Welcome to the age of diminishing returns

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Depletion is winning

Charles A.S. Hall, Jessica G. Lambert, and Stephen B. Balogh
Energy Policy, Volume 64, January 2014, Pages 141–152

"The decline in EROI among major fossil fuels suggests that in the race between technological advances and depletion, depletion is winning. Past attempts to rectify falling oil production i.e. the rapid increase of drilling after the 1970 peak in oil production and subsequent oil crises in the US only exacerbated the problem by lowering the net energy delivered from US oil production (Hall and Cleveland, 1981). Increasing prices, thought by most economists to negate depletion through increasing incentives for exploitation, cannot work as EROI approaches 1:1, and even now has made oil too expensive to support the high economic growth it once did."

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Ugo, really nice paper indeed. I have read it and I've found even more disturbing conclusions: "Nations with abundant untapped coal resources (i.e. US, Australia and Russia) are likely to be less affected (...) Although it is difficult to predict future production technology, environmental issues, consumption patterns and changes in EROI, it appears that coal may be abundantly available through the next century" (Section 6.3). Really bad news for climate change, IMO.