We don't need oil anymore. Now what?

Discussion in 'Your Bloody Soap Box' started by Chance3290, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. Chance3290

    Chance3290 New Member

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    OK, its the not-to-distant future and Professor Frink just made an alternative fuel source that is clean, inexpensive, and plentiful. Our need for oil has dropped 99%.
    What will happen in the mid-east?
     
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  2. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Let's get some facts straight before you begin to speculate.

    The issue is energy - how to generate energy.
    Currently oil is deemed to be the most efficient method of generating energy.

    America consumes between 25-30% of daily oil production, worldwide.

    The premise of your question needs to be examined.

    Professor XYZ comes up with an alternative energy source.
    Given that the USA (and the rest of the world) is wholly dependent on oil to fuel to keeps it's entire way of life going in the short term it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference if this new energy source was found
    because

    (a) the entire US/World infrastructure is engineered to process only one fuel - oil.The capital expenditure required to reconfigure all of the power
    station, cars, planes, trains,
    manaufacturing processes, domestic light and heating systems, would
    run in to literally billions.

    (b) the time line for all this reconfiguration would take literally years.

    So the Middle East and other oil producing nations ultimately hold the upper hand - even if a new environmentally friendsly cheap source is found.
     
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  3. Chance3290

    Chance3290 New Member

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    You keep referring to the USA, I'm not talking about the USA. I'm wondering what would happen in the mid-east if the high demand for their oil was gone.
     
  4. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    My point is that demand for their oil won't disappear overnight - even if an
    alternative is found.

    Ultimately, if we did find an alternative and if we were prepared to spend literally billions and God knows how many years, reconfiguring everything to this new energy source, then interest in the Middle east would diminish.

    But it is highly unlikely that an alternative can be found and the cost of converting everything to accomodate this new energy would be astronomical.
     
  5. Cyclesafe

    Cyclesafe New Member

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    All meaningful sources of energy are well understood, the technical issue is to reduce their cost to be competitive with oil. Thermodynamics, the infrastructure issues mentioned, and the still cheap price of oil relative to alternatives conspire to keep us under the yoke of oil producing nations for the next century. Conservation hit the sheiks hard in the 70's, but there is no similar groundswell today. More and more of our income will go to oil based products, hitting the less well- off throughout the world. The rich will not see any difference in their lifestyles.

    The poor in the US will be placated by uber-patriotic rhetoric - their sons and daughters thus recruited to conquer the oilfields of the middle east - all for bubba to have plenty of gas for his hemi V8 and for soccer moms to drive their preciouses in overkill Humvees. Invasion and subsequent genocide of indigenous people is the time-honored solution for such kinds of "problems" and Iran's ranting about their right to enrich uranium is only playing to the world's inevitable ultimate conclusion that history must repeat itself.

    Bush jumped the gun when he lied about Iraq's WMD's. Fortunately, this blunder will give the world pause before it takes on Iran. But with Hamas gaining a majority in Palestine, the Sunni and Shia insurgencies continuing unabated in Iraq, and Osama and his ilk still at large, the Islamic jihad is succeeding and will continue to succeed as long as current strategies are followed.

    War is not the answer because it is no longer followed up with a massacre of the defeated enemy. If war is not the answer, then we are doomed to suffer terrorism, ever higher oil prices, and ultimately the nuclear destruction of our cities one by one by Islamic crazies. I hope I am gone before then.
     
  6. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    You're all missing the point.

    Energy is the issue : oil is currently the means for generating energy.

    We have three options :

    1. Reduce our energy requirements
    2. Seek an alternative method of generating energy, other than using oil.
    3. Locate more sources of oil.

    Unfortunately demand for energy is increasing worldwide - with India and China ramping up, the demand for
    oil will continue to grow in to the future.
    Sources of oil supply however continue to decrease.

    Currently it would appear that US foreign policy - because of the US total dependence upon oil -
    is dictated by point 3 above.
    Thus the invasion of Iraq.
    Thus the sabre rattling with Iran.

    The USA pays only lip service to point 2 above.

    Which leaves us with point 1 above.
    I am inclined to think that if we all took measures to reduce our energy requirements it might
    buy us all some time.
     
