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Current price of oil

Post in 'The Green Room' started by elkimmeg, Jul 17, 2007.

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  1. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Not to disagree, I've read up about alternative theories regarding oil's creation. They're fascinating. But the cause of Peak Oil is consumption which is growing exponentially. Sure there is still oil there, but extracting it is getting harder and more expensive. Countries have reached the point where they are consuming more than they can export. Dubai is an example. This week the Financial Times reported that Russia's production capacity is at max. Mexico is in very serious decline.

    Our consumption is rising exponentially so regardless of new discoveries, we are going to run out soon unless consumption is dramatically reduced. And so far, that isn't happening.

    Here's a great lecture on the math:
    http://globalpublicmedia.com/lectures/461

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I know a lot of peak oil folks, and I think they are wrong....for a number of reasons. There may not be a lot of oil that is $3 a barrel a the well head, but there is enough for a few generations to fly in jets and drive cars. I think the bigger problems are the pollution, the distribution (rich/poor), the cost and the efficiency. There is really no alternative to the price gouging - any way you look at it, there are a limited amount of companies with the technology and capital to recover the refine the oil. Therefore, it is in their interest to rake in the big bucks.

    Peak oil is just another statistic. Someday they will laugh about it and say we were looking at the wrong chart. We should have noticed the anti-gravity effects of tririllium 4 (non-existent compound). Just a couple kilos in the wings and the planes lift off the ground.
  3. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Begreen, I have to disagree with production capacity being the definition of peak oil. These countries being at max production simply means that all the wells they have sunk and all the pipelines they use are running max out. Build a new well, run a new pipeline, build a new refinery and suddenly we aren't maxed out again. "Maximum Capacity" is a business decision, nothing more.

    Peak Oil is also a "scare the masses" tactic as it is based on the fact that we have only 30 years of proven oil left. The oil companies only scout out up to 30 years at a time because scouting out new sources costs money. Once they've proven out 35-40 years of capacity, they stop looking and start developing any new fields until they figure they've reached 25 years of proven, then they look again.

    How would you weigh that? Wouldn't it float off the scale? :lol:
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There are much wiser folks than I watching this issue. But the math is pretty simple. In today's market alone, the supply just isn't there to keep up.
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/967448f4-0b1e-11dd-8ccf-0000779fd2ac.html
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/282adfd4-0a4c-11dd-b5b1-0000779fd2ac.html
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120847521878424735.html?mod=hpp_us_whats_news

    And it's affecting all forms of energy. Coal prices are up 100% in a few weeks in China. That is affecting steel prices directly. I do agree, our governments are not doing enough planning here. Besides big short-term profits, the outcome of this lack of planning will likely be serious economic impact.

    "If we wait until the problem hits us, we are in for very serious economic problems worldwide for at least 20 years," he says. "There is no good news. Nobody is really doing anything."
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0317/p15s01-wmgn.html
  5. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Homeland security duct tape........sounds like something from the Reg Green show :)

    Seriously, what were those pipes carrying? Radioactive plasma or something a bit more benign perhaps?

    The water fall picture looks like something related to a cooling tower, not an event that would cause the release of radioactive material. Hard to tell without some facts on exactly what that is.

    That being said, nuclear driven energy is definitely not child's play. The immediate consequences of a failure are orders of magnitude larger than anything else in the power generation industry. (Chernobyl comes to mind) It would be best if we didn't need it or have to resort to it. The grim truth of the matter though is that the longer term effects of other generation methods are not a lot different. Google coal fired emissions and spend an hour or two reading on that. It's costing not only our country but the world, countless lives and health problems along with the billions of dollars needed to deal with them. Those costs are largely unnoticed because they are spread out over many small individual, even personal events instead of a single large one.

    (Deeeeep Thought for the day) If you look at the ramifications of nearly any power production method needed to sustain our current lifestyle, a factual and objective analysis would lead one to believe that maybe we are not supposed to live and consume the way we do.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    You could find 3 times as much oil in 30 years and it wouldn't matter if your consumption is doubling every 7 years and you are currently at max. Do the math.

    But you are correct, we are also at our maximum supply capacity. The Saudis have been sinking new wells as fast as possible for the past several years. There are only so many well drillers, so many rigs, boats and pipelines in the world. Refineries take a long time to build, get running and staff. Infrastructure doesn't sprout up overnight. For example: US coal production is at max having reached rail capacity to transport it. Meanwhile, the beat goes on, consumption keeps growing exponentially.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, that is pretty much the case. It is obviously not sustainable, just us "stuffing our faces" because oil a drug.....makes us fat and lazy.

    But, we could certainly apply technology and live a great life on vastly less power than we do now. It might mean great sacrifice like not driving a 4000 lb vehicle with 500 HP carrying one 150 Lb person......

    A lot of the science in the world right now is being applied to this problem (energy and pollution). It's pretty clear that we can't simply make another billion cars for China and India and have them get 20MPG.
  8. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    You are right on the money here. and this is what people keep forgetting, that china and india are on target to consume as much or more than we do, and it just ain`t sustainable. Gotta love those comercials for the Hybrid Cars, hey, they still burn gasoline. what a joke!! We better find alternatives and soon....
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like we're back to Mr. Fusion :)

    In the meantime, I'm growing much fonder of the Prius. At 45mpg normal, short trip driving, 55 hwy and about $30 average fillup it's been a good choice until there is a better solution. Would 45 miles per liter be better, you bet! But that may take a few more years.
  10. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Agreed. I guess whether fusion is possible or not is going to be a testement to the human intelligence or lack thereof.? Hopefully the former.
  11. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    BG, you have a Prius? I'm curious what kind of batteries does it use? I haven't heard of anyone having to replace them yet.
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The main battery pack is NiMh. Toyota rates it at 150,000 miles and they are very conservative.
  13. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I was just wondering, as all the doom and gloom types are predicting thousands of $$ to replace them. Ever check to see if there is an aftermarket battery available? Toyota's battery management is probably a lot better than the average laptop, so it might be a moot point. I'm just wondering if these would be a good deal in the future for us tinkerers. Ever looked into converting it to a plug in?

