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Peak Oil and Climate Change. AGU-Joint Assembly Toronto 26 May 2009. James W. Murray School of Oceanography University of Washington. 1999 - ~$10/b. 2008 - ~$147/b. IEA World Energy Outlook - Nov 2008

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Peak oil and climate change

Peak Oil


Climate Change

AGU-Joint Assembly


26 May 2009

James W. Murray

School of Oceanography

University of Washington

1999 - ~$10/b

2008 - ~$147/b

IEA World Energy Outlook - Nov 2008

“The world’s energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable.”


We know enough to see that Resource limitation

Needs to be an IPCC scenario

with special acknowledgement to David Rutledge (Cal Tech)


  • The 4th UN IPCC Assessment Report

    SRES Scenarios

  • Oil Reserves

  • Hubbert’s peak

    • The history of US oil production

    • How much oil and gas will the world produce?

  • The Coal Question

  • Discussion

    • Future carbon-dioxide levels

    • Conclusions

Oil production in the ipcc scenarios
Oil Production in the IPCC Scenarios

Gb = billions of barrels 1 barrel = 42 gallons = 159 liters

In 13 scenarios, oil production is still rising in 2100

In none of the scenarios did oil production decrease because of resource limitation. None consider Peak Oil!

Oil production is never going to be more than today.



Peak oil and climate change

What is Peak Oil?

It’s not about Reserves!

It’s all about the Production Rate!

We are not close to running out of oil

Opec oil proven reserves
OPEC Oil “Proven” Reserves!

Not proven

by anybody!

  • 430Gb rise in reserves, no adjustment for 193Gb produced since 1980

  • These questionable reserves are 45% of world oil reserves used by IPCC!

  • A recent leak of Kuwait Petroleum Company documents showed the actual reserves are only 48Gb (official reserves are 102Gb)

  • 1980 Kuwait reserves adjusted for production since then are 55Gb

From BP Statistical Review

Gb = billions of barrels

M king hubbert
M. King Hubbert

  • Geophysicist at the Shell lab in Houston

  • In 1956, he presented a paper with predictions for the peak year of US oil production

Peak oil and climate change

A model



Oil Wells Peak - Oil Fields Peak - Regions Peak - The World will peak

Everyone agrees that world oil will peak – controversy on the date

Peak oil and climate change



US Oil Consumption today is about 20 million barrels of oil/day

ANWAR will not save us!

Hubbert s peak
Hubbert’s Peak

  • From his 1956 paper

  • Hubbert drew bell-shaped curves by hand, and added up barrels by counting squares

  • For the larger estimate, he predicted a peak in 1970

  • Hubbert has been much criticized  there is no consideration of supply and demand curves, prices, or policy, and new technologies

Us crude oil production
US Crude-Oil Production

Production is bell-shaped, like the curves Hubbert drew

Average price after the peak was 2.6 times higher than before


Peak oil and climate change

The Logistic Curve or Rate Plot

P/Q = mQ + a

Q for which P/Q = 0 is 198 gigabarrels of oil.

Also called Qt (maximum cumulative production)

Half of this is 99 which occurred in 1973

Lower 48

A model for exponential growth in a finite system

Another approach cumulative oil production

225Gb ultimate

90% exhausted in 2011

Another Approach: Cumulative Oil Production


48 + Alaska

  • EIA data from 1859

  • Fit for cumulative normal gives the ultimate production and the time for 90% exhaustion

31Gb remaining

USGS/MMS assessment 189Gb

Historical projections for us oil
Historical Projections for US Oil

The power of Hubbert Linearization is that it uses past

behavior of a system to indicate possible future performance rather

than relying on the overoptimistic opinions of resource “experts”




Peak oil and climate change

Maximum Cumulative Production (Qt)

Will Be 2165 Gigabarrels

½ Qt = 1083 Gb

Historical fits for world oil and gas ultimate cumulative
Historical Fits for World Oil and Gas Ultimate Cumulative

Ultimate Cumulative Production of Oil + Gas = 605 Gtoe

Maximum cumulative through 2100 for an IPCC scenario is 2,600 Gtoe


Peak oil and climate change

Who are the experts that IPCC turn to?

Energy Information Agency (EIA) - DOE

International Energy Agency (IEA) – Paris

US Geologocal Survet (USGS) - Washington

Their models for future emissions are driven by demand (not supply).

