What is Peak oil?
"The term Peak Oil refers to the maximum rate of the production of oil in any area under consideration, recognising that it is a finite natural resource, subject to depletion."
Comment on Nature editorial ”Change for good” (Lardelli)
Submitted by Kjell Aleklett on Thu, 2013-01-31 06:11.
Michael Lardelli is great when he translates my blog "Aleklett's Energy Mix" and my book "Peeking at Peak Oil" to English. He is also very good to make his own comments about gas and oil. Nature has the editorial article “Change for good” that you should read before you read Michaels comment (read in Nature):
Michael Lardelli said:
From these two statements,
"...giving electricity generation another boost towards using plentiful natural gas"
"The president can also take advantage of rising domestic oil and gas production to defuse concerns over energy security"
demonstrate once again that Nature's editorial staff really do not understand the peer-reviewed scientific literature on fossil fuel depletion. Instead Nature appears to follow the misleading publicity put out by the oil and gas industry that is designed to maintain the confidence of investors to support company share prices and provide the huge sums required for very, very expensive oil and gas projects.
The truth is that the current rock-bottom natural gas prices in the USA are due to what will probably be a short-lived oversupply brought about by financial considerations affecting investment in shale gas. However, overall, the current abundance of gas will probably (within a few years) change to shortage and is certainly nothing to base notions of future energy independence and future energy policy upon! You can listen to this excellent lecture by Art Berman to understand why.
A similar pattern of production will be seen for shale oil now that it is becoming apparent that shale oil wells deplete very rapidly and shale oil production is only profitable at higher oil prices (if at all ).
We recently saw Nature accept money from the oil and gas industry for a sponsored series of articles and it is evident that, when it comes to understanding our future, Nature is impressed more by the size of a sponsor's wallet than by the scientific backing of their arguments. It is vital that Nature come to understand the depth of the world's future energy predicament since energy shortage will limit our ability to respond to climate change and to build the infrastructure for the renewable energy future that we need.