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The Forum > Article Comments > Oil - the complete picture > Comments

Oil - the complete picture : Comments

By Robert Amin and Alan Jackson, published 21/11/2005

Robert Amin and Alan Jackson argue we should make natural gas more user friendly as a transport fuel.

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I appreciated the information provided in this article. It provides a good brief overview of many issues surrounding oil production.

I have one minor correction and a major challenge. The minor correction is that 1970 was the year of the peak in continental US oil production not the peak in world production, as the authors say. Some say the world peak is coming soon or that it is already here, but it certainly was not 35 years ago.

The major challenge is that the authors seem to see the future of fuels primarily in natural gas or hydrogen made from fossil fuels, These options depend heavily on our diminishing supply of fossil fuel. The supply of natural gas will decline even more rapidly than it is if we try to use it to substitute for oil.

Any alternative to petroleum must be evaluated in terms of how much energy you get out for the energy you put in. The article from Jeremy Brown on ethanol illustrates how poorly ethanol stacks up over it's whole production cycle. The authors do not appear to have done any such analysis on any of the alternatives they propose. Also, apart from biofuels they do not mention any other sources of fuel from solar energy, even to make hydrogen from water.

In spite of the subtitle "The Complete Picture," there was a fairly small number of alternatives, which did not even consider reducing the dependence of our economy and lifestyle on cheap transport, especially through regarding road transport and private automobiles and using the already available technologies of rail, ships and energy efficient urban design .

Could a reason for these omissions come because authors are both deeply involved with a petroleum company? Someone who proposes to present the "complete picture" needs to demonstrate that he is really looking beyond his own office cubicle or source of funding.

For a much more complete picture, visit the website of Association for Peak Oil and Gas for material from such non-“greenies” as Exxon, Dick Cheney, banker Matt Simmons and many geologists, oil ministers and physicists
Posted by RichardM, Monday, 21 November 2005 1:11:08 PM
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