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US 3% of oil reserves?

Discussion in 'Home Power and Microgeneration' started by Average_Joe, Oct 28, 2004.

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  1. Average_Joe

    Average_Joe Guest

    I've heard that the US has only 3% of the worlds oil reserves, with
    China and other countries needing more petro, one can't help it wonder
    what we're going to do.

    I can recall back in the 70's there was a lot of interest in alternative
    energy. Why haven't we (US) addressed this problem by now?

  2. Mike Wilcox

    Mike Wilcox Guest

    Because none of the huge energy suppliers do not want to reliquish
    control of a mass market. None of them want you or I to produce our own
  3. John W. Hall

    John W. Hall Guest

    I read that the Alaska oil is only a few day's supply for the US. What
    really is the situation with that?
  4. Average_Joe

    Average_Joe Guest

    Thats basically what I've been told as well, if the US could use it's
    own oil one would imagine it would.

    For decades we've known that eventually the worlds oil supply will run
    out. No one knows exactly when, but we've always known that some day, it
    will. Why are we setting ourselves up for disaster I wonder?


  5. Simple economics.

    Low Supply = High Prices = $$$ For Shrub And Friends


  6. As long as the collapse happens after we die, then we
    don't care.

    Same mentality for US "Social Security" and other
    countries' retirement ponzi scams.
  7. Mike Wilcox

    Mike Wilcox Guest

    Dream on, the us oil production peaked in the 1970's and it's not for a
    lack of drilling either. The greenie's have nothing to do with it.
  8. john

    john Guest

    because theres the bloody dollar involved everything esle like common
    sence leaves the room
  9. A good book on this topic is Hubbert's Peak, discussing the Peak Oil Theory
    of M. King Hubbert, a geologist who worked for Shell Oil and developed the
    mathematics to determine available reserves. He predicted the US oil
    supplies would peak in 1975. This was predicted in 1956. The US supplies
    actually peaked in 1970, and have been in decline ever since.

    Today's geologists are now applying the same mathematical formulae to
    calculating the available world supply. Based on their caclulations, we are
    to hit peak in Nov 2005. So yes, it's an urgent matter that alternative
    energy development come on strong. It's already too late to avoid
    catastrophic economic repercussions, as oil production falls farther behind
    demand, causing prices to rise to astronomical levels. They are talking
    about $180-200/barrel crude oil in the next 2-4 years, if nothing drastic is
    done to alter consumption.

    Take care,

    Mark & Mary Ann Weiss

    Hear my Kurzweil Creations at:
    Business sites at:
  10. Mark & Mary Ann Weiss a écrit :
    Why does it have to be catastrophic?

    Developing and putting in place new energies implies lot's of new jobs,
    everywhere, in all sorts of sectors - seems like a pretty good way to
    stimulate the economy. Especially when you considere all the extra
    training needed, all the new purchases to be made by the population.

    I really can't see why it has to be an economic catastrophe. Old
    technologies can either reconvert or not replace retirees. The only
    people who are really are at risk are those that sell petrol. those that
    transform it can just as easily work on other products (biocarburants,
    plants etc). those that transport petrol can trabsport other things
    (biomass, composants etc). Point of sale doesn't change all that much,
    just need re-trainin, and we've got at least a couple of years to
    prepare for that.

    The only big loosers I can see are those that ownthe petrol that is
    currently underground and the dodgy politiciens who are sponsored by
    those with an interest in the oil economy.

    Think about typewriter manufacturers. Oil whalers. Housekeepers.
    Small-scale farmers. Stablehands. Lot's of jobs have become obsolete
    because of technology and lifestyle changes, but they have never created
    an economic catastrophe. You just have to think far enough ahead to
    organise a smooth transition.

  11. ....

    It doesn't have to be but doomsayers abound.

    They basically believe that not only is cheap oil the one and only
    thing propping up our current civilization but also that there is no
    possible replacement.

    Even if there were some combination of technologies (like biofuels,
    wind, hydro, ocean currents, solar, conservation, etc) that could
    substitute for oil, it's too late to implement them on the scale
    required and they would cost too much anyhow.

    Therefore, the argument goes, when the oil runs out our civilization
    will collapse and almost everyone will die of starvation, disease,
    war and other such thing. The handful of survivors will return to
    a sustainable, and possibly stone age, lifestyle.

