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ryanmckibben

Peak Oil

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One thing is for certain, the price of energy is going up. With the unprecedented indrustrialization of China and India, which also happen to be the two most populous countries in the world, and the rapid decline of new oil discoveries, basic economic theory dictates that prices rise. Will suburbia, and all of it's accoutrements, still be economically sustainable? Will human settlement patterns be forced to change, and if so what affect will that have on our cities?

Some backgound articles for those interested.

Issue Oriented:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/030705Z.shtml

Mainstream:

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5945678/

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Its interesting to hear these forecasts. I also heard them in 1974 and 1979. I will point out that when adjusted for inflation we have yet to see the prices for gasoline that we had in 1980, and there are certainly no gas lines because all the stations were closed. In those days they were predicting gasoline would be $10/gallon by the end of the century. Yet none of it happened. When adjusted for inflation gasoline isn't really that expensive especially when you consider there is much more gasoline tax than there was 20 years ago. I don't think it is that bad.

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Well, it's certainly not drying up all at once. I don't really have time for doomsday critics who talk about the "end of oil." The decline of oil will take decades, if not generations. Perhaps we are seeing the begining of such a decline. Perhaps not.

Either way, there will simply be a long period of rising prices when we can either decide to pay up or develop new technologies or probably both. Plus, once the price gets high enough, it will become economical to extract oil from the shale (or is it tar?) up in Canada and other regions. So we will certainly have long long notice before lack of oil becomes a truly devasating problem.

Until then, it will just be an annoyingly high but economically tolerable expense.

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There is no doubt that for profits sake the Bush administration would love to keep us oil dependent for the foreseeable future but that's not going to happen.

Like it was said, we have heard this all before in the 1970's about how all this bad stuff was supposed to happen by the year 2000... and it didn't. Conservation actually worked.

Soon enough cars will run on hydrogen or fusion and petroleum will go the way of whale oil.

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Just hydrogen won't do it: it's a carrier, not a generator. On the long term, a fusion breakthrough is pretty much our only option.

But I don't worry too much about it: at some point alternatives will automatically become more cost-efficient than oil and at that point we'll make a dramatic switch. Doomsday scenarios don't fly well with me considering mankind has been making such improvements every single generation for the past centuries.

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You are all probably right that mankind will adapt, but whether we find ways to extract oil from ever more difficult areas, or discover a new way to harness energy the cost of that energy will undoubtedly rise. Captain Obvious, we don't need to run out of oil for it to dramatically effect our way of life, all that is required is a 10-15% shortage and the industrialized economies of the world will be dramatically impacted. You admit that as the 2nd half of the bell curve plays itself out, prices will rise. I didn't start this topic to discuss the merits of peak oil, but to get your opinions on how that steady rise in the price of energy will impact human settlement patterns and what effect that will have on the built environment.

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Peak Oil is a myth, and was started so they can get us used to "scarcity". There is plently of extractable oil under Montana, and the Dakotas I believe. It is much more then the entire oil fields in Saudia Arabia. I'll try and find articles that back up those facts.

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'Peak oil' is not a myth, however it is not nearly as cataclysmic or dire as some folks (Matt Simmons for one) would have us believe. While this is all still debatable, here are some actual FACTS on the matter. The reserves you mention in Montana and North Dakota (also into South Dakota and Canada) is known as the Bakken shale oil field. The latest estimates of recoverable oil from the USGS put it near 4 billion barrels of oil using current extraction technology. The actual amount of oil is believed to be nearly 400 billion barrels of oil.

Side bar - the reason for the large difference in in those two numbers is because this is a shale field, which is large deposits of shale rock with oil thinly distributed throughout the entire formation. That number is believed to be the 400 billion barrels of oil. However, with the current extraction techniques which are extremely expensive and horrible for the environment, only about 4 billion barrels would be able to actually be extracted from that 400 billion. So far, only 105 million barrels of oil has been produced from the Bakken field.

Here is some further reading from Nov. 2007. Shell has been working on trying to bring both the cost and environmental degradation down significantly with shale extraction.

Getting back to the subject at hand, peak oil does exist. It happened in the U.S. in 1971 when domestic oil production peaked at 10 million barrels a day. The reasons for that peak oil scenario are not the same as a global 'peak oil' production, but the fact is it does exist.

Oil fields are not replenishing themselves as fast as we are using them up. And there is a finite amount of oil we can extract. Therefore, peak oil exists. The question becomes when will it hit...if ever? Advances in technology will undoubtedly increase the amount of oil we will be able to extract from sources currently considered unattainable (shale for instance). Also, the increase in alternative fuel sources will curb some of the growth of fossil fuel consumption. So you can't say that it will happen in five years or a hundred years, it's a moving point. The general consensus is that no one will know until we have already past it.

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I agree. I believe T. Boone Pickens made a statement several days ago that he predicts oil will rise to $140/barrel again by 2011.

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Since there's too much continuous conflicts between US and South Korean, it is hard to predict the oil price these days! Hope it will diminish to 110%/barrel!

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Well, it's certainly not drying up all at once. I don't really have time for doomsday critics who talk about the "end of oil." The decline of oil will take decades, if not generations. Perhaps we are seeing the begining of such a decline. Perhaps not.

Either way, there will simply be a long period of rising prices when we can either decide to pay up or develop new technologies or probably both. Plus, once the price gets high enough, it will become economical to extract oil from the shale (or is it tar?) up in Canada and other regions. So we will certainly have long long notice before lack of oil becomes a truly devasating problem.

Until then, it will just be an annoyingly high but economically tolerable expense.

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