Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Peaked?

I stumbled across this blog-post recently and thought it worth reporting. I want to verify and validate more completely, but the preliminary review of its original sources and some other comments in other places since it came out support the position.

Simply stated, it appears OPEC peaked in production of sweet light crude in 2004. And nobody is picking up the slack.

As L-, er, Hydrajax reminded me in comments to another post, the casual assumption that it just means more difficult extractions are made economically viable is a potentially false path -- dollars is one thing, but energy spent getting the stuff from source to market better be less than the energy brought to the market or it's a loser's game. I know that processing of sour heavy crude is more difficult (read, more energy intensive per output) than processing of sweet light is, but I don't know where the break point might be. Oh - except I stumbled across a report from the EIA (sorry, no link) that among other things differentiated between refineries for sweet/light and sour/heavy -- the desulfering (among other things) requires additional equipment and a modified process that's a waste at the plant for the good stuff. And not all our refineries (which barely exceed our demand - when operating at full) are set up for the sour heavy stuff. Again, more details are needed, and I'll be checking it out over the next few days.

But the initial thought is that we're on the downside, just don't know it yet.

Oh - the source plus a couple of other places tend to agree that the clear demarcation point is going to be 2007-2008. That is, that's when it's going to be obvious just like the US peak in 1970 was obvious in 1971. Again, some of the Peak Oil stuff feels overly apocalyptic, so I'm automatically inclined to take it with a grain of salt. But not toss it out the window.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Prince Hydrajak said...

Glad to have you on board.

(you can use my 1st name, just not my last as I still need to be "google clean"... and being known as that loonie who thinks life as we know it is going to end soon is not condusive to getting a job)

5/03/2006 12:44 PM  

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