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Peak oil
Transition Training 2007
Peak oil- What is it?
• Peak oil is the point at which we can no longer increase the amount of
crude oil we extract and globally petroleum production goes into irreversible
decline.
• This typically happens when an oil province has extracted roughly ½ of all
the oil that is ever going to be extracted from that province - it is not when
the oil runs out.
• This slide illustrates why the sum total of a collection of oil fields in a region
when added together creates a peak at about the half way point in
production
Typical Oil Well
Transition Training 2007
Peak oil- What is it?
How an oil well works
•
•
•
Initially the oil is under pressure and when you drill into the oil bearing rock, the
pressure drives the oil out of the stone and upwards to the surface.
You can drill several wells into the same field, increasing output from that field
After a time the pressure begins to fall so production falls. To get the last
recoverable oil out water or gas is pumped into the field
Two typical oil fields
Forties field UK sector
North Sea
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Ann. Prod. Gb
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Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
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Peak oil- What is it?
Oil field production
•
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These two large oil fields illustrate the basic dynamics of oil production:
A steep initial increase, a production plateau and then a slow but irreversible
decline.
•
Once the peak is past there are many techniques and technologies that can
brought to maximise the declining output, but it is a losing battle and production will
never return to it former levels.
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Transition Training 2007
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Oil production
follows
discovery
USA
Peak oil What is it?
Oil production follows discovery
•
•
•
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Oil production peak follows oil discovery peak, usually 25-40 years later.
This is the time it takes to get production going after the initial finding.
In country after country and oil province after oil province the pattern is
broadly the same – four examples are shown of countries that have
peaked.
Globally we are now discovering 1 barrel of oil for every 5 or 6 that we use.
UK production profile
Transition Training 2007
When will it happen?
UK Oil production profile
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•
•
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This is the pattern in the UK, showing oil production from the North Sea.
Each coloured band shows a different oil field
Britain’s production peaked in about 2000 and is now in steep decline.
Britain’s oil and gas will be virtually gone in 15 years.
Global oil discovery and production
Transition Training 2007
When will it happen?
Global oil discovery, production, and demand
•
•
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To produce oil you first have to discover it. World discovery peaked in the late 1960’s
and has been falling ever since, and despite rapidly improving and sophisticated,
technology, there is no prospect of it ever increasing.
At the same time production has been rapidly rising.
Demand is projected to go on rising, (with production failing to keep up), especially in
rapidly industrialising countries like China and India, and is leading to rapidly rising oil
prices.
When is the global oil peak?
Transition Training 2007
When will it happen?
When will global oil production peak?
•
•
•
The argument is when will we peak, not whether. This graph shows various
predictions of the global oil peak. They cluster around 2010, with a few optimistic
analysts, predicting a peak many years in the future.
Dr James R. Schlesinger, former US Energy Secretary
stated in 2007, “You (peak oilists) are no longer the beleaguered small minority of
voices crying in the wilderness. You are now main stream.”
The predictions are from government bodies like the International Energy Agency,
oil companies like BP, and independent researchers like Chris Skrebowski.
Oil producers (98)
Post peak oil producers (64)
www.lastoilshock.com
Transition Training 2007
When will it happen?
Of the 98 producers 64 countries have already peaked
•
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There are 98 countries in the word that produce oil, some large some
small.
The countries in red are the countries that are now ‘post peak’.
Their oil production is now in decline and nothing they can do will ever
reverse that.
Of 98 producers 64 have already peaked. Anyone who tries to tell you that
peak oil is a myth should look at one of these countries- not one has ever
failed to follow the ‘Hubbert’s peak’ and then decline
Exports from oil producers
Transition Training 2007
When will it happen?
Exports from oil exporting nations
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Oil exporting nations are using their oil for their own internal consumption at an ever
increasing rate.
Oil is often very cheap, like in Saudi Arabia, 30p per gallon, so there is no incentive to
conserve.
As their economies are booming, and their population is also growing rapidly, this
means they have less oil to export.
Oil export peaked in 2005, and after a short plateau, is declining rapidly. This is very
bad news for countries like the USA which need to import 16 million barrels of oil a day.
