology to extract hydrocarbons from shale, or find a whole new set of oil reserves in areas we haven't even yet begun to look, that its all downhill from here? What bullshit.

That sounds an awful lot like the 1970's analysts who said we'd have no oil at all by 2000.

Or the brainiac reporter who insisted that Apple's iPod was not going to have any effect on Mac sales after interviewing 10 iPod users who didn't also buy a Mac on their visit to the Apple store in 2004.

Anyone can rub together two brain cells and write a report that glosses over market realities with some sensationalist simplifications.

Basic economics indicates that that the market can fall behind reality for several years. But obviously, at some point when oil rises to a level where it can comfortably stay, all kinds of results will kick in: conservation, alternative fuels, alternative oil discovery, alternative oil sources. To suggest that we've hit the end of the oil pan is plainly retarded.

We've only known about the middle east's oil for most of a century. There's plenty of places we haven't looked, and more we know about and chose not to exploit because either the market can't support it yet, or there is lower hanging fruit, or there are political or environmental concerns we can't resolve yet.

WorldWide Hydrocarbon Supplies Data (2, Interesting)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730532)

Not to denegrate Princeton University geology Professor Kenneth Deffeyes, but Mr. Simmons of Simmons & Co Intnl has been speaking worldwide on this subject from his own research for over 5 years.

Mr. Simmons pdfs and PPTs used with his speaches are avaialable at his website, and are incredibly detailed and convincing.

Nuclear power is the ONLY rational solution, near term.

Weak kneed leaders in the U.S. have been totally 100% cowed by irrational environmental types who do not use any of this data or statistical evidence or engineering facts to oppose anything but "green". What these so-called leaders and environmentalists miss is that they may have doomed the U.S. to great hardship, by delaying the inevitable move to nuclear fission, which other major countries have done and are expanding as we speak.

Bo

Best thing about being on the political left... (-1, Troll)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 8 years ago | (#14730541)

You get to say "I fucking told you so" over, and over, and over, and over....

Now we can add peak oil to: slavery, racism, abortion, gay rights, war in iraq, vietnam, global warming, etc.

I heard this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14730546)

In the late 1920s, they said oil is running out by 1930
by the 50s, they said oil is running out by 1970
by the 70s, they said oil is runing out by 2000
2005...some crackpot is now sayign oil is running out by 2020

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