Total Posts:17|Showing Posts:1-17
Jump to topic:

The problem of Oil

Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/2/2012 7:02:06 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Everyone seems to think the problem of oil is the fact that the oil prices are rising, or that it causes terrible pollution, or something else... isn't there the larger problem that they're not searching enough for oil to replete their supplies? Since 2002, there's been this problem...
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/2/2012 7:40:08 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I hope we run out of oil. As we run out, market pressures will shift and force the market to invest and create better alternatives.
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/2/2012 8:08:44 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/2/2012 7:02:06 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Everyone seems to think the problem of oil is the fact that the oil prices are rising, or that it causes terrible pollution, or something else... isn't there the larger problem that they're not searching enough for oil to replete their supplies? Since 2002, there's been this problem...

Actually they are searching for oil quite robustly. The problem is that it is a finite resource and is getting harder to find. The technology for looking for oil has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past several decades from advanced well logging techniques to new and amazing seismic exploration technologies. In addition there's what is called "secondary recovery" where they go in and put stuff down into old formations to stimulate production (since original wells probably didn't pull everything out).

The fact is we are running out of oil. We don't know when the "world peak" will hit, but the U.S. hit its peak in 1970-71, looks like the North Sea fields might have peaked in the mid 1990's, but we don't know where some of the middle eastern fields are at in terms of proven reserves (there is no mandatory reporting requirement for foreign countries).

The fact of the matter is that we are looking at a decrease in supply and little to fall back on. But it is at this time that we are also realizing the pollution and global climate change impact from our reliance on this material for so much time.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/2/2012 8:56:44 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/2/2012 8:08:44 AM, Thaumaturgy wrote:
At 6/2/2012 7:02:06 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Everyone seems to think the problem of oil is the fact that the oil prices are rising, or that it causes terrible pollution, or something else... isn't there the larger problem that they're not searching enough for oil to replete their supplies? Since 2002, there's been this problem...

Actually they are searching for oil quite robustly. The problem is that it is a finite resource and is getting harder to find. The technology for looking for oil has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past several decades from advanced well logging techniques to new and amazing seismic exploration technologies. In addition there's what is called "secondary recovery" where they go in and put stuff down into old formations to stimulate production (since original wells probably didn't pull everything out).

The fact is we are running out of oil. We don't know when the "world peak" will hit, but the U.S. hit its peak in 1970-71, looks like the North Sea fields might have peaked in the mid 1990's, but we don't know where some of the middle eastern fields are at in terms of proven reserves (there is no mandatory reporting requirement for foreign countries).

The fact of the matter is that we are looking at a decrease in supply and little to fall back on. But it is at this time that we are also realizing the pollution and global climate change impact from our reliance on this material for so much time.

Peak Oil Theory predicted the world peak in 2005, which never came. Peak Oil Theory is dead or dying. The problem is the lack of anyone searching for oil, which will cause problem in the future. Governments will have to start paying for oil to be searched for regardless of what is found for oil searching to become profitable. Peak Oil's problem is it's lack of accounting for technological growth, which you stated, yet still seem to somehow promote peak oil. The idea's best predictions state around 2090 when the world will peak, but that will not, of course, be a problem if the searching stops.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/2/2012 11:08:37 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/2/2012 8:56:44 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
Peak Oil Theory predicted the world peak in 2005, which never came.

I am uncertain how one would know this quickly if 2005 was the peak or if it would be feasible to easily put an exact date on this.

Peak Oil Theory is dead or dying.

Oil is a limited resource, hence there is a point beyond which we will find no more. In reality the quality of the reserves we tap will become lower and lower and require more energy to recover until it doesn"t make sense to utilize it (called "EROI", or Energy Return on Investment).

The problem is the lack of anyone searching for oil

This is a patently absurd claim. There are many, many people who are actively searching for oil. Many of my former university friends among them. They are called "exploration geologists" and oil companies deploy them across the globe.

, which will cause problem in the future. Governments will have to start paying for oil to be searched for regardless of what is found for oil searching to become profitable. Peak Oil's problem is it's lack of accounting for technological growth, which you stated, yet still seem to somehow promote peak oil.

