adipocere: If the EESU (from EESTOR) isn't vaporware, a properly-equipped car might travel about 500 miles on a single charge. The electricity would run the equivalent of about 45 cents per "gallon."
grizzled: I also thought it was very odd that the linked article claims that the Canadian tar sands may never be economically attractive - even while predicting rising oil prices. The tar sands are already a multi-billion dollar industry in Alberta, and tar sands can only get more economically attractive as other oil reserves are depleted...
Peak Oil does not mean that we are going to run out of oil soon. Peak Oil is not about the size of the reserves, Peak Oil is about oil flows. What we are running out is the capacity to reemplace the oil flows that we lost each year due to depletion of older oil wells. 20% of the oil we consume today comes from fields more than 40 years old. Also the size of oil fields is diminishing, the giant old fields are getting older and we need to develop a greater number of oil wells to compensate. New technology can ameliorate a little bit this tendence, but can not reverse it. The North Sea and Texas are proof that new technology and investment can not create new reserves, they just get the oil faster from the ground.
This ageing of the global oil fields makes harder and harder not just to grow the production flow, but to stand still: every year, two thirds of new oil supply goes to compensate for the depletion of old fields. Also, the size of oil discoveries started a downward trend in the sixties. Recent discoveries such in deepwater areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil are indeed big, but they are not going to change the picture drastically. In fact, discoveries are falling short of what was expected. The US Geological Survey expected 939 billion barrles of oil discoveries between 1996 and 2030, but by the beginning of 2006, just 131 billion oil barrels were discovered. Furthermore, most of the most promising prospects for the oil industry are located in difficult locations, be it for being technically challenging, be it for political inestability or lack of access.
What is often called “surface issues” (lack of access because of various factors such geopolitics or legal issues) is playing a part, but again, the fundamentals of this situation are geologic. If we could keep developing 1 mbd onshore oil fields, we will not talk about drilling ultra deep wells or developing unconventional hydrocarbons. The domestic situation at the main producing and exporting countries is also important: oil prices for the domestic markets are often regulated and even imports of distillated products are subsidized. In turn, huge revenues from the sell of oil induce new economic activity, which increases domestic consumption, thus reducing oil export capacity.
Oil sands, oil shales and heavy oils such those in the Orinoco Belt amount to huge volumes. But again, flows is what it is all about. Scaling unconventional oil production to compensate for the decline of conventional crude oil is going to be impossible. Oil sands and oil shale resources, although enourmous in volume, will hit all kind of limits: water, natural gas for the upgrade and steam generation, environmental regulations, etc.
OMG THE OIL PRICE MUST BE SKYROCKET OH UP 14 CENTS nevermind
Oil is running out. CO2 levels are rising. We're not doomed.
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