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After oil's gone, what then?


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#1    redhen

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:14 AM

A common method of stating the world's oil supply is the Reserves-to-production (R/P) ratio, and according to BP;

"World proved oil reserves at the end of 2012 reached 1668.9 billion barrels, sufficient to meet 52.9 years of global production."   (by production, they mean utilization).

This ratio used to be 40 for a long time, but I suspect the Canadian tar sands bumped that figure up.

Anyways, once it's gone, what then? Sure there's ethanol, bio-fuel, electricity and hydrogen for fuel, but what about all the innumerable products that we rely on that are made with oil? The one that stands out for me are tires. It doesn't matter what kind of alternative fuel you have, without oil, you aren't going to be transporting anything faster than horse power.

There are synthetic replacements for oil in development that could be used to make tires, but industrial quantities are decades away. There are some tires that are supplemented with petroleum alternatives, including oranges, but I think it would be impractical to use oranges as a complete replacement for petroleum.

So what say you?
1) Are we headed back to the Iron age soon or am I missing some vital bit of technological news?

2) Would this necessarily be a bad thing?


#2    spartan max2

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:18 AM

Nah I think we will be fine. When the times comes we will make alternatives.

Humans are great at making alternatives when we have no other choice.

for example plastic can also be made from hemp.

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#3    SpiritWriter

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:24 AM

Better start pedaling...

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#4    and then

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:35 AM

I think there are probably alternatives that have been essentially suppressed because the PTB are making beaucoup cash off the oil.  I understand we've hit peak oil so I'm sure it's just a matter of time before some "miraculous" substitute is found... for a "small price"...

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#5    redhen

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:38 AM

View Postspartan max2, on 28 July 2013 - 03:18 AM, said:

for example plastic can also be made from hemp.

Sure, we can live with reduced plastic products, or even completely without plastics, we did without prior to WWII. But what are going to do without synthetic rubber tires? There's only so many rubber trees.

Will there be enough tires for the world's military forces? Commercial planes and  trucks, cars?

View PostSpiritWriter, on 28 July 2013 - 03:24 AM, said:

Better start pedaling...

On what, wooden tires?


#6    redhen

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:43 AM

View Postand then, on 28 July 2013 - 03:35 AM, said:

I understand we've hit peak oil so I'm sure it's just a matter of time before some "miraculous" substitute is found... for a "small price"...

My understanding is that we hit peak oil in the 1970's, it's all downhill now. There's not much time before we run out, and I haven't heard much talk about manufacturing tires without petroleum, at least in the msm. All I hear about from politicians and journalists is the development of future alternatives for gasoline. But when it comes to oil, there's a big difference between alternatives and replacements, given all the products we depend on it for.


#7    Tiggs

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 03:45 AM

This is the only alternative that I'm aware of that can be used to produce petroleum products. Allegedly.

Edited by Tiggs, 28 July 2013 - 03:47 AM.


#8    Artaxerxes

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 04:00 AM

Well they can make oil from coal tar but eventually that will run out too and it's very polluting.  I'm 60 years old now and come from a from a family that has the good sense to die young so I don't worry too much about it.

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#9    Eldorado

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 04:17 AM

Olive Oyl will save us!


#10    Michelle

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 04:57 AM

People have no idea how many things they use every day that are made from petroleum products they couldn't do without. Try finding an environmentally friendly toothbrush.


#11    Himawari69

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 05:46 AM

After oil is gone...then we panic


#12    and then

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 06:20 AM

View PostArtaxerxes, on 28 July 2013 - 04:00 AM, said:

Well they can make oil from coal tar but eventually that will run out too and it's very polluting.  I'm 60 years old now and come from a from a family that has the good sense to die young so I don't worry too much about it.

Art
I hear you!  Both my parents died at 65 and I'm 52 so I don't think I'll have a long time to be worried about it except for my daughter.  My guess is that we will start using shale and natural gas in larger quantities and the remainder of the oil will be reserved for things that cannot be created from other sources.  So many shortages and all happening at the same time.  Chaos financially, oil is disappearing, water is very limited and to top it all off we have religious divides that may soon be settled with nuclear weapons.  Like the man said so many years ago....the times they are a changin'

  We've cast the world, we've set the stage,
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#13    DieChecker

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:21 AM

View Postredhen, on 28 July 2013 - 03:14 AM, said:

So what say you?
1) Are we headed back to the Iron age soon or am I missing some vital bit of technological news?

2) Would this necessarily be a bad thing?

View Postredhen, on 28 July 2013 - 03:38 AM, said:

Sure, we can live with reduced plastic products, or even completely without plastics, we did without prior to WWII. But what are going to do without synthetic rubber tires? There's only so many rubber trees.

Will there be enough tires for the world's military forces? Commercial planes and  trucks, cars?
There will be for the USA. We're sitting on the last largest reserve of oil shale in the world. And then there is the Canadian oil sands also. I'll bet if the US tells Canada to not sell to nations X, Y or Z, they're going to respect that.

http://en.wikipedia...._shale_reserves
The estimate is the US has 2 trillion barrels out of 3 trillion worldwide. With little of it recovered so far, but with the technology maturing right now. In a couple decades the US will be for oil what Saudi Arabia is for oil today.

Even If we assume 20 million barrels of oil used per day in the US... That is 2 trillion divided by 20 million = 100,000 days = 270 years.

Naturally we'll sell off at least half that oil, but the US should be good for another 100 to 150 years of oil and petroleum products easily.

It is the rest of the world that is going to go Medieval.

Edited by DieChecker, 28 July 2013 - 08:23 AM.

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#14    Zaphod222

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:26 AM

View Postredhen, on 28 July 2013 - 03:14 AM, said:

So what say you?
1) Are we headed back to the Iron age soon or am I missing some vital bit of technological news?
2) Would this necessarily be a bad thing?

1) No, not iron age. There is enough coal to last for another 600 years or so, so we will be able to produce energy. But the expensive oil will mean big changes in society, including much lower living standards, and an end to many of the things we currently take for granted (such as dirt-cheap international air travel, and easiy availability of all sorts of exitic foods).

2) No, not necessarily a bad thing. A lot depends on how the politicans and the easily fooled electorate plays it though.

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#15    Zaphod222

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:29 AM

View PostDieChecker, on 28 July 2013 - 08:21 AM, said:

http://en.wikipedia...._shale_reserves
The estimate is the US has 2 trillion barrels out of 3 trillion worldwide. With little of it recovered so far, but with the technology maturing right now. In a couple decades the US will be for oil what Saudi Arabia is for oil today.

Reseerves are one thing, economically exploitable reserves quite another. If you look at the latter, you will have to revise your rose-tinted view.
But I agree, the US does have a lot of national reserves. Now just hope they elect some sensible people into government; their track record is not great there.

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