EIA, IEA and IPCC assume that supply will meet demand

USGS assumes much oil yet to be found

The EIA forecasts in 2008 projects a 30% increase in oil production between now

and 2030 (from 85 to 97 mb/d) (D = +12 mbd).

The hard truth is that increasing energy supply at all will be difficult.

To have growth we need to balance

decline of exisiting fields

with discovery of new oil

Peak oil and climate change

Existing Oil Fields are in Decline

Existing oil fields are declining at - 6.7% per year (IEA 2008)

For 2005 to 2030 the world needs 45 mbd of new production –

just to maintain flat production

The projected growth requires

discovery of 45 + 12 = 57 mbd of new oil!

57 ÷ 9 = ~6+ new Saudi Arabias

Peak oil and climate change

Urban Legend – we can drill more to get more oil

Oil discoveries have been declining since 1964

The red box shows the average amount estimated to be discovered by the USGS each year between 1995 and 2025.

The world’s oil provinces have been well explored.

Future discoveries will be limited to smaller structures and deeper formations

Peak oil and climate change

What about coal?

There are supposed to be hundreds

of years of supply of coal!

Big 3 Reserves:

US (27%)

Russia (17%)

China (13%)


India, Australia, South Africa

Remarkably the data-quality is very poor globally

but especially for China and SE Asia and FSU

Peak oil and climate change

We also have a big problem with coal.

The Reserves may not be as large as

We’ve been led to believe.

"Present estimates of coal reserves are based upon methods that have not been reviewed or revised since their inception in 1974, and much of the input data were compiled in the early 1970s.

Only a small fraction of previously estimated reserves are actually minable reserves."

from the National Academy of Sciences

Report on Coal, June, 2007

Uk coal production

Mt = millions of metric tons

The average price after the peak is 2.4 times higher than before

Britain now imports 74% of the coal it burns

UK Coal Production


Projections vs reserves for world coal
Projections vs Reserves for World Coal

  • UN IPCC scenarios assume 18Tboe is available for production

from D. Rutledge

Where does the ipcc get its coal numbers

The scenario report SRES (2000) references the 1995 and 1998 WEC surveys

Downward trend in proved recoverable reserves

The IPCC chose to use additional recoverable reserves and they also chose 1998 (3,368Gt) instead of 1995 (680Gt) — additional recoverable reserves are now 19 times smaller than in 1998

Where Does the IPCC Get Its Coal Numbers?


Peak oil and climate change

Many independent groups are coming WEC surveys

to the same conclusion

Uppsala – Kjell Aleklett Peak Coal in 2030

(examples follow)

Energy Watch Group (EWG-Germany) Peak Coal in 2025

Institute of Energy (IFE)

Kavakov and Peteves (2007) The Future of Coal

Richard Heinberg Post Carbon Institute (book in progress)

Historical fits for oil gas and coal ultimate production
Historical fits for Oil, Gas, and Coal Ultimate Production WEC surveys

Reserves BP for oil and gas WEC for coal

Fits for ultimate


Half-Way 2019

Cumulative oil, gas, and coal


Cumulative coal


Ultimate Production of oil + gas + coal = 938 Gtoe

Comparing with the ipcc scenarios
Comparing with the IPCC Scenarios WEC surveys

  • This projection has lower emissions than any of the 40 IPCC scenarios

  • This is still true even with full coal reserves


Carbon dioxide levels

460ppm WEC surveys



50% Stretch-out for Fossil Fuel Burning

Carbon-Dioxide Levels

  • Simulations with the program MAGICC from Tom Wigley at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder

  • This program was used in the earlier UN IPCC Assessment Reports

  • The program modified to use Rutledge projection for fossil-fuel emissions

  • profiles are business-as-usual for other greenhouse gases

Peak oil and climate change

Conclusions: WEC surveys

1) Supply Limitation will be serious

Existing scenarios and energy policies are based on emissions - not supply

We know enough to see that Resource Limitation needs to be an IPCC Scenario

Peak Oil has occurred or will occur soon. Coal Reserves are significantly less

than assumed by the IPCC.

2) Coal is thought of as a solution to energy needs –

This will be a disaster for climate change without CO2 sequestration.

Is CO2 sequestration realistic?

