Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Oil Drum Kranked on Meth: 2012 Will See 65 mbpd

I realize I've been fixated on the Oil Drum lately, but these peak oil tycoons have really been OD'-ing on the peak oil Kool Aid lately.

Today, we have this gem from the boyz. It's a declaration that oil production will free fall after this year, seeing a rapid decline from 73-74 mbpd of crude production (stated on the graph), sliding down to about 65 mbpd by 2012 - after which... production will (somehow) glide down rather than fall. Below is a graph, and you can find this load of crap here.

Mind you, these lads - like Mathew Simmons and others in the peak oil community - have been screaming wolf for decades, screeching as loud as their tourette syndrome loaded lungs will allow, as often as their schizophrenic "peak demons" taps them on the shoulders.

Let's consider:

  • They proclaimed the Ghawar Oil Field has been in decline at a rate of 8% since 2005 (Ghawar increased production last summer, sending it to heights not seen since its record setting year of '81).

  • They've proclaimed Saudi Arabia itself is in decline (again, the oil kingdom increased production last summer, sending the slack jaws of the Drum boyz to the floor).

  • Three years back, they forecasted a Norht America gas decline this decade. They completely shot down shale gas' potential, and got knocked back on their asses last year when they witnessed, at one point, America's near 9% increase in production - the largest since the late 1950s.

  • They failed to forecast oil's Wiley E. Coyote free fall last summer.

  • And so on...

The point is these bong boyz have been making failed proclamation after failed proclamation. They cherry pick their interpretations in the face of their detailed graphs and extensive research. Have they mentioned anything about last year's oil glut (I've got stuff coming about this later this week)? How much do they report on the oil glut we have now; the decline in demand occurring presentling, and has been occurring with OECD nations since 2005 (see page 5)? If they're going to make this ludicrous prediction, then let's hold them accountable. Let's ask them why production isn't nose diving in several years. Let's ask them what's wrong with their analysis, and why oil isn't up to $300 a barrel.

This is why mainstream society doesn't take these ostracized cranks seriously: because they're a load of Chicken Littles who've cried wolf far too many times over too many decades.

- Brewskie


  1. mfisher1@kumc.eduMay 19, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Comment on the DOD JOE report, Thunderhorse underproduction, DOE report, Reality of Geological constraints etc. Also, you might want to read the pdf report published in Energy and Fuels (An American Chemical Society Publication). I will provide you with the link
    The worrying aspect about this model is that they fit the data through 2006. They then just fit the points from 2006 to 2009. For grins, why dont you plot the total mexican oil production. The data is available from the EIA. The 2010 data indicates that the current production is ~ 2.5 million BPD. It falls right on the predicted model line.

    Granted that their data is based on conventional crude and not the oil shale/tar sand/synfuel grade material. Unfortunately, that harder to get oil production depends on current price. In order to make money they need oil prices to exceed production costs. In addition, the EROEI is only ~ 3.9/1 and since this is not light sweet crude, the amount required to synthesize gasoline is high.

    By the way, the price decline is predicted in the Hirsch Report. Oil will go through wild swings in price and may not follow free Market principles. It is also curious to note that the Saudi surplus supply declined and stayed relatively low leading up to the price decline. History may indicate that the Oil price spike may have precipitated exposure of bad debt and the rapid decline in the Markets. When the tide goes out, you finally know who is swimming naked.

    If you could, would you identify the sources of missing oil? Also, you should avoid terms like Load of Crap and point out the flaws in the Oil drum report.

    Dont get me wrong. I do not want to get to the point where we collapse with respect to energy and the economy. I have children and I need to continue in my profession (which is funded by the NIH and NSF). If the global energy production becomes problematic, I will most certainly lose my position because basic science research is a luxury. I cannot depend on Industry to pick up the tab because they don't fund basic science/seminal/discovery-based science.

    In reading your blog, I notice the rant tone is pervasive. What was your analysis of the "Twilight in the Desert" data? You might as well rant against the Oil Monthly report compiled by the Energy Information Agency.
    Civil conversations are better than rants. This is a scientific problem. It helps your argument if you post both support and opposing scientific data references while avoiding the rant. You will gain considerable credibility if you adhere to the scientific method. As for the construction of your blog, you certainly will not be taken seriously by anyone with any knowledge of the science in Geology, energy production or any quantitative science for that matter.

  2. I only have two questions: First, if there is an abundance of oil, why is the price of gas so high?

    And could you please tell me where a new refinery is being built? (Abundance of oil -> cheaper price? -> more demand -> more refining capacity needed to meet demand) Forgive me for my ignorance, however, I am a simple man and prefer evidence...