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15943Re: [gaiapc] Could oil demand peak in a few years?

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  • Stanley N Salthe
    Jan 1 6:53 AM
      Jada -- Your comment here rings true from the perspective of the hierarchical nature of the world.  From waves to particles,
      the world is layered into levels of functional sizes different in scale.  I will send you separately a paper on this topic.

      STAN

      On Sun, Dec 31, 2017 at 3:39 PM, Jada Thacker jadathacker@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:
       

      I attended a biophysical economics conference in Vermont in 2013. (Don Chisholm may have been there, but we had not met yet.) Steve Kopits of the research firm Westwood-Douglas gave an energy analysis presentation based upon the proprietary research he had conducted recently. Among other things, it foretold the beginning of the 2014 oil price crash, though that was not the major conclusion of the study. He showed a stunning graph that showed a 10-fold increase in combined annual growth rate of capital expenditure for energy exploration and production from 2000 to about 2010, as compared to the preceding decade.

      After the presentation, a professor quietly asked Kopits, "What would you say to some of us who are concerned about the total collapse of the system?" Kopits replied calmly, "The system has already collapsed. Collapse doesn't have to be dramatic, you know. It can be quite banal. Our entire industrial civilization is based upon a regime of cheap [i.e. high-EROI] energy that simply no longer exists."

      What impressed me the most was the fact that Kopits is a professional research analyst, not a scientist or an environmentalist. Major oil companies and others pay his firm big bucks for objective assessments based upon the best available data. As Kopits himself said, "We don't have the luxury of being political. We get paid to produce straight facts." 

      As it pertains to discussion of collapse of this or that in this venue, I try to keep Kopits's value-free comment in mind: "collapse" is not something to be expected in the future, but an event we somehow fail to recognize has already happened and is proceeding apace. Nick says quibbling about "demand" is a content-free discussion. Maybe so.

      But I submit that all discussion here about collapse as a future event is essentially content-free of present reality. (And any talk of energy substitution is especially meaningless, as there is no physical substitute for high-EROI petroleum.) Again, high-EROI energy ultimately backs the value of the debt-based medium of exchange we call "money." Energy is not a function of man-made financial capital; rather man-made capital is a function of energy. If Kopits was correct, the entire growth-dependent financial system -- dependent as it is on high-EROI petroleum energy -- stands like a tree long dead, awaiting only a strong breeze to blow it over.

      By the way, I expect Nick is right about the IEA and EIA monkeying about with crude oil production definitions. On a year-to-year basis, crude + condensate production has stagnated suspiciously along the the so-called bumpy plateau, but to my knowledge never decreasing since its 2005 peak was correctly forecast by Kenneth Deffeyes, author of "Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak."




      On Sunday, December 31, 2017 5:06 AM, "Steve Kurtz kurtzs@... [gaiapc]" <gaiapc@...> wrote:


       
      Would you say the same about food, water…? Demand is very simple: people offer to pay money for a good or service. If the food is lab grown meat or butchered livestock, it is still food. If coal is liquified and sold as a heating or transport fuel, it functions similarly as refined crude does. Substitutions will continue to occur (despite poor EROEI) because that’s what a majority of humans desire at this time. (demand) That theoretically could change. If electricity is deliverable at a competitive price, and electric transport and heat/cool technology is available at a price people are willing to pay, demand for oil products could be diverted somewhat. I wrote similarly in response to Jada ( market feedback), and haven’t read refutations, only predictions of dwindling supply in the future, which I agree with!

      Steve

      On Dec 31, 2017, at 5:18 AM, 'narguimbau@...' narguimbau@... [gaiapc] <gaiapc@...> wrote:


      This is a wholy ; content-free discussin. I poke my head in npw and them, and it appears that there is not yet an agreed-upon definition of "demand."  If iand when it is possible to settle on a definition of "demand," we must then settle on a definition of "a few years." Could the cutoff be when the costs ofconsuming oilexceed the benefits of consuming oil?  That would make a great deal of sense, especially if we arrived at a means for defining and meauring the costs and benefits.  But the costs certainlyh began to exceed the benefits when they included the carrying on by any of the parties of World War II.  In that case "a few years" has been here and gone and the discussion is demonstratively useless.
      "We could set "a few years" as the date when the 'generallyh perceived" costs exceed the "generally perceived" benefits.  With the definition of "demand" made appropriately, the answer to our questkion becomes virtjually tautological once we have defined "demand," but s distinct problem with this definition is that it is always in the hands of those who create perceptions, namely the fossil fuel industry.  The answer to our question then becomes simple: deman will peak when the industry announces that the costs now exceed the benefits and that demand shold peak.  This will accord with production, over which the inuustry has control., and the indistry willl say that it has only been a few years.  All will be well.  As true scientists, we have used definitions and hypotheses, have tested the facts against the hypotheses, and shown them to be true.
      There is one other thing that assures that the ojutome will be as predicted..  We ar presently operating in this discussion without a definition of "oil."  We may think of it as crude petroleum.  The definition is under the control of the Energyh Informztion Agency.  That agency has a working definition of "oil."  Whenever  the supply or demand threatens to peak pr to drop, they simply add new materials to the definition.  The charts we have showing prolduction of "oil"" to be steady, cannot mean production of crude petroleum, because the production and refining of crude petrolejum in fact peaked in 2008 and has been dropping.  Neither supply nor demand for "oil" will ever go down until they say it is doing so, and their determinations are dictated by the indujstry.  End of story.

