Peak Petroleum Follies

Written by Dr Sierra Rayne

Two primary arguments are put forward as ways of justifying various economicschemes for reducing oil and gas use (e.g., carbon pricing by way of taxes, subsidies for green energy, emissionstrading schemes):

(1) Anthropogenic catastrophic climate change will occur if humans do not reduce their use of fossil fuels and the associated greenhouse gas emissions that result from such activities.

(2) Peak global production of oil and gas has either occurred (or will imminently occur), and/or global peak reserves-to-production ratios for each carbon source have occurred (or will imminently occur).  Thus, humans must retool theireconomic systems in order to adjust to a near-term resource limitation induced post-carbon economy.

Issue (1) has already been dealt with on many well-known climate science skeptic sites.

Issue (2) is simply not supported by the data.

According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy dataset, the global proved reserves of oil have increased steadily since the dataset began in 1980.  Similarly, global oil production has increased steadily since the dataset begins in 1965, with an approximately linear increase since the early 1980s.

oil reserves and production

Dividing the global proved reserves for any given year by the global production rate for that year yields the R/P (reserves-to-production) ratio, which — as defined by BP — indicates where “[i]f the reserves remaining at the end of any year are divided by the production in that year, the result is the length of time that those remaining reserves would last if production were to continue at that rate.”  One has, for several decades now, heard jokes along the lines of “the end of oil is always 20 years away.”  Well, actually, the time period until the end of oil (using the global R/P ratio as the proxy) has been increasing steadily since 1980.

reserves to production ratio

In other words, the discovery of new proven oil reserves has greatly outpaced global production increases over this period.

The trends are essentially equivalent for natural gas.  Global proved gas reserves have increased steadily since commencement of the BP dataset in 1980, following an approximate linear trend.  Global gas production has increased consistently since 1970 at a pseudo-exponential rate of increase.

gas reserves and production

Since 1980, the R/P ratio for gas has been approximately constant, meaning that new discoveries of proved gas reserves are offsetting corresponding increases in production.

gas reserves to production

Consequently, there appears to be no significant support for the idea that we require economic schemes to reduce oil and gas use based on their expected near-term global restriction/depletion.

Read more at americanthinker.com

Dr. Sierra Rayne writes regularly on environment, energy, and national security topics. He can be found on Twitter at @rayne_sierra.

 

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Comments (5)

  • Avatar

    FauxScienceSlayer

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    Hydrocarbons exist throughout the solar system and Universe, see “Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable” at PSI and the Geonuclear tab at FauxScienceSlayer.

  • Avatar

    Pat Obar

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    What total BS from the Al Gore internet! We had “newsnet” where anyone could dessagree independent of “credentials” to show a proper certification of individual ability for disagreement! only thoughts, no peer review.

    Now we have Huffpo internet where you must have an agreeable FACEBOOK account before you can express anything. This new internet shows both the posibility of expression of all, and the restriction of all expression by those that control.
    Let us go back to the effort of engineers to communicate and disagree. Then no one was trying to sell anything. Just hello, hello,
    over, and patiently waiting for a response, even from someone you hate! Time to think about what is, rather than what you wish!

  • Avatar

    Pat Obar

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    [quote name=”Reidar Moberg”]You’re missing the point…

    Hubbert predicted the peak to be reached in the 70´s. In 76 he said it would come in the 80´s.
    Well, his peak is still nowhere to be seen. Same as always, doomsday postponed. Again and again and again…

    Besides, there seem to be better theories around than the fossil fuel theory.[/quote]

    Moving to complete nuclear energy for power quickly, despite the hazzards, is the only way.
    Renewables are not renewable. Each affects this planet adversly.
    Hydrocarbons need be reserved and recycled for the excelent lubricating qualities, never to be rapidly oxidized into CO2 and H2O and a wee bit of heat energy! How much energy does it take to create some good lubricant from what? We have been given all that is. Why not think carefully and critically about what is?

  • Avatar

    Reidar Moberg

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    You’re missing the point…

    Hubbert predicted the peak to be reached in the 70´s. In 76 he said it would come in the 80´s.
    Well, his peak is still nowhere to be seen. Same as always, doomsday postponed. Again and again and again…

    Besides, there seem to be better theories around than the fossil fuel theory.

  • Avatar

    Elaine Supkis

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    I know you won’t believe me but…

    ‘Peak Oil’ is very real. Think for one second: even if the world was one big fat ball of pure oil and gas there is STILL the Hubbert Peak!

    The easy, cleaner fossil fuels have been steadily used up and now the dirtier, more expensive stuff is being sought out and removed and once that is done, there will be very little left.

    When this day arrives is in dispute, The fact that it WILL COME is without a doubt.

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