3) Energy will pass climate change as the hot button issue

We have to get our energy plan in order before we can move forward

on climate change

4) Energy Supply will Buffer Economic recovery

Recessions correlate with price rise results in energy > 5.7% of GDP

See Jeff Rubin (2009) (formerly CIBC)

5) Security Issue:

Seven nations control 75% of world’s oil exports.

There will be shifts in global power and wealth

Peak oil and climate change

Energy as a buffer on economic growth WEC surveys

James Hamilton (UCSD) – Recessions generally correlate with the price of oil.

If energy expenditures rise faster than income, then the share of income for other

things must decline

Oil Expenditures

as a % of GDP

Peak oil and climate change

Summary Table: IPCC SRES versus Rutledge WEC surveys

All values given in Gigabarrels of Oil Equivalents (Gtoe)

1990 Identified Additional Additional Additional

Cumulative Resources Recoveries w/Technology Occurrences


Oil+Gas 120 + 612 = 732 262 (low) 679 (high) 690 >20,107 (with marine

CH4 hydrates)

Coal 124 + 545 = 669 1905 3571

RutledgeUltimate Cumulative

Oil+Gas+Coal = 938

Oil + Gas = 605 (from 938 – 666)

Comparable to 732 from above

Coal = 333

Comparable to 669 above

IPCC values in ZJ, converted to Gtoe using 42 GJ/toe and 0.5 toe/t for coal

ZJ = 1021 J For oil: 7.33 barrels per metric ton

Co 2 emission scenarios
CO WEC surveys2 emission Scenarios

From Oil + Gas + Coal

These Scenarios drive almost all climate change research

Magicc simulations for co2 and temperature
MAGICC Simulations WEC surveysfor CO2 and Temperature

Written by Tom Wigley at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado

This program has been used in the IPCC assessments

Simulation parameters

IPCC “most likely value” temperature sensitivity: 3C/2CO2 concentration (“likely” range is 2.0 to 4.5)

Aslam Khalil’s recent measurements for CH4 equilibrium concentration: 1,750ppb

Tom Wigley’s P50 values (IPCC scenario medians) for other greenhouse gases: deforestation CO2 , N2O, NOx, VOCs, SO2, C2F6, HFCs, SF6

Our projection for CO2 emissions from oil, gas, and coal burning.


Peak oil and climate change

Economists say – as price goes up, more oil will be produced

Elasticity has become virtually zero. It’s a market where supply rules.

from Kenneth Deffeyes

Coal resources for the ipcc scenarios tboe from nakicenovic
Coal Resources for the IPCC Scenarios (Tboe), from Nakicenovic

IPCC scenario coal resources are based on WEC survey categories

IPCC resources have not been adjusted for the new WEC surveys


Peak oil and climate change

Important Reading that will change your outlook Nakicenovic

Matt Simmons (2005) Twilight in the Desert

James Kunstler (2005) The Long Emergency

Jeff Rubin (2009) Why the World is About to get a Whole Lot Smaller:

Oil and The End of Globalization

Important web-site

Peak oil and climate change

NakicenovicWe are all extraordinary skeptical of the "peak oil" stuff. We know of no reliable information that suggests that we're going to be running significantly short of any fossil fuel in this century…It certainly won't happen with any significant price on carbon.”

“We've done a few 300-year scenarios that have some shortages in them, but even that may not be realistic. This is especially so with coal!”“The Chinese say they have enough coal for centuries…The idea that we're only going to reach 450 ppm is not defensible, especially when we're already around 385 ppm. Do we really think there is only another 60 years of fossil fuel left? I don't think so.”

PNNL Climate Modelers

…but, see my figures!

Peak oil and climate change

Mad Max Excluded Nakicenovic

“The scenarios are intended to exclude catastrophic futures that involve large scale environmental or economic collapses. In such scenarios GHG emissions might be low because of negative economic growth, but it seems unlikely they would receive much attention in the light of more immediate problems. Hence, this report does not analyze such futures.”


Peak oil and climate change

Nested Assumptions Nakicenovic

Energy scarcity is a myth

Fossil Fuels are superabundant

No reason to hoard or fight over them

Globally traded from haves to have-nots

Coal can be converted to anything

Fuel will remain cheap for a century

Peak oil and climate change

What controls the price of oil? Nakicenovic

Supply versus Demand on International Market

Backwardation – during price increase

Contango – is not a place in Chile!

Tanker Storage

Possible Driver of a Future Price Crash