      On 12/30/2017 10:08 PM, Jada Thacker jadathacker@sbcglobal. net [gaiapc] wrote:
       
      Shaun wrote:

      "If oil Demand has peaked or will peak then that's because we don't need it, so there is no crash to worry about."

      Well, that's one way of looking at the "demand" for oil. But what if we were talking about milk, instead? What if indebted dairy farmers couldn't break even on producing milk and could no longer afford to send (supply) it to the market at a loss?  At the same time, what if the money-less people in the cities could not afford to buy (demand) milk ? Thus, both would-be supplier and would-be buyer would be impoverished.

      This is not a hypothetical situation. It happened during the depth of the Great Depression in the US. Good news is that the economy could -- and did -- survive without milk. Not so with oil.

      Jada


      On Saturday, December 30, 2017 11:40 AM, "Richard Balfour balfourarch@...  [gaiapc]" <gaiapc@yahoogroups. ca> wrote:


       


      Begin forwarded message:

      From: Shaun White <smwhite@...>
      Date: December 30, 2017 5:16:31 AM PST
      To: Richard Balfour <balfourarch@...>
      Subject: Re: [gaiapc] Could oil demand peak in a few years?

      Sorry, I thought you meant demand was about to peak, which only happens if other energy sources effectively replace hydrocarbon demand or demand falls due to ‎shrinkage of the energy consumed. Now if you mean production capability has peaked then that's a worry if other sources are not available. The oil price is dictated by short term need. The current structure of the markets guarantee that only short term gains motivate oil price. Consider that half the oil consumed in the world is not sold in the market and most of that half is never actually sold at all. It is a government book entry like in Russia, India, south America and in large part China. Either way there is plenty of oil if US does not bomb Iran and melt down the ME further.


      Sent from my BlackBerry 10  smartphone on the TELUS  network.
      From: Richard Balfour
      Sent: Friday, December 29, 2017 15:24
      To: Shaun White
      Subject: Re: [gaiapc] Could oil demand peak in a few years?

      Shaun the other energy sources cannot cover off the oil for all, only for a minority,  you know, the one percent....
      I better copy you more on the backstories
      r
      On 2017-12-29, at 9:51 AM, Shaun White wrote:

      If oil Demand has peaked or will peak then that's because we don't need it, so there is no crash to worry about.


      Sent from my BlackBerry 10  smartphone on the TELUS  network.
      From: Richard Balfour
      Sent: Friday, December 29, 2017 08:28
      Subject: Fwd: [gaiapc] Could oil demand peak in a few years?

      No planning for a soft landing but a crash.  What backup?  Peaking in a few years now is seen here as not a plateau, that has already happened, so downslope follows.
      What is your individual plan, if any?
      In BC we could do some wood to gasahol for some transition but who has put these pieces in place either? 
      not me, yet.

      Begin forwarded message:

      Date: December 29, 2017 7:54:10 AM PST
      Subject: Re: [gaiapc] Could oil demand peak in a few years?

       

      I don't think Gail is INTENDING to mislead either.  She does great work.  My thought generally is that production of gas and oil is being supported when it isn't really profitable to protect a GDP that will crumble when the unsupported production itself crumbles.  The reason I suspect shenanigans as to conventional crude is that it climbed to a predicted peak and then just stayed there, violating almost universally-held expectations that after the peak it would follow the Hubbert curve downwards.  Flat production after the expected peak says they are forcing production, turning conventional crude into something that is being produced uneconomically and perhaps even with EROI less than 1..  That will result in not much time in conventional crude production REALLY tumbling.  2008 was a mark of approximately 1 trllion barrels left of convional crude, and obviously with that constraint demand will peak soon because they will be trying to sell stuff which is eroi<1.  I'm not going to quibble about what "demand" is.

      On 12/27/2017 10:31 PM, Jada Thacker jadathacker@sbcglobal. net [gaiapc] wrote:
       
      Nick, I don't think Gail is intending to mislead.. She's correctly pointing out that for-profit businesses do in fact have to make a profit to be viable in the long term. And you are right, too: money is being made on oil/gas lease sales, on the receipt of "fake" (borrowed) oil company dividends, on oil company stock/bond speculation, and no doubt oil company CEO's are making a bundle on bonuses that increase with stock by-backs.

