Doing the math on Gulf oil

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gushar
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Doing the math on Gulf oil

I sent the following email to a local talk radio station host this morning. He had as a guest on his show some Senator who believes the answer to our "oil/energy" problems are in "more oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico."

My email response to this follows. Your comments agreeing or disagreeing are appreciated!

***************
Announcement made in 2006 by Chevron….

“Investors cheered last week's news that Chevron and its partners had discovered potentially the largest U.S. oil find in a generation, a deposit of as much as 15 billion barrels deep beneath the Gulf of Mexico. “

Our oil consumption today…

“The nation consumes nearly 21 million barrels of oil every day -- a quarter of global supply. “

Regarding the most significant news about oil drilling in the Gulf…deep water drilling….

“According to Cambridge Energy Research, the newly discovered oil fields could eventually produce up to 800,000 barrels per day -- a small fraction of the country's daily fix of 21 million barrels.”

Ok. Let’s get “crazy” and just double that output from the Gulf….say 1,600,000 barrels a day. That 800,000 barrels figure could be a bit skewed since it comes from a somewhat potentially biased source…Cambridge Energy Research. The daily consumption figure seems to be accurate (21 million barrels) by anyone’s estimate. So let’s double what the output could potentially be and now we have 8% of our daily oil usage supplied by the Gulf oil drilling expansion…in the very best, “dream” scenario. Again, transportation uses 67% of the oil consumption….with light vehicles (automobiles) using about half of that…or about 34%. If only half of those automobiles were electric (or any other alternative like hydrogen, etc.), consuming no gasoline….then that’s a 17% saving in total oil consumption. So, are you a “betting man?” Where would you put your money? In producing possibly 8% of our total oil use…for all uses….or, on saving 17% on the total oil we currently use simply by moving half of all light vehicle transportation to something else? And this is just about “money.” This doesn’t even get into the environmental aspects of the argument (natural impact, global warming, etc.).

Once again, people like the “good Senator” just speak without doing the math! Certainly you can find some differing figures that skew the math in a more favorable or less favorable direction. However, most of the figures out there today on oil usage are fairly well known and therefore folks can’t easily do that anymore. The facts, if you do the research, will support exactly what I’ve pointed out here. Lower consumption, especially in our “automobiles” is the single most effective way to address the increasing cost of oil. So what does your good sense tell you? Shouldn’t we put our effort where the most effective solutions are? Or, should we continue to live in an illusion that “more oil” is the answer!!??

END OF MY EMAIL *******************

Gushar

pchilds
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

I think we should do both. If we produce more oil and it is not shipped half way around the world, we will have a more stable economy and world.

Philip

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bocabikeguy
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

A $10/gallon tax on gas would solve the problem pretty quickly.

dogman
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

No kidding , they would sell to sombody else. I'm referring to a windfall profits tax, not a pump tax. Why sell taxed when the world will buy untaxed.

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reikiman
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

I think we should do both. If we produce more oil and it is not shipped half way around the world, we will have a more stable economy and world.

Philip

If only it were so simple.... To produce more oil requires that there be more crude oil available. However the U.S. went past its peak oil point in 1971 which means that no matter how much wishcraft you do the U.S. won't have more crude oil available from which to make oil products.

Well.. that is.. unless... there are these other sources which are plant based. I'm most hoping for Algal Biodiesel .. deriving biodiesel from algae should work much better than deriving it from food crops.

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dogman
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

Good thing the US has about a 100 year supply of dirty, sulphury, lead and mercury laced coal buried under some of our most beautiful scenery. It should only cost about $1000 a barrel to turn it into fuel cleanly and put the pretty mountains back. Sometimes having it doesn't even help. We need to pave a few states with solar panels to start with. One of the more interesting alternatives had a prototype built in spain 20 years ago. Basicly it's a big greenhouse connected to a huge chimney. Hot air rushing into the chimney accelerates through a venturi with a wind generator inside. They work good, and huge one is supposed to be under construction in Australia by this year. My electric company is considering one.

How cool would it be to base jump the chimney. step throuhg a door, free fall up the chimney and get spat out a thousand feet up. Wow that was different!

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gushar
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

Reikiman could you expand on your comment. I want to understand more about what you are stating about crude oil production...the peak, etc. And can you give some links to more info regarding that.

Thanks in advance for any further explanation, etc.

Gushar

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reikiman
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

There's a lot of coverage of peak oil online ... peak oil links on my site

An excellent book is Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines because the peak oil model applies to everything, not just oil.

The model is that with a fixed supply, that over a period of using up that supply there will be a point where the supply cannot supply more. An oil company geologist developed the theory back in the 1950's and it's been shown to correlate with oil supplies in all countries around the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubbert_peak_theory -- The Hubbert peak theory posits that for any given geographical area, from an individual oil-producing region to the planet as a whole, the rate of petroleum production tends to follow a bell-shaped curve. It is one of the primary theories on peak oil.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil

http://www.peakoil.net/

http://www.theoildrum.com/

Fundamentals of Peak Oil
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8053133027439445734

http://www.hubbertpeak.com/

What's most important about peak oil is not the precise date at which the peak is reached. It's more to grasp the model. I think the picture here really grabs the model:-

http://www.cafepress.com/peakoilaware.243586937

(I tried to find a better version of that picture). Essentially what we're going to do is, over a very short period of human history, use up the fossil oil. Given that the modern world is hugely dependent on cheap oil, once we get to the post-peak part of the model the modern world will inevitably change.

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reikiman
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
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chas_stevenson
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

Because we are using oil at a faster rate than we were in the beginning, I think the graph should look more like this;

      peak_oil.gif

Grandpa Chas S.

retrodog
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

The peak oil thing sucks and taxing the crap out of fuel isn't the answer, as that just jacks up the price of anything that has to get transported. Everything you buy will double or triple in price... or worse.

reikiman
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

Hmm.. the earth sucks too. It's that gravity thing, sucks everything to the surface of the planet. If we didn't have gravity we could fly. ....er... taking tongue out of cheek, what I meant to say is 'peak oil' comes from the reality of there being a fixed quantity of oil available and certain characteristics of extracting oil from oil fields. I heard a great analogy last night, if you have a refrigerator and keep taking food out eventually you'll run out and have to go to the store. It's just like that with oil except there's no store to go to that will sell the world more oil when we burn it up.

It seems the only way to get peoples attention about the need to conserve is to make sure the price is high. And in any case when oil production begins to drop the price will go up anyway because of that, due to simple supply/demand economics.

Once oil production begins its decline there will be a sharp increase in transportation costs. It'll probably change this whole globalization game because the globalized industry will no longer be able to afford to ship cheap products around the world.

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
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thatguitarguy
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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

You can't cure an alcoholic by feeding him homebrew.

The only way we'll ever be free of our dependence on foreign oil is to free ourselves from dependence on oil. Period.

The sun provided all of the energy for this planet for billions of years. It wasn't until the industrial revolution that humans decided to dig beneath the surface of the planet for fuel. The industrial revolution was a success. Now we need a solar revolution to develop this source of power. At any given second the sun is shining somewhere on this planet and that energy is not being harnessed.

Until we pull our government out of the pocket of big oil nothing will change.

Terry

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Re: Doing the math on Gulf oil

Does our government even have the money to do any large scale projects anymore? If it does, is America able to do anything big right anymore?

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