End of fossil fuels

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 11:11
ThreadID: 133304 Views:4310 Replies:15 FollowUps:16
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What happened?
Not so long ago (in last couple years) there was much talk about end of fuel, oil running out etc, electric cars, etc

But now its no longer an issue it seems...

There WAS a huge expanse of oil under coast of Brazil, but it was said that it was way too deep to be able to get it out, did we manage to access it?

I'm thinking on a new vehicle in next couple years and trying to research / assess the fuel situation..

Anyone heard anything on the long term of fuel?

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 11:41

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 11:41
Its instructive to view posts on this site from around 2006 etc.

Talk was all about peak oil etc but then new sources of fuel like oil sands , Fracking etc have caused an oversupply, and have a bigger real effect than short term currency moves.

Back then several thought I was wrong to by the powerful petrol 4800 patrol because by now fuel cost would have made it untenable to run.

Today petrol hear is 98.9 - I won't say what the diesel price is !

Reality is that the effective fuel price has dropped and remained down for years.

Same is happening with global warming etcc - many put it down but underlying trend is very real and getting worse.

You have to feel sorry for movie makers though - all those story plots about the bad CIA controlling the Arabs and doing bad things to protect oil supply are looking weak now that USA is a net exporter.

Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 09:23

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 09:23
Fuel watch website in Sydney today reporting the lowest petrol at 104.7, lowest diesel at 102.7
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Follow Up By: Member - Ups and Downs - Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 at 09:01

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 at 09:01
Perth Unleaded 91 yesterday 95.9cpl
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 at 13:36

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 at 13:36
You can get a good idea of wholesale prices via the Australian Institute of Petroleum website, where they list Terminal Gate Prices.

This is the price any wholesaler has to pay when they buy a tanker load of fuel.

It's interesting to see how little difference there is between petrol and diesel TGP's - as compared to the often 15-20c litre difference in bowser prices.

The fuel retailers make the diesel users pay for cheap petrol.


Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 at 14:26

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 at 14:26
I don't know what it's like elsewhere but in Sydney's west, I rarely pay more for diesel, usually cheaper than 91, and always cheaper than 95 and 98 grade petrol. Diesel doesn't fluctuate in price as much either which is good if petrol prices are rising, not so good if they are falling.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 at 17:22

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016 at 17:22
In Perth and the suburbs, diesel is always 10c-20c L dearer than petrol.

Once you leave the city and get out in the country a little ways, the petrol price increases substantially, but the diesel tends to be the same price as the city, or even slightly cheaper.

End result is, there's usually only 1c or 2c L difference in price between petrol and diesel in the country.
The premium petrol prices in W.A. are a rort, no matter where you are, with up to 15c-18c L extra for premium fuels.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 13:12

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 13:12

The question goes to the heart of the “peak oil theory” and I’ll leave people to ponder on that – and good luck with that! If you are sitting around a warm camp-fire discussing it the fire will go out before you are likely to get any agreement, either on the theory or when (if ever) it will occur.

My suggestion, buy the car....it will most likely be a rust bucket before you run out of something to power it with...

Cheers, Baz – The Landy
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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 21:01

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 21:01
Yes...Think we will all be fossils before fossil fuel runs out - plus there are other options e.g. ethanol/vegetable oil - make your own.
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: tonysmc - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 13:13

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 13:13

I’m not sure how old you are however I heard all this 45 years ago and you could hardly give away a V8. I was at school at the time and didn’t think I’d ever get to drive a petrol car! Seems that there is still plenty around and it interesting who has a big part in the solar industry, BP!
Does anyone remember the Sarich orbital engine? Was bought by the big companies and then shelved. A good documentary to watch is “who killed the electric car”.
I also heard about a German man driving around in a hydrogen car in the 30’s so I am sure the big companies have the technology ready to go as soon as its needed, they’ll just use up the resources we have first.
(I was also told by the turn of the century, 2000, that we won’t get snow in Australia, but I’ll leave that subject alone!)

Cheers Tony
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Follow Up By: andoland - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 11:08

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 11:08
I love a good conspiracy theory!

Ralph Sarich's orbital engine was not bought by the "big companies" (and anyway, who are these "big companies") and then shelved. My understanding is that it was investigated seriously by more than one vehicle manufacturer but the fact that the engine was so different to existing designs meant that the re-tooling costs to manufacture it were considered too high, so no-one picked it up. There may have been other technical reasons but I can't recall reading other reasons. His fuel injection technology has been used by more than one mainstream engine manufacturer, particularly in marine outboard engines.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Aug 27, 2016 at 00:49

Saturday, Aug 27, 2016 at 00:49
Ralph Sarich's Orbital Engine failed to produce satisfactory long-term reliability results due mainly to the following reasons -

1. Major sealing problems with the sliding surfaces of the steel radial guides (or vanes) that controlled the position of the central rotor.

