The Oil Crisis


What are your feelings about the oil crisis?

  1. I'm not afraid, the oil will last another 200 years

    4 vote(s)
  2. I'm a bit afraid because no one talks about it yet it is one of our most important resources

    2 vote(s)
  3. I am afraid, but alternate sources will be able to be used when the oil is gone

    6 vote(s)
  4. I am very afraid, the oil peak is coming soon and the world is doing nothing to stop it!

    8 vote(s)
By Per Hansson · 21 replies
Oct 2, 2004
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  1. Here we go with a poll, you can either red this before, or do this google search and read some of the hits or just vote with your current feeling about the oil crisis
  2. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    There are too many of us humans on this planet, and we are using up energy resources at a frightening rate. What we really need is population control to reduce our numbers to around half what they currently are. Limit families to no more than two children. That would mean less polution, more untouched rainforests and other natural resouces, and cheaper housing for everyone. We need to manage ourselves better.

    Now I am just waiting for the flack to start flying :=).
  3. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    Ok I have some friends who are petrolium engineers and this is a bunch of BS. I have also done some reading on it and found some interesting things. The current technique of getting oil out of a hole is used and can only achieve around 40 percent of capacity. This is the only way they can get the oil out and have the companies make a little money on it. However if the price of oil barrels keeps going up they can use other techniques to get out the remaining oil which are a little more costly.
    So as far as your question of are we going to run out of oil, there is no way.
    Also there is one oil field in the Middle East that has put out more than 50 biillion barrels of oil since it was started 50 years ago, and it's still going strong. That's 1 billion barrels a year. Quite a large number if you ask me.
  4. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,957   +214

  5. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    One things for certain - the oil supply will run out at some point - then what do we do?

    There are other ways to produce oil, but can we produce enough of it?

    Here's one way to do it using a process known as Thermo-DePolymerization (TDP)...

    Turkey Fuel? Factory to Turn Guts Into Crude Oil
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I don't know as much on this topic as I used to, but brefily here is what I think.

    Based on current rates of consumption we have until about 2090 (I AM SURE you can find something that says otherwise with a google search, this is stuff I just heard from a professor who WROTE a book called Petroleum Geology). He also mentioned that we can get vast quantities of oil out of oil shale, apparently there is massive quantities of it in Colorado. The problem is that oil has to reach above $40 a barrel to make it economically feasable to extract the oil. That is because it involves heating up the rock to get the oil out. I actually saw him take a Bic lighter and light the rock on fire in class, and oil literally dropped out of it.
    Also there is a lot of research done on improving oil extraction techniques now, I don't know the numbers offhand but Poertner is probably right or close to that on what he said. There are methods currently in use that you guys may or may not know to boost up the amount that can be extracted from a resivour.

    Now having said that... There is also an avaiability of "alternative fuels" that for various reasons, some of which are politically motivated, have not become mainstream yet. At work nearly every day I work with B100, which amounts to methyl soyate, which is basically diesel fuel produced from soybeans. 1 bushel of soybeans gives you 1.5 gallons of methyl soyate. It behaves very similar to real diesel fuel, it just has a tendency to gel at too high of a temperature (-9 C I believe) so that causes problems in cold climates. There are also 7? filling stations in missouri that you can put in ethanol in your vechile for gasoline, a year or so ago there were only 3 to 5 I'd guess (trying to remember the news reports). So there are more environmentally friendly fuels that will work, they are just slow to be adopted. But with that said, it takes a crapload of plant crops to make very much fuel, I am not sure they can replace world demand on petroleum.
  7. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Hydrogen-powered engines are a reality already. And they feed on?... Yes, water!
    Of which we have more than plenty.
    So in the long run, who needs fossil-fuel?

    As an afterthought: most of my Guinness is also water. Perhaps I could piss in my tank and still drive home when I get one of them hydrogen cars??
  8. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    The problem isn't about fuel or raw materials disappearing really. It is about the cost of everything going through the roof. Fuel cells and other fancy toys are nice but the truth is we can't afford them (yet).
  9. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    Hydrogen generation uses electricity. And that electricity generally comes from, wait for it - fossil fuels...

    Hydrogen cars just move the oil usage and the pollution further down the line. Its still there.
  10. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 942

    It all comes down to survivial. No one should be "worried" about running out of oil - it happens, sooner or later is irrelevant. As a species, humans will get along just fine without oil. We can be prepared for it beforehand, for sure, but even if we aren't, natural selection will force us to survive without it.

