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15899Re: [gaiapc] Could oil demand peak in a few years?

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  • Jada Thacker
    27 Dec, 2017
      For any discussion of "peak demand" to be sensible, it seems to me we first need to know what we're all talking about. What is "demand," anyway? Is there a consensus operational definition of the term? Do we all agree on which measurable activity constitutes "demand?"

      According to energy forecasters, "demand" apparently is assumed to be "projected consumption." Problem: that which is not produced cannot be consumed. Hence, a nonexistent commodity cannot be "demanded."

      According to orthodox economics, "demand" is what automatically occurs at a given price for a commodity that possesses utility. But as Gail Tverberg repeatedly points out at her blog www.ourfiniteworld.com , supply/demand curves work fine until they don't. Problem: that which is not affordable will not be demanded, regardless of supply and demand curves. 

      As usual, energy forecasters don't know much about economics, and economists don't know much about oil production. As a result, they end up talking past each other. As Gail points out, however, oil that cannot be sold for a profit will not continue to be produced, and people who need stuff that oil makes possible will not buy what they cannot afford, much less what isn't produced in the first place.

      Nick is altogether correct that Wall Street investment shenanigans are responsible for the current uber-debt-financed production of high-priced, unconventional oil/gas. Similarly, consumer debt historically allowed consumers to "consume beyond their means." But this only works as long as the debt level remains serviceable. For producer and consumer alike, those days are numbered. 

      So what does "peak demand" mean in a country where energy majors are selling oil at a loss (while borrowing to pay stock dividends), and where consumers -- who have not seen a real wage increase in decades -- increasingly cannot afford to buy the stuff made possible only by oil (even when oil is sold at a loss)? 

      With regard to "peak demand," maybe this would be an excellent time to put on an old Rollings Stones album and hum along with the lyrics to "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

      Jada

         


      On Tuesday, December 26, 2017 4:44 AM, "'narguimbau@...' narguimbau@... [gaiapc]" <gaiapc@...> wrote:


       
      The optimisticprojections call primarily for efficiency increases, whichcan be wiped out byincreased use of more efficient vehicles or coal generators, and of course inpeople turning to "efficient" gas-guzzling suvs. Everything is predicted to begin in2020, which just happens to be the year consumption MUST peak to meet the 2-degree limit.  Electric cars appear to be counted as "full wins," but the electricity for them will come primarily from fissil generators..  The companies are determined to burn everything they have and then some, and the banks will help them.   The shale  oil and gas has always been a losing proposition but has continued because of constant influx of investments coming apparently fromWall SSt-managedretirement accounts.  They are determined tomake fossil production keep on increasing because the GDP and oil production track eac other and because petrodollars insure consumer spending.  When you look at the flat or increasing oil comsumption over the last decade, it is remarkable because my prediction of a production cras starting in 2012 was shared by everyone - the military, World Bank, Petrobrazil and IEA staff, and then it didn't happen.  Part of it is explained by investment in uneconomical resources such as shale and tar which prior to around 2012 weren't expected to go economically, and part can be explained by pushing the existing resources to artificially exceed the Hubbard curve.  Same thing.So there are lots of questions about.projections of decreased production.  The industry wants to keep the trillion-tonne "budget" for allowed production because it is worth over $100 trillion for them.  Too much money for them to allow demand to shrink.

      But we shall see.

      On 12/25/2017 10:42 PM, Luis Gutierrez ltg4263@... [gaiapc] wrote:
       
      I hope these projections are right.  Not sure that all the "renewable" alternatives are really renewable.

      Luis

      On Mon, Dec 25, 2017 at 6:30 AM, Steve Kurtz kurtzs@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:
       





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