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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 29, 2008 1:36 AM. The previous post in this blog was Just another day for Old Boy Network. The next post in this blog is Portland debt jumps toward $5 billion. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Here comes the mother of all eco-wars

As we scrape the earth for every last drop of oil we can get out of it, there are going to be some big tradeoffs.

Comments (15)

Having been born and raised in an oil town in Arabia, I've thought about this subject my whole life. I was thinking of something my Dad told me once. He really thought of economists as just a few notches above witch doctors and he said they had assured him oil had an inelastic demand, only to find out if the price is high enough, demand fluctuates dramatically, which is a little reassuring. I'm really excited to see what we can do here on the demand side. I think the world uses something like 86 million barrels of oil a day and that sounds crazy as all hell. My Dad would always lament burning it for fuel when we could use it to make jazz records as well as millions of other products. God, I miss him.
Anyway, I had an experience a few years ago. I was at the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago on a weekend looking out for miles and I could see endless freeways packed with cars. On a weekend. It dawned on me that there was no future in this. I might as well have been looking at the great herds of buffalo that used to roam the Midwest. The era of cheap oil is over.
You know those oil rigs with the arms that go up and down? I never saw one of those in Arabia. The stuff used to blast out. The hard part was capping the damn thing. Now they pump water in to help flush the oil from the field.
You know the truth about oil? It is as strong an argument that there is a God this side of Jessica Alba. I mean think of it. All this stuff just sitting underground waiting for us to use for energy. I've always doubted it was dinosaurs - I just can't go there. Maybe it was some kind of non-organic process or a methane producing organism, but ferns and dinosaurs giving us 86 million barrels a day? I don't get that. Maybe it was God or Allah or whatever.
Oil is one of the great mysteries and if we don't get a new energy system and the reserves dwindle, it will mean a population reduction in the billions. We are cheap oil. It might as well be in our blood.
When people get high and mighty about how much they disapprove of burning fossil fuels, I can only smile. Where would we be without it? What else have we got? Believe me, when this stuff starts running out, we'll see it for what it really is: heaven sent.

If the price of oil had inflated in the last few decades, along with other items we encounter daily, we wouldn't have our shorts in a knot right know.

Another good look at the tar sands is here:

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/5/27/135238/695

What the people who want to pour more money into auto sprawl -- to build new bridges and expand roadways -- don't seem to get is that pedestrians, condo dwellers, transit users, and bicyclists are not your enemies -- they're your friends, because they aren't competing with you for gas. They're letting you have it, and you get it at a much lower price than if they were in the market with you.

Now that we are at the peak of global oil production, there will never be any slack until there is huge demand destruction -- which is only accomplished via high prices. Even if you consider the number of trips on Max and Tri-Met and bicyclists to be small, when there is no slack in the supply/demand balance, every person who willingly acts to reduce their demand helps all those who still use gas a great deal.

condo dwellers

Not if they commute to or from the 'burbs.

Their six or eight elevator rides a day worry me a little, too.

The elevator ride reference is quite interesting because it centers on gravity - where I think this is all going. First, we have to think big here and maybe spend big. These alternative fuels like ethanol and hemp oil are stop gap measures of which hemp oil is probably the best. But that's still like saying we're running out of horses to pull our carriages - let's try zebras. We need to make a leap along the lines of horses to cars and I think it has to be unlocking zero-point energy or being able to create a gravity field outside the main one. When people talk about UFOs many roll their eyes, but think of it this way: If we don't come up with something that slick billions of us will not survive. The ideal scenario would be that we already have the technology but it's secret. If we do, humanity could begin to migrate outwards. That's what we do best. You could argue that the problems mankind is facing right now are fundamentally a stifling of spirit as our explorer souls bounce up against the confines of a finite planet. I'm sure if you could go back to the horse and buggy days, and talk to people about cars, they would roll their eyes, too. It would all seem outlandish and even ridiculous. We need a major leap forward here or we are in so much trouble. I don't get too anxious about it, because humanity has a great track record at enormous leaps of progress. Just think where we were 100 years ago. Besides, wouldn't it be great to make that phone call to the Middle East: "Um, the world would like to cancel all our oil orders. Yeah, we've got a new energy source here." I bet we'd suddenly lose all interest in spreading democracy to the region, as well.

Alberta is a lovely and economically prosperous province, having been there several times myself over the better part of the last three decades. As for breaking the Kyoto treaty, even the Europeans are not living up to the worthless piece of paper.

Remember. Green is for pansies. And for plants and trees, carbon dioxide...well it happens, god willing.

P.S have you heard of the recent advancements in oil drilling called horizontal drilling. A lot fewer wells to tap the same amount of black gold down below.

Live, you who are drunk on guilt.

Bob, as someone who has had a long 25-year career in the oil and gas biz, it's clear that horizontal drilling has been a fabulous technological improvement that minimizes environmental damage to surface land in most applications. But this technology has almost no relationship to the tar sands oil extraction process described in that Mother Jones article, which cannot be extracted without heavy use of heated water (steam) which then, once befouled in the process, must go somewhere. You might consider reading the material first next time.

> but ferns and dinosaurs giving
> us 86 million barrels a day?

Well, it took a few billion years. That's a very long time. Amazing things can happen in such a long time period -- such as the creation of life.