We are seeing the limits of technology now. The exploration and enhanced recovery technology has increased by leaps and bounds for the past 40 years but yet we, the U.S. have not produced more oil than we did in 1971.

Right now we are considering tapping into a source of petroleum (oil shale and tar sands) that has a much lower EROI and is more damaging to the environment than imaginable. Why are we looking at this? Because we are running out of conventional oil.

The idea's best predictions state around 2090 when the world will peak, but that will not, of course, be a problem if the searching stops.

Don't worry, the searching isn't "stopping" anytime soon. There are many extremely large and extremely profitable companies that are doing that very thing every single day across the planet.
Aaronroy
Posts: 749
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/2/2012 3:45:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
The supply of oil at the minute is negligible in light of research for alternative energies. Gas prices seems a moot point as they are not controlled by supply/demand. At this rate, we'll run out of oil in a few generations but we will probably have found a more viable and renewable form of energy by then. I'm trashing my car as soon as they make an electric vehicle that gets 100-300 miles to the charge, but it'll probably be a while before that happens.
turn down for h'what
JrRepublican
Posts: 44
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/3/2012 3:46:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
There's lots of oil out there, for example, in ANWR, in the Green River Formation (1.5-2 trillion barrels). The problem is that, although we know where it is, government regulators won't let us develop the oil. And, by the way, peak oil is nonexistent, at least in the near future. The only problems we have right now are that we aren't allowed to get the oil. Besides, technological advances will allow us to extract previously unusable oil. Oil is a finite resource, but we still have a lot of it to go around. Plus, there are no realist alternatives. No other fuel can meet the 'Four Imperatives' of energy: power density, energy density, cost, and scale.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/3/2012 7:32:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think it's a bit like why common interpretations Malthus' predictions about populations tended to fail over time.

If you think of it as a problem of arithmetical extraction of oil (dig up one barrel of oil than another than another) versus exponential population increase (which increases demand for oil), it seems like we will inevitably reach the point where we cannot extract oil fast enough to meet demand.

However, Malthus also talked about a coefficient of the arithmetic extraction. Namely, technology.

Even if oil extraction is linear and demand is exponential, it is possible to always have supply greater than demand as long as technological progress creates enough efficiency to meet that demand.

For instance, if you have a square mile of wheat, if you can plant twice as many crops in that square mile, you can feed more people without increasing how many square miles of wheat you own.

So, peak oil won't happen as long as incentives drive towards more efficient oil extraction techniques. Raising oil prices has a tendency to do that.
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/3/2012 7:37:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/3/2012 7:32:58 PM, Wnope wrote:
I think it's a bit like why common interpretations Malthus' predictions about populations tended to fail over time.

If you think of it as a problem of arithmetical extraction of oil (dig up one barrel of oil than another than another) versus exponential population increase (which increases demand for oil), it seems like we will inevitably reach the point where we cannot extract oil fast enough to meet demand.

However, Malthus also talked about a coefficient of the arithmetic extraction. Namely, technology.

Even if oil extraction is linear and demand is exponential, it is possible to always have supply greater than demand as long as technological progress creates enough efficiency to meet that demand.

For instance, if you have a square mile of wheat, if you can plant twice as many crops in that square mile, you can feed more people without increasing how many square miles of wheat you own.

So, peak oil won't happen as long as incentives drive towards more efficient oil extraction techniques. Raising oil prices has a tendency to do that.

Well technological progress can only go far. There are still thermodynamic and physical limitations. It will always cost energy to extract and refine the resource.

With that said, peak oil is likely correct. But that just means that there were be substitutes to oil rather than there actually being an oil crisis.
Open borders debate:
http://www.debate.org...
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/6/2012 11:10:53 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Oil is definitely a finite resource. The next big source is oil shale in the United States, which probably contains more oil that has been pumped from all other sources in history. Obama killed large scale production experiments, but getting rid of Obama will solve that problem. Oil shale will probably cost about $35/barrel to recover.

