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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Current reading redux

Twilight in the Desert - A book about 'peak oil' in the major Saudi Arabian fields. (I am just starting it tonight)


It's my understanding that all oil fields go through a bell-shaped curve of production. Beyond the peak, production falls off, regardless of how much effort and money are spent. The oil doesn't ever really "run out", it just becomes less plentiful. There are still stripper wells in Pennsylvania, even though it's not the producer it once was...

New techniques and technologies are constantly improving the recoverable oil, but this only delays the inevitable. Furthermore no major fields have been discovered in 50 yrs, and the North Atlantic field developed just 10-15 yrs ago is already in serious decline.

The authors point out that oilfield data from the Saudi government is a state secret. Then they mention that the Saudi oilfields that provide 25% of the worlds supplies are over 50 yrs old, and very mature at this point. The question they ask and attempt to answer, is whether those ageing oil fields are peaking or possibly in decline at this point. That's what's in the forward, which I read last night.

The answer will have grave consequences for our energy-dependent civilization, particularly with regard to personal transportation. Cheap gas may not last much longer. I'll blog more about it as I learn and digest the contents. It certainly sounds plausible...

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