    IF all the oil in the world instantly dissapeared today, the planets would not stop turning and people would not stop living. Many would die, but in the end the human race would/will survive, and still come out on top.
  11. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Where is the option:
    • Not afraid, as there will be alternate fuel sources though the fuel supply won't last for more than ~60 years?

    At least that was that latest estimate I heard about the norwegian oil fields, meaning that the oil will last a bit longer but not too much...
  12. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    I can't vote in this poll. There isn't a 'Oil doesn't matter, we have other means' option.

    As has been said, Hydrogen engines, and thus water fuelled cars, have been available for a while. Since 1935 in fact! (and they worked pretty well even then apparently). In fact, 1935 is also about the date that the 'electrolytic carburettor' was patented in the US.

    In the case of a car, the initial energy would come from a car battery, or an initial resevoir of Hydrogen gas. Yes, somewhere along the line, electricity. Not as much of a problem as you might think though. An alternator of apparently 2-3 times the normal size (according to the 1935 designs) would provide enough electricity to run the electrolysis of the water. The great thing is, that 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen can be burned to reproduce the original one part water. It's ALMOST lossless. Of course, there is loss, but that would be reduced as designs improve.

    Hydrogen can also be used for heating, and fluorescent lighting (bombarding certain inert gases with hydrogen causes them to glow), and even sound reproduction.

    The only real reason that we aren't using this technology at the moment is likely to be down to the oil companies. Aside from the obvious fact that they'd loose money, there's a more serious issue. The worlds economy is largely oil fuelled, and if the oil industry suddenly failed, well, many largescale things could easily take a pretty serious turn for the worse, like entire countries for example.

    Oh, and another interesting innovation - frictionless bearings - which could revolutionise all sorts of things, is currently owned by the Ford motor company, but they don't use it. Why are they sitting on such a usefull thing and not using it? well, you tell me.

    ok, rant over. lol

    The world sucks. There's nothing I can do about it, but ranting sometimes makes me feel better. :D
  13. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    Wow Spike, you just invented the perpetual motion machine! :eek:

    Has anyone considered the increased oil usage that is the result of China and India's booming economies? That will surely bring the end of our oil reserves sooner rather than later.
  14. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Spike> The thing about hydrogen is that it takes a bit of energy to produce it. So even though the end-product is pollution free, the making of it is not.

    Or rather, there's one way to make it with seawater and sunlight, but that one is extremly slow... I know there's one more way, but can't remember what is is right now.

    The second problem is that if you're going to be running on Hydrogen (ignoring the explosion danger like Hindenburg) is that it requires many more gallons pr mile compared to gasoline or diesel. Thus you'll either have to have a large increase in gas stations, or perhaps find a way to produce the hydrogen needed in the car from a water reservoir...

    But yeah, it (or something like it) will happen one day. The question of when it'll happen though...

    BTW: how do you know Ford has (a working) frictionless bearing? Wouldn't mind learning a bit more about that...
  15. scotiawhiskers

    scotiawhiskers TS Rookie Posts: 24

    I'd be very happy to use bio-diesel, but as it costs more to produce than ordinary diesel it isn't very widely available. The UK government does give it a tax break, but that just makes it the same price as ordinary and no extra margin for the producers so no profit incentive.
    You can make a sort of biodiesel cheaply at home and just pay the duty on it, but the taxman is very picky about the quality and how you make it. Then again at 30-35p/litre instead of 80-85p/litre homegrown sounds good.
    It also uses waste oil from chip-shops and restaurants instead of from crops grown just for fuel. It is also greener as it stops people from just dumping the used veggie oil.:)
  16. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    To me, this is the single most disturbing facet of the energy crisis. In the new global economy, former 3rd world nations now have a fledgling middle class that will be buying cars and lawn mowers and leaf blowers and the like. Also include in this the oil that will be consumed in these regions for production of plastics and transporting all the doo dads that go along with new found 'prosperity' these fledgling consumers will want and you have an energy AND CO2 crunch that will have us all walking to work and gasping for breath.

    The oil companies will say there are reserves for another 100 years up until all the wells run dry because of one simple fact- The moment the public (and their stockholders) find out the true extent of their oil reserves, the stocks of these heretofore Wall Street darlings will plummet like an oil-coated sea gull.

    Royal Dutch/Shell caught cooking the books
  17. Charles Hammond

    Charles Hammond TS Rookie Posts: 59

    You would have thought if a person was paying over $5.00 a gallon, that there would be a big move toward an alternate source of fuel. You might find these prices somewhere in Europe. Perhaps in Europe they just have more trains.

    I firmly beleive that by the time that supply forces the price up high enough, that there will be alternative fuels in place. It is money and supply and demand that will force the change. However, industry resists change and the Oil Industry will fight hard before it lets go.