2. The SOE regularly overheated, and there was no satisfactory solution to the overheating problem.

3. Numerous components could not be lubricated easily, nor satisfactorily.

4. There were concerns the SOE could not meet upcoming tighter emissions requirements.

Along with the massive cost of totally re-tooling every engine manufacturing line, these combined problems deemed the SOE commercially unviable - particularly as manufacturers had plans to improve current designs of engines.

A further angle that killed the SOE, was the possible need to re-engineer suspension systems, and engine bays, to cope with the SOE's radical design and shape, and to enable repair work to be undertaken with relative ease.

Sarich went on to make a lot of money from other patented design features associated with the combustion features of the SOE, which were used in many other manufacturers engines.

As matter of interest, I met and knew Ralph Sarich in his job as a bulldozer salesman for Tutt-Bryants, in 1965!

His job was to sell the brother and I, more Allis-Chalmers bulldozers, which he tried to do regularly - but the one Allis-Chalmers bulldozer we bought, was quite unreliable enough to convince us to buy Caterpillars instead!

We did that, and never looked back! Ralph didn't last too long with Tutt-Bryant, either, as I understand. He was focused on bigger and better things.

The story was often related to us, that Ralph got the idea of the SOE, when he sighted a vane-type hydraulic pump from a bulldozer, disassembled on a bench in Tutt-Bryants workshop.

One look at the SOE design makes one realise, that it's basically identical in design, to a vane-type hydraulic pump.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: andoland - Monday, Aug 29, 2016 at 09:00

Monday, Aug 29, 2016 at 09:00
Very informative Ron, thanks for the info.
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Reply By: Rangiephil - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 16:07

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 16:07
Peak Oil is only one of a constant stream of doom and gloomers .
The first of note was Malthus who in 1803 forecast that the World would run out of food.
Then we had the "Club of Rome"
"Published in 1972 and presented for the first time at the International Students' Committee (ISC) annual Management Symposium in St. Gallen, Switzerland, it predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil." Wikipedia
Oh I forgot then there was "The next Ice Age" by some of the same scientists who are now touting Climate Change.
Then was Y2K.
Then it was "Peak Oil"
Now it is "Climate Change"
It seems that there are a group of humans who cannot abide to be happy. They must wear hair shirts and flay themselves repeatedly in a religious fervor.
The facts that we have not run out of water, and the sea is not rising any faster than 100 years ago seem to be lost on them.
Regards Philip A
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 17:27

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 17:27
True...but for many ignorance is bliss!!!
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Follow Up By: noggins - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 20:03

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 20:03
Yes but another quote
"There is nothing more dangerous than the fanatic or extremely pious"

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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 21:02

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 21:02
Informed skepticism has its place but there's so much conspiracy theory nonsense in your list I'm not sure where to start. Suffice to say that a bit of reading on all the topics you list might help. Haven't visited peak oil for a while but when I did it seemed most experts agreed we have already passed that point. Afaik the current "glut" has nothing to do with global reserves if that's what you're thinking.

Wrt the OP's query. There has been a lot of discussion on the reasons for the current price of oil - including some on here iirc. US self-sufficiency, global financial conditions and OPEC's efforts to get exploiters of marginal reserves (eg oil shale) out of the market are major players in the current oil price. Not sure if economists are game to put a date on global economic conditions picking up but I've got no skin in the game so I'll be bold and suggest that oil prices will double in the next decade or so.
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Reply By: The Bantam - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 20:25

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 20:25
Yeh I'm old enough to remember the peak oil paranoya of the 70s an the button car plan of the 80s.
I have some friends that are convinced that they won,t buy another combustion engined car.
Na ..... there is plenty of oil still in the ground, then the coal, not too hard to make fuel from coal.
If there was real effort there are many sources of alternative fuel that would work with the current engine technolgy.
Meantim the fuel prices stay down.
AnswerID: 603829

Reply By: Athol W1 - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 20:37

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 20:37
When I was doing my tech course for my trade (motor mechanic) back in the early 1960's I was asked why I chose that trade as there was only enough oil in the world to supply the motor industry for a maximum of 10 to 12 years, and cars would then become extinct. How wrong they were they then.

Last I heard was that there is enough oil reserves for at least the next 20 to 30 years, and they are still finding more. Australia has massive oil reserves under the desert areas, but it is not suitable for the heavy shipping/lubricating/tar etc that the middle eastern oil can produce. As it comes out of the ground it can be used as diesel fuel.

