Articles tagged with "resources"
The Oil Drum staff wishes a Happy New Year to all in our readership community. We are on a brief hiatus during this period, and will be back with our regular publications early in the new year. In the meantime, we present the top ten of best read Oil Drum posts in 2012. The tenth in this series is a post by Robert Rapier discussing the various types of oil, to explain why US unconventional oil is incomparable to Saudi Arabian crude oil resources.
The Difference Between Oil Shale and Oil-Bearing Shale
People are often confused about the overall extent of U.S. oil reserves. Some claim that the U.S. has hundreds of billions or even trillions of barrels of oil waiting to be produced if bureaucrats will simply stop blocking development. In fact, in a recent debate between Republican candidates contending for Gabrielle Giffords' recently vacated House seat, one candidate declared "We have more oil in this country than in Saudi Arabia." So, I thought it might be a good idea to elaborate a bit on U.S. oil resources.
Oil production has been increasing in the U.S. for the past few years, primarily driven by expanding production from the Bakken Shale Formation in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas. The oil that is being produced from these shale formations is sometimes improperly referred to as shale oil. But when some people speak of hundreds of billions or trillions of barrels of U.S. oil, they are most likely talking about the oil shale in the Green River Formation in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Since the shale in North Dakota and Texas is producing oil, some have assumed that the Green River Formation and its roughly 2 trillion barrels of oil resources will be developed next because they think it is a similar type of resource. But it is not.
This is a guest post by Tom Murphy. Tom Murphy is an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. This post originally appeared on Tom's blog Do the Math.
We humans owe much of our success to our ability to recognize patterns and extrapolate trends to anticipate a future state. My cats, on the other hand, will watch a tossed toy mouse travel toward them across the room—getting ever-bigger—all the way until it smacks them between the eyes (no, they’re not strapped down—I’m not that sort of scientist). But far beyond an ability to avoid projectiles, our ancestors were able to perceive and react to changes in local food and water supplies, herd movements, seasonal cues, etc. Yet this fine tool can be over-used, and I see a lot of what I call ruthless extrapolation. In almost every case, extrapolation works until it doesn’t. When the fundamental rules of the game change, watch out!
As with many aspects of human behavior, some of the finest commentary on the matter is served up by The Simpsons. In one episode, Lisa Simpson is taken to the orthodontist to evaluate whether or not she needs braces. The “doctor” runs a simulation based on current growth rates, producing an alarming graphic of teeth gone wild.
Marge shrieks and is ready to do whatever it takes to protect her daughter against this cruel fate. Extrapolation can, of course, be used to argue both for impending doom or future prosperity—sometimes based on the same data. I started this blog with an extrapolative foil to demonstrate the insanity of continued physical growth, in fact. A tangential follow-up illustrated the hopelessness of differentiating a steady-state energy future from an energy crash using current data (although a continued exponential rise is already a poor fit).
Posted by Rembrandt on February 10, 2012 - 2:08pm
Topic: Alternative energy
Tags: bio energy, energy scale, energy storage, fission, fusion, geothermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, oceanic-energy, otec, resources, solar power, tidal, wave-energy, wind [list all tags]
This is a guest post by Tom Murphy. Tom is an associate professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. This post originally appeared on Tom's blog Do the Math.
Breathe, Neo. I’ve been running a marathon lately to cover all the major players that may provide viable alternatives to fossil fuels this century. Even though I have not exhausted all possibilities, or covered each topic exhaustively, I am exhausted. So in this post, I will provide a recap of all the schemes discussed thus far, in matrix form. Then Do the Math will shift its focus to more of the “what next” part of the message.
The primary “mission” of late has been to sort possible future energy resources into boxes labeled “abundant,” “potent” (able to support something like a quarter of our present demand if fully developed), and “niche,” which is a polite way to say puny. In the process, I have clarified in my mind that a significant contributor to my concerns about future energy scarcity is not the simple quantitative scorecard. After all, if it were that easy, we’d be rocking along with a collective consensus about our path forward. Some comments have asked: “If we forget about trying to meet our total demand with one source, could we meet our demand if we add them all up?” Absolutely. In fact, the abundant sources technically need no other complement. So on the abundance score alone, we’re done at solar, for instance. But it’s not that simple, unfortunately. While the quantitative abundance of a resource is key, many other practical concerns enter the fray when trying to anticipate long-term prospects and challenges—usually making up the bulk of the words in prior posts.
