Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How much oil do we have left?

We don't yet know when we will reach Peak Oil, that is, the world peak in the rate of the production of oil. It could have already happened or it could be in the next 5 years. This does not mean oil is going to immediately run out, just that we will have to, forever more, manage with less of it than we 'need'. This will make it quite expensive, as we are seeing now.

One thing that concerns me is that the estimates of oil still in the ground have been grossly inflated from the time in the 1980s when OPEC changed the rules and allowed countries to produce a rate of oil based partly on their reserves. Overnight the estimates of reserves doubled or trebled. There is an excellent table showing declared oil reserves from 1980-2007 on wikipedia. When I say excellent, I should really say worrying, these bogus figures for reserves could mean that oil runs out much faster than we expect.

When talking about oil running out we always seem to believe that we will find ways to extract the previously uneconomic oil from difficult to reach places and thereby continue our production rate. Here is a graph of US peak oil...

You will see that peak production was reached in 1972 and after that there has been a steady decline in production. Now, when it comes to squeezing more oil out of unproductive oil fields, where do you think the most money is spent on technology to do that? Texas. Do you see any levelling off of the graph to show the impact of these new technologies on the oil production rate of the US from 1972 to today? Not so much. If they have pumped millions of dollars into doing this in the US and have failed why do we think we can do this on a world scale? I put it to you that the Peak Production graph for planet earth is going to look pretty similar to this one, though, with over inflated estimations of oil reserves it will probably drop somewhat more steeply.

My advice - buy a bike.


At 3:07 pm, Anonymous Davy Stephenson said...

When are we all going to wake up and smell the cofee.
We need to be preserving the oil which we have left in order to not only protect ourselves from mechanical death, by this I mean, how long do you think that our modern engines and heavy industry are going to run without these modern lubricants, about 24 hours at best I'd say.

Also if those bogus oil reserves are much lower than the so called experts who are more than likely in the pocket of such companies to withold the correct figure in the intrest of profit, we are all in deep trouble, because we will not then have the time in which to use what energy that is left in order of designing and building enough technology to make something else.

The picture is like this, millions of people are going to suffer and die in the intrest of money and profit, if we care about our offspring anf theirs after we need to be honest.

All the money in all of the banks of this world will not save it, PERIOD.

At 3:37 pm, Anonymous davy stephenson said...

Saving oil, saving ourselves

Let me begin by saying,

Making someone work for nothing and giving someone something for nothing is destined to failure, we will simply go around in circles while our oil reserves dissapear, we will continue to fight each other for the resorces, which I might add belongs to us all not the few.

The world pollution because of oil is like that of a bucket of steam transported from China, yet who is encouraging them to pollute in the first place,and for what ?
Everything that is eaten need not be moved so far, have you ever heard the saying, that all of our Civilisations are but two or three meals away, are we going to waste what oil is left in order to eat.

If we put all the water mills in england back into use, we could close down the huge power stations and the carbon value would be thereafter ZERO.

The money spent on road repairs and the buliding of new ones could build us many new railways at a fraction of the cost, we could build railways on existing motorways and or roads like they have done the other way around, lets build the shops nearer to the railways instead of wasting oil transporting food by road all the way.

France has done this to a certain extent, and don't get me going about rail costs, it costs less for a person to travel from Paris to the north of England than it does for someone to travel to london from Yorkshire, and take only five hours, three and a half in this country to ge there.

There are many ways we can save our planet, the best way by far is to have a world family planning scheme just like china has done, if we do not take responsibility for ourselves and the place where live we will not have any where to do even that.

Of course oil is important to how we live today, but we need to start thinking long term like the Germans always do, and then we might have a slim chance of getting things right,

At 4:00 pm, Anonymous davy Stephenson said...

Here's another but not to many so as I bore you al to death.

CHINA is estimated to having 300 million new cars etc in the next ten years, and the population of the world is estimated to double in the next fifty year, but don't quote me on that number,
where on earth are we going to be able to feed and look after that many, even with all the nasty diseases around it is not going to change anything to stem that increase anywhere enough to make everthing to go around,

The very name of the blog, bubble is a clue to what is going to happen here on earth not in the desert, come on folks WAKE UP.

At 8:56 pm, Blogger litsl said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:57 pm, Blogger litsl said...


I broadly agree with what you are saying. However I'd like to see the figures you have on the potential of power from water mills. You might like to take a look at David MacKay's book, which takes a dispassionate look at theoretical maximum energy we can get from various sources available in the UK - Without the Hot Air.

Thanks for the comments!


At 12:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The information on the potential of our water power/mills lies in ones own observations and knowledge of these mills.

Near here we have a mill called Gayle mill which has had its turbines since the beginning of the twentieth century, she has thre turbines which can supply all their power needs.

In and around the Beamish museum in county Durham there used to be 15 mills on only a mile and a half of their small river which runs through their land.

The larger power stations run 24-7 which is a huge waste to the amount of raw materials needed to keep things ticking over.

Water power is the way forward, our planet is covered by most of the stuff, the rivers always run most of the time, some dry up but that's nature for you.

