Forget "Peak Oil", we're nearing "Peak Humans"

Your children will curse you.

intercst

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Hi intercst,

Oil consumption correlates with total human population. Here’s an interesting graph showing the tight relationship between oil, grain and population.

The energy from oil helps to transport food to people. The nitrogen in oil helps fertilize crops. All that energy also keeps people warm and allows for a massive infrastructure for health care.

Peak humans correlates with peak resources. We won’t be capable of supporting that many humans until a replacement energy source is found, not to mention the minerals and elements required for sustaining life.

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Is there a “nonsubscriber” link?
TIA
:gift:
ralph

I actually removed the first link since he says the information may be subject to copyright. It’s a graph that shows oil consumption vs. population to be a highly correlated linear relationship.

I had only intended for the readers to see the graph. If you search for “graph of oil consumption vs. human population” there are several options.

“Peak Oil” refers to petroleum reserves, not consumption. The concept is derived from geophysicist Marion King Hubbert’s “peak theory,” which states that oil production follows a bell-shaped curve. The only problem with the theory is that as oil gets more expensive, they throw more money at the production problem and producing petroleum reserves actually increase as the industry invents more expensive ways to produce more oil in hard to access areas. They never reach “Peak Oil”.

The shale oil boom of the 1990’s is an example where someone figured out that you could cheaply produce oil from shale formations by combining directional drilling with fracking.

intercst

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I disagree. Peak oil refers to production values, and oil production will reach a maximum soon if it hasn’t already, assuming we only count the important C+C (crude plus condensate) products.

The Hubbert bell curve may not be a perfect representation of reality. As governments and companies have poured huge amounts of money (and taken on debt) to maintain or grow production, this may have the effect of skewing the curve forward, which will result in a steeper than expected decline after peak oil is reached. The production of high quality petroleum products has essentially been on a plateau for 10-15 years.

I stand by my original post. The fact that peak humans appears to be happening indicates that we are also close to peak oil production.

The link mentions that “And we’ve already hit the Peak Oil plateau”. However, his graph ends in 2009 and world oil production is now 13% higher than it was then (think fracking).

DB2

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Correct. When I was working for Exxon in the 1980s, “economic reserves” were something like 30% of “total petroleum reserves”. Lots of additional production becomes economic and profitable if someone is willing to pay $200/barrel for crude. Hubbert’s “Peak Oil” theory missed the fact that technological innovation increases the size of “economic petroleum reserves”.

intercst

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Yes. Think of the fracking revolution. And around $200/bbl coal to liquids (CTL) becomes economical which adds a century or two to reserves.

DB2

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When I was at Exxon in the early 1980’s the big thing was the Colony Oil Shale project in Parachute, Colorado. The company even built a subdivision of suburban homes out in the middle of nowhere to house the thousands of workers required. Exxon forecast trillions in revenue from it with a $500 Billion investment. Unfortunately, no matter how high the price of crude got, Colony’s production costs were always $10/barrel more. The company shut it down in 1982, writing off billions in R&D and investment.

intercst

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None of that stuff matters if crude oil production fails to increase above current levels. If the Colony Oil Shale project was worthwhile to pursue in 1982, why isn’t it being pursued in 2023 with the improvements in fracking technology?

According to the amateur sleuths at Peak Oil Barrel, crude plus condensate production peaked in November 2018 and is expected to possibly exceed that amount for a couple/few years in this decade. After that, terminal decline is expected. It doesn’t matter what’s in the ground. All that matters is production. If the cost of producing a barrel today was $200 a day, consumption would drop significantly, and production would fall in unison.

Enough. You know what I think. Thanks.

Are you making the assumption that oil production can’t rise from present levels?

Oil shale and shale oil are two different things.

Hydraulic fracturing (also called fracking) technology has enabled oil and gas producers to tap reserves in shale formations across North America. The oil coming out of these shale formations is referred to as shale oil.

However, shale oil should not be confused with oil shale, which is a rock that contains a compound called kerogen and is used to make oil

DB2

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