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19 August 2012


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r whitman

Economics play a very important part in the availability of oil. This production is available as long as the price of Brent crude is above $100US/bbl. If it drops as it may well do because of wordwide excess production and lowered demand on the world markets from the USA then it will end up getting "shut in". Peak oil has always been a myth.

BTW there has been a long standing rumor (30+ years) that there is a very large pool of oil in shallow waters just offshore Gaza that can be produced rapidly and cheaply. Supposedly this has colored Israeli thinking regarding Palestinian independence.


Hooray! China and India need huge amounts of fossil fuels to burn. And, of course, we know that all those greedy "scientists" are just trolling for government money to produce more "junk science" about the dangers of huge amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Even, on the small chance, that all those "scientists" are not total frauds, we should always to look on the bright side: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Climate-Change-Tourism-in-Greenland.html


Having done some technical database work around the petroleum industry last year, the magic number seems to be 85$ U.S. a barrel, for oil field expansion and rejuvenation. However when the price stays at or above 100$ a barrel lots of activity begins. Oil people tend to look at expansion or remodeling in this light: If 1 dollar is invested will it return 6 dollars within a year. This formula will not apply to long term new oil field development, that is the long game. But, so much development work and increase production is done to sell or borrow against an asset, that an almost ROI or instant return on investment has to be possible.


r. whitman

"worldwide excess production and lowered demand" If that is so, then market forces (apply what word you prefer) are supporting high prices for crude? pl

Norbert M. salamon

Peak oil was always with refrence to the cost of new production in terms of energy expenditure to get said oil to the market.
In the beginning at Pennsylvenia it was 100 barrel of production for the cost of one barrel of oil. The oil sands of Canada are bout 8:1, while Venezuela's Orinico Basin [the largest oil resour per the US Geological Survey at 560+ billion barrels recoverable under present technology] is about 10-12:1.

The theoretical ratio limit is about 3 barrels of oil per barrel of energy expenditure, which expenditure includes, seismic, explnatory drilling, production cost and pipeline construction, operation and maintenance.



Was there any sovereignty over water provided as part of any of the supposed peace plans? If so, perhaps Palestine can do without a national army as the Israelis desire, but does that preclude Chevron, Shell, ENI, and BP providing military services as part of any exploration agreements. Frankly, I'd rather give my security over to them than the Israelis, at lease the oil cos. will pay for the privilege.

Babak Makkinejad


You have to wait for the first exploratory wells in multiple places before you can judge the size of recoverable oil or gas as well as their relative abundances and associated costs.

Jury will be out for at least a decade before definite conclusions could be drawn.

And for the gas, then you also need to condier gas pipelines etc.

The gas potentially could be another source for powering Europe, in addition to Russian, Algeria and others.

But my sense of this article is mostly hoopla rather than substance.

r whitman

Oil has not been subjected to real market forces since the 1930's. After the East Texas field brought oil down to 10 cents a barrel, the Interstate Oil Compact was formed with Texas as the swing producer. The Texas Railroad Commission with their daily oil allowables controlled the total output of the US until OPEC with Saudi Arabia as the swing producer took over during the 1970's. This is now starting to break up because of increased production in the US/Canada and the lowering of US demand. Look what happened to natural gas prices in the US during the last 36 months because of large increases in supply with just moderate increses in demand.


How much of this is off-shore of Gaza, i.e. Palestinian territory and how does that impact the continued blockade of their territory?


Storage of the refined product pays a big part and so does the financial manipulation thereof.


I agree with Mr. Salamon. Peak Oil posits that at some point the energy expended to recover a barrel of oil will exceed the energy contained in a barrel of oil. Think of the difference between the energy expended to recover a barrel of oil from Spindle Top and the energy expended to recover a barrel of oil from Shell's 9,627' deep Perdido platform in the GOM. http://fuelfix.com/blog/2011/11/18/shell-produces-oil-from-worlds-deepest-well/

r whitman

I remember my friend, Matthew Simmons, the great popularizer of the peak oil theory talk in absolute production terms and did not refer to that which was economically producible. Since he died, peak oil theory died except in some esoteric academic circles.

r whitman

Financial manipulation is normal in the oil "bidness". Do not expect honest people there.


As has been stated on this blog, good thing that US foreign policy is driven by ideology divorced from economics, or we'd be in it as well.



Another wise guy? I never said anything of the kind. What I have said is that we do not go to war for economic reasons. pl


Here's estimates from the USGS of the total reserves in both the Levant and the Nile Delta basins.


If these are accurate it suggests there's a significant quantity of natural gas under the eastern Mediterranean but that the area's oil reserves are not that large.


In re-reading this I find it even more troubling what the IMF is doing.

To quote that article: “Tulane University oil expert David Hynes told an audience in Athens recently that Greece could potentially solve its entire public debt crisis through development of its new-found gas and oil. ….The Greek government instead has just been forced to agree to huge government layoffs, wage cuts and pension cuts to get access to a second EU and IMF loan that will only drive the country deeper into an economic decline.”