    Obviously this is a rather pessimistic view. Since a good portion
    of the world already lives a nearly stone age existence, I hardly
    think they would notice.

  12. TM

    TM Guest

    The american dollar is considered the petrodollar and a barometer by which
    the other markets operate. Once the barometer is broken, there will be
    economic turmoil.

  13. Average_Joe

    Average_Joe Guest

    That has generally been my view as well.
    Last figure I've heard are things like, 20% in 2020 of renewable
    sources, etc.. I don't think that is anywhere near fast enough.

    Even if all cars from this day forward were alternative energy
    (a practical impossibility) there would still be existing cars
    for the next 15 years or more.

    Not to mention the oil required for plastics (particularly medical

  14. This concept is similar to the concept that says that if New York City were
    destroyed it would create a boom in the construction market. The problem
    with it is that the money has to come from SOMEWHERE.
    Switching to an alternative energy supply means developing technologies that
    are in their infancies at present. Billions of dollars and decades of R&D
    lie ahead for any one of these alternatives to become efficient enough to
    Fuel cells take about twice as much power to make as they produce. A
    negative net loss.
    Solar cells also require significant resources to produce, and they generate
    very small amounts of electricity.
    Nuclear plants take time to build, we haven't evolved to Fusion nuclear yet,
    so waste products are a big problem.
    Hydroelectric is limited to areas where rivers are.
    Geothermal is limited to areas where volcanoes and hot springs exist.
    Bio-diesel seems hamstrung by the minimal supplies of vegetable oil and the
    expense of making it.
    Money to support this development just doesn't come out of thin air. The
    economic system works on the concept of profit. Folks will have to work at a
    loss for a good, long time to build up a new infrastructure.

    The catastrophic part is the runup to the point at which the plotted price
    of oil, vs the plotted consumer willingness to pay, intersect. When it
    starts costing people $150 to fill up their cars' gas tanks, long before
    that point is reached, a lot of low income folks are going to hit the
    streets en masse to demonstrate/protest. When people can't get to work
    because the cost of gas is almost their entire paycheck, you can bet there
    will be outbreaks of civil unrest of a scale this country hasn't seen
    The problem is TIME. We don't have enough of it to make a graceful
    transition. It's going to be 3-7 years, and it will be a process of
    attrition, starting with the lowest paid commuters, not being able to get to
    work. When a couple million people can't get to work, it will create an
    economic turmoil.
    I didn't even mention the scores of other things affected by the price of
    Heating oil: Families will rapidly find out that they will not be able to
    remain in their homes in the coming winters. (Bloomberg Radio reported last
    month that with recent energy cost increases in Connecticut, a home that
    cost $500 to heat last year will cost $1700 to heat this year). A friend of
    mine just paid $2.33 for heating oil last week. I still have oil I paid
    $0.649/gal in my 2000 gallon tank. The vast change in prices will overload
    budgets ranging from families to municipalities. Taxes will rise, based on
    the price of oil. Our town's school board announced last week that the fixed
    costs, averaged out, will add 9% more to their budget this coming year.
    All industries that rely on oil will be adversely affected. Grocers to
    manufacturing plants. Products will rise in price. Stagflation will result,
    as shrinking disposable incomes meet with rising oil prices and rising local
    taxes, as well as rising prices for goods that depend on oil to get there.
    Oil is used in everything from plastics to pesticides. All of these things
    will inflate in price.
    The matter is catastrophic, as all this has to be solved in 3-6 years' time
    with full implementation.

    This is true.

    The difference here is that those transitions took a while and affected
    small portions of industry. This oil situation is global and affects every
    aspect of life.

    Take care,

    Mark & Mary Ann Weiss

    Hear my Kurzweil Creations at:
    Business sites at:
  15. Astro

    Astro Guest

    fascinating figures!
    Got me thinking about the effects that consumer usage of oil and
    conservation can have.

    For kicks, I googled a bit. For my figures, I'm using this site:

    That indicates that the per-capita oil usage is about 25 barrels/person in
    the US. In round numbers, that's about 1000 gallons per person in gasoline.
    If you add in all forms of oil consumption, it goes up to about 35
    barrels/person (I'm roughly calculating based on per capita energy usage).

    The average fuel efficiency of new cars is 27.5mpg. Older ones are 21.5.
    Let's say that the average on the road today is 25mpg (seems generous).
    If, over the next 10 years, we up the average to 35mpg, then we drop
    consumption to 715 gallons/person.

