13 January 2010

Peak Oil: You Don't Know Davy Jones

The new discovery of a potentially huge new natural gas field is a reminder to energy analysts that most of the Earth's surface remains unexplored for its energy and mineral wealth.
The discovery points out the potential for yet another frontier for oil and gas development in an area of the Gulf of Mexico called the Outer Continental Shelf that has been drilled extensively for nearly a century. The difference is the depth and the quality of the pre drilling seismic studies. The studies plus the newly drilled well suggest the same rock and sand layers that in recent years yielded major oil and gas discoveries several hundred miles out in the Gulf may be equally rich with oil and gas in shallow water areas, where exploration and production is much easier and cheaper. There might be a groan heard from those deep water investors if oil prices plummet someday. For U.S. refiners and consumers this is great news.

It’s sure to draw investment back to shallower water depths. This will be another energy stimulus program run by private citizens. _NewEnergyandFuel
Meanwhile, the price of oil hovers around US $80 a barrel, stimulating significant new exploration for energy reserves within non-OPEC countries. Since gas can be converted to liquid fuels (GTL), any new discovery of natural gas is also a discovery of new liquid fuels reserves. The same applies for coal (CTL) and other carbonaceous minerals. Even massively renewable biomass (BTL) will soon be seen as an important source for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other important fuels and chemicals.

You see, peak oil is not just about oil any longer. It is about fungible energy supplies, substitutable energy supplies. So, surprise! The world's supply of energy will only grow larger -- unless political peak oil instituted by statist dictators and deluded climate utopians dooms us to energy starvation.

Cross posted at Al Fin Energy


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Blogger kurt9 said...

The Earth is chock-full of oil that we have not found yet. I will bet donuts to dollars that the Mississippi river valley as well as the Amazon is chock-full of oil. Anywhere that was under shallow water for millions of years will have oil.

Land life produces coal. Ocean life produces oil. There has been ocean life for far longer than there has been life on land and the biomass of the ocean life is larger than that of the land life.

No one prospects for coal because it is so cheap and all of the coal is still being mined from the places they found it 100 years ago by stumbling over a coal seem by accident.

There are shit-loads of oil in the Earth that we have yet to find.

Wednesday, 13 January, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes, quite likely.

Peak oil true believers try to claim that Peak Oil is not about all liquid fuels, but only about crude oil. That is disingenuous. Because if Peak Oil is not about serious energy shortages of all kinds of energy leading to severe economic hardship -- then what is all the excitement about? If Peak Oil is just about the decline of one type of energy which will be substituted for by other types of energy, what is the point of all the apocalyptic drivel being written about PO?

Wednesday, 13 January, 2010  
Blogger kurt9 said...

I actually believe that Thomas Gold was right about natural gas, that it is not a fossil fuel but is of abiogenic origin. Methane makes up a significant percentage of the planetary mass of the solar system and it has recently been found on Mars. The space weenies claim that this means that there is current life on Mars. I believe the Methane on Mars means that Thomas Gold was correct that it is of abiogenic origin.

Nonetheless, I am a strong advocate of nuclear power. Nuclear processes are 6 orders of magnitude more efficient at generating energy than chemical processes.

Here is an article you might enjoy about the virtues of nuclear power:


BTW, I know Jim Hogan personally. He is one of the kindest, most decent person I have ever known.

Wednesday, 13 January, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Thanks for the link.

I've enjoyed much of Hogan's fiction and nonfiction over the years. The Al Fin site has a link to "James Hogan links" in the reference section.

Nuclear fission (and eventually fusion) would be the logical foundation for our near-future energy planning. There are many designs that are safer and more reliable than current generation reactors, but as Hogan says, the state of the art in fission is better than just about anything else right now.

Wednesday, 13 January, 2010  
Blogger Sojka's Call said...

The Chinese have seemingly been right about how to build a vibrant economy so far in the 90's and 00's. Maybe this should be debated, however, within this context, the Chinese are buying commodity leases, stock-piling raw materials, and signing long-term commodity contracts at a rate that is driving up oil, copper, and precious metals prices the last year in spite of increasing unemployment in the US and a contracting economy and reduced building. Do you think they are wrong in their assumptions of increasing prices and scarcity?

It seems the Chinese and other 3rd world economies are using natural resources at a rate that will continue to drive raw material prices up.

What is the Al Fin prediction for raw material prices in the short and long-term?

Monday, 18 January, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Long term, I have to go with Julian Simon. Raw material prices can only go down, as humans get out of the cradle and start exploring where the real resources are. Nanotechnology is the wild card. The sooner nano explodes, the sooner prices will crash.

Short and middle term will see a lot of ups and downs. Shrewd substitution of cheap materials for rare and expensive materials will help keep costs manageable overall.

Oil prices can be manipulated by politicians, dictators, and big speculators on international, unregulated markets -- for short term gains that can be quite significant. But the fundamentals have been able to drag the prices back down.

Wednesday, 20 January, 2010  

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