Peak Oil and Climate Change


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Documentation provided at the "Training for Transition" course in Totnes, September 2009.

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  • '8,000 human hours work!' hi i'm writing an article and i love this stat, i think it has a really high impact, but i don't understand human hours work - work doing what? what is the reference for calculating the energy of a human work hour? eg what kind of work? can you send me a reference? thanks missgurney at gmaildotcom
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  • Additional points The oil is contained in porous rocks with the oil occupying the spaces within the rock. There is typically a trap or cap rock that is non porous that keeps the oil in a pocket containing the oil. The total recoverable oil from a field may be as low as 30% of the total oil in place.
  • Additional points: Britain’s Energy Crisis We are facing a crisis in energy ‘security of supply’, as we will be more less totally dependent on Russia for our gas by 2020, and oil from the Middle East. We are currently importing up to 20% of our gas from Norway, and by next year importing liquefied natural gas from Qatar. This over reliance on the middle East and Russia- which has shown its willingness to use its energy resources as a political weapon is very worrying- and our balance of payments is adversely effected.
  • This slide looks at the historical data and the likely projected supply demand and discovery. The key thing is rapid rise of demand coupled with decreasing supply, and ever lower discovery. Oil production has hit a plateau at around 85 million barrels per day for nearly two years with no signs of it increasing, despite the increased prices and more being spent on exploration.
  • 64/98 post peak, 60 in terminal decline. Some odd ones out – like Russia and a couple of the OPEC members – but 60 countries are in outright decline. - UK peaked 1999 – dropped well over 30% - Seems to be a new one every year – Mexico and Denmark just gone... - analyse the world in bigger blocs – OECD has been in decline since 1997, and universally agreed that oil production in the entire world bar OPEC will peak in 2010-ish - not just peak oil forecasters believe this - also International Energy Agency, US govt, other oil companies, major international oil consultancies – all agree non-OPEC peak early in the next decade. Russia, USA, Iran, Mexico, Norway, Libya, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Oman, Egypt, Argentina, Columbia, Australia, Syria, Yemen, Denmark, Gabon, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Romania, Trinidad & Tobago, Peru, Uzbekistan, Cameroon, Bahrain, Germany, Belarus, Israel, Papua New Guinea, Tunisia, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Cuba, Austria, France, Pakistan, Hungary, Georgia, New Zealand, Spain, Chile, South Africa, Poland, Myanmar, Congo (Kinshasa), Greece, Serbia & Montenegro, Senegal, Japan, Bulgaria, Surinam, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Benin, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Ghana, Barbados, Slovakia, Morocco.
  • Another factor is also coming into play, and that is many of the major oil producers are dependent on very large oil fields for the majority of their production, and those fields were in most cases discovered many years ago, and are now beginning to decline. In the case of Mexico, their giant Canterell oil field, the second largest in the world, has entered rapid and production is collapsing. Mexico will go from being the USA’s second largest oil supplier to not exporting any oil at all, and then needing to import oil for its own needs with in the next 3 years.
  • Additional points We have extracted the highest quality oil first – because it is worth more and is easier to produce it gives the highest return on investment. Building oil infrastructure is very expensive. Producing from a large field is much more profitable than a small field. This is the economic factor behind the physical geological fact of declining production from declining discovery.
  • Source Exxon web site. Frightening how dependent we are on fossil fuels. One point many make is even is we were to double renewables, and then double and then double again, which would be a heroic achievement, it would still only represent 3% of energy requirements.
  • Additional points (If you imagine pushing a car 250 miles into a hurricane – at 70mph it would take a year for teams of 4 people to be constantly pushing the car to do the same work as one tank full) 95% of our transport is fuelled by oil. There is no replacement that is as convenient, high density, and safe.