80:20 rule
The world’s giant oilfields are in steep decline
Transition Training 2007
When will it happen?
80:20 rule – decline of the giant oil fields
•
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The 80:20 rule is that 80% of your result comes from the first 20% of your effort
– with diminishing returns after that
In oil terms we find the easy to find and produce oil first - the largest oil fields.
50% of global oil is produced by the 120 largest oil fields in the world (out of
over 4000 fields)
This graph shows that discovery of giant oil fields peaked in the late 1960’s.
Now we find very few giant (greater than 1 billion barrels) oil fields, and that rate
of discovery is declining.
WHERE WE GET OUR ENERGY
Source: ExxonMobile web site
Why is oil so important?
It is frightening how dependent we are on fossil fuels. We have only begun the
move away from fossil fuel energy.
Even if we were to double the amount of energy we get from renewables, and
then double it, and then double again, which would be a heroic achievement, it
would still only create 3% of energy requirements.
If peak oil was imminent, what would
be the Canary in the Coal mine?
Transition training 2008
When will it happen?
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Light sweet crude peaks first.
The worlds largest oil fields peak and decline
Countries start to decline.
Oil price increases rapidly, and then maybe crashes, erratic behaviour.
Exports from oil producers peaks
Oil producer countries take control of their resources.
•
.......all this has happened, and has accelerated, in the last 5 years
Why is oil so important?
How many men does it take to push a car?
Transition Training 2007
Why is it so important?
The phenomenal energy in petrol
•
•
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A tank of petrol contains 8,000 human hours work!
If you worked for 8 hrs/day, 52 weeks a year, 7 days a week that equates to about
3 years’ work.
Most of us take for granted the amount of energy we have at our disposal instantly,
everyday. No human society had anything near the amount of energy before the
discovery of fossil fuels.
What do we use oil for?
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Transition Training 2007
Why is oil so important?
What do we use oil for?
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Our entire way of life, and a bewildering array products are reliant on oil.
Transport is only the beginning of our oil use.
Many products are derived from, or use oil or gas as their raw material. Plastics,
synthetic fibres, drugs, laminates, paints, ink… the list is endless
The so called ‘Green revolution’ , modern agriculture depends on oil. Fertilisers
and pesticides are made from oil and natural gas, tractors and machinery use it,
irrigation requires huge amounts of energy and this is before food miles,
processing, and storing, cooking, and packaging and retailing are taken into
account.
Industry and even the service sector use huge amounts of energy.
No country has yet decoupled economic
growth from energy use
Transition Training 2007
Why is oil so important?
•
•
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Economic growth requires growth in our energy supply.
We have an economic system that is dependent on growth.
Therefore we are dependent on increasing supplies of energy.
All forecasts of economic growth also show rising energy demand.
When peak oil arrives we will have less total energy so economic growth
will slow and probably decline, perhaps permanently
The carbon cycle
The atmosphere
holds about 750
GtC
Dead Organisms
Oceans 40,000 GtC
Fossil
CO2
Transition Training 2007
Vegetation about
600 GtC
Soils 1600 GtC
1
The active carbon cycle
• The carbon dioxide cycle is a natural one ,and one that has been in dynamic balance and undergone
many fluctuations and cycles over millions of years.
• There is a balance between the seas and the land and the atmosphere. Carbon is locked up in the
seas in plankton and other marine life, and dissolved in the water. Carbon is also locked up in plant
matter on the earth (active carbon cycle), and in fossil deposits (inactive carbon cycle) of oil, natural
gas, and coal.
• The destabilising factor in the carbon cycle is that we have taken the locked up (inactive) carbon from
fossil fuels and put that carbon in the atmosphere. The land and the sea carbon sinks are unable to
absorb this excess carbon.
What is climate change?
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Define Climate Change
The term "climate change" is sometimes used to refer to all forms of climatic inconsistency,
but because the Earth's climate is never static, the term is more properly used to
imply a significant change from one climatic condition to another.
What is causing Climate change or Global Warming?
Rising human made CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.
It this a theory?
Yes
Why?