It is nice to see the Secretary of State working to further ‘our’ interests in this.

different clue

More gas and oil to find means more gas and oil to be burned dumping more carbon into the common atmosphere all around us. So we'll go from global warming to global heating and then global steaming and scorching. And the oceans will be so acidified from all the new CO2 entering them and turning into carbonic acid that corals,oysters, clams, mussels, and other calcium carbonate shell-forming lifeforms will have rising difficulty forming shells or reefs.

I used to think I might live in East Tennessee when I got older. Now I think I will retreat from the rising heat
into uppermost UP Michigan or maybe Upper Minnesota.


Just FYI, the article's numbers are a bit suspect, although they are helpfully footnoted.

Looking at the source for its numbers, we find that "Recent scientific and economic conferences have presented figures of approximately 22 billion barrels in the Ionian Sea (off the coast of western Greece) and some 4 billion barrels in the northern Aegean Sea. Of the aforementioned, 10% could be exploited and have a financially viable business plan."

So, 2.6 billion barrels at 2010 prices.

Further, "Other Greek regions, such as the southern Aegean Sea and the Cretan Sea have yet to be studied. The now defunct Greek national council for energy policy, in an official report published on 25 May 2008, stated that 'production from the oil fields in the Northern Aegean could reach 200,000 barrels per day ... Greece is one of the least explored countries in Europe regarding its hydrocarbon potentials.'"

So, 200,000 bbl/day. A little bit less than Oklahoma's oil production. This is not a huge. This is less than 0.25% of the world's daily production.

Of course, as prices go higher, more may be economically recoverable. But it will never make sense to get it all out.

And that's the whole concept of Peak Oil, as others have mentioned above: Not that we will run out of oil, but that eventually oil will cost so much to recover that it makes no more economic sense to remove it from the ground.


I believe that Mr. Salamon has this argument right. My reading of sites like "The Oil Drum" over the years has me agreeing with two things. One, there is plenty of oil (gas, etc.). Two, the cost of extracting these resources is becoming increasingly costly. We've had more than a century of "picking the low hanging fruit." Peak oil is about the availability of cheap oil, not the end of oil availability. The need for and the availability of cheap energy will be a pressure driving political decisions going forward.

One the other hand, as one schooled in the sciences, the guys studying climate change have been putting up some serious statistical evidence (facts). There is a sh*t storm coming. Manageable with 3 or 4 billion inhabitants, but a disaster with 9.

I do not always agree with our host, but Col. Lang (and the rest of the community) often has me questioning my beliefs. That is always a good thing. Thank you Col. Lang.



IMO you underestimate the ability of th eindustry to lower coststhrough technology. pl


I have been reading "Energy for Future Presidents" by Richard Muller, and he makes the point that the US has enough coal and gas to make synfuels to satisfy our liquid fuel needs for the foreseeable future. The key is the breaking point for the production costs -- about $60/bbl -- that will justify investment in the production facilities. Given the increased demand from Asia and the rising costs of recovery, we may be looking at this.


Finds like this are expected, and don't disprove peak oil, anymore than a snowstorm disproves global warming.

A find like this is counteracted by oil well production declines elsewhere. Basically, oil production is constantly declining yearly, and so new production must come online to achieve a steady state or above steady state level of global oil production.

Peak oil is simply when there isn't enough new oil production to match declines and we achieve steady state oil production(no growth/peak) and then declining overall production.

I'll give you an example, Mexico. Mexico's oil production has been declining, which means that new production must be brought online elsewhere to keep global oil production at a steady state or a growth state:


But the amount of finds like the one in this post are reducing. We have found most of the oil, so we will have a harder time keeping up with production declines in the future. Here is the standard chart that explains this:


Peak oil doesn't say we wont keep finding oil, but that we wont keep finding and producing enough oil to allow for continued increase in global oil production in the face of declining output from legacy production.


"EROI" = Energy Return On Investment is roughly what N.M.Salomon was describing (way above), and it is more "real" than money. In terms of energy expended to get energy, the cost is going up.

OTOH, COl Lang is right about technology offsetting this - somewhat (there are physical limits on this).

I'm bummed, because I hoped we could burn through the remaining useful gas & oil without pumping too much more CO2 into the biosphere (atmos-and-hydro-sphere). I figured we had at least a shot at shutting down Coal - which has plenty of other bad side-effects & doesn't run our cars.

It turns out we've already pumped in plenty of CO2 to mess with the system, and now, we're going to pump even more. We're screwed - except for those of us who don't depend upon agriculture for our lunch.

Anybody who wants to explain to me that "AGW is a Communist Plot" had better make sure that their argument hasn't already been torn apart on


It's NOT sunspots, Cosmic Rays, Heat Islands, "natural" variance, or Al Gore's albedo. It's our petrofeuls.

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