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Debunking the Myth of Peak Oil - Why the Age of Cheap Oil is Far From Over (Part 2)

As T. Boone Pickens is touting, we could replace one-third of our dependence on oil within just a few years with natural gas if we would simply embrace the alternative. I don’t know how we’re going to get over the safety issue of having a methane bomb in the trunk of our cars, but it’s doable. And transporting liquefied natural gas to other countries or our own is now viable due to higher prices.

Oh, and incidentally, there is no “Peak Demand” argument for natural gas as there has been with the “theory” for oil. Natural gas reserves in the US are 1,700 tcf, confirmed here http://www.naturalgas.org/overview/resources.asp

As of 2009, the Potential Gas Committee estimated that the United States has total future recoverable natural gas resources approximately 100 times greater than current annual consumption. These huge reserves are available now, yet largely untapped and unused, and would largely flatten the Peak Oil curve.

Natural gas is converted to barrels of oil equivalent using a ratio of 5,487 cubic feet of natural gas per one barrel of crude oil.

The new technologies in the oil and gas industry, proven just in the past two years, including horizontal drilling, new fracturing methods, and shale production, particularly the new Marcellus Shale play in the Appalachian Basin will greatly revise the above estimates by this one source and this new technology alone, and there are many other known fields waiting to be tapped that are not included in proven reserves. These technologies and methods, and producing from shale formations on a large scale, were unheard of just two or three years ago. And I must repeat, for zenob’s benefit, that the future potential cannot yet be documented, especially when the potential is not fully understood by laymen; even present potential disregarded due to blindness. Nor will it help to try a different search engine. For example, I was taught that you can't find oil in granite formations or below. Once you hit bedrock, no need to go further. All of Western civilization believes this. But the Russians are now producing from just such prolific formations proving what we thought to be impossible, are in fact huge potential, and they're finding more all the time.

We have yet to uncover the full potential of the continental shelf regions of shallow offshore production of oil and gas, let alone deepwater regions. And again, new technologies, methods and even sources like natural gas crystals on the sea floor (we are still trying to grapple/comprehend the potential of these crystals), are constantly being found/developed/utilized. New discoveries are made almost every month, yet it often takes years to develop and produce and analyze to compute proven reserves from conventional wells.

EIA estimates the Arctic could hold over 20% of the world’s undiscovered conventional oil and natural gas resources. a href="http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/arctic/index.html">http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/arctic/index.html.
Also, our own federal park lands and offshore prohibited drill zones contain huge amounts of reserves, and oil companies are constantly lobbying to unlock the bureaucratic access to the bigger finds in Alaska than already exist, but are known to exist; not necessarily to laymen. Obviously, they are not provable, so no papers exist either, so you won’t find anything under Google. The oil companies have a vested interest in not talking too much until they have a signed lease agreement, and this holds the world over. Touting something that is to be kept under the hat is tantamount to the flat earth theory. There's a New World out there, sure, just keep it quiet until we get a chance to increase our holdings.

Gasification of coal and ethanol production and liquefaction and other refining methods can also supply over a century of hydrocarbon needs. British Petroleum, in its 2007 report, estimated at 2006 end, there were 909,064 million tons of proven coal reserves worldwide, or 147 years reserves-to-production ratio. This figure only includes reserves classified as "proven". The largest proven reserves are found in the USA. The 930 billion short tons of recoverable coal reserves estimated by the Energy Information Administration are equal to about 4,116 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Electrification of our cars holds potential to spur the decline of Peak Oil, but some other hydrocarbon must be burned to produce the electricity. There is plenty of coal and gas available, but if the gov’t would pull their head out and build more nuclear power plants this would be a cleaner alternative.

Sure, putting blinders on and looking at “Peak Oil” by itself in a vacuum shows a scary picture at some point extrapolated into the future. But we don’t live in a vacuum. I see no problem with benefitting from a crisis, it’s what we do as traders, but to create a crisis in order to benefit or control makes me see red. Gov’t doesn’t need any help in this area.

At least as big of a problem as Peak Oil, is getting the hydrocarbons produced and processed, but again, when there’s a profit to be made, people get industrious and get up to speed quickly. What I would like to know along these same lines, is why there haven’t been any new refineries built in the last two or three decades, or any slated to be built? I’m not looking for a conspiracy theory, but it seems to me any shortage of hydrocarbons in the near future will be concocted or an act of war; the flotillas of black gold are an easy target in the Straits of Hormuz.