    Next, let's say we phase out the direct use of fossil fuels for home
    heating and move to passive solar, better insulation, ground source heat
    pumps. None of which is terribly difficult or pricey to do if done with
    new constructions, we can drop our consumption of other fuels by 50%
    (again, very conservative estimate). That reduces the extra 10
    barrels/person to maybe 7, if we assume that much of the consumption is
    domestic heating and the remainder is electricity. The US averages
    12.4MWh/person. 71.4% produced by fossil fuels.

    So now we're down to 27 barrels/person which is a mere 9 million
    barrels/day. Woohoo!

    These are pretty significant reductions in consumption and it hardly takes
    our overall consumption back a few years.

    From the figures, it seems that the real leverage points are automotive
    fuel consumption and home heating/cooling. Fuel consumption has got to be
    worsened significantly (my guess) by the suburbanization of America. All
    the 40 mile commutes without public transportation adds up. But we're not
    going to get everybody to move back into the cities, so that's not a
    leverage point.
    How about telecommuting/work at home? That's up to ~2% of the population
    as of 2000 census so there's alot of potential there assuming that there's
    a continuing growth of jobs to do at home.

    Expansions in public transportation? Haven't seen that happening much in
    the suburbs...
    More carpooling? Bicycles? SmartCars?

    I'm not trying to be defeatist or sarcastic. I'm just trying to see where
    the great gains are going to come. They have to come sometime before the
    end of the century or it will be forced on us.

    Suppose we want to reduce consumption by 75% during the next 25 years.
    How's that going to happen.

    Population is still growing at about a million per year. If that keeps up,
    we'll have ~10% more population in 25 years so we need to cut average
    consumption even more.

    How about more radical plans for the 25 year period.
    50mpg minimum auto standards. That's pushing the envelope. The only way
    we're getting there is much lighter cars with some form of hybrid engine.
    That seems doable. But that only reduces consumption 50%. The other 25%
    has to come from actual reduced usage. Are we going to convince Americans
    to reduce usage by 50%? That will be tough.

    Then there's electricity and home heating/cooling. Continued pushes for
    efficient housing can reduce consumption down to 25% of today.
    Electricity? Germany currently uses about half the electricity per person
    that we do. That's pretty good and shows what an "industrialized nation"
    can do.

    It's all pretty interesting as a thought experiment. The reality will
    undoubtedly be painful, but inevitable. Ultimately (i.e. in this century),
    we need to replace the majority of our fossil fuel consumption with other
  16. GreyGeek

    GreyGeek Guest

    And if it isn't, and I don't expect it to, then you can expect a mass
    migration South to warmer climates. Will Mexico be as gracious to their
    'illegal aliens' as we have been to ours?
  17. GreyGeek

    GreyGeek Guest

    You are closer to the truth than many people are willing to admit.

    In the mid-60s I was an analytical chemist for Bradford Labs, in Abilene,
    TX. My job was to analyze brine water extracted from cambrian formations,
    determine successiveeicals and biocides were necessary to stabilize it and
    in what quantities, so that the stabilized water could be re-injected into
    producing oil wells, a method called secondary recovery. In the 1960's
    Texas oil fields had long since passed the time when new holes would spout
    oil under their own pressure. Newly found oil had to be floated out by
    injecting water under it. One the production dropped to less than a few
    hundred barrels a day the majors sold the wells to the minor producers, who
    merely ran the pumps until the wells plugs or they didn't product enough
    for even them to make the effort. Later, some attempted to revitalize the
    old wells by 'fracing' them. Injecting steam, gas, explosives, acids,
    etc... anything to fracture the well face and allow more oil to seep out.
    This is called tertiary recovery. It is expensive. It adds only minor
    amounts to the oil reserves. And, it was a favorite scam for crooks
    pretending to be 'oil producers'.

