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  1. #1
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
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    Default Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    Since I've gained a more worldly understanding of the climate change debate, I thought I'd see what I could learn about fossil fuel depletion.

    It seems we've been predicting that we'd run out of oil ever since we discovered it. I certainly understand that it is a finite resource and eventually will run out, it's just a matter of when. I know a few of you are in the oil industry & perhaps we have an economist or two among us as well. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject.

    The biggest problem in creating an accurate prediction is inconsistant estimates of reserves for various reasons (political, financial etc.). A secondary factor is the availablility of renewable energy coming online in the future - nuclear, wind, solar, fusion (who know? there could be a breakthrough). Economics dictates that as the price of oil goes up, alternate "mining" methods will come online - tar sands etc. Any estimates on the worlds reserves of alternate fuel sources.

    Hubbart peak theory

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    Hazmat

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    Interesting, but for me, it became a non-issue on a finite resource when the government set up the strategic oil reserve. I.E. you'll never get an accurate account of supply when based on national interests.

    -Mike Z.

  3. #3
    Elite Member DieselPower's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    We have been running out ever since we started using it. It's just a matter of when it will dry up. It is hard to predict when because there is no definite answer to exactly how much is left and the bigger question is how will consumption grow in the future. Countries like China and other emerging economies are starting to consume very large quantities like us here in the US. As world demand increases the reserves decrease. At some point it will run out.

  4. #4
    Silver Member davemhughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    While paying my way through college, before joining the big green machine, I did some work a number of years back for a very large Seismographic service that has contracts with various large oil companies. In other words they actually find the oil for the oil companies. Once they find the oil it is called "known" reserves. The oil compnay then goes in and drills various test wells and do calculations on the type oil that is found (not all crude is used for fuel stock) and do a scientific "guess" as to the amount of crude oil found. Once this is done it is called "proven".

    Known and proven reserves are calculated at current usage amounts, to be in the 140 year range. We will actually never run out of crude oil but more importantly it will just become so difficult to get and thus SO expensive we will cease to use it as a common primary energy source.

    Another intersting thing is a barrel of oil is not 55gal but 42gal and out of that 42gal only about 19gal can be cracked to provide unleaded gasoline. 9 gals of diesel is cracked, and the rest is heavy oils, marine fuel, grease (best my memory serves. This is exactly equal to 42 US petrolium gallons. Crude oil has many long changed hydrocarbons that determine its total energy content and thus its most profit oriented use, its all used though. Different types of crude produce different amounts and types of pretroleum products. Arab and sweet oils produce the most with others containing less hydrocarbons just are used as asphault type crude.

    Once again this is from memory so some of this could, might, and probably is not exact.
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  5. #5
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    I've always wondered where oil comes from? I grew up being told it came from dinasours, but that doesn't make any sense to me. I heard Rush say that it's still being created by the planet. That kind of makes sense to a small degree.

    I don't think it's one of those things that just happened to be here when the planet was created, so how did it get in the ground?

    Eddie

  6. #6
    Elite Member DieselPower's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    It got here by extreme heat and preasure under ground. It comes from carbon based life forms, dinasours, trees, grass, frog's, birds, any organic material.

    Wiki explains prety well what crude oil is. Petroleum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  7. #7
    Silver Member davemhughes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    Carbon and hydrogen....... Dinosaurs, trees, single cell microbes and you are all made mostly from these 2 things plus oxygen.

    Crude oil is a hydro-carbon,. Millions of years of pressure, heat, and time have changed trees, dinosaurs and microbes into oil. Millions of years of living and dying plant and animal matter are needed to produce crude. Also because microbes can grow in more places than trees there were more microbes and hence more oil comes from microbes than from both dinosaurs and trees. The oil then over time seeped down through the layers to collect in an area where a cased well can then pump it out or other methods are used to collect it, like the Canadian Oil/sand pits where it is scooped up and the oil processed out of the sand.
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  8. #8
    Bronze Member
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    There's many interesting articles on this website.

    Ultra Clean Fuels Technology - Home Page

    The main topic being the liquification or gasification of coal where it can be turned into zero sulphur diesel fuel. It's done by a process call Fischer-Tropsch, a method invented by the Germans (of course) prior to/during WW2 to fuel their Army. This method has also been used for years in South Africa, mainly during Apartheid when countries ceased or slowed their fuel shipments to that part of the world. Do a yahoo or google search and you'll see quite a few newer articles.
    There are some pretty amazing statistics on how much coal is left in the USA alone. This topic has been in the news lately with several states like Montana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia all vying for federal funding to build the newest (first?) of these plants in the US. Look for the auto companies to begin pushing diesel over the next few years as has been done in europe....
    Instead of being a patriot on the 4th of July, be a patriot year round....Buy American!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    I don't expect an answer for my question but I'll throw it out anyways. If oil/hydrocarbons are from old animals and plants how come we find hydrocarbons on other moons/planets? I have never understood this and I have never seen an explanation.

    When oil does finally start to run out, whenever that is, its price will start to increase dramatically and other energy technologies will make money sense. It won't be the end of the world.

    Later,
    Dan

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Are we running out of fossil fuels? - peak oil theory

    Ain't no more dino's dying and if you want to count waiting a trillion years for a gaggle of microbes to "transform" into an eyedropper of crude oil, be my guest.

    So, I guess the answer is yes, we are running out.

    Meanwhile, I'll fire up my tractor and disc the back 40.

    Podunk

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