Ray's Peak Oil Notes & Links

Can we survive Peak Oil?  Sure!  But it won't be easy.  It could be very, very hard without the right incentives and assistance, which won't occur until the government recognizes the seriousness of the issue.  A lot will depend on how fast production declines.  If it declines at a very slow rate (1-2% a year) society can probably adapt without upheavals any worse than the last oil shock.  If it crashes at more than 20% a year I don't see how society can survive.  More thoughts on this.

In 1999 I predicted fuel cost would reach $10/gallon by 2010.  I began reading up on this to confirm my position, and after reading Kenneth Deffeyes' books Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage and,in 2005 Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak I was pretty convinced the situation was very serious.  In 2005 I tackled adapting to peak oil before it happened by reducing my petroleum use as far as practical.  I have been very successful, reducing my oil use from about 2,900 gallons a year prior to 2005 down to around 1,700 in 2006 and it looks like I may get it below 1,400 in 2007.  That is a 50% reduction in oil use in 2 years.  I am writing up a series of case studies about people and businesses like me who are adapting to peak oil (if you are one and would like to be included please give me a call at 907/ 488-1001).

Matthew Simmons is an investment banker, and I read his book Twilight in the Desert in the fall of 2006.  It turned out to be a really excellent book about Saudi Arabia oil, and how it is likely to peak soon.  A few intervies he did:

Some other YouTube blurbs:

The US Government is becoming concerned:
I believe it is possible to reduce our dependency on oil faster than supply will decline.  I have been taking draconian measure to reduce my personal and business oil consumption.  Of course this isn't completely possible, but I have been fairly successful.  My biggest personal petroleum use is to heat the house.  In the early 1980's, when the boiler in the house failed, we replaced it with a multi-fuel boiler.  This allows us to use wood, coal, heating oil or electricity to heat the house.  Prior to 2005 we were using around 1,300 gallons a year to heat the house (for those of you who don't know me, I live in Fairbanks where we often have weeks (sometimes months) of temperatures below -20 F (-29 C), so the annual heating degree days averages over 13,000! (for those of you concerned about global warming, July 1 2006 to May 5, 2007 we were colder than average).  In the winter of 2005-6 we reduced our use of heating oil to 700 gallons, and in the winter of 2006-7 down to 210.  We accomplished this by burning primarily wood in 2005-6 and wood and coal in 2006-7.  For transportation we have bought a scooter that gets over 100 miles to the gallon as our primary transportation when doing shows and light maintenance; we bought a Civic Hybrid that gets over 50 mpg on the highway (Fairbanks to Anchorage--340 miles--on 6 gallons!  We also bought a truck that burns diesel, which we can make from used vegetable oil (as long as the supply of that holds up.)

My business used to burn a little over 30,000 gallons of heating oil a year (for my apartment buildings).  In 2006 I converted one building to coal, and am in the process of converting 4 others.  I have also converted one building to use waste cooking oil.  We are investigating the possibility of burning glycerin as well (a byproduct of making biodiesel).  This year (2007) I plan to get a minimum of 2 more buildings converted to coal, reducing my heating oil needs to 15,000 gallons a year or less.  By 2009 I hope to be completely off oil heat, using coal, solar, electric, etc.  This is driven primarily by a need to keep my rents low; I feel that heating oil prices are going to reach nearly $10 a gallon which would requrie raising rents by $300 per month--something that would distress many of my low-income tenants, perhaps bankrupting those on fixed incomes like the elderly. 

Graphs & other data I've collected:
P.S.  Why do I think I know what I'm talking about?  First I have an ancient background in the oil industry.  My grandfather developed oil fields in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Kansas (indeed, he invented the water injection technique for improving recovery).  I continue to own a considerable amount of oil stock (some of it origionally purchased by my grandfather in the 1940's and 1950's).  I've worked on the remains of his claims with my 'uncle' (Dad's cousin) Burt Collins in the 1980's.  In the 1990's I got a degree in geology.  In addition I grew up out in the bush, where oil was very expensive, so I grew up in an environement of alternative energies--our heat was wood; our electricity was about 60% solar & wind; our generator was a co-generation unit, which heated the house with 'waste' heat.  Currently I own apartment buildings in Fairbanks, and one of the major expenses is heating oil.  I have begun terminating my reliance on petroleum, with considerable success.  Thus I am well versed in the probabilities of a shrinking oil supply and how to adapt to it.

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Last messed with spring 1999.

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