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What happens when the oil runs out?

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What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Neon Knight on Wed 23 May - 23:42

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/What-Happens-When-the-Oil-Runs-Out.html Selected quotes:

The world supply of crude oil isn’t going to run out any time soon, and we will be producing oil for decades to come. However, what we won’t be doing is producing crude oil – petroleum – at the present rate of around 30 billion barrels per year. For a global civilization that is based almost entirely on a plentiful supply of cheap, crude oil, this is going to present some considerable challenges. If we look over a 40 year period, from 1965 to 2005, we see that by the end of it, humanity was using two and a half times as much oil, twice as much coal and three times as much natural gas, as at the start, and overall, around three times as much energy: this for a population that had “only” doubled. Hence our individual average carbon footprint had increased substantially – not, of course, that this increase in the use of energy, and all else, was by any means equally distributed across the globe.

From the latest document that I can find – the B.P. Statistical Review – we see that the majority form of energy used by humans on earth is crude oil, accounting for 33% of our total, closely followed by coal at 30%: a figure that is rapidly catching up with oil, as coal is the principal and increasing source of energy in developing nations such as China and India. Natural gas follows in a close third place, at 24%; nuclear and hydroelectric power at 5-6% each; and the tiny fraction of our overall energy that comes from “renewables”, is just 1.6%. Thus, we are dependent on the fossil fuels for 87% of our energy. Now, such a comparison is almost misleading and naïve, because it tacitly presumes that if our oil supply becomes compromised, we can make a simple substitution for it using some other energy source.

However, this is not so readily done in practice, because oil is a particular and unique substance, having both a high energy content, and that it is readily refined into liquid fuels – effectively by distillation – to provide the petrol and diesel that runs practically all of the world’s transportation. Moreover, everything we depend upon - literally everything: food, materials, clothes, computers, mobile phones, pharmaceuticals etc. – for our daily existence is underpinned by a plentiful supply of cheap crude oil. So, the loss of this provision is going to have a profound, and shattering effect on human civilization . . .

Of greatest concern is how much oil is remaining. As noted, we currently use 30 billion barrels a year – 84 million barrels a day, or a thousand barrels every second . . .

So, it’s not just that we have got through much of our original bestowal of oil, but that what remains is of poorer quality – in other words, we have used-up most of the “good stuff”! Oil shale is not oil at all, but contains a material called “kerogen” which is a solid and needs to be heated to five hundred degrees Centigrade to break it down into a liquid form that in any way resembles what we normally think of as “oil”. So, when it is claimed that there are “three trillion barrels” of oil under America, really this is only to encourage voters and investors, because the actual Energy return on Energy Invested (EROEI) is so poor that there has been no serious commercial exploitation of oil shale to date, and probably there never will be.

Not only are we entirely dependent on crude oil for all our fuel and materials, but without cheap crude oil, and natural gas to make nitrogen fertilizers, we could grow no food . . .

Even if we could solve all our energy problems, we are consuming the living and fragile portion of the earth’s surface that is our soil, and upon which we are utterly dependent to grow any food at all. We have “lost” around one third of our soil in the past half century - much of this through unsound and unsustainable agricultural practices - which does not bode well for the survival of a burgeoning human population. Another feature is that this land was once rain forest, which has been cleared to use the land for farming . . .

Analyses made by both the International Energy Administration (IEA; effectively part of the U.S. Department of Energy) and its counterpart organisation, the Paris-based Energy Information Agency (EIA), concur that we will have lost around half our production of conventional crude oil by 2030. This is equivalent to four times the present output of Saudi Arabia, and it seems highly unlikely that this gap in supply can be filled from unconventional sources. Since we are entirely dependent on crude oil to fuel the world’s transportation, and looking at the amount of oil we are likely to be left with, we may conclude that it will be necessary to curb transportation by about 70% over the next 20 years.

This means the loss mainly of personalized transport and it is unfeasible that there will be 34 million electric cars in the U.K. (the current number of oil-fuelled cars) any time soon, and in reality, never. The only sensible means to move people around using electric power is by light rail and tramways, i.e. mass-transit systems.

