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posted by martyb on Tuesday September 22 2020, @11:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the piqued-oil? dept.

Bp Says We'Ve Already Reached Peak Oil:

BP is saying the quiet part loud: In the 2020 Energy Outlook report the energy giant published this week, it said that the world may have reached peak oil.

The covid-19 pandemic has done a serious number on the oil industry, with demand falling to historic lows amid lockdowns and prices falling into negative territory. In a report on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency warned that for the oil industry, the "path ahead is treacherous," reducing its forecast for global oil demand in 2020 by 200,000 barrels per day. And on Monday, OPEC lowered its predictions of demand in 2020 by 400,000 barrels per day.

In BP's new report, analysts said the market may never recover from this damage. The authors lay out three possible scenarios for the world's energy usage between now and 2050, which illustrate a rapid, moderate, and slow transition to renewables. The first two scenarios show demand for oil steeply falling over the next three decades. But even under the firm's most "optimistic" scenario for Big Oil where climate action doesn't accelerate, oil demand will plateau at 2019 levels before declining in 2035.

This is a vastly different picture from the one the firm sketched in its last outlook report just one year ago, which predicted oil consumption would continue to grow over the next decade, peaking sometime in the 2030s.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Osamabobama on Tuesday September 22 2020, @04:12PM (1 child)

    by Osamabobama (5842) on Tuesday September 22 2020, @04:12PM (#1055025)

    we didn't actually run out of oil, but oil began to be so scarce, that we could no longer pump it economically to the surface.

    The next step is often glossed over in this discussion: Once oil becomes more scarce, its price goes up, changing the economics of pumping it to the surface. The peak oil theory asserts that oil becomes unaffordable and society built on cheap oil collapses.

    Thanks to a number of factors, including renewable energy...

    Specifically, as the price of oil-based energy goes up, other energy, once more expensive, becomes affordable as a substitute. This mitigates demand for oil, providing a damping effect on the price increase. Simultaneously, the alternative energy sources (such as wind and solar) become cheaper as supporting technology is developed and production scale is increased. This leads other oil users to find ways to cut costs by changing sources, further reducing oil demand and price. Throw in a pandemic and you have another downward demand shock on top of all that, giving us our current situation.

    I don't think I added anything new to this discussion, but the rest of this page was focused on details, with nobody talking about the big picture.

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  • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Tuesday September 22 2020, @05:47PM

    by deimtee (3272) on Tuesday September 22 2020, @05:47PM (#1055061) Journal

    I think we are on track to have renewables undercut oil for energy way before we run out. Unsubsidized solar and wind are pretty close to unsubsidized oil, but all the oil infrastructure already exists which makes changeover slow.

    Better batteries would be a massive boost to home solar, 5KW of solar panels and 60KWhr of energy storage and the average home could tell the electricity company to piss off and never pay another electricity bill. (probably need double that if you have an E-car) Already starting to happen with some new homes here in AU. (Electricity here is 20 to 30 AU cents/kwh).

    That doesn't address the other main use of oil, chemical feedstocks. As production goes down and unit costs go up, at some point it will plateau again when oil production matches chemical demand. I suspect that chemical demand is a lot less price sensitive than energy demand.

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