Because it is trying to establish two ‘cause and effects’. Firstly that CO2 is the cause of global
warming and secondly that humans are causing it through the burning of fossil fuels.
Is it proven?
Transition Training 2007
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Have both ‘cause and effects’ been ‘proven’? Is the earth warming, and are humans
causing it?
Main Point
•
Yes, as much as a scientific theory can be proven. It It has been confirmed by the International Panel for
Climate Change is a worldwide group of scientists who have reviewed all available scientific research.
Detail
The 4th IPCC report published in 2007 states,
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“ 1-Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.
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2-Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely
(confidence level >90%) due to the observed increase in human greenhouse gas concentrations.”
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This is scientific ‘speak’ for yes!
This United Nations study, which was just awarded the 2007 Nobel peace prize, was the most comprehensive
study of peer reviewed climate research ever undertaken, and one of the most comprehensive studies of any
scientific question ever. Its conclusions are that there is no more debate, the science is clear. The only
question is how fast can we act to create real reductions in atmospheric CO2.
What are the main problems
with out of control CC?
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What are the main problems with out of control CC?
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•
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Main Points
Severe ‘one in a hundred year’ weather events becoming common
Sea level rises, leading to increasing land loss and cc refugees
Species loss
Additional Points
• Increased droughts/desertification. This slide is of the Australian Murray River system, which
has faced an extreme multi year drought. The government has had to take the decision to
allocate whatever water there is to the cities rather than allow farmers to irrigate their crops.
This has lead to a decrease in the Australian wheat harvest of 35% this year. Australia is one
of the bread baskets of the world.
• Increased floods- like this year in the UK.
• Acidic seas
• Species loss due to temperature zones migrating @ the rate of 2km/yr. This will accelerate
species loss due to habitat loss, as many species of plants and animals will be unable to
migrate with the temperature. We face a potential of 50% or more loss of life on earth. We
are depended on the web of life for our survival.
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CO2 levels over the past 60000 years
381 ppm
2006
Ron Oxburgh
Transition Training 2007
The natural carbon cycle and human effects
Main points
• This shows the ice core data measuring atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last
60,000 years. As you can see CO2 levels have risen and fallen. To keep the climate from
warming more than 2 degrees C we would have to keep CO2 concentration to below 450ppm
• They are currently at 380ppm without counting the other GHG which are Methane, nitrous
oxide, CFCs.
Additional Points
•
The last ice age ended 20,000 years ago and lead to a rise in CO2, and if we went back a
few 100,000 years we would see this pattern of rise and fall. What happens next (in red)
shows the result of a new agricultural system, and human population increase, and then the
green shows the beginning of the industrial era and the burning of fossil fuels. The orange is
the 20th & 21st century.
The need for an urgent response
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The need for an urgent response
• Once global temperatures rise to certain levels positive feedback loops will cause further
releases of greenhouse gases, leading to runaway climate change
• On the best evidence we need to keep temperature rises to less than 2* C.
• Emissions already made have not yet had their full impact – so we are perilously close to
reaching this even if we reduce emissions dramatically now.
Positive Feedback loops
• For example if the arctic tundra melts it will emit so much methane, a powerful green
house gas, that it will dwarf human CO2 emissions.
7
Responses to Peak Oil & Climate Change
PEAK OIL
PO+CC=
Systems Re-think
• Burn everything!
relaxed drilling
regulations
biofuels
tar sands and nonconventional oils
• Resource
nationalism
• Resource Wars
• Planned Relocalisation
• Energy Descent
Pathways
• Local Resilience
CLIMATE CHANGE
• Climate engineering
• Carbon capture and
storage
• International
emissions trading
• Climate adaptation
• Nuclear power
Response to PO and CC
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Looking at peak oil alone you look for replacements – tar sands, remote fields such
as the antarctic, bio fuels, coal to liquids.
If we don’t reduce oil dependency in rich countries there will inevitably be either
climate disaster from replacements or resource wars.
Looking at climate change alone you may look for energy intensive solutions to
mitigate climate change, including nuclear.
When PO and CC are taken together you have to redesign the system – a low
energy, re-localised and resilient system is the only viable future.