If we can’t address the problem from the supply side we have to curb our demand. In the absence of cheap and widely accessible transport we will need to produce far more of our food and materials at the local level. Such a metamorphosis of human civilization from the global to the local, will be underpinned by building strong, resilient communities in which people share their skills and knowledge, to provide as much as possible at the local, grass-roots level. This is the underpinning philosophy of the growing network of Transition Towns. Frightening though all of this is, we may evolve into a happier and more fulfilling state of living than a perceived status quo, that in truth is all too rapidly running through our fingers.

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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post OsricPearl on Thu 24 May - 18:45

I think when the Oil runs out, we'll have to adapt to a new way of living. It will probably be a gradual adaptation instead of a full-blown collapse.
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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Jehan I on Fri 25 May - 17:59

war.
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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Neon Knight on Fri 25 May - 18:04

I didn't know nuclear processing supplied such a small % of our energy (very high in France though). I'll go along with OsricPearl's prediction. Maybe we'll end up with a lifestyle something like it was in 1960 but with a few hi-tech gadgets. Will the internet survive? I think population sizes everywhere will fall.

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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Jehan I on Fri 25 May - 22:48

As a french I might see the situation with different eyes.
When oil will stop millions of algerians will run in europe to find a situation their countries cannot afford.
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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Neon Knight on Fri 25 May - 23:42

@Jehan I wrote:As a french I might see the situation with different eyes.
When oil will stop millions of algerians will run in europe to find a situation their countries cannot afford.
I'm assuming that mass immigration will be stopped and borders secured within 10 years. The migration pressure from Africa and West Asia will probably increase due to water shortages and civil wars. I think, eventually, Italy and Spain will be sinking boats and ships to stop it.

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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Sary on Sat 26 May - 3:44

I wonder how many untapped oil reserves lay in third world countries.


Maybe if the wealthier countries would reach out and teach the underdeveloped countries to utilize their natural resources instead of dictating how they should be used , they would be able to pull themselves out of the third world?
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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Jehan I on Sat 26 May - 9:09

@Neon Knight wrote:
@Jehan I wrote:As a french I might see the situation with different eyes.
When oil will stop millions of algerians will run in europe to find a situation their countries cannot afford.
I'm assuming that mass immigration will be stopped and borders secured within 10 years. The migration pressure from Africa and West Asia will probably increase due to water shortages and civil wars. I think, eventually, Italy and Spain will be sinking boats and ships to stop it.

I hope for this plan, but I don't beleive it will be like this.
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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Neon Knight on Sun 27 May - 11:02

@Sary wrote:I wonder how many untapped oil reserves lay in third world countries.

Maybe if the wealthier countries would reach out and teach the underdeveloped countries to utilize their natural resources instead of dictating how they should be used , they would be able to pull themselves out of the third world?
There's some info. here on that: http://foreignpolicy.com/2008/12/01/the-list-the-worlds-largest-untapped-oil-fields/

No mention of Africa Neutral

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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Sary on Sun 27 May - 18:49

@Neon Knight wrote:
@Sary wrote:I wonder how many untapped oil reserves lay in third world countries.

Maybe if the wealthier countries would reach out and teach the underdeveloped countries to utilize their natural resources instead of dictating how they should be used , they would be able to pull themselves out of the third world?
There's some info. here on that: http://foreignpolicy.com/2008/12/01/the-list-the-worlds-largest-untapped-oil-fields/

No mention of Africa Neutral


I never realized the investment that is needed to set up oil drilling and all of the obstacles involved in accessing it. There is still a lot of oil and natural gas in the earth, it is just a matter of being able to get at it. Here in the USA the newer cars all use synthetic oil. There is always new technology, new alternatives being discovered. I don't envision a return to the dark ages.

Africa has plenty of other natural resources besides oil. They have uranium that could be used for nuclear power. If the countries of Africa stop fighting amongst themselves and come together somehow ,they could end the poverty and hardships that go along with living in a third world country. Maybe then the population will stabilize and immigration will decrease. It will probably never happen, it is a continent with many problems.


I hope that the day will never come when first world countries are sinking ships that are filled will civilians , that would be a very dark day for mankind.
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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

Post Neon Knight on Sun 27 May - 22:44

@Sary wrote:I hope that the day will never come when first world countries are sinking ships that are filled will civilians , that would be a very dark day for mankind.

This is probably why we need more women in politics - they are less likely to think of aggression as the first way to solve a problem Smile 1

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Re: What happens when the oil runs out?

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