  • In terms of devising mitigation actions, it’s important to look at Peak Oil and Climate Change together. If you look at them in isolation, you get one dimensional solutions. On the one hand, Peak Oil on its own might demand (as suggested by the Hirsch report for the US administration) all sorts of actions to maintain “business as usual” On the other hand, Climate Change can often prompt actions that address carbon emissions at a global scale (though nuclear power is questionable even if you focus purely on its carbon equation). So where does "peak oil" leave the Stern review? The intuitive answer is that running out of oil should at least be good for climate change, but the reverse could be true. A growing shortfall of global oil production is likely to send the crude price skywards, obliterating Stern’s grand bargain. The kind of long-term impacts attributed by Stern to climate change could arrive much sooner. With the economy reeling, it will be far harder to fund the expensive new energy infrastructure we need to combat climate change. And faced with the likely re-emergence of mass unemployment, the political priority may well shift from, say, maintaining a high price on carbon, to keeping the lights burning at lowest cost. True, recession would mean we would emit less CO2, but since we have to cut by at least 80+ percent by 2050 (or much sooner according the scientists looking at the effects of feedback mechanism), economic contraction is hardly the optimal way to achieve the target. He also seems to ignore limitations to the availability of uranium and the carbon costs of this “clean” fuel. He’s also working towards a CO2 concentration of 550ppm, whereas Hansen & the Tyndall Centre says we must keep it to 450ppm. However, when you bring them together, the imperative is to build local resilience, address the vulnerability of communities to disruptions in their supply lines and all aspects of national and international grids for energy, money, medicine and food, in particular. The Transition model focuses wholeheartedly on this middle ground. And to those who may think of this as a retrograde step – recovering a sense of neighbourhood is not a backward move.
  • Peak Oil and Climate Change

    1. 1. Peak oil Transition Training 2008
    2. 2. <ul><li>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. It is not when the oil runs out! </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul>Peak oil- What is it?
    3. 3. Typical Oil Well Transition Training 2008
    4. 4. Peak oil- What is it? How an oil well works <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>You can drill several wells into the same field, increasing output from that field </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul>
    5. 5. Forties field UK sector North Sea Prudhoe Bay, Alaska Two typical oil fields Transition Training 2008
    6. 6. <ul><li>These two large oil fields illustrate the basic dynamics of oil production from an oil field: </li></ul><ul><li>A steep initial increase, a production plateau and then a slow but irreversible decline. </li></ul><ul><li>Once the peak is past there are many techniques and technologies that can brought to maximise the declining output, but production will never return to it former levels. Once it peaks it peaks! </li></ul>Peak oil- What is it? Oil field production
    7. 7. USA Egypt Indonesia Russia Oil production follows discovery Transition Training 2008
    8. 8. Peak oil What is it? Oil production follows discovery <ul><li>Oil production peak follows oil discovery peak, usually 25-40 years later. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the time it takes to get production going after the initial finding. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Globally we are now discovering 1 barrel of oil for every 5 or 6 that we use. </li></ul>
    9. 9. UK production profile Transition Training 2008
    10. 10. When will it happen? UK Oil production profile <ul><li>This is the pattern in the UK, showing oil production from the North Sea. </li></ul><ul><li>Each coloured band shows a different oil field </li></ul><ul><li>Britain’s production peaked in 1999 and is now in steep decline. </li></ul><ul><li>Britain’s oil and gas will be virtually gone in 15 years. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Global oil discovery and production Transition Training 2008
