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Don't Worry, There's Plenty of Oil

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http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-08-28/dont-worry-theres-plenty-oil
some of the script
"Our civilization runs on oil.
It’s the cheapest, most energy-dense and portable fuel we've ever found. Nature required tens of millions of years to make petroleum, and we've used up the best of it in less than two hundred.......
The oil industry is now staging another PR counter-offensive. They're telling us that applying "new" technologies like hydrofracking to low-porosity rocks makes lots of lower quality, unconventional oil available. They argue we just need to drill more to produce more. Problem solved!

But wait. What's actually new here? Most of this technology has been around since the 1980s. The unconventional resources have been known to geologists for decades. What's new is high oil prices.
It’s high oil prices that make unconventional oil worth producing in the first place. It takes lots of money and energy, not to mention water, to frack low-porosity rocks. And the environmental risks are staggering.
How does the economy handle high oil prices? Well, it turns out the economy hates high oil prices and responds by going into recession. Which makes energy prices volatile, rendering the industry subject to booms and busts

So, what’s the bottom line here?
Yes, there's still oil in the ground. We just can't afford it. In broad terms, the peak oil analysts were right. But the fossil fuel industry is winning the PR battle.
What really matters, though, is not who wins the debate, but how we prepare for the inevitable. We’ve got to wean ourselves off our high-energy lifestyle.
We'd be foolish to wait for events to settle the debate once and for all. Let's say goodbye to oil. It's saying goodbye to us."

feel free to comment , cheers Jim

Replies

  • Technology advances.

    Directional drilling, and other techniques that have not been commercialised till recently vastly reduce costs of extraction.
    Do they make it as cheap as a simple oil well into a virgin reservoir, of course not.

    Even at current inflated UK petrol prices, electric vehicles can't compete.
    (Yet)
    Claiming we can't afford it financially, when there are large reserves that can be extracted at little more than today's prices seems misguided.
  • Ben84Ben84 Forumite
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    rogerblack wrote: »
    Technology advances.

    Directional drilling, and other techniques that have not been commercialised till recently vastly reduce costs of extraction.
    Do they make it as cheap as a simple oil well into a virgin reservoir, of course not.

    Even at current inflated UK petrol prices, electric vehicles can't compete.
    (Yet)
    Claiming we can't afford it financially, when there are large reserves that can be extracted at little more than today's prices seems misguided.

    Electric vehicles with batteries have a lot of promising aspects, they're certainly efficient, cheap per mile (for fuel costs anyway) and emit no pollution at the point of use. However, they're limited in range and the batteries are expensive and will need replacing periodically during the vehicle's life. There's also the unfamiliarity aspect that puts people off I suspect.

    However, many people do take a lot of trips on electric vehicles every day - ones with connections by wire mostly. For example the London underground is powered by electric, they have their own oil fired power plant to run it as they use so much electricity. However, there's also the Heathrow pod system, which I really like as it does so many things so well. It's fast, quiet, clean and efficient and gives a better travel experience too. It also, most importantly shares infrastructure between many users. Our cities are growing and the cars that once helped them grow are now choking them in fumes, noise and simply taking up too much space. The Heathrow pods are different, they driven by a computer on their own space saving tracks and are called by users at various points who tell the computer their destination. Using various algorithms, the computer decides the most efficient route for the traffic and keeps things moving with efficient use of the available tracks. Also, when not in use they are not sitting around waiting for their owner in vast car parks, they're either stored compactly by the computer while charging, or they're taking someone else on their journey. This idea of having thousands of cars sitting in parking lots in a city while their owners are working or shopping is hideously space inefficient.

    What I really like however is the way costs can be shared between many users with this kind of system (most of all the expensive batteries) and journeys can be assured without running out of power half way or worrying about finding a charging point at the other end. I think it removes some notable hurdles to people accepting electric battery powered transport. This isn't the only example of how infrastructure for electric vehicles can be shared, but it's a good one. So, I think the major problems with swapping from oil are really in how we choose to share infrastructure to bring down costs, rather than innate problems with electric vehicles. Because petrol is so popular, it's easy to seemingly provide everything yourself and people are now in the mindset this is how personal vehicles should work. But I don't agree, as it only works for very established fuels, making it challenging to swap to alternatives. I think we'll eventually change how we see things however.
  • edited 8 September 2012 at 7:39PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 8 September 2012 at 7:39PM
    Ben84 wrote: »
    .... and emit no pollution at the point of use ....

    I think that that's really the crux of the issue ... maybe the manufacturers should be forced to be a little more transparent on the eco-claims on EVs .... 'no pollution at the point of use' is as meaningless as saying 'no polution at point of sale' or 'no pollution forward of the numberplate' - of course there's pollution, it's just that it's been geographically displaced ...

    Perhaps all of these city EVs would be seen as being slightly less green if the generating capacity required to run them was required to be visible within the city in which they operate ....

    Don't get me wrong, I support EV technology - but really do think that it is bordering on fraudulent for the manufacturers to claim their product to be anywhere near pollution free ....

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
  • Ben84Ben84 Forumite
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    zeupater wrote: »
    I think that that's really the crux of the issue ... maybe the manufacturers should be forced to be a little more transparent on the eco-claims on EVs .... 'no pollution at the point of use' is a meaningless as saying 'no polution at point of sale' or 'no pollution forward of the numberplate' - of course there's pollution, it's just that it's been geographically displaced ...

    Perhaps all of these city EVs would be seen as being slightly less green if the generating capacity required to run them was required to be visible within the city in which they operate ....

    Don't get me wrong, I support EV technology - but really do think that it is bordering on fraudulent for the manufacturers to claim their product to be anywhere near pollution free ....

    HTH
    Z

    Improving air quality in cities and towns is important, and they do this very well. However the global effect does depend a lot on the source of the electricity. Some benefits from electric are that it's possible to have a lot of pollution controls at power plants and also that if more efficient or less polluting power plants are built, every electric vehicle supplied by them will be made less polluting without actually being changed itself. There seems to be better options for reducing transport pollution over time with electric transport, regardless if it's battery or powered by wires.

    The problem of course is that we still make a lot of electricity from fossil fuels. You could of course see moving more and more transport energy demand on to the national grid as a positive or a negative. I feel quite positive about it as collecting national electricity and transport energy needs together potentially makes for a bigger economy of scale? Besides, a lot of electric vehicle charging is (or could be) performed during the night when the national grid demand is pretty low. Intelligent charging points may allow people to plug their car in, set the time they want a full charge for and then let a computer connected to the grid plan out how and when to charge each vehicle to spread the load efficiently.
  • edited 8 September 2012 at 8:16PM
    zeupaterzeupater Forumite
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    edited 8 September 2012 at 8:16PM
    Hi Ben

    I think what needs to be considered is whether you're looking at cleaning the air in cities or reducing the threat of AGW - it's pretty easy to get really mixed up in the logic if they aren't separated ....

    Consider a simple 'green scenario' ..... is it a more efficient use of resource to run a vehicle directly on bio-fuel, or burn the bio-fuel to generate electricity, distribute that electricity via the grid (passing through various transformers), convert it to DC, charge a battery, lose charge, draw the power from the battery and convert it into electromechanical propulsion ..... it's a pretty simple problem because it involves exactly the same fuel source and is an extremely valid issue because it really concentrates thinking purely on resource & pollution .... it's also a real & current problem being considered in some countries ....

    HTH
    Z
    "We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. " ...... Aristotle
    B)
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