What is sure is,the oil is going to run out and faster than we think, in 4 to 5 years from now things are going to start showing their face, we are all living in denial right now and so treasure our motor vehicles to the extent that we cannot do anything without them, the veru policies we hold sacred will eventually use all of what we have left.

The warning signs are already there take for instance, world resorces are already dwindling, IE when they built the Petronas Towers, there was not enough metal to build her with steel and they ended up doing it with concrete,

The last gulf war paid waste to around ten years worth of oil, and we are now killing each other and wasting another huge percentage of it, getting at the rest of it.

What I said before about all the money in the world will not save it is true, if we stay on our present path, all we will have left is money and we cannot eat that.

Did you know that in Poland today there are still over 500 thousand horses in daily use, there farms are mostly around 10 to 15 acres in size, yet the can still produce more milk per day than all the huge units here in the UK, check out the Land Magazine.


At 1:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello again

What I forgot to mention earlier was, if we had many small power generators instead of a few large ones, there wouls be no noticable drop off if a few went down for repairs, take out a large unit and we would really suffer, our hospitals would be the first to be effected, ask the Iraqu,s this during desert storm.

Also ask how many people children and adults are dieing every day still because of the ocupation and you will be disgusted, they still have huge power problems daily, id that what we call life, its sure not life as we know it Jim.

I have a couple of aquaintances who are serving in the British forces who were in Afganistan the first time, no sooner had the army secured a base there, the oil boys were not far behind, the same goes for Basara in Iraq, the first place they secured was the port there which is very close to the oil fields, does this paint a picture for you ??.

The news crews show the troubles throughout Iraq but never the area around the oil fields I wonder why
is it to take the peoples minds off of what is really going on somewhere else.

There have been many more people lost in Iraq since the ending of the war than in the whole history of Sadam's rein, they are all human beings, but its ok for us to make things worse for them in the name of oil, Iraq is being put under sanctions by us but the oil is being stolen every day by us.

Before the advent of the Afganistan war there were 5 major pipelines running from and through the black see area, all of which were going straight to RUSSIA, we had none, get the picture here.

Some of the biggest oil reserves are in the Uzbek and surrounding areas, hensce the ned for such a large armed force in the area, the taliban are a meare drop in the ocean in problems for us, we are sacrificing our armed forces for the sake of oil,

The infastructure before the Afgan war was incapable of getting the oil out, this mean't that we were loosing out to the Russian companies, I'm sure you get the picture here.

I'm sure all this information will fall on deaf ears, but I'm not the only one who knows all of this, I recon we should sort out the real persicution in Mogabies world, but it will never happen if our oil based economy has any direction upon things.

Time for bed.


At 2:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing that we have not adressed yet is, the worlds ever increasing and out of control world population, which is being fuellllled by the brent stuff.

What we really need is a world family planning program if we are to address the ever increasing poverty throughout the globe.

The world is like a mother to all of us, the more children that are born to those who are not able to care for and feed them the more are going to suffer, take away the oil and the picture is not a good one, in the underdeveloped parts of the world the warning signs are already showing their face, in certain African countries they have been killing each other because there is not enough land to go around with which to feed everyone, when there is no food left, where do you think people are going to get their next meal,
remember the saying earlier, that civilisation is but two or three meals away,

We already know that giving someone something for nothing and making someone else work for nothing does not work, this is how the world works at the moment, this policy will eventually fail and everyone along with it.

One thing that muses me is all of our poloticians always make promises that they cannot keep, especially if they are the ones who are going to have to pay for it, they will make up any law they so chose if they are going to benefit from it,


At the time of the motorcycle safety helmet legislation which was brought about by transport minister MP Peter Bottomley
not a motorcyclist himself but one of the major share holders of Premier helmet, who benefitted from the then white paper, this is why all poloticians should have no outside intrests other than doing their job working for us, evidentally it did save lives, but I'm sure you know where I'm coming from LOL.

As it is right now they all think that we owe them a living on top of their living, double standards is the word of the day, housing for the poloticians is a good heading to start with, got any more yourselves ??

Check out the TV program

What if the light went out,

this is exactly how it would be.

Another exampleof povert versus wealth can be seen in a picture from the Land Magazine, where an oil pipeline can be seen runing right through a vilage in India
the locals tapinto the pipe for fuel, this is just like the worlds artery, once there are too many sucking from it, the energy that is supposed to feed the engine the sooner it will dry up, get my drift.

At 12:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know those who read this column might think I am trying to make this forum my own, but there is so much that the general public doesn't know, which is one of my pet hates, so I won't try to bore you statistics.

The warning signs are there to be seen, never before has there been so much unrest and the name of this original thread ( Bubble) is what is coming and has already started to show its face.

There have been bad recessions in the past and we will all live through many more, this is how the world is and will always be, not because of the slowly declining oil rserves which will eventually run out, then things will dramatically change,
Millions of people are going to suffer like never before, as long as you make someone work for nothing, and give others something for nothing we will be worse off,

These two statements can be linked to every walk of life, have a real good think about what has been said and you will see what I am trying to say, live in denial and you won't know what hits you in the coming years.

We are living in times where if one does what the lord says and love thy neigbour, that neighbour will steal from you the more you love them, they are called your government/s, who work for themselves not the people, check out Nick Cohen for more answers to what is coming.



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