Thursday, March 10, 2005

peak oil scorned

Saw this link on Flying Talking Donkey, "Can we stop talking about peak oil now?". It amounts to a redacted retelling of a study, or, a little axe grinding at Michael Ruppert's expense.


The existence of additional huge oilfields on our planet wouldn't break any laws, be they offshore, or perhaps beneath some newly exposed arctic beachfront. It is unlikely based on the discovery trends. However, if a discovery were made, it wouldn't affect the peak oil mathematical model one iota. It might hump up the curve, push out the date. Sometimes life isn't pretty.

Burning that hypothetical oil would be a mistake. I've previously posted that if the world warms up 12 degrees Fahrenheit, we would end up with runaway global warming. Reading Real Climate over the last few months has caused me to back off that assertion. I'm not a seer. It is unknown what the tipping point is for runaway global warming, although it is known to have happened before. Causality could well include factors in addition to global warming.

As we know the possibility for runaway warming exists, but don't understand exactly why or how, it is possible the process is underway now. Observing the precursors in our climate and ecosystem, it would be wise to back off on use carbon for energy, pronto, rather than salivating over the opportunity to double our pleasure.

All caveats aside, Smiley on the Peak Oil Boards responds to the this article (encompassing the Rense original) referenced by the catalytic converter blog (top) thusly:

Reading is difficult. Apparently too difficult for the people at Rense.

original article

This is the original article from Cathles.

What he has been studying is a process called gas washing. His major contribution is that he found out that oil is more mobile than previously thought. It can migrate between different reservoirs, or it can be vented through the sea floor.

Apparently this process is so effective 90% of the hydrocarbons has been vented even before humans have laid their hands on it. When he is speaking about those vast quantities of oil he is not talking about oil that is there (like Rense misunderstood) but about hydrocarbons that were there 10 billion years ago.

Oil chemistry requires the petroleum system in the northern Gulf of Mexico basin to be a flow-through system in which very little hydrocarbon is retained between the source and the surface, and almost all (>90%) the petroleum that escapes its source vents into the ocean. About 30% more hydrocarbons than have been produced and consumed by humans throughout the entire petroleum era have vented into the ocean from the small Corridor. Admittedly, this occurred during a fairly long period of time (about 10 million years), but clearly humans and nature are promoting the same basic process (the venting of hydrocarbons).

The significance of his work is that by understanding migration it becomes easier to identify deeper oil reservoirs.


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