      But sooner or later, the compounding interest on the unpaid debt that was incurred by producing unprofitable oil/gas will outstrip the oil companies' ability to pay or roll over. And when that happens the creditors holding all that debt will start to see the value of those debt assets evaporating. That's going to be an insurmountable problem. According to Chris Martenson, energy companies borrowed $300 billion to finance the so-far unprofitable fracking boom. These same companies are showing huge losses, slashing or canceling future exploration and production budgets, and still borrowing more money. There is an end to this game.

      Money ultimately has value only because it is exchangeable for consumable energy products, not the other way around. Wall Street and orthodox economists, on the other hand, think energy products have value because they are exchangeable for money. Energy comes from nature; money comes from human artifice. It's said "nature bats last" because it does.

      You may be right that investment shenanigans also are involved with conventional production, but I tend to doubt it. Most legacy "stripper" wells were drilled and paid for a long time ago (I helped with this!); while legacy wells produce only 10 barrels a day (more or less) there are a half a million of them, which accounts for about half of US domestic production.. The deep offshore and fracking accounts for the lion's share of the debt, and all of the increase in domestic production since the North Slope oil dwindled to a trickle. 

      I haven't read Richard Heinberg's book Snake Oil about the fracking "revolution," but I have heard him claim elsewhere that the whole thing is basically an investment bubble. Not only is it unprofitable at prices society can afford, but most of what it produces is so light it isn't even considered "oil" by API metrics and must be mixed with heavier petroleum, such as tar sands stuff (which in its raw state also is not API oil), to be refinable.

      While you wonder about US "viable reserves" with good reason to do so, that is not an industry term. Of several definitions for "reserves," the most apt is "proven reserves." Proven reserves by definition must be demonstrably producible at current levels of technology and price. So, according to the industry's own metric, it appears all the additional oil produced in the US since conventional (legacy stripper wells) peaked production in 2005 no longer meets the definition of "proven reserves" because it is now unaffordable even at a break-even price.

      You asked "what supports" the fracking phenomenon. My judgment is that unaffordable debt explains it -- both from the production end and the consumption end. Along with a lot of other folks out there, I expect a "bigger than major" reshuffle of the deck of debt cards, and maybe sooner than later.

      Jada 


      On Wednesday, December 27, 2017 7:04 PM, "'narguimbau@earthlink. net' narguimbau@... [gaiapc]" <gaiapc@yahoogroups. ca> wrote:


       
      Because of the unexplained difference between production since the once-predicted 2008 peak and the production crash that I and many many others predicted for post-2012, I'm beginning to think Wall Street investment shenanigans arte also responsible for the level of production of conventional as well as unconventional crude.
      Strangely, I think Gail's  "oil that cannot be sold at a profit will not continue to be produced" is at least misleading, because the profit may come from somewhere else than sale of the oil.  It may come from an inveestment, with investments being spent on getting the oil out of the ground and expecting it to be sold at a profit later.  Profit may come from sale of the lease rather than sale of the oil, and the value of the lease is pure guesswork.  Once the well is drilled, oil will be sold to pay for the drilling no matter how poor the return is.  The "break-even point" for shale oil is said to be $80/barrel and the "break-even point for fracked natural gas is said to be over $6/thousand cubic feet,  which are prices never met,  but drilling and selling continues with abandon, not very clearly why,  making it unclear why we are said to have or ever to have had any viable reserves of either or are just carrying on to create an illusion.  Investment in Bakkin in fact, was considered a fool's errand for decades because it was known to have huge reserves that were  economically inviable, and that still is probably true..  You tell me what supports it.

      On 12/27/2017 12:49 PM, Jada Thacker jadathacker@sbcglobal. net [gaiapc] wrote:. 

      As Gail points out, however, oil that cannot be sold for a profit will not continue to be produced,

      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. 








      Richard Balfour  
      Strategic Planner
      • SPORPORI Strategic Planning for Ocean Rise and Peak Oil Resettlement Institute

      7276 Denman Road Denman Island BC Canada V0R 1T0             250 335 0766
      Balfour Strategic Planning
      www.plancanada.com

      • Vancouver Peak Oil Executive www. vancouverpeakoil.org

      balfourarch@...













      Richard Balfour  
      Strategic Planner
      • SPORPORI Strategic Planning for Ocean Rise and Peak Oil Resettlement Institute

      7276 Denman Road Denman Island BC Canada V0R 1T0             250 335 0766
      Balfour Strategic Planning
      www.plancanada.com

      • Vancouver Peak Oil Executive www. vancouverpeakoil.org

      balfourarch@...













      Richard Balfour  
      Strategic Planner
      • SPORPORI Strategic Planning for Ocean Rise and Peak Oil Resettlement Institute

      7276 Denman Road Denman Island BC Canada V0R 1T0             250 335 0766
      Balfour Strategic Planning
      www.plancanada.com

      • Vancouver Peak Oil Executive www. vancouverpeakoil.org

      balfourarch@...
















      —————————————
      Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
      Voltaire (1770)




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