Still oil will run out over the next 100 to 150 years. As prices increase, alternatives will become viable. The costs of alternative are likely to drop at the same time. Good candidates are cellulosic ethanol, new battery technology, and fuel cells.

When you are old, you'll have to give up sex. So are you eager to get on board with that right now? All that discouraging oil use now does is hurt the economy. Alternatives will emerge from market forces.
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/7/2012 12:16:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/6/2012 11:10:53 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
Still oil will run out over the next 100 to 150 years. As prices increase, alternatives will become viable. The costs of alternative are likely to drop at the same time. Good candidates are cellulosic ethanol, new battery technology, and fuel cells.


From your mouth to god's ear! But remember, fuel cell technology will be fraught with many problems that have been investigated quite robustly now for some time. When I was briefly involved in research on hydrogen storage for fuel cells I was at a Statoil conference in Norway. One engineer estimated that as a transportation fuel either there would be a major breakthrough soon or fuel cells would always occupy a small niche of the market. That was back in 1999, and I'm not seeing a lot of fuel cell cars out on the road.

Another problem is that H2 fuel is basically an "energy carrier" not necessarily an energy source (it's subtle distinction). In order to get the H2 we will likely have to put so much energy in to electrolize water or we will have to break down organics and run the problems of generating more greenhouse gases.

There was even talk at one time of cracking methanol to make H2, but no one wanted to even consider the idea of setting up "methanol stations" due to the danger.

And last I heard the best H2 storage for vehicles is still probably metal hydrides which aren't quite good enough yet (I wasn't working on metal hydrides).

As for battery technology: I say if you can identify the next big battery breakthrough, invest in it and become a zillionaire. That is probably the future. If you can store the electricity well you can go with lower carbon sources for it. But then again, the market will fail that effort because we have lots of coal. What will drive coal out of usage will be global climate change and pollution issues. The market will fight that because people will have to impose on coal extraneous costs (health and climate) which the market will then turn around and fight (as they always do) by pointing at relatively settled science and finding a few questions in it so they can ignore most of the science.

It took a lot of effort to address acid rain because the "merchants of doubt" circled the wagons and tried to downplay the "cost" of acid rain on the environment while talking about the "cost" of putting scrubbers on or shipping in low S coal.

When you are old, you'll have to give up sex. So are you eager to get on board with that right now? All that discouraging oil use now does is hurt the economy. Alternatives will emerge from market forces.

That's a dim hope. Especially from people who fight science tooth and nail when it doesn't line up with their "hopes". What do "skeptics" expect will be the outcome if someone says "We really need to pour a lot of effort into finding an alternative to this fuel source because of climate damage"? I bet they'll say "No, we are taxed too much as it is, I don't wanna pay for that which I do not believe in!"

And then these same people will hope and pray that "the scientists will find a way".

If you tell the doctor he's full of s*** whenever he says you need to control your cholesterol and hope that new cholesterol drugs will come along to save you, you may as well just go ahead and schedule the bypasses now.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/11/2012 10:08:06 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
@Thaumaturgy, There are fuel cell cars running around, but they are cost prohibitive. So yes, it will take a breakthrough. The idea is to use it like a battery, making hydrogen to charge it and then later consuming the hydrogen.

Right now, battery technology is looking pretty good. There are a bunch of VC funded startups claiming to be hot on the trail of major improvements. We'll see.

To get the electricity to charge the whatever, I think solar power from orbiting power stations has a lot of promise. The idea has been studied for 50 years, and it's only a cost issue. The sun is available almost 24/7 (occasional eclipse) and building a very large structure is helped by effectively being in zero gravity.

The structure could be made more cheaply by using aluminum from the moon, and launching it with a rail gun. We need to get to work on Newt's moon base.

The traditional idea is to beam the power down by microwaves. That works; the energy density over a few square miles is too low to fry anything. Recently, there has been talk of running a power cord. It seems possible to put a weight on the end of a carbon nanofiber tether, kept taught by centrifugal force, and make an elevator that goes into orbit. It might be better to plan on the microwaves for now.

