free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 137. PEAK OILER DOGMA

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

137. PEAK OILER DOGMA

-- by Antimatter

The assertion that new technologies, EOR etc only increase production rate but not URR is taken as gospel.

Ditto for the assertion that reserves growth is solely a function of conservative SEC reporting rules in the US.

Chevron does a nice little PR campaign (willyoujoinus.com) - peak oilers say "Chevron says peak oil is here!"

ExxonMobil forecasts that non-OPEC production will peak around 2015. In their forecast, NGLs, tar sands and other unconventional liquids turn this into a plateau and OPEC boosts production resulting in no peak till 2030. Somehow, peak oilers say "ExxonMobil says oil will peak in 2010!!"

The WoodMackenzie report that found some oil companies spent more on exploration than the value of the oil they discovered is often cited. Never mind that that study was based on $20 oil, and a later report from WoodMac showed that at $40 even the poorly performing companies had done very nicely indeed.

Sudden dips in production from country x,y,z are seized upon. Witness the thread a month or so ago entitled "MEXICAN OIL PRODUCTION CRASHES!" when production was shut in due to a hurricane. A similar thread on Norway was started when production fell sharply, complete with much hand wringing. Turns out the official reason, fields shut down for maintainace for longer than expected, was true, and production rebounded a couple of months later. Naturally, this went unnoticed.

Many peak oilers deride economics, then point to the high price of oil as proof that peak is here.

Posts full of errors such as confusing source rocks and reservior rocks are greated with backslapping and approval when they fit the groupthink view.

An OPEC official announces that members are free to produce flat out. This has happened a couple of times at least. Peak oilers freak out and compare it to the Texas Railroad Commisions statement in 1970 allowing producers to pump flat out. This is followed by "the peak is here!!!". The possibility that OPEC may expand capacity is evidently not considered.

Events are taken out of context. For example, Saudi Arabia announces they are doubling their active rig fleet to 110 rigs vs 50 or so. Peak Oilers say "they are desperatly drilling holes as fast as possible to offset exponentially increasing declines". This lacks context. As we speak, 2179 rigs are churning away in North America alone for much lower returns. It should be no suprise that this occurs after they reveal ambitious plans to increase production to meet surging demand, after churning out crude for decades without drilling many new wells.

Every possible piece of news is taken as evidence The Peak Is Here, whilst Campbell/ASPO shifts the peak back (again) to 2010 and Jean Laherrere's liquids peak of 2015 stays steady.

10 Comments:

At Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 9:37:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how I see it. ASPO's readjustment of its figures is a good indication that their ideas are moving from the fringe to the mainstream. As they become higher profile, they become more realistic. There are obvious signs from big oil companies that PO is on the way. Chevron is one example. BPs new commercials in the USA acknowledge that oil is going to run out. I like the fact that this blog uses good logic and sound arguments to rebut the Cassandras, but lets not forget--if we don't start raising awareness of this isse, we are all uber-fucked. I realize that even the optimists on this site acknowledge the reality of PO. I would like it better if this was stated in a more up-front manner, lest any visitors read a few posts and stick their heads back in the sand. The end of civilization as we know it CAN be averted. Whether it WILL be averted is still very much up in the air. Now who disagrees with that?

 
At Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 12:43:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

I would like it better if this was stated in a more up-front manner, lest any visitors read a few posts and stick their heads back in the sand.

Thanks anon. Point well taken. I'll do something about that.
JD

 
At Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 6:52:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've recommended this to a lot of doomers and they've read the title and the first post and said you're full of shit. Even though I explicitly point out that you believe in PO, they say you're a cornucopian flat-earther... really just shows their own issues.

 
At Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 7:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger Big Gav said...

I've often wondered about the title - how can you debunk "peak oil" unless you believe oil is abiotic or some such stuff ?

Maybe you should call it "dieoff debunked" or "collapse of industrial civilisation debunked" - then the rest of us might not consider you a pariah.

Ppersonally I'm quite happy to argue when the peak will really occur and how the effects can be made palatable (or even an improvement on the current state of affairs) - but your current blog title doesn't seem to leave much room for debate.

And as for the "fascist underbelly" stuff - sheesh - take a look around you - peak oilers are the least of our worries on that front - your average peak oil commentator seems to be well left of centre to me...

 
At Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 8:31:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gav, one, the content matters more than the title, and the content shows he DOES believe a peak will occur. Two, did you read his posts about PO and fascism?

 
At Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 9:09:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chevron does a nice little PR campaign (willyoujoinus.com) - peak oilers say "Chevron says peak oil is here!"

Nevermind that the nice little PR campaign seems to be about the eventuality of Peak Oil.

The WoodMackenzie report that found some oil companies spent more on exploration than the value of the oil they discovered is often cited. Never mind that that study was based on $20 oil, and a later report from WoodMac showed that at $40 even the poorly performing companies had done very nicely indeed.

Isn't that the essence of the Peak Oil thesis, though? That we're running out of cheap oil? Why, if that's not true, aren't companies finding more oil that's profitable at $20.00?

Many peak oilers deride economics, then point to the high price of oil as proof that peak is here.

