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PEAK OIL! The end of aviation as we know it?

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PEAK OIL! The end of aviation as we know it?

Old 14th Mar 2006, 03:12
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PEAK OIL! The end of aviation as we know it?

Has anyone heard of the term "Peak Oil". If you have not I suggest a look at the following web sites as it could spell the end of the industry as we know it. As a private pilot looking towards a carreer in aviation this definately gives me second thoughts. Basically it would mean an end to aviation over the next 10 - 30 yrs! Providing of course that the predictions are accurate


While these sites offer a pessimistic view, this topic is and should be of great concern to all.
Its a topic gaining more and more attention across the board. From Senator Roscoe Bartlett's speech to congress on 14th March 2005 to the predicitons of multi billionaire Richard Rainwater. (he's a billionaire because of his ability to predict this sort of thing).
Simply Google "peak oil" and the results will speak for themselves.

Anyway, looking forward to anyone elses thoughts.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 07:15
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Thank you Reyne, certainly some food for thought there.
I am planning a solar house at the moment, and will now look at incorporating water storage, as well as enhanced security.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 07:38
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I wouldn't worry just yet, the oil peak is a fact but when it will happen is a cause of much controversy in the scientific community.
There is allot of research on the subject but most of it fail to take into account the effect of increasing prices and technological leaps. As oil becomes more expensive more oil fields become viable, and high oil prices encourage efficiency.
Also with advances in extraction technology more oil field and different types of oil become more viable. Oil shales for example, current estimates state that oil shales should be able to provide 100-200 years worth of oil, but the oil price has to be quite high to make it viable.
Also there is an argument that the earth is continuing to make oil, its a natural process after all. And some research has shown this, oil fields thought to be drained years ago refilling with oil etc..
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 08:26
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Where can I buy some guns?
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 08:28
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Nostradamus predicted that LA would be destroyed by an earthquake some 15 years ago.... The city is still there.

I would not believe in those things if I were you. These are short sighted opinions, that does not leave space for a technological leap, or a change of paradigm. Oil has been THE source of energy, but that does not mean that another source, like alcohol can not take its place.

So, don´t let it disturb your choice of carreer. Since Malthus mankind has been fighting against catastrophe.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 09:30
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When not if

The thing to look for in all this is a trigger point for when it will start

Iran stops its exports? (The second largest world producer of crude)
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 09:42
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Originally Posted by RVR800
The thing to look for in all this is a trigger point for when it will start
Iran stops its exports? (The second largest world producer of crude)
Not about to happen, they need the money.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 09:58
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A jet engine can run on coal dust if it really needs to. It still needs kerosene to get it started unfortunately though .

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Old 14th Mar 2006, 10:11
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This little gem rears it's head at least once a year, and funny enough around the same time. Could it be somebodys birthday a time to sell something. So far I can't quite work out what.

But why does this doom and gloom keep popping up?

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Old 14th Mar 2006, 10:15
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The thing to look for in all this is a trigger point for when it will start

Iran stops its exports? (The second largest world producer of crude)
And that'll be the cue for Mr Bushy to engage forward on the tanks (again).
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 12:41
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Here is an excerpt from a real tree hugging, lefty radical group that goes by the name "US Army"

"The days of inexpensive, convenient, abundant energy sources are quickly drawing
to a close. Domestic natural gas production peaked in 1973. The proved domestic
reserve lifetime for natural gas at current consumption rates is about 8.4 yrs. The
proved world reserve lifetime for natural gas is about 40 years, but will follow a traditional
rise to a peak at about 2035 and then a rapid decline. Domestic oil production
peaked in 1970 and continues to decline. Proved domestic reserve lifetime for
oil is about 3.4 yrs. World oil production is at or near its peak and current world
demand exceeds the supply. Saudi Arabia is considered the bell-whether nation for
oil production and has not increased production since April 2003. After peak production,
supply no longer meets demand, prices and competition increase. World
proved reserve lifetime for oil is about 41 years, most of this at a declining availability.
Our current throw-away nuclear cycle uses up the world reserve of low-cost
uranium in about 20 years. We will see significant depletion of Earth’s finite fossil
resources in this century.

Here is a PDF of the full report.


I always enjoyed poking fun conspiracy and fear theorists regarding subjects like the world domination by the Soviet Union, the "End Times" religous nuts, asteroids, ect, but I'm wondering if this one actually has some meat to it.

I like "happy thoughts". Reading about gas/oil production declines nearly everywhere while trusting a schizophrenic group of Saudis that say they have enough, doesn't really give me the "warm and fuzzies"

Last edited by WhatsaLizad?; 14th Mar 2006 at 12:53.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 12:55
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Originally Posted by qfcainer
it has been mentioned (see wiki) that shale oil would need to sell for $40 per barrel to extract economically for an oil company
Er - it's over $50 now!!
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 13:04
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Originally Posted by Gingerbread Man
A jet engine can run on coal dust if it really needs to. It still needs kerosene to get it started unfortunately though .
We ran vehicles on open-cast coal sites. The coal-dust that they ingested protected the engines from wear, and after exceptional mileages the wear was insignificant (much to our surprise). Must say it was just the fines that got through the usual air filters.
Imagining shovelling nutty-slack into the intakes of RB211s . . .
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 13:32
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Unfortunately you are also forgetting the rapidly advancing 3rd world, in the form of China, India and Brazil who's oil consumption will dwarf ours.