Part 1 of this article can be found at: strong>Peak Oil debunked - Part 1

By. Dennis Eidson

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  • Anonymous on March 17 2010 said:
    Wow, "Editorial Dept" you must really believe in magic.

    "...when there’s a profit to be made, people get industrious and get up to speed quickly."

    Well, there's infinite profit to be made from artificial intelligence, teleportation, faster than light travel and a drug that would keep you youthful forever. Haven't seen any of these yet though.

    Some problems are just harder than others.

    Don't expect magic solutions to happen on schedule because people want them too.
  • Anonymous on March 18 2010 said:
    Dennis Eidson is correct that an increase in nuclear power production would take demand off gas and coal consumption for generating electricity, and extend those fuel reserves much farther into the future.

    Microbial fuels will begin to hit the market within 10 years, and likewise extend the life of liquid fossil fuel reserves.

    There are persons who have devoted their lives to doom of one type or another -- peak oil doom, climate doom, whatever. It would break their hearts to discover how much of their lives they have wasted.

    But problem-solvers will continue to solve problems and find ways to get at needed resources, or find substitutes for needed resources that have become too expensive. The motivation of a problem-solver is completely different from the motivation of a doomseeker.
  • Anonymous on March 18 2010 said:
    There are two things that I don't tolerate in seminars and conferences (and my classrooms of course), These are nonsense about oil and nuclear. If you want to know about peak oil, study what happened in the United States. The entire story is there: when oil production peaked in the US, there was a huge amount of oil on shore and off shore. The issue quite simply was economics, just as it was in the North Sea, and with the Cantarell field in Mexico.

    Try reading the note that I just submitted to this Forum called Happy Anniversary to OPEC, especially the final paragraph, and don't forget the long chapter on oil in my new energy book..
  • Anonymous on March 19 2010 said:
    Well, has the author considered expanding his logic through publishing a paper in peer reviewed journals???
  • Anonymous on March 19 2010 said:
    Rosh, he could publish this half-baked fantasy in every peer reviewed journal between Alaska and the Capetown Naval Yard, and it wouldn't make any difference to me. He just doesn't know what he's talking about. Of course, if the oil price can touch $147/b, then peak oil loses its importance. Just as significant, non-OPEC oil - which is about 60% of the global oil supply - has apparently peeked, which effectively leaves OPEC in charge, and they know it. That is why the price of oil is in the 80s, despite a nearly dysfunctional global macroeconomy.

    . As for this gas thing, some very smart people say that a large part of that is hype. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but the evidence that we need is not yet available in the right kind of package.
  • Anonymous on March 26 2010 said:
    To the previous comments: You obviously have not researched this topic. Google on 'abiotic petroleum', and read the proven Russian theory that oil is not derived from fossils (it can be produced in a lab, like diamonds). There are increasing indications that petroleum is produced continually deep in the earth. Why hold on to a 'flat-earth' theory of fossil origins?
  • Anonymous on May 03 2010 said:
    World wide oil discoveries have been less than annual production since 1980.World oil production growth trends were flat from 2005 to 2008.world oil consumption is around 85,000,000 bbl/day. OPEC estimated that there is between 900,000,000,000 and 1,200,000,000,000 bbl in reserves even at best estimate, current demand will consume that reserves in less than 35 years
  • Anonymous on November 19 2010 said:
    Remember: Oil doesn't have to be depleted for there to be a crisis. It merely has to peak (hence the term), or the cost of processing has to rise just high enough for prices to spike.
  • Anonymous on August 17 2011 said:
    The author of this article claims to have gone to college in the 1970s yet fails to spell out which one. Never in my life have I seen such Green Acres mindset.Shale Rock Oil has the energy density of a box of Captain Crunch cereal or 10% of oil and is like squeezing oil from a rock, literally.Has Dennis Eidson for PilPrice.comever heard of Dr. Marion King Hubbert?Peak Oil occurred in 2007 at no higher than 86 million barrels of oil per day. The author needs to stop drinkingKool Aid.

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