I realize given a long enough time even the slowest processes could build up huge results, but I think it was more along these lines from a news story 6 days ago:
"Microbes have been discovered thriving more than 5,000 feet below the ocean floor, making them the deepest-living life forms known. The primitive organisms inhabit a place where temperatures reach 100C. They are thought to be archaea, a distinct family of non-bacterial microbe.
Scientists found the organisms in 100 million-year-old sediment samples drilled out of the ocean floor off Newfoundland, Canada. The deeper samples were hot and contained high concentrations of methane and hydrocarbons, which can be used as an energy source by some organisms."

When a dinosaur died, I imagine it got eaten more often than buried and pressed into oil with the oil eventually pooling together into vast amounts. I never have been able to believe that.

Bill, I'm assuming you read "The Deep Hot Biosphere", written by the late Thomas Gold? Fascinating theory on the origin of oil...

the North American Deck Chair Rearrangement Committee meeting is now in session.

I haven't read that but I've seen articles along those lines. I always used to ask if it could just happen geologically, but I was told that there were biological remnants in oil that proved it was ferns and dinosaurs. This alternate theory you mention makes a lot more sense. I'll use the term my Dad always used for anything tiny like microbes, etc: Critters. I think he got it from Pogo which he was a major fan of along with Mad Magazine. I have read articles about a depleted oil field that refilled although we're too far ahead of the curve to wait for anything like the world oil supply to be replenished. Cheap oil was a free lunch. We devoured it and our population soared. Some scientists call us Petroleum Man - that's how tightly our success has been tied to all this. In a way it's a race for survival. Oil gave us the numbers and I hope one of them out there is smart enough to get us to the next thing.
Cheap oil bought us time as a species but that time is running out.

Bill, (mostly), there is no 'forward' to leap. Space/time in fact has an absolute limit, a 'wall.' We the Humankind, are there, up against it. As an example, we split the atom, released 'atomic energy.' There is nothing smaller to 'split.' Gravity goings-on has got some good 'upside' potential, but, really, without going all quantum-quacky on you, not really. 'Really' as in reality. Just saying, scientists say 'this far, and no farther.' Any hoping that they're wrong, that there is something there they haven't seen yet, and so some miracle breakthrough opens in the nick of time to save us, is the same as praying for a transcendent (meaning: beyond real) 'God' to materialize fuel in your tank ... let us know how that works out for you.

About abiotic oil: 'Abiotic' is no biology, oil not made from dinosaurs and algae. Instead, oil made like lava, somewhere hot and heavy in deep geology, coming to the surface like in volcano caldrons. Science shows (and proved) it is possible; the only 'stopper' is the generation rate of abiotic oil. It took quite a few centuries to fill the underground reservoirs we drained in one century. Wait. They'll fill up again. ... wait for it ... you wait here, I gotta go get something to eat ...

About supply and demand: "... huge demand destruction -- which is only accomplished via high prices." That says lower demand is when fewer people have the cash extravagance in hand, to pay the exorbitant price for gas, so the customer line is shorter. Good theory, except for the word 'only'. The Bushbutchers thought of another, shorter way, 'via' which to 'accomplish' demand destruction and have already headed off that way -- and I say this gravely serious: fewer people. Literally they said to each other their plan is mass homicide, murder about half of humankind -- ever heard of 'ethnic cleansing'? how 'bout 'genocide'? how 'bout 'armaggeden'? how 'bout 'Master Race'? -- then the supply is twice as much oil for everybody left alive, which is as it should be for God's chosen Master Race, eh? (Sorry about the 'headed off that way' pun.)

The irony of it all is that after Bushbutchers murder Earth's human population, the oil still runs out. Besides, it kills off the 'workers' who 'produce' the oil, or research new energy inventions science. So the Master Race psycho-sociopathic misanthropes wind up back in the fields planting seeds and pulling weeds along with everybody else ... if all the water on the planet hasn't been poisoned first.

It really would be easier, and better for all of us, to just impeach the Bushbutchers and all the neo-con Republicans FOG (Friends Of George), and slam 'em in prison to talk amongst themselves the rest of their life. ... Now I gotta go get something to eat ...

Here is another look at the oil sands stretching from Sasketchawan to South Dakota. It's a primer on the 'production' process, too. The Bakken Formation: How Much Will It Help?, Posted on April 26, 2008, by Piccolo, a petroleum engineer working in the petroleum industry.

Also see this: TheOilDrum.COM/node/3839
April 15, 2008 - Unconventional Oil: Tar Sands and Shale Oil - EROI [Energy Return On Energy Invested]

Also see this: TheOilDrum.COM/node/3969
May 12, 2008 - Shell's Shale Plans...? (or Why I Am an Oil Shale Skeptic) -- "...it is going to take energy to process the oil. Even if the EROEI was 2 to 1, and I doubt it is, that would mean it would take almost a trillion barrels - all contributing more pollution to the environment - to process the [shale's] 1.8 trillion barrels."

BDS...

Now I knew it was all Bush's fault, but Squatman, you are really slipping up here!!!

Narry a reference to LIARS? Man, you missed that one by a mile!

LOL...

I really think that you may be getting yourself hinged, rather than comepletely unhinged.

Fix that will ya? Larson will be getting off easy without the Ten-hut Squatman on the job.


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