Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The NEW Oil Age Poster (Dec 2010)

This is the newly updated December 2010 edition of The Oil Age Poster. Oil forms the basis of our industrial age, powering everything we know as modern, from automobiles to airplanes to power plants to plastics. Colorful and authoritative, this poster traces the history of the Oil Age from its beginnings in the hills of western Pennsylvania to its rise as the engine of global industrial economies.

Two hundred years of the Oil Age are depicted in the poster's main chart, which features a colorful year-by-year rendering of Colin Campbell's Depletion Model. Historical annotations as well as detailed data on production, trade and reserves make this poster a versatile tool for presenting the realities and implications of global oil production and its impending peak.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Best of The Oil Drum 2005-2010

During the past 5 years ToD have had a continuing stream of energy-related content. In the busiest of times, with a staff of over 20 volunteers, ToD were posting two articles or analyses per day. Oft times 50-60 hours of work (or more) on a post resulted in only 12 hours live on the main page.Here is a list containing, in the opinion of each author, the 'Best of The Oil Drum' from the past 5 years. The meta-list is in alphabetical order, by author last name. Much if not most of this material is still highly relevant today. If you are interested in learning about energy and society, please consider bookmarking this archive as a resource.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg

Excerpt from MuseLetter #222 / November 2010 by Richard Heinberg

Download printable PDF version here (PDF, 132 KB)

This is the second Museletter containing an excerpt from the upcoming book which has the working title 'The End of Growth'. The book is set for publication in July 2011.

The End of Growth

Introduction: The New Normal

The central assertion of this book is both simple and startling: Economic growth as we have known it is over and done with.

The “growth” we are talking about consists of the expansion of the overall size of the economy (with more people being served and more money changing hands) and of the quantities of energy and material goods flowing through it.

The economic crisis that began in 2007-2008 was both foreseeable and inevitable, and it marks a permanent, fundamental break from past decades—a period during which most economists adopted the unrealistic view that perpetual economic growth is necessary and also possible to achieve. There are now fundamental barriers to ongoing economic expansion, and the world is colliding with those barriers.

This is not to say the U.S. or the world as a whole will never see another quarter or year of growth relative to the previous quarter or year. However, when the bumps are averaged out, the general trend-line of the economy (measured in terms of production and consumption of real goods) will be level or downward rather than upward from now on.

Nor will it be impossible for any region, nation, or business to continue growing for a while. Some will. In the final analysis, however, this growth will have been achieved at the expense of other regions, nations, or businesses. From now on, only relative growth is possible: the global economy is playing a zero-sum game, with an ever-shrinking pot to be divided among the winners.

[via MuseLetter read full article there]

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Coming Oil Crisis & Why You Should Care

On the Financial Sense Newshour this week, Jim Puplava is pleased to have Dr. Colin Campbell on the program. Dr. Campbell, a pioneer in the field of peak oil, believes the effects of peak oil are coming sooner than expected, and the warnings from experts around the globe are largely being ignored by the politicians.

Dr. Campbell is now a Trustee of the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre ("ODAC") in the United Kingdom, a charitable organisation in London that is dedicated to researching the date and impact of the peak and decline of world oil production due to resource constraints, and raising awareness of the serious consequences. He has published extensively, and his recent articles have stimulated lively debate. His views are provocative yet carry the weight of a wide international experience.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Brief History of Fossil Fuels - THE ULTIMATE ROLLER COASTER RIDE

by Richard Heinberg

Fossil fuels have powered human growth and ingenuity for centuries. Now that we're reaching the end of cheap and abundant oil and coal supplies, we're in for an exciting ride. While there's a real risk that we'll fall off a cliff, there's still time to control our transition to a post-carbon future.

And now, for your viewing and sharing pleasure we bring you 300 YEARS OF FOSSIL FUELED GROWTH IN 5 MINUTES:

Written and narrated by PCI Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg.
Animated by the wonderful team at MONSTRO DESIGN.


Friday, October 22, 2010

The Next Oil Shock? - Report

The Economics and Industry Team of New Zealand Parliamentary Library has published a new research paper: The Next Oil Shock?

The Conclusion of the report

The global economy is heavily dependent on affordable oil.

It may seem counter-intuitive that, when oil reserves and production capacityare higher than ever, the future of the oil market appears bleak. The problem is that production capacity is not expected to keep up with demand. That fact leads to severe economic consequences.

To replace the declining production from existing oil wells and increase production, oil companies are forced to extract oil in more difficult and expensive conditions (deep-water, oil sands, lignite to liquids) from smaller, less favourable reserves. The marginal (price-setting) barrel of oil costs around US$75-$85 a barrel to produce. This will continue to rise with higher demand and exhaustion of reserves.

Although there remain large reserves of oil which can be extracted, the world’s daily capacity to extract oil cannot keep increasing indefinitely. A point will be reached where it is not economically and physically feasible to replace the declining production from existing wells and add new production fast enough for total production capacity to increase. Projections from the IEA and other groups have this occurring, at least temporarily, as soon as 2012.

The difference between the global capacity to produce oil and global demand is the supply buffer. When the supply buffer is large, oil prices will be low. When the supply buffer shrinks - due to demand rising faster than production capacity or production capacity falling - prices will rise as markets add in the risk that supply will not be available to meet demand at any given point in time.

When a supply crunch forces oil prices beyond a certain point, the cost of oil forces consumers and businesses to cut other spending, inducing a recession. The recession destroys demand for oil, allowing prices to drop. Major international organisations are warning of another supply crunch as soon as 2012.

The world may be entering an era defined by relatively short periods of economic growth terminating in oil price spikes and recession.

New Zealand is not immune to the consequences of this situation. In fact, its dependency on bulk exports and tourism makes New Zealand very vulnerable to oil shocks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The End of Oil as We Know It - 2010 ASPO-USA Conference

Global Energy Experts Agree: We are Facing the End of Oil as We Know It WASHINGTON (October 12, 2010): Economists, activists, technical experts and policymakers from across the political spectrum gathered here, October 7-9, to discuss the global energy crisis. After 150 years of oil extraction; most major oil exporting nations are well past their supply peaks, defined by scientists as “Peak Oil.” At the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas’ (ASPO-USA) sixth annual conference speakers offered a single, coherent picture of a world unprepared to encounter energy limits, petroleum scarcity and the inevitable—and possibly unprecedented—rise in prices. “We are on the brink of a major energy crisis,” stated Jim Baldauf, President of ASPO-USA. “The era of low-cost, easy to get oil has come to an end. Yet, our society is heavily dependent on oil and we have no contingency plan. It is our goal every year to bring together the world’s best global energy experts to grapple with solutions to this catastrophic situation and discuss the future.”

The presentation files of the 2010 World Oil Conference have been posted on the aspo-usa web site including: