By now the concept of peak oil seems almost like an anachronism. There’s a long succession of predictions that we’d be out by now. There are claims by net zero types that oil companies are in danger of being stuck with stranded assets. Over the last two decades, there’s been a huge expansion of oil and gas from shale fracking in the US. This expansion has been enthusiastically tracked in a huge number of posts at WUWT by geophysicist David Middleton. Still there is some concern sometimes expressed on sceptic blogs about the limits of the shale revolution. Fernando Leanme is an engineer and blogger who comments a lot about politics and energy and has expressed concerns about the shale boom. He is a prominent critic of the RCP 8.5 scenario which in itself might be called a peak oil argument. There’s also Rud Istvan who’s very technically savey on energy and has written a couple of e-books that discuss the limits of oil and gas: Gaia’s Limits and Blowing Smoke: Essays on Energy and Climate.
The Decouple podcast just had Leigh Goehring of the commodities firm Goehring and Rozencwajg as a guest to talk about the end of the US shale expansion. He was also a guest on Decouple a year ago with the theme a Shortage of Everything. Both interviews have full transcripts.
His themes sort of harken back to those of a gold bug in the 70s (he even recommends owning some gold), but his scary scenarios are very well argued. I’ll list some points I found interesting in no particular order (there’s transcripts you can search):
- He claims all the US shales have peaked except for the Permian which he expects to peak soon. David Middleton appears to be still bullish.
- Goehring and Rozencwajg have a neural network model that says increases in US shale productivity have been due more to drilling in top tier sites rather than improved techniques.
- As non-OPEC production declines, OPEC will have means to control price.
- He says peak world demand is matching peak world supply for the first time in history.
- He says shales have to have certain characteristics to be exploitable. Large promising shales in Argentina, Columbia and Russia have political problems.
- The price drops in wind, solar and batteries can in large part be attributed to an era of cheap energy and capital which is ending.
- He calls the Inflation Reduction Act perhaps the largest malinvestment of capital in history.
- He claims EVs will never be competitive with ICE, because one of the key ingredients for EVs is energy.
- He is very pro nuclear energy and says the closing of Indian Point is the dumbest thing that could be done.
- He claims a large investor in Nebraska was lobbying for Diablo Canyon to be shut down so that he could sell coal fired electricity to California.
- He points out that Germany illustrates what happens when gas spikes. People move back to coal and wood.
- He says everyone should see the movie Planet of the Humans.
Make what you will of all this. I’ve lately been thinking that this shale gas bounty has been squandered on propping up wind and solar. There’s a couple of pictures I like to use on Twitter to show how California gets half of its electricity from gas and it appears to be slowly increasing:
Those are very helpful bullet points Mike, for those who do not find time to watch the videos.
(Looks at diary and wonders.)
Thanks a lot.
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Articles like the above question what the public has been told vs the truth of what is going on. Could this push to green energy really be a way to prevent the public from learning the truth? That being that “peak production of oil and gas” is another LIE the public is being told to prevent certain groups from losing their control. Do you find it funny that while America and Europe are cutting back, Russia could be said to have too much oil and gas? What if you learned that what you pay over 4 dollars ( in the us) is as common as grains of sand on a beach?
This article was just last year
It shows yet another lie the public being told that with time proves that the lie is indeed a lie and what was said to be a lie turns out to be correct.
And just for a side line, look up “terrain theory”
One side is you can do nothing about this problem. The other is you control the problem and thus you are the solution. And for any green energy people here this abiotic process uses carbon dioxide.
I would like Alan K’s views on the shale gas side of this piece, since it’s up Alan’s street.
Thanks for the summary, and the perspective from the other side of the Pond.
Mark. I was dreading someone asking my opinion about peak oil. When I incorporated material on this subject in my teaching I worried about experiencing oil shortages in my later life and so was concerned about the topic. Since retiring I have not concerned myself with peak oil, arguing that, even if it is likely to be relatively soon, l am still unlikely to see any of it.
Is peak oil likely to happen eventually? My view has always been that it will happen. We cannot keep finding new oil to replace that we have already produced and used. To my knowledge we have not found a replacement North Sea to offset the production from our one and only North Sea and this situation has been happening world-wide. The Earth has largely been explored.
Nevertheless the spare capacity in the world petroleum system (oil+natural gas) seems to have been demonstrated when Germany stopped importing Russian natural gas and, within months, found alternative supplies ( although this could reduce overall world supplies). Each year the less-developed world uses more and more hydrocarbons.
It is surprising that Peak Oil doesn’t figure more in discussions between skeptics and climate worriers (or perhaps I have deliberately avoided them).
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Germany just announced it will build 30 new gas fired power plants:
Mike, I haven’t found hard confirmation of that claim, but it wouldn’t surprise me. This report is almost 18 months old:
“Germany needs 20-30 GW of new gas plants to ensure supply security – RWE CEO”
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Mark, I’m just repeating what Robert Bryce says in his video. He may have over-embellished.
Mark, This report (also from Clean Energy Wire) from March 9 says they’re going to have auctions for 25 GW of gas capacity:
We’ll see if this video becomes known as Brycegate. He has lots of wind supporting enemies because of his wind and solar farm rejection database. They’re really looking for him to slip up. Anyway, thanks for the diligent checking.
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Thanks Mike. Here’s a snippet that struck home for me (slightly edited for a mistake or two by the excellent transcriber):
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Jit, this point is made over and over again at the excellent substance @miningatoms. I recommend everyone subscribe to it.
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Ralph Schoellhammer at Spiked linked to this podcast in his latest (somewhat overoptimistic) piece. It is actually surprising that Decouple has such a small audience, because it is quite good. But the small audience also makes it somewhat surprising that it is on Schoellhammer’s reading/listening list. Maybe he’s a Cliscep reader…
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