Hence, all the gains to be made by technology and market forces increasing the availability of low margin sources will be for nothing.

It matters not where we are in the bell curve when the most populous nations on earth are increasing their consumption exponentially. The bell curve when this is taken in to account no longer resembles a bell curve. Coupled with their increased emissions it is well worth considering we are well and trully beyond the point of a "soft landing" with oil.

Transport needs attention, namely the car and the aircraft as they are wasteful consumers. If we attend to that then hopefully there will be enough left for our margarine containers, stereo cases, bicycle chains, light switches.....
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 14:36
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Well lets see, the Rhub al Khali contains more than the total pumped from the alHassa basin in Saudi to date, Mauritania just discovered 6 billion barrels, more discovered in Russia, not to mention the tar/oil sands in Canada...well, the list goes on and on...

Seems to me the 'gurus' were predicting the end to aviation as we know it now, about twenty years ago.
Just like the 'experts' in 1957 proclaiming it, International Geophysical Year, and the coming ICE AGE.
Yet we get apparently warmer.

A beter bet would be to go to the casino and place it all on red or black...
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 15:06
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A good Book I read last year was called Hubbert's Peak. He was the guy that came up with this idea. His prediction was that Peak Oil would crest around 2000 -2005. Are we on a downward trend now? I don't think so.

If it comes down to oil shortages and doom and gloom, I can bet you a years pay that drilling in places Like Alaska will commence. Also, there are huge supplies of oil and gas deep within the Atlantic Ocean that are currently not cost effective to drill for.

And while all of this is going on, Oil copmanies are pouring millions of dollars into R&D of bio fuels. I am sure we have all heard of Ethonal. I believe it comes from corn. It's clean, efficient, and can be grown. The technology is not around yet to put it into full swing but I think over the next 25 years, we will be using bio fuels grown in fileds to fuel our way from A to B without the mess of Oil Fileds, and without the need to worry about places like Iran, Iraq and Venezuela.

In my opinion, they these countries act like a bunch of spoiled children with a bully of a big brother, the US. But that's just my opinion.

Peak Oil?.....Sure, but I won't live to see it.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 15:21
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Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that aviation only consumes about 3% of the total amount of oil used. I guess that just shows what a huge amount we are consuming overall, when you think about how much fuel a Jumbo burns on a typical trip.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 15:39
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Iran the second largest producer of oil?

errrrrr, no.
Saudi and Russia are the top two.

And not because I'm a cynic, but it is the oil companies that sponsor a lot of research saying that oil will run out and become mega expensive. And by the way, what does mega expensive oil mean for the oil company profits? Cast your minds back 15 years or so before the first gulf war (and then again not so soon after its conclusion) when oil was trading nearer 10 dollars a barrel......has the world suddenly realised we are going to run out? I don't think so. Has a lot of the cheap oil now been extracted? Not for another 40 years or so if you believe BP's figures (but they have been saying the oil reserves would only last 40 years now for each of the last 15 years).
So if BP said oil would only last 40 more years 15 years ago, and oil traded at near $10 bucks a barrel, how come it suddenly shot up to $60 bucks a barrel.

Manipulation........like the gas prices. What does it costs Saudi per barel to pump their oil out of the ground? Abotu $3 bucks a barrel. Yup, THREE bucks a barrel. You, I, and all the drivers around are being merrily ripped off. (And not just by OPEC, but also by the EU governments soaking us for the same amount again in tax on the price of a litre of petrol so they can splurge it on non jobs and wasteful projects...)

Aaaah. I feel better for that. Nearly as good as drinking a pint of cold guiness.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 15:59
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Mauritania just discovered 6 billion barrels
That is 2½ months worth at current consumption rates.
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Old 14th Mar 2006, 17:04
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As someone previously stated this topic comes up about every 4 to 6 months. The same initial fears of doom and gloom starts and then it's pointed out, many times by me, that there are still large areas of the world that are under developed and/or not being developed at all.

There is a huge oil and gas field in Alaska that the environmentalist have managed to block any type exploration let alone production. There are very large areas of oil and gas off the coast of California that are by law forbidden from any type of production.

Now, the reserves of oil and gas have not been totally explored in China. My former company found a huge field of natural gas in China. This area is only now being placed into production.

As an old oilman stated a few years ago, "All the cheap and easy oil has been found, now we have to go for the harder to get stuff and it is going to cost more, but there is still plenty out there waiting to be drilled."
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