    Chris
  14. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    The Canadian Tar Sands need a reliable $40/barrel to be profitable. (Actually, that figure is a year old and cost of operations have risen significantly since then.) Yes, oil sands production is still minor, but significant. Candada is one of our top three oil suppliers. Without the oil sands production, we would have significantly less supply than demand.

    I believe that shale oil production (US Rocky Mountains) needs even higher prices to break even.


    As for "how long until we run out of oil", I too view the predictions with skepticism. Back around 1978, the U.S. Secretary of Energy (or maybe it was Transportation) assured us that the world would totally exhaust all oil within ten years. Idiot politician!

    I do believe that we have a lot of oil left to be discovered BUT it will require new technology and be expensive to operate. The newest deep sea drilling operations rent for $500,000 PER DAY. That's a half million dollars per day just to look for oil. Assuming they actually find oil, they are not going to sell it for $3/barrel!
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    That's why it's a good idea to own some stock in RIG (Transocean)......they rent out those rigs!

    Since wages can't keep up with energy prices, maybe income from energy stocks can!

    Even at $50 a barrel it will seem cheap....considering that there is a mix of oil - some costing as low as $5 and some as high as $50. $100 is still going to create quite a bit of profitability.

    I would consider a Prius is my car didn't have such low mileage on it....and if I drove to work, etc. - As it is now, my $$savings would only be about $700 a year....and as to the "green" part, if I sell my Subaru, someone else is going to drive it for a long time - so the amount of net pollutions is not going to change. That's a whole 'nother story - whether we benefit from getting rid of the SUV and selling it to someone else who is going to drive it just as much! I guess it lowers the demand for news ones, which would help.
  16. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Somehow I should have figured you as a Subaru driver... :red:

    You have an SUV? Say it ain't so!

    I really like my CNG Cavaliers...

    Can't make a stereotype about that one; not enough of us to notice...

    No offense, Craig!

    Chris
  17. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    Craig,

    the other item I forgot to mention is that governments are also demanding a larger share. The Canadian provincial gov't has significantly increased their royalty fees from the oil sands. As have many other foreign governments. That too jacks up the price of crude oil.

    Ken
  18. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Nah, I have a Subaru Forester 4 banger....but some people call it a small SUV. I was being general about "our" SUVs.

    Everyone in New England drives either a volvo or a subaru.....well, or a Prius or a Honda. VERY few large SUV's....

    Here are my Cavaliers. :coolsmile:

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  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    My 1993 Suburban has 69,000 miles on it and for the last two years has averaged 15 miles a week. Trade in value is $2,000. If I bought a bare bones rice burner it would cost me a minimum of $17,000 or so and at $4.00 a gallon payback would be something like 49 years if the new one used no gas at all.

    And as Craig said, somebody else would be driving it a hell of a lot more than I do.

    Sooo... I am saving money and the world by keeping the Suburban.
  20. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    The problem with both the Canadian oil sands and the shale formations found here in the good ol' USofA is that both sources require enormous amounts of water to process. The supply available in both areas is not adequate to process the raw materials into fuel. Where is it going to come from??

    It'll be another government boondoggle where they will subsidize these processing companies by mandating that water be brought in from somewhere else at no charge to them and no reimbursement for the donor area.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Early on, there are a few silly and misinformed articles about the Prius. As ownership increases and longevity reports come in, it turns out that this is a really low maintenance vehicle. Toyota was concerned about the adoption of a new technology and over-engineered the car. There are Prius cabs with well over 200K miles on them that are still going strong with the original battery pack. So I may never see a battery replacement. I'll most likely upgrade to a PHEV long before then. Yes, there are 3d party sources and I am told it can be done for under $3000. If I did replace the battery, I would most likely go for Lithium Ion pack for the extra capacity and mileage. If we had a vehicle that could go 50 miles at 40 mph on electric, that would cover 90% of our driving.
  22. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    There are several approaches being used with the Canadian oil sands. They ARE in serious produciton mode with more coming on line. Actually if you look at the satellite photos of the area, you will find that there is a LOT of water there.

    Shale oil extraction may yet be uneconomical (oil prices aren't high enough?) Or it may require as yet undeveloped technology. But there is plenty of oil there.

    It will only be another government boondoggle if the gov't gets involved and interferes with a free marketplace. It can't be much worse than the corn/ethanol boondoggle, can it? <sigh>

    Ken
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    And those producer nations no longer want to give away their natural resources cheaply. So go the talks in Rome this weekend.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUSL20434820080420
  24. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    You are right.

    The issue (which is ignored) is that a NEW vehicle requires a LOT of energy and resources to produce. People spending $20K or $30K on a new vehicle probably would save the environment more if they stuck with their ten year old vehicle even if it wasn't flashy and advertised as "saving the environment". How much energy is consumed and pollution created in building a new vehicle?

    Ken
  25. TboneMan

    TboneMan Member

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    Here are my Cavaliers. :coolsmile:[/quote]

    Are those really your Cavalier King Charles Spaniels? They are great looking dogs.

    My wife and I are chit Zu fans (and owners) but I'd love to get a Cavvy.

    Sorry to seal the tread momentarily, but I couldn't resist.
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