  7. Chance3290

    Chance3290 New Member

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    My intent was to get people to speculate what would happen in the mid-east. I would guess the western powers would move out. Probably not completely, but most of the interest in the region would be gone. Israel would be shitting bricks as would the Saudis, whose power and influence come from the black gold.

    But again, if there was little western interest in the mid-east, what would happen in the region?
     
  8. Colorado Ryder

    Colorado Ryder New Member

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    Oil is not the major means for generating electricity in the US.

    Coal accounts for 51% of electricity generated. Followed by nuclear at 20%, then natural gas at 16%. New generating plants being constructed are natural gas fired.

    http://www.electricityforum.com/images/elecgen_graph1.gif

    Here is an updated chart.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    I tend to believe there are already alternatives that would completely change the economic structure as in who receives the money.
    That being the stumbling block that keeps us harnessed to oil.
    Powerful people do not wish us to convert. It would mean hugh losses to private concerns that have a system in place to harvest the optimum amount of profit.
    As far a conversion,it could be done it a relatively short time if necessary.
    Look at how quickly societies adapt in times of all out war such as WWII.
    This will not happen of course unless forced, since it would cause a major life style change for most, at least initially. People generally do not like change and can be intimidated by it even it is the most simple change.

    To answer the initial question: The power base would shift ,as it relate to the Middle East, the economics of the reagion would change drastically.
    They would probably still have a maket for oil to smaller countries that could not afford to convert but at a much lower profit.
    The major players US,Japan,Europe,China etc. would loses most of their interest in the region.
     
  10. Cyclesafe

    Cyclesafe New Member

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    I agree that in the absence of viable energy alternatives and hopefully a moral repugnace to take it by force and exterminate the locals, conservation is our only alternative. Jimmy Carter came to the same conclusion and look what happened to him.

    Will the developed world (Americans?) be willing to give up their proflagate use of oil? I think the "invisible hand" will do the job for us. As the price of oil goes up, up, up we will be forced to make changes. But oil is still cheap - otherwise we will have more than just hybrid cars. Will bubba rather fight for his right to drive his empty pickup or will the soccer mom "support the troops" so that she can drive encased in 3000 lbs of metal? The fact that the Iraq war has the support it has despite the lies that got us there only tells me that there is more than sabre rattling here. The president of Iran is calling for the extermination of Israel and the United States. When will there be a call here to exterminate Iran and the poeple who live there first. This is not the timid late 70's, this is a new millenia where the US has repeated demonstrated its willingness to be aggressive. The energy problem may after all be solved with war.
     
  11. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Thanks for this information - it's very interesting.

    But the view is that your economy is very oil dependent - so oil must be used for a whole range of issues such as transport (cars), planes etc.?
    Or why else is the USA using so much oil.
    25% of daily world oil production is consumed by the USA.

    But we're over a barrel here in Europe too (we're all oil dependent).
     
  12. Colorado Ryder

    Colorado Ryder New Member

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    All transportation is petroleum based. The USA relies heavily on trucks for moving product. Also many manufacturing processes require petroleum based products. Many homes in the Northeast are heated by oil.

    Transportation probably makes up the biggest use of oil in the US.
     
  13. lwedge

    lwedge New Member

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    Let's not forget the millions++ of miles of asphalt roads we drive on as well.

    Who was it who said, "Ah-muricans are addicted to oil" ?

    Lw
     
  14. lwedge

    lwedge New Member

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    Nothing a little HEU-235 wouldn't take care of.

    Lw
     
  15. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    you've lost me on this one.
     
  16. lwedge

    lwedge New Member

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    Sorry Lim. Highly Enriched Uranium-235.

    LW
     
  17. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    I'm with you now.

    Gotta be patient with us drivers in the slower lane!
     
  18. Dondare

    Dondare New Member

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    Bush wants to end US dependence on oil so as he can nuke the muddle east.
    Uranium comes from places which have even nastier governments.
    I ent putting strontium 90 on my chain.
     
  19. Colorado Ryder

    Colorado Ryder New Member

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    Yeah. Places like Australia and Canada.
     
  20. stevebaby

    stevebaby New Member

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    And kazakhstan,which has the world's second largest deposits after oz.
    A stable democracy?
     
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