Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Catching Up on Peak Oil
Gas Prices
l33tminion wrote in peak_oil
I knew it had been a while since someone posted to this community, but nothing since January 2013. Anyone still listening?

Major Peak Oil stories from 2013 and 2014 so far:

July 6, 2013 - The town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec was destroyed when a train carrying Bakken crude oil derailed and exploded.

September 22, 2013 - Peak Oil blog The Oil Drum closed its doors.

October 18, 2013 - Saudi Arabia refused a seat on the UN Security Council.

February 2014 to present - Crisis in the Ukraine. Civil unrest, ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea. Issues at stake include control over natural gas pipelines and some significant debts for natural gas owed by Ukraine to Russia.

April 13, 2014 - Suicide of Michael Ruppert, author of (among other things) Crossing The Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil and Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World.

What big stories am I missing?

Vehicle-miles traveled in the US dipped significantly in 2008 and has been in a bumpy plateau at the lower level since.

Oil prices have mostly stayed in the $90-$110/barrel range. The stock market has risen about 30% since early 2013, but the economic recovery continues to be underwhelming in many areas.

Peak production of light sweet crude oil was likely in 2005. Peak of global oil production was possibly in 2008, or may be yet to come, but supply has been looking rather plateau-like since 2005, even in the face of relatively high prices.

  • 1
Hey there leetminion.

I added you to the pre approved list.

To date I have never denied a post, other than the rate spam... But even that has stopped. I'd forgotten I even moderated this group.

I never knew you moderated it.

I refer to it sometimes, when people start talking about how America became an undeveloping nation. I explain how we just got lucky when we stumbled upon cheap calories, that we weren't rich because of ingenuity or hard work, but rather because we were spending down our trust fund.

It's now an explanation for what we are seeing, not a prediction.

In New England we're shutting down another aging nuclear power plant and refusing to allow a gas pipeline to bring us natural gas, pretty much ensuring that the only base-load power generation we can have will be either coal or oil. We already have some of the highest electricity costs in the country in Massachusetts, so expect what little power-hungry industry we have to relocate. (Server farms, for example, are pretty hungry.)

The US political systems are poor at coordinating on tradeoffs like more offshore wind power versus more natural gas. NIMBYism in both cases (modulo environmental concerns), but different backyards.

(There's also probably confusion between the sorts of problems caused by crude oil pipelines versus those caused by natural gas pipelines, though both have their drawbacks.)

Still, the concern that infrastructure (including new, hastily-built infrastructure and old, decaying infrastructure) might not be sufficiently maintained is not off-base. A good example of how high energy prices and capital scarcity can be mutually reinforcing.

Hey, L33t! Yeah, I was thinking much the same about the community. I've noticed that when some topics rise to the level of the almost mainstream, participation in groups that discuss that issue falls off precipitously.

Oil seems to have found its link in econ talk, since the 2005 peak seems to have been the pin that slowly popped the housing bubble, and now most of the PO writers and speakers are showing how one cannot discuss energy without discussing economics. I'm reading The Energy of Slaves right now, in fact.

As to the miles driven discussion, I've been following a financial analyst who's been tracking not just miles in total, but also slaving that number to the population with a very interesting result. Per capita miles traveled peaked one month after the May, 2005 peak! Hard to dismiss that as coincidence. He updates this page every time a new report comes out every month, but I've got a collection of his past per capita graphs stored on the hard drive. It would make an interesting animation.

Futurism is fun, the present is frustrating.

If we'd ended up in a 1979-style energy crisis, there would have been a lot more overt political reaction to energy issues. Which would be maybe more interesting to discuss than yet another look at the lackluster economic recovery, while business as usual keeps on going, mostly, kind of.

Quite true. As it is, we are missing the economic resilience building that marked the 70s, where we went from 2 gallons of gas to produce a buck of economic activity in 1970 to one-to-one in 1980. Doubling the efficiency of an economy in ten years is a pretty noble achievement, and all we had to do was buck up.

And tolerate disco.

Er, what's up with the spam flag? Maybe that's why nobody bothers to post here anymore.

Don't know what's up with that, but I unmarked it.

You missed: the Manifa and Safaniyah heavy, sour offshore oil fields in Saudi Arabia.

The nation which swore it had unlimited light, sweet oil has taken to drilling offshore for heavy, sour crude and nobody hardly notices.

Interesting. This post goes into more detail on that. Having heavier stuff to process means they're doing more refining locally, too.

  • 1

Log in