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4 Corners 'Peak Oil'

Cheap6

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For those of us in Aust., who watched 'Peak Oil' on 4 Corners last night? If you missed it, it is repeated, I think late Tuesdays (tonight). Whether it happens now or a couple of decades hence, it will be in our lifetimes (well, most). There doesn't seem to be much action by political leaders either.
 
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Baritji

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Ya gonna tells us what it was about so we can discuss it???? :D
 

jules

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basically there's still plenty of oil for our lifetimes at least.

but:
1. it's lower down in the ground (or under the sea), which makes it more expensive to grab and
2. other selfish countries like china and india have started driving cars and heating their homes, etc. and are using what used to be our oil. this drives the price up too.

so if you're hoping petrol prices are going to come down, maybe think about that Barina next time you change cars :)
 

Jimboss

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We all know that the price of oil will continue to rise, we are dependant on it so much, and the companies that make money off it won't stop making money off it for along time, and those companies have more power than any of us coiuld imagine. Whilst these companies run the show, and are making money, all other sources of energy will continue to be suppressed. There is not enough incentives for car companies to produce environmentally friendly cars, and they too are influenced by the oil companies, so they will continue to make cars to suit.

In short, as long as the people in high places are being influenced by the big bad oil companies ... our bank accounts are screwed.
 

jules

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i don't believe oilcos and car makers can suppress new technologies to break dependence on oil. but what can happen is govts. don't subsidise R&D enough to develop new technologies. when i say 'govts' i mean the US, ours is too small too matter in the global scheme of things.

but it's not a question of new technology, it's a matter of making them cheaper than crude oil. that's pretty hard to do. petrol is still very cost-effective, it's cheaper than bottled water.

obviously it will start to get more expensive.
 

Pub247

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Iwatched it and found it interesting on what jules said america won't invest because bush and his friends in goverment all shares/interests and others things invested in oil companies making them more money. I also believe ethanol is cheaper to make than petrol will be and probably is now. I also thought it was funny that kuwait pay 30 centa a litre for they're petrol.
 

jules

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ethanol is actually more expensive to produce at the moment, but may become cheaper as the cost of producing petrol increases.

i don't believe Bush is suppressing new energy technologies and sources. what the show said was that more infrastructure investment is needed in oil producing nations to bring it to market. this quickly gets very political - what he meant was that countries like iran and iraq aren't tapping into their vast oil reserves and selling it to the west. well, iraq are starting to now (not out of choice).
 

vztrt

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jules said:
i don't believe oilcos and car makers can suppress new technologies to break dependence on oil.
I highly doubt that a car manufacturer would surpress technologies that would make your car run cheaper. GM, Ford, Toyota, BMW, etc are all investing large amounts of money to run alternative fuels

What I find funny is that Fords first car (not the model T) could run on straight ethenol as well as petrol, but as petrol was cheaper the engine were than designed just for petrol.

E85 (85% ethenol) engines would be the smartest idea as Australia has the capacity for low level E85 petrol at first and can icrease input. Like in Brazil. Also if there isn't any E85 petrol regular petrol will do.

The peak oil theory seems to make sense, but even if it's not gonna happen for 30 years we should get to a point where we can have cheap fuels to run our country. Also if we can make them more environmentally friendly it would be a big bonus.
 

Cheap6

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I think that you need to think about why the infrastructure is limited. While there may be political reasons, I reckon if I knew that my oil fields weren't ever going to produce at a rate that meant the refinery process was the limiting step for long enough over the payback time for the refinery, I wouldn't be building it either.

Most of the estimates of peak oil (the maximum rate at which oil is ever going to be produced) suggest that it will be in this decade. It may in fact already have been passed.

It isn't simply a matter of producing a better (cheaper) energy technology either, the new energy source has to compete or be compatible with already established infrastructure and supporting technologies, like the repair, design and manufacture of the machines that use it. That is why I don't believe that we will ever see hydrogen used as a universal energy storage system; the energy and economic costs would be too great given the time and resources left to implement it. (H2 may however be used in aircraft as it suits the way in which they are used and has sufficient energy density by mass, if not volume).

What we see at the pump is only part of the story. There is virtually nothing that we have, do or use atm that does't rely on oil at some stage - from mining, harvesting wood, plastics, food, chemicals, fertilisers, you name it. Everything gets more expensive after oil supply can't match demand.

It was kinda funny to see the American guy complaining that it cost $60 for a day's jet skiing. I'm more concerned that farmer's can put diesel in their agricultural machinery.

(The program is replayed tonight at 11:10pm EST, rather than Tues. Sorry.)
 

jules

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vztrt said:
E85 (85% ethenol) engines would be the smartest idea as Australia has the capacity for low level E85 petrol at first and can icrease input. Like in Brazil. Also if there isn't any E85 petrol regular petrol will do.
i recommend reading the Govt's Biofuels Taskforce report.

there are two problems with ethanol:
1. at the moment, it's more expensive to produce than petrol. this is offset by subsidies (i.e. every time you watch someone fill up at the pump with E10, he's got his hand in your wallet). but it may eventually become cheaper as the oil price rises higher.

2. it's produced at the margin. ethanol, and its feedstocks (sugar cane, wheat) are produced primarily for other markets. but when those markets shrink, it's really handy to be able to sell those products to other customers (motorists, as fuel).

the problem with this setup is not ethanol itself, but that its producers really just want to exploit motorists to offload spare capacity when it suits them, as it does now. they have no intention or ability to invest in the major infrastructure needed to feed the whole of australia's fuel needs.

for that reason, the whole argument about everyone using ethanol is redundant. if we all agreed to use it, they'd couldn't meet the demand.
 
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