    12. 12. <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time production has been rapidly rising. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>When will it happen? Global oil discovery, production, and demand
    13. 13. When is the global oil peak? Transition Training 2008
    14. 14. When will it happen? When will global oil production peak? <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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.” </li></ul><ul><li>The predictions are from government bodies like the International Energy Agency, oil companies like BP, and independent researchers like Chris Skrebowski. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Post peak oil producers (64) Transition Training 2008 Oil producers (98)
    16. 16. When will it happen? Of the 98 producers 64 countries have already peaked <ul><li>There are 98 countries in the word that produce oil, some large some small. </li></ul><ul><li>The countries in red are the countries that are now ‘post peak’. </li></ul><ul><li>Their oil production is now in decline and nothing they can do will ever reverse that. </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul>
    17. 17. Exports from oil producers Transition Training 2008
    18. 18. When will it happen? Exports from oil exporting nations <ul><li>Oil exporting nations are using their oil for their own internal consumption at an ever increasing rate. </li></ul><ul><li>Oil is often very cheap, like in Saudi Arabia, 30p per gallon, so there is no incentive to conserve. </li></ul><ul><li>As their economies are booming, and their population is also growing rapidly, this means they have less oil to export. </li></ul><ul><li>Global Oil exports peaked in 2005, and after a short plateau, is projected to decline rapidly. This is very bad news for the USA (and most of Europe) which need to import vast amounts of oil to keep their economies going. </li></ul>
    19. 19. 80:20 rule <ul><li>The world’s giant oilfields are in steep decline </li></ul>Transition Training 2008
    20. 20. When will it happen? 80:20 rule – decline of the giant oil fields <ul><li>The 80:20 rule is that 80% of your result comes from the first 20% of your effort – with diminishing returns after that </li></ul><ul><li>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) </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    21. 21. WHERE WE GET OUR ENERGY Source: ExxonMobile web site Transition training 2008
    22. 22. 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.
    23. 23. If peak oil was imminent, what sorts of things would be happening as warning signs ‘the Canary in the Coal mine’? <ul><li>Transition training 2008 </li></ul>
    24. 24. When will it happen? <ul><li>These are some of he early warning signs that we are near to or at peak oil: </li></ul><ul><li>Light sweet crude peaks in 2005. This is the most profitable and easy to extract and refine oil, so it will be exploited first. </li></ul><ul><li>The worlds largest oil fields peak and begin to decline </li></ul><ul><li>More and more oil producing countries start to decline. </li></ul><ul><li>Oil price increases rapidly, and then maybe crashes, erratic behaviour. </li></ul><ul><li>Exports from oil producers peak and start to decline </li></ul><ul><li>Oil producer countries take control of their resources, Russia and most of OPEC have brought their oil production under national control. </li></ul><ul><li>.......all this has happened, and has accelerated, in the last 5 years </li></ul>
    25. 25. Why is oil so important? How many men does it take to push a car? Transition Training 2008
    26. 26. Why is it so important? The phenomenal energy in petrol <ul><li>A tank of petrol contains 8,000 human hours work! </li></ul><ul><li>If you worked for 8 hrs/day, 52 weeks a year, 7 days a week that equates to about 3 years’ work. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    27. 27. What do we use oil for? Transition Training 2008 Transition Training 2007
    28. 28. <ul><li>Our entire way of life, and a bewildering array products are reliant on oil. </li></ul><ul><li>Transport is only the beginning of our oil use. </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Industry and even the service sector use huge amounts of energy. </li></ul>Why is oil so important? What do we use oil for?