Methanol is an interesting fuel source. It pretty cheap, now $1.38 per gallon, and it's now used in car racing. The problem is that it is extremely toxic. But if we can figure out how to safely handle hydrogen, it ought to be possible to safely handle methanol.
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/11/2012 4:08:20 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Guys, I heard there was oil on Pluto. Pluto is still mad though, so we prob needz to blow it up
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/11/2012 4:17:58 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/11/2012 10:08:06 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
@Thaumaturgy, There are fuel cell cars running around, but they are cost prohibitive.

That's putting it mildly. The costs are not just the vehicle but infrastructure for an H2 economy/distribution system, on-board storage for transportation, etc.

As I said, when I was at the Statoil conference back in the 90's the thought was that unless a significant breakthrough came about soon the H2 vehicle would be, at best, a minor player in the market.

So yes, it will take a breakthrough. The idea is to use it like a battery, making hydrogen to charge it and then later consuming the hydrogen.

That's always been essentially the idea as I understand it. I think that is why people call it an "energy carrier" as opposed to a "fuel".

Right now, battery technology is looking pretty good. There are a bunch of VC funded startups claiming to be hot on the trail of major improvements. We'll see.

If I knew of a hot battery technology under investigation I'd invest in that! I honestly think that if there's still money to be made from leaps in technology it will come in the form of battery tech.

In the research group I was in on H2 storage there were also some folks using the same materials we were using to investigate Li ion battery technology advancements. That was something that I never fully got my head wrapped around.

The idea has been studied for 50 years, and it's only a cost issue. The sun is available almost 24/7 (occasional eclipse)

Well, except at night. (Cue the old joke that the Norwegians tell about the Swedish space agency wanting to send a probe to the sun but are planning on doing it at night).

The structure could be made more cheaply by using aluminum from the moon, and launching it with a rail gun. We need to get to work on Newt's moon base.

I actually feel the U.S. has seriously ceeded a lot of its leadership by abandoning so much of our manned space missions and leaving the moon untouched for decades.

Methanol is an interesting fuel source. It pretty cheap, now $1.38 per gallon, and it's now used in car racing. The problem is that it is extremely toxic. But if we can figure out how to safely handle hydrogen, it ought to be possible to safely handle methanol.

Methanol is so generally pooh-poohed not only for toxicity and corrosivity for so many years I am doubtful it would ever be a "common market" fuel. It's OK to use in specialized settings like some race cars.

The problem with cracking methanol to make H2 for fuel cells (another idea that was being touted at one point) is that it really doesn't solve greenhouse gas emissions as I understand it.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/26/2012 1:13:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Breakthroughs in fuel cells and batteries probably will come from applying newly developed technologies to the problems. Nanotechnology is the current hot item. Tiny tube structures can withstand a lot force while maintaining a very thin wall and large surface area. This has promise for making desalinization a lot cheaper as well.

Fuel cells can work with a variety of hydrocarbons, but that brings back the problem of getting more hydrocarbon fuel. Biofuels are one possibility, but there is also some research on using sunlight with a catalyst to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into fuel. Plants do it, so it seems possible that another mechanism might work.

I don't have a problem with government funding some long term research. What's bad is when government picks a winner. Ethanol from corn was a bad idea, for example.
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
6/26/2012 5:21:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 6/26/2012 1:13:52 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
Breakthroughs in fuel cells and batteries probably will come from applying newly developed technologies to the problems. Nanotechnology is the current hot item. Tiny tube structures can withstand a lot force while maintaining a very thin wall and large surface area. This has promise for making desalinization a lot cheaper as well.

Fuel cells can work with a variety of hydrocarbons, but that brings back the problem of getting more hydrocarbon fuel. Biofuels are one possibility, but there is also some research on using sunlight with a catalyst to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into fuel. Plants do it, so it seems possible that another mechanism might work.

I don't have a problem with government funding some long term research. What's bad is when government picks a winner. Ethanol from corn was a bad idea, for example.

The program I worked on was nanostructured materials for H2 storage.