For example, it does not much matter that Titan has enormous pools of methane unprotected by any army (that we know of!). The gigantic scale of this resource makes our Earthly fossil fuel allocation a mere speck. But so what? Practical considerations mean we will never grab this energy store. Likewise, some of our terrestrial sources of energy are super-abundant, but just a pain in the butt to access or put to practical use.
In this post, we will summarize the ins and outs of the various prospects. Interpretation will come later. For now, let’s just wrap it all up together.
It is clear there are limits to the pollution a given ecosystem can absorb, the level of resources that can be depleted, and debt that can be incurred. Despite concerns of many about these limits we are far from tackling any of these problems on a meaningful scale. The question is why this is the case and if we (the Human Race) have the knowledge and capability to live within such limits on Planet Earth?
In this post, different modeling approaches to gain insights into sustainability will be discussed. We hope that readers will contribute their thinking of what a sustainable ecosystem would look like, and how to map the road towards it. One of the parts of this post is the initial outline of a project to model a human ecosystem from cradle to grave. This project will be carried out by the Institute for Integrated Economic Research (IIER), an institute in which Nate Hagens and myself are involved. Also IIER is looking for individuals to participate in this project, and encourages anyone with a passion for working on resources and energy consumption to take a look at our job advert and contact us via recruiting at iier dot ch.
This is a guest post from Dolores García, an independent researcher based in Brighton, UK.
Recently Jorgen Randers (best known for being one of the co-authors of The Limits to Growth, 1972) asked me to do some modelling work on the World3-Energy model, an updated version of the classic World3 computer model that was used in The Limits to Growth that includes a much larger amount of information about energy. He’d like to use it for the next book that he intends to publish sometime in 2012.
I have published on The Oil Drum before the details of World3-Energy (a dynamic systems model), can be found in:
And a few answers to reader’s questions can be found here:
Part of the work I’m doing for Jorgen Randers is comparing the results of World3-Energy with IEA’s results. I thought the readers of The Oil Drum would be interested in this.
"Dirt" (2008) by David Montgomery deals with the relation between soil erosion and civilization collapse. It is neither the first nor the only book that examines this subject. It is, however, written by a soil scientist, and it brings to a deeper level the understanding of how soil disappears and how this affects agriculture and, in turn, society.
Below the fold is a proposal written by Chris Clugston relating to developing a better analysis of our non-renewable resources, that he would like our assistance on, in three ways:
- Finding an organization that would be willing to conduct such a study.
- Finding organizations that would be willing to fund such a study.
- Providing feedback on the proposal itself. Should it be modified in any way?
Today, we are featuring two different posts on closely related topics. (1) This post, which relates to a proposal for an analysis which would cover a wide range of minerals, and (2) A report by Rembrandt about a group in Europe which seems to be doing at least some things fairly closely related to what Chris is discussing in his proposal, but probably on a more limited basis.
Posted by Rembrandt on November 7, 2009 - 10:15am
Tags: bubble, credit crunch, deflation, economy, energy, financial crisis, housing bubble, limits to growth, resources [list all tags]
When I published the results on The Oil Drum of my New World Model, based on World3 (the “Limits to Growth” model) – see here, many of the questions and issues that people had were around EROEI. So I’m writing this article to clarify how the model uses EROEI and the results in some alternative scenarios where EROEI is changed in different ways.
Total energy production and industrial output in the New World Model.
Posted by Chris Vernon on April 3, 2009 - 10:18am in The Oil Drum: Europe
Tags: climate change, energy, limits to growth, modeling, population, resources [list all tags]
Abstract: An updated systems model of global climate, resources, and energy extending the original World3 (“Limits to Growth”) model by inclusion of climate change and it's interaction with resources and energy. Outcomes are derived for total energy resources, human population, nutrition, consumption, economic activity and other parameters. Long-term outcomes are derived for a 1900 C.E. to 2100 C.E. time sequence, with human population decline.