Friday, July 26, 2013

Peak oil? What peak oil?


Graph courtesy of Jean Laherrere (units are barrels per capita per year)







16 comments:

  1. interesting that the year almost coincides with the year that Global Wellbeing also peaked according to GPI....

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  2. Replies
    1. It is barrels - "b" - it wasn't so clear, so I added a specification. Thanks!

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  3. There is a nice new summary guest post by oil geologist Jeffrey Brown 'westexas' concerning the prospects for net imports of crude into the USA over at 'Darwinian's' new website. http://peakoilbarrel.com/

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    1. Yes, interesting site. Worth following!

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  4. thanks !

    j'ai retrouvé "Darwinian" !

    cheers,

    sylvie

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  5. Is it possible to make a reasonable guess as to which line might be the actual most likely scenario for the future (like red, light green or green)? And what the effect would be on people living in Europe? Or will it be back to 1900 or 1800 regardless...

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  6. It would be interesting to see a chart of per capita oil consumption just for industrialized countries. I suspect that per capita consumption hasn't changed that much in these countries. The drop in per capita consumption could be explained in large part by population growth in non-industrialized countries, if my assumption is correct. Population growth in industrialized countries slowed considerably since the late 60s, after all.

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    1. Yes, Phil but, also, consumption has been growing in non industrialized country, so that even in industrialized ones the consumption per capita has remained approximately static

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  7. Ugo, it would be interesting to estimate the "useful work" per capita. After all, we don't want oil per se, we (mainly) burn it to get mechanical work or thermal energy. Given that the efficiency of conversion engines and of thermal applications is improving, 1 barrel of oil in 1979 does not correspond to the same useful work as 1 barrel of oil in 2010 or 2030. The improving in conversion efficiency could make things somewhat better off, although perhaps not so much (or so quickly) as we dream about. On the other hand, other factors should be considered: e.g. EROEI, which is far from improving, could potentially make things far worse...

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    1. Surely it has been done; somewhere. But, in my opinion, the change in the average efficiency of thermal engines from 1979 to now has only been marginal. At best, a few percent - and that I think it is optimistic. So, it doesn't really affect the curve

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    2. I agree Ugo.

      I refer below to a few observations and their possible relevance to changes in 'utility' of oil

      : personal miles travelled per unit 'oil' changes if the ratio of public transport - bus / train - changes in favour of ICE cars. Scooters have an interesting intermediate rationale for 'utility' in towns - and their history is interesting

      : oil was for a short while before 1970s used in OECD to generate electricity - @ low thermal efficiency - but was discontinued because of cost, although oil is still used world-wide where secure electricity is a premium product

      : 'uitlity' of oil enables China currently to 'economically' outbid OECD for oil as an adjunct to rapidly increasing total energy inputs. Note that per capita use of oil in China is still below that in EU & small fraction of per capita consumption in the USA.

      : Per capita use in China is rising (though somewhat flattening) but in India rising consumption of oil cannot keep up with population increase. (There are some interesting charts over at Gail Tverberg's blog:
      http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/06/07/high-oil-prices-are-starting-to-affect-china-and-india/ )

      best
      Phil H

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  8. Also interesting would be ERoEI per capita. And perhaps a derivative: the RATE of growth (or decline) in ERoEI per capita?

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    1. That, too, has been done, for instance, by Antonio Turiel at http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.it/2013/02/the-twilight-of-petroleum.html

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  9. Re. Peak-Oil-per-capita: Finally, the metric that really matters. Because theft from others is not a renewable resource.

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  10. Oil per capita is stupid. It ignores all of the variables that matter. Improvements in MPG, other efficiency gains, etc. Peak Oil is a serious issue, but Peak Oil Per Capita is a useless way to measure it.

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Who

Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome and the author of "Extracted: how the quest for mineral resources is plundering the Planet" (Chelsea Green 2014)