Collapse of the North Atlantic cod fishery. The graph shows fish landings, in tons, for 1850-2005. Millenium Ecosystem Assessment via

18 July 2012

Paul Schneidereit’s July 10 column “Humans’ love affair with fossil fuels won’t end anytime soon” slammed soothsayers who supposedly predicted doom because we would run out of oil. One such soothsayer was King Hubbert, a geophysicist who worked for Shell Oil and the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1956, he predicted crude oil production in America would peak in 1970. His “peak oil” theory was debunked at the time. It remains disputed by Schneidereit in 2012, who states “peak oil” has failed to materialize and informs us the world is not running out of oil.

But crude oil production peaked in the U.S. in 1970 at 10 million barrels per day (BPD). Today, oil production in the U.S. is five million BPD. Granted, in the last four years, U.S. production has increased 10 per cent, due to the production of shale oil and an increase in Texan production, enabled by hydraulic fracturing of petroleum basins. This in an arid state that suffers from drought! Did someone ask the question there: “Do you want water or gasoline?”

Consider the other producers. Mexico peaked in 2003 at 3.5 million BPD (now, 2.5 million). Norway peaked in 2000 at 3.3 million BPD (1.7 million in 2011). The U.K. peaked in 1998 at 2.7 million BPD (one million in 2011). Venezuela peaked in 1997 at 3.3 million BPD (2.3 million in 2011). Indonesia peaked in 1980 at 1.7 million BPD (now less than one million). Production in the Emirates, Algeria, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Angola, Argentina, Egypt, Malaysia and Australia has also peaked in the last five years.

Besides the U.S., the largest producers are Russia, Saudia Arabia, Iran, and Iraq. All have lower production compared to peak production in the 1970s and 1980s.

Canada has increasing production from the tarsands, while conventional oil production plummets. The tarsands production comes with very high natural gas and water consumption, required for the steam injection used to dislodge the bitumen in the tarsands.

Other countries with increasing oil production are China and Brazil (both with none to share) as well as Colombia, Kazakhstan, Qatar, and Azerbaijan. Period. There are no other countries producing significant quantities of oil that have increasing rates of production.

All of the countries noted above produce 90 per cent of the world’s crude oil. […]

The world is running out of affordable crude oil. In the absolute sense, we will never run out of oil. Just like the United Kingdom will never run out of coal. However, the U.K., after a 250-year love affair with King Coal, is now weaned from coal. Coal is an insignificant factor in the U.K.

Coal, crude oil, other minerals, plants, and fish are all in limited supply. We should act as good stewards of these resources. We know what happens when we harvest a resource irresponsibly.

The North Atlantic cod fishery collapsed 20 years ago. At that time, pundits expounded that the cod resource was vast and we should increase the quotas for the fleets. The government did, even while the fleets were unable to catch their quota in the previous year.

Then the industry died. “Peak cod” had hit home. […]

‘Peak oil’ a certainty, just as was ‘peak cod’ via The Oil Drum



Blog Template by Adam Every . Sponsored by Business Web Hosting Reviews