I think most peak oilers deride economists, not economics. There's a difference. In this case, the underlying point usually seems to be that economists think that high prices will destroy demand enough so that oil supplies will be prolonged indefinitely, without either commenting on what that means for the average person on planet earth, or noting that oil is a finite resource.

Posts full of errors such as confusing source rocks and reservior rocks are greated with backslapping and approval when they fit the groupthink view.

And any article or essay, no matter how full of false assumption and horrid reasoning (yours included) is greeted (fortunately not "greated") with backslapping and approval on this blog. "Use every man according to his deserts, and who should 'scape whipping?"

An OPEC official announces that members are free to produce flat out. This has happened a couple of times at least. Peak oilers freak out and compare it to the Texas Railroad Commisions statement in 1970 allowing producers to pump flat out. This is followed by "the peak is here!!!". The possibility that OPEC may expand capacity is evidently not considered.

Of course, this could be for any number of reasons. It could be, for instance, that OPEC has been taken over by shape-changing aliens who are pumping oil for their own nefarious purposes. But the more likely explanation, especially taken with other available evidence, is that OPEC is responding to a lack of global supply. This, in turn, fits with the peak oil theory. Sure, other possibilities should be given their fair due, but if you're insinuating that this could have nothing to do with the possible arrival of peak or shouldn't be considered in that context, you are incorrect.

Events are taken out of context. For example, Saudi Arabia announces they are doubling their active rig fleet to 110 rigs vs 50 or so. Peak Oilers say "they are desperatly drilling holes as fast as possible to offset exponentially increasing declines". This lacks context. As we speak, 2179 rigs are churning away in North America alone for much lower returns. It should be no suprise that this occurs after they reveal ambitious plans to increase production to meet surging demand, after churning out crude for decades without drilling many new wells.

I agree this may be somewhat out of context; the question remains just how much they'll be able to get, though. If the expansion follows the pattern it did in North America, Indonesia, or the North Sea, though, peak oilers would be correct.

Every possible piece of news is taken as evidence The Peak Is Here, whilst Campbell/ASPO shifts the peak back (again) to 2010 and Jean Laherrere's liquids peak of 2015 stays steady.

You know, I was just this morning reading about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie possibly getting married, and I realized that this must mean that Peak Oil is here. When I got to the story about the mom who dumped her kids in San Francisco bay, I understood that it was just more confirmation of the imminence of shortening supply. By the time I had read about the Baltimore tunnel being closed temporarily, I knew in my heart that everything is going to collapse this winter.

C'mon, man! Get real. You're exaggerating worse than what you're exaggerating about.

 
At Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 11:38:00 AM PDT, Blogger GreenEngineer said...

I would like to second the comment by the first anonymous poster. Judging by your content, rather than your presentation or style, you clearly understand that peak oil is an issue, and your opposition is to the "catastrophians" who would have us give up. But your choice of language and wording does not make this clear right up front. The casual reader could easily mistake you for an abiotic cornucopian.

Your most recent post is a great example of this. You titled it "Peak Oiler Dogma". But it's not. It's "Catastrophian Dogma", which is a very different thing.

I'm a energy engineer. I'm also a peak oiler, in that I think that we are at or near the end of cheap oil, and that this will have profound effects on our civilization, and that these effects could be very bad if we don't get smart about it. But I don't think that this means an absolute end to civilization; if we handle the transition correctly, we could wind up with a much healthier and more robust civilization than we currently have.

So I'm a peaker, sure, but I'm not one of the people you created this blog to criticize. There are lots of other folks in a similar position. Like .

I think you're doing the entire community a disservice by failing to make that distinction very clear.

 
At Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 11:40:00 AM PDT, Blogger GreenEngineer said...

Blogger sucks for using link tags. I tried twice to get the linkage to work properly on my post, and it insists on attaching the link to the wrong text (despite showing up correctly in preview). Oh well.

 
At Thursday, October 20, 2005 at 2:50:00 PM PDT, Blogger CanadianAlien said...

I agree with the first anonymous post about clarifying your position.

It took me more than a just casual glance at your blog's contents to understand that you actually don't believe cheap oil will never run out. It seems to me you are trying to counter the UFO, Elvis and lazy crowd.

While you are communicating about this critical and serious issue, and spending a lot of time on it (to your credit) I wonder what newbies, who are trying to learn about this issue, do when they see your informed ambivalence.

Do they perhaps feel comforted that there is no crisis, and stop pursuing it? If you really are concerned about this issue, and you don't want your efforts to be minimized, you really might want to clarify what you are all about.

Anyways, your efforts are still appreciated.

 
At Friday, October 21, 2005 at 6:03:00 AM PDT, Blogger Big Gav said...

Anonymous - yes I did read the posts on peak oil and fascism.

The BNP suck but they aren't typical of the most peak oil writers and have glommed onto the topic very recently.

The dieoff meme is misanthropic and unpleasant but its not fascist to my mind - it does predict totalitarian government but most doomers certainly don't seem to be looking forward to this.

If you look at the most well known peak oil commentators I'd say that Simmons is old school conservative, Heinberg a leftie and Kunstler a curmudgeon.

I don't see any fascists in the vanguard, even if they could be a problem if the collapsist school of thought turns out to be right.

 

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