Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Peak Gas

Martin's comment on Peak Oil has triggered me to note something about Peak Gas.

I'm starting to suspect that PEAK GAS may actually be a worse problem than Peak Oil, if only because generally speaking gas is needed to provide us with most of our electricity.

Loss of electricity due to blackouts and brownouts is going to be much more obvious signal to the population at large than gradual increases in petrol prices.

The other problem with Gas is that it seems, from Deffeyes and others work, which is easy to find around the web, that supply volumes tend to 'fall off a cliff' after peak.

This is different to Oil which declines gradually with production decaying along the mirror of the path which it has climbed up to reach peak.

This plummet in gas supply will create crises faster than oil production decline - and that's bad enough already.

People talk about "The Market" not receiving a price signal from oil in time to ramp up alternatives, and that's with a 3-6% per annum increase in the gap between oil supply and demand.

The gas gap looks as though it could easily grow at 10-20% per annum. I realise that is a wide range but there are so many different figures around.

I have a UK-centric view of these things and am quite jealous of how easy it is to find 'official' information about the situation in the USA. We have Official Secrecy instead of Freedom of Information, which is not very useful when trying to research.

The DOE information at
is embarrassingly short on detail or links to detail.

By comparison see
In particular, drill down to

Perhaps some helpful passerby can hint at where to find UK natural gas reserves figures - monthly alongside monthly top-up and draw-down would be ideal. I expect the information will be commercially sensitive and not available !

Cynical, moi ?

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Peak Oil

Is the world running out of cheap oil ?

Economists and Geologists seem to disagree.

I came across a DVD documentary called "The End of Suburbia" while surfing around on Google, it looked interesting so I ordered a copy, paid via PayPal - great, and expected it to arrive in the UK in a month or so - was being sent from the US.

I then forgot all about the subject and carried on with my business, family and hobbies, oblivious to the missile which had been aimed at my world-view and which was winging its way to be.

The DVD docm. arrived after about a week - fab, I had a free afternoon and popped it in the PC to watch.

... one DVD later ...

I was shell-shocked. It wasn't the environmental "cut back consumption to rein in pollution" which I'd been expecting.

It was far worse. We were heading for an endless series of recessions.

I started reading at http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/
Then other (more scary places) like http://www.dieoff.com/
Then I started buying the FT (London Financial Times) more regularly than normal for me (once a week). There were oil stories everywhere. But hardly a mention of how bad these guys thought things would be.

Why ?

Well, it _seems_ unlikely that major Oil and Motor companies, Power companies and Governments would know "the truth" about this and just pretend it wasn't happening.

I enjoy an episode of the X-files as much as anyone, but I find it difficult to believe in a conspiracy involving a wide range of people and organisations. People are just too prone to make mistakes, things leak out, lots of people would be buying up farms and building fences around them. Actually, come to think of it... :-)

So... it then seems likely that the Peak Oil people are wrong.

I bought online, download and read Kenneth Deffeyes book on Oil Production (it's on Amazon, search for "The Hubbert Peak", it's about 7 pounds inclusive if you download it and read PDF)

The FT the other day had a large article by Martin Wolf entitled "COMMENT: Oil is more vulnerable to politics than to geology.". The conclusion matched the title.
I emailed him (unfortunately an overlong question re. KD's book) to ask about Peak Oil. He replied quickly saying that the volume of oil produced was increasing year on year, therefore it was politics not geology which was limiting it.

I checked the EIA information... http://www.eia.doe.gov/
There's LOADS of it.
But it seemed to me after reading here that although the volume of oil produced is indeed increasing, there is a drop in the volume of high quality 'sweet' crude.

This would imply that oil is going to get more expensive as the proportion of sweet crude continues to decrease.

Am I right ?