    There were some people saying it takes a lot of Electricity to make the Hydrogen the way the industry wants to use it. I beleive they supercool it to get it into a liquid state. This might not be the most economical method and form of use for hydrogen.
  18. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Topic Starter Posts: 1,957   +214

  19. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    As goes the hydrogen thing - electrolysing salt water releases a lot of nasty crap. Electrolysing fresh water would be a bad, bad idea as it uses a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of... electricity to purify water. Desalinisation of salt water also uses lots of fuel, and the water will still have minerals in it that could damage the car.

    Hydrogen cars ain't going to happen with all the problems needed to make it. The only "clean" way to make lots of hydrogen uses natural gas and steam, the first can be used as a direct fuel anyway.
  20. Charles Hammond

    Charles Hammond TS Rookie Posts: 59

    I see a lot of energy waste in the USA.

    For instance we have a lot of land fills in the USA and the standard practice is to burn off the methane. You can not see this during the day but usually there are pipes coming up from a land fill and they burn off the methane. You could easily use the methane to run a power plant. I think there is a power plant in Japan that uses this process.

    If you are paying $5.00 for a gallon of gas then you are basically paying $3.00 in taxes and handling fees. I feel your pain. I realize there are locations where people like paying over 60% of their income on taxes and government waste, either that or they are just use to it. I know when I traveled through the northern part of Canada up near Alaska, that the cost of Gasoline was really high also.

    The method to produce hydrogen may vary based on what you are making it from. It might be there are better ways to breakdown water or other elements than what we have currently thought of. We use Oxygen for a lot of differnet purposes like medical, so we must be getting pure oxygen from somewhere. It might also be that science will come up with a better solution for an alternate fuel.

    This leads me to another story. I was reading a magazine article at a website and they have a website dedicated to the topic of solar power. They had one article one time where someone had developed their own home brew system for separating Oxygen and Hydrogen from water using a solar panel for the electrolysis. It presented some obvious problems. First of all you have to get rid of the oxygen which is a very volatile gas. A plant might be able to use the Oxygen to run a power plant and actually make more electricity than they use to separate the hydrogen from water.

    The whole point is that other scientific discoveries and techniques often are developed that may be of some use to us when intelligent people work on a problem like this together.

    I have watched how Oil refineries are constantly burning off excess products and have wondered if all that energy can be harnessed to make electricity. Perhaps we just need a little more intelligent engineering.
  21. Godataloss

    Godataloss TS Rookie Posts: 482

    The reason the methane at landfills and the natural gas at oil platforms is burnt off is that it is very difficult and expensive to capture, store and transport natural gas. One of the world's largest reserves of natural gas is in Alaska, but they pump it back into the ground (when drilling for oil) because there is no Natural Gas equivalent of the Alaskan pipeline.

    This difficulty also makes it unsuitable for vehicles. You have to store it as a liquid in order to have enough BTU's in the tank for a reasonable range otherwise you would need to fuel up every day just to complete an ordinary commute. The infrastructure change that would need to take place is mindboggling.

    Electricity is the natural choice for an alternative fuel. The distribution system is already in place- has been for the better part of this century- we just need better batteries!
  22. Charles Hammond

    Charles Hammond TS Rookie Posts: 59

    I imagine a giant pile of lead acid batteries. Batteries present their own waste disposal problems. The average car battery lasts between 2 to 5 years. If we had say the equivilent of 10-20 batteries that would make processing the waste a major issue.

    It is rather inconvenient to wait 3-12 hours while your car charges. Then there is the age old problem of where are you going to plug it in and who pays for the electricity. I have toyed with the idea of an electric car but it is not very cost effective. It generally will make cars heavier and cause even more roadwork to be required. You still have to produce heat to run a defroster and keep passengers warm and provide power for all the safety equipment like headlights and breaklights and brakes and air conditioning, and computer controlled systems. I think this is why Americal has all but given up on electric cars. The Cost of batteries is one of the primary costs of solar power being prohibitive as a viable power source.

    In the USA many people tend to be further spread out and travel seems to be more of an issue than is some smaller countries. I sometimes think east coast and west coast people are from a different planet. It is really hard to compare say Germany or France to the USA. I lived in South Korea for a while and you could get from one end of the main Peninsula to the other end quite easily in a day. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. It is an advantage in the sense that we have more natural resuorces and fewer border problems and everyone normally speaks the same language. However, it is a disadvantage when you think of controlling 50 different states, 48 of which make up the continental United States. It can be rather difficult to get 12 people to agree on a verdict in a legal court trial, and even harder to get 50 people to agree on anything.

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