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Reply #110: The United States alone consumes over 20 million barrels oil per day... [View All]

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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #109
110. The United States alone consumes over 20 million barrels oil per day...
The numbers in the Wall Street Journal article need to be placed in the context of that consumption.

That 155,000 bpd from Canada and the 500,000 bpd from Venezuala would be 3.275% of United States consumption. Of course, the United States is not the only nation consuming oil.

Furthermore, this oil is not the same sort of light oil you could get out of many Saudi wells for $8.00 a gallon. Instead it is a very heavy oil that requires quite a bit more energy to extract and refine than light oil. Much of this energy is currently supplied by natural gas.

Thus there are some serious EROEI issues here. If inexpensive natural gas is not available for processing this oil, and the cost of maintaining extraction machinery increases, the low EROEI of this sort of "oil mining" becomes much more apparent. Worse, if natural gas or nuclear power are not used in the extraction process, the overall carbon dioxide emmisions per barrel of refined product skyrockets.

From an environmental standpoint you might be much better off using the natural gas directly as a feedstock for synthetic fuels.

The Wall Street Journal article you've cited is a perfect example of the stupid "buy-yourself-an-MBA" mentality that is destroying the United States economy. Clever little monkeys learn how to make Excel spreadsheet models full of imaginary constants, and then they use these simplistic models to support their economic fantasies.

"And with technology already well in hand, the cost of sucking oil out of the planet we occupy simply will not rise above roughly $30 per barrel for the next 100 years at least."

To see what an absurd statement that is you might want to calculate the actual cost of every barrel of Iraqi oil now sold on the world market. Don't forget to add in all the lives lost "securing" this oil.

I have some experience making real scientific and economic models. One of the things you quickly learn is that there are very few constants in any good model, and that you must often apologize for many of the constants you do put in a model. To a certain extent the less computing power you have, the more constants you must use in your models.

It's my opinion that anyone who claims we have a hundred year supply of $30 per barrel oil is insane. This could only happen if we had a severe global economic "depression" of the sort that would doom billions of people to starvation.

It is much more likely we will survive this mess by inflation, and that the oil remaining on earth will become too expensive to use for simple joyriding.

Two variables I would watch in this economy are the number of United States citizens vacationing in Europe, and the number of big SUV's that are sold.

We live in very interesting times.
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