    29. 29. No country has yet decoupled economic growth from energy use Transition Training 2008
    30. 30. Why is oil so important? <ul><li>Economic growth requires growth in our energy supply. </li></ul><ul><li>We have an economic system that is dependent on growth. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore we are dependent on increasing supplies of energy. </li></ul><ul><li>All forecasts of economic growth also show rising energy demand. </li></ul><ul><li>When peak oil arrives we will have less total energy so economic growth will slow and probably decline, perhaps permanently </li></ul>
    31. 31. The carbon cycle Transition Training 2007 1 Oceans 40,000 GtC Vegetation about 600 GtC Soils 1600 GtC The atmosphere holds about 750 GtC Fossil CO2 Dead Organisms
    32. 32. The active carbon cycle <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    33. 33. What is climate change? Transition Training 2007 2
    34. 34. The term &quot;climate change“ refers to all forms of climate inconsistency, but because the Earth's climate is never static (ie it is always changing), “climate change” signifies a significant change from one set of climate conditions to another. <ul><li>What is causing Climate change or Global Warming? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rising human made CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It this a theory? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul></ul>
    35. 35. Is it proven? Transition Training 2007 3
    36. 36. <ul><li>Have both ‘cause and effects’ been ‘proven’? Is the earth warming, and are humans causing it? </li></ul><ul><li>The International Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, is an international body of scientists researching Climate Change. 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. </li></ul><ul><li>The 4 th IPCC report published in 2007 states, </li></ul><ul><li>“ 1-Warming of the climate system is unequivocal. </li></ul><ul><li>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.” </li></ul><ul><li>This is scientific ‘speak’ for yes the climate is changing! </li></ul><ul><li>Its conclusions are that there is no more debate, the science is clear. The only question worth debating is how fast can we act to create real reductions in atmospheric CO2. </li></ul>
    37. 37. What are the main problems with out of control CC? Transition Training 2007 4
    38. 38. What are the main problems with out of control CC? <ul><li>Main Points </li></ul><ul><li>Severe ‘one in a hundred year’ weather events becoming common </li></ul><ul><li>Sea level rises, leading to increasing land loss and cc refugees </li></ul><ul><li>Species loss </li></ul><ul><li>Additional Points </li></ul><ul><li>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% in 2007. Australia is one of the bread baskets of the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Increased floods- such as in 2007 and 2008 in the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>Acidic seas </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>Transition Training 2007
    39. 39. CO2 levels over the past 60000 years Ron Oxburgh 381 ppm 2006 Transition Training 2007 5
    40. 40. The natural carbon cycle and human effects <ul><li>Main points </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>The latest scientific evidence indicates that to keep the climate from warming more than 2 degrees C (the assumed upper limit that would prevent run away climate change) we would have to keep CO2 concentration to below 350ppm </li></ul><ul><li>It is currently at 380ppm without counting the other GHG which are Methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs. </li></ul><ul><li>Additional Points </li></ul><ul><li>The last ice age was 20,000 years ago (blue) and led to a rise in CO2 as there are less plants. In the regular cycle the level would fall again as plant life increased. </li></ul><ul><li>What happens next (in red) shows the result of a new agricultural system resulting in deforestation and human population increase. </li></ul><ul><li>The green shows the beginning of the industrial era and the burning of fossil fuels. The orange is the 20 th & 21 st century- the age of oil and gas. </li></ul>
    41. 41. The need for an urgent response Transition Training 2007 6
    42. 42. <ul><li>The need for an urgent response </li></ul><ul><li>Once global temperatures rise to certain levels positive feedback loops will cause further releases of greenhouse gases, leading to runaway climate change </li></ul><ul><li>On the best evidence we need to keep temperature rises to less than 2* C. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Feedback loops </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    43. 43. Responses to Peak Oil & Climate Change <ul><li>CLIMATE CHANGE </li></ul><ul><li>Climate engineering </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon capture and storage </li></ul><ul><li>International emissions trading </li></ul><ul><li>Climate adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear power </li></ul><ul><li>P O + C C = </li></ul><ul><li>Systems Re-think </li></ul><ul><li>Planned Relocalisation </li></ul><ul><li>Energy Descent Pathways </li></ul><ul><li>Local Resilience </li></ul><ul><li>PEAK OIL </li></ul><ul><li>Burn everything! </li></ul><ul><li>relaxed drilling regulations </li></ul><ul><li>biofuels </li></ul><ul><li>tar sands and non-conventional oils </li></ul><ul><li>Resource nationalism </li></ul><ul><li>Resource Wars </li></ul>7
    44. 44. Response to PO and CC <ul><li>Looking at peak oil alone you look for replacements – tar sands, remote fields such as the antarctic, bio fuels, coal to liquids (all of which have severe impacts on climate change). </li></ul><ul><li>If we don’t reduce oil dependency in rich countries there will inevitably be either climate disaster from replacements or resource wars. </li></ul><ul><li>Looking at climate change alone you may look for energy intensive solutions to mitigate climate change, including nuclear. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>