    In 1968 I completed my graduate work and began teaching at a small private
    college. In 1970 I was asked by the Univ of Wyoming to lead one of two
    teams into the Shirley Basin to investigate claims that Uranium leaking
    from the open pit mines in the Basin were contaminating ground water and
    killing livestock. the only place we found Uranium at all was in the mines
    themselves. None was discovered in any of the environment (soil, water,
    fauna, flora) surrounding the mines. I noticed one additional fact: the
    owners of the mines had names like Kerr-Magee, Shell, Westinghouse (they
    made the Babcock containment vessels), Phillip, etc... the major oil and/or
    electric companies. They believed that nuclear power was the next big
    thing, and they were in control of the source of Uranium, at least in the
    Shirley Basin, if not the entire US. They were metering oil and they
    wanted to meter Uranium. Just 15 years before nuclear power was touted as
    the next big source, one that would make production of electricity so cheap
    it could almost be given away. They underestimated the power of protest,
    and the peoples desire not to pollute the next 10,000 years or our future
    with radioactive isotopes. This was brought home to me recently when
    Nebraska lost a 10 year court battle to keep a nuclear waste storage
    facility from being built in North East Nebraska, and was fined $150M.
    The site is 2.4 miles west of Butte, in Boyd County,which is bordered on the
    North by South Dakota, and on the east by the Missouri river. Amazingly,
    it is in what is known as the sands hills. As usual, some residents of the
    county are for the site and some are against. The majority don't seem to

    In late 1976 I received a report of a conference on Energy at the Univ. of
    Missouri at Rollo. One paper was entitled "The Forgotten Fundamentals of
    the Energy Crisis". If you haven't read that paper then you should before
    you make any comments pro or con about the fossil fuel crisis facing
    America and the world. Two facts, of many made by Dr. Bartlett in that
    report, were repeatedly noticed by successive classes of students:
    1) Farming is just a way of using land to convert oil into food.
    2) It takes 7X more energy to bring a slice of toast to your breakfast table
    than you get from that toast by eating it.

    By today's energy costs the energy in that slice of bread costs at least 5
    times what it did in 1976. The most telling statistic on why energy costs
    more today than it did then is indicated by the number of barrels of oil
    obtained per foot of well drilled. (In the 1960's I was analyzing water
    from wells that were over 16,000 ft deep.)

    "We are drilling deeper but are we finding more oil? In the United states
    during the early 1930s, about 250 barrels of recoverable oil were found per
    foot drilled. By the 1950s, this figure had decreased to about 40 barrels a
    foot, and by 1981, it was down to 6.9 barrels per foot. Oil producers in
    the Untied States are drilling deeper and finding less oil per foot
    drilled." - Youngquist - Geodestinies

    We are rapidly approaching the point where the energy consumed to recover
    oil is beginning to match the energy available from that oil. The standard
    of living in the United States is due entirely to its consumption of fossil
    fuels. Other contries want our standard of living. Most will have to
    consume fossil fuels at the same rate per capita as we do to obtain it.
    That will put poltical and military pressures on the remaining resources
    like you've never seen. Many of you complain that the Iraq invasion was
    Bush's "war for oil". If that were true, and he surrendered the Mid East
    oil fields to the terrorists tomorrow, are you prepared to spend the rest
    of the winter without heat or electricity, to say nothing of food?

    Rather than fighting among ourselves we need to get togeather on solutions
    that are indigenous to this country. We still have 6 times more coal than
    the Saudi's have oil. We don't need to burn that to light the night sky.
    We need that source of carbon for plastics, medicines, etc... What we need
    is a "Manhatten Project" that would create thousands of Solar Tres power
    stations around the rural areas of our country. Each furnishing permenant
    jobs to the locals, electricity to the grid, Hyrdogen fuel cells for ground
    transportation and Hydrogen for methylation of CO2 to make hydrocarbons for
    air transportation.

    We have to start now. Not for our kids sake. For ours.
  18. Clarence wrote:

    This depends on the model used for public transportation. One could
    imagine a modern (less than 100 years old) design for public transit
    which is more efficient, responsive and cheaper. Such a system could
    be useful even with urban sprawl.

    Here is one example of such a system.

  19. Mike Wilcox

    Mike Wilcox Guest

    Your are digging yourself deeper and deeper;~)) There is no way alcohol
    production can take the place of oil, you would need 10x the amount of
    arable land just produce enough fuel for current levels of production.
    As for your claim of public transit using more fuel, it's bogus as well.
  20. Mike Wilcox

    Mike Wilcox Guest

    All quite true, but I'm not waiting for the big boys to figure out how
    to screw us all again ;~)). The best thing anyone can do right now is an
    inventory of their local energy options and take advantage of them now.
    It is possible to live off the grid and that's where I'm headed a bit at
    a time, much like Gigawatt has.
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