Monday, May 01, 2006

Don Quixote tilts again

I caught a rancid whiff of Michael Lynch's latest arguments against near term Peak Oil, which lately have de-volved into a combination of ad hominem attacks combined with logical absurdities. Mobjectivist, alert to the presence of Spike, weighed in before I could sharpen my keyboard:
Infinite URR?

MICHAEL LYNCH: Actually, I think the problem here is that Julian and a lot of the people making these arguments are not that familiar with the technical terms in the oil industry. The estimates that there's about two trillion barrels of oil resource are actually done by some very simplistic models, which have not always failed, but almost always failed on both the national and a global level. The oil conventional oil resource base, the oil in place, is about eight to ten trillion barrels. And right now, most estimates are that about 40% of that will be recovered, in other words, about three, three-and-a-half trillion. But the amount we'll recover will grow over time. So we're not -- we're really not even close to halfway through the conventional oil resource base.
Here, Lynch claims that we have no worries as the global economy has over 3 trillion barrels left in reserves, i.e. a relatively healthy URR.

Well, I can do him one better and claim that we can have an infinite supply left, yet we will still have to face a peak in production.

To create such a scenario, we need only to create a production profile that -- when integrated from now to eternity -- tends to an infinite cumulative value. Simple enough, the following curve1 does this quite nicely:
Production(Time) = A/(B + C*abs(Time-T0))
The curve, for a T0=2007, looks like the following:

It looks innocent enough on the way up, and then goes through what looks like a precipitous drop, a sure sign that we have entered a doomster realm. Right? Well, not quite. The long tail that this curve contains actually contains a huge bonanza of future returns, why, a veritable cornucopia of oil!

Too bad it completely trashes Lynch's rosy assessment, which he clearly built off a dodgy initial premise. In reality, we have no idea how that purported 3 trillion, or infinite amount, in reserve will play out. On the bright side, we should have lots of time to find an alternative source to keep our productivity and life-style moving forward.

Translation: Mister Lynch has moved beyond his artful dodginess ("I believe in Peak Oil but...") into fictional accounts of reality leavend with insults:

"I mean, I've dealt with the people who have done the original research that he's relying on, and, you know, I’ve pointed out the flaws in their arguments and the fact that they have had to repeatedly revise their estimates and research. It's the claim that is often made by people like Matt Simmons or Colin Campbell that you can't increase the recovery factor much, you're just getting now faster. But if you look, you'll find that they say this over and over again, and they don't give you any real evidence to back it up. If when you talk to the industry, and I've debated with Matt in front of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and you tell them that Matt says this -- he doesn't say this to the engineers, because they would laugh at him -- that's the reaction. I mean, these guys are working all the time to raise the amounts that they can get out of the ground." - Lynch

Sure, you can always find new ways to extract oil out of rocks. These methods all require energy, far more energy than is generated by a roomful of engineers laughing.

Lynch frames Simmons as the boo-boo head outsider, a naif, an innocent banker lost in his theories.

That's right, Lynch. Pick on the banker. It's all you've got left.


At 4:16 PM, May 01, 2006, Blogger NeonTetra said...

Lynch is a slippery one, for sure.

Here is an odd "news" piece out about a huge new oil discovery. Pretty thin on reality: Scientists Discover (Biggest Ever) Oil field off U.S. coast. Stuff like this, and Michael Lynch, are all part of an oil supply propaganda campaign.

At 5:27 AM, May 03, 2006, Anonymous RG said..., now there's a reliable source of industry information. BTW, the scientist they quoted actually says the article is not accurate:

"The article is complete news to me and a most amazing fabrication. No such field has been discovered as far as I know, and certainly it has not been discovered by me."


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