Your next vehicle will be well and truly worn out before we run out of fuel to power it.

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Reply By: Genny - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 21:10

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 21:10
Fuel from air is technically possible.

Fuel from air.
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Reply By: Bazooka - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 21:25

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 21:25
Some interesting graphs here> http://crudeoilpeak.info/australian-graphs

From memory we have plenty of gas but little petroleum.

New oil province could enhance Australia’s energy security

28 April 2016

The development of a new oil province in the Great Australian Bight would deliver significant long-term economic benefits for Australia and South Australia.

APPEA South Australia – Northern Territory Director Matthew Doman said hearings of the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee ‘Inquiry into oil or gas production in the Great Australian Bight’ in Adelaide today were an opportunity to answer questions and address concerns about the industry’s activities.

Mr Doman said the economic case for the safe and sustainable development of a new oil province was clear.

He said finding a major new oil source would help address Australia’s widening trade deficit in a vital commodity.

“About 80 per cent of the oil we use in Australia is imported, costing us around $34 billion a year,” he said.

“Local production has been falling steadily. Australia has less than 10 years of proven domestic crude oil reserves left.

“The Great Australian Bight could be the new oil province that boosts our energy security for decades to come.”

Mr Doman said the oil and gas industry was one of Australia’s highest value-add industries, generating highly-skilled, and high-wage jobs.

“Besides the thousands of people directly employed in upstream exploration and production, the industry employs many more people, directly and indirectly, in downstream processing, engineering and other services,” he said.

Mr Doman said Australia’s regulatory regime had been transformed in the last five years to be truly world class. Its strengths included:

A single, independent regulator with deep expertise in the offshore environment;
An unambiguous focus on rigorous risk assessment, free from political or other influences;
A very conservative approach which requires risks to be reduced to as low as reasonably practicable; and
An objectives-based approach which is more flexible than prescriptive regulation and promotes continuous improvement.
Mr Doman said that if current plans were approved, the industry would spend more than $1 billion on near-term exploration work.

“With proper regulatory oversight, there is no reason a safe, sustainable offshore petroleum industry should not be possible for South Australia, and that residents of the state should not benefit from the investment that will be made and jobs created,” Mr Doman said.

“The industry’s record of safe, sustainable operations offshore in neighbouring Victoria show that similar development could occur in the bight with minimal risk to the environment.”

APPEA’s submission to the Senate Inquiry can be found here.
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Reply By: Ron N - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 22:13

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 22:13
With the addition of U.S. fracking of shale reserves, and the Canadian tar oil sands reserves, world oil reserves are now calculated to be large enough to last more than 50 years, at current levels of consumption.

The problem is, scientists can only guess at the known reserves, because there is no deadly accurate way of measuring them - they can only make an astute guess.

There is also conjecture that the known oil reserves are being replenished from even deeper in the Earths crust - far deeper than any drilling has ever gone.
In terms of depth of drilling, the deepest oil wells are nothing more than the equivalent of a pin-prick in the crust of the Earth.

What will govern our oil usage is new technology and new scientific developments, in the next few years to come.
It is highly likely that fossil fuels will only make up 15-20% of our energy sources in 20-25 years time.
In the next 15-20 years there will likely be big improvements in batteries and solar power generation, that will relegate fossil fuels to 2nd or 3rd choice, as an energy source.

By 2035, you will most likely be able to buy an electric car that will have the equivalent range of a petrol or diesel car, and be able to be recharged in an hour.

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 22:46

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 22:46
From the 'net - "In 1949, after 50 years of drilling, analysts estimated that just 47 million barrels remained in the (U.S.) Kern River oil field reserves.

Kern River oil field, it seemed, was nearly played out.

Instead, oil companies removed 945 million barrels of oil from the Kern River oil field, over the next 40 years.

In 1989, analysts again estimated Kern River oil reserves: 697 million barrels.

By 2009, Kern had produced more than 1.3 BILLION additional barrels, and reserves were estimated to still be almost 600 million barrels."

The first oil well was dug by hand on the Kern River Oil Field in 1899!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 03:22

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 03:22
I read a report awhile back on North American oil reserves.
One bit that remains in my mind was the Canadian oil sands alone had a base estimate of 200 years of Canadian oil needs.

The US is almost self sufficient in its oil needs, hence the current depressed prices are a result of the OPEC nations trying to drive US producers with a higher cost base out of the market.

Offshore drilling technology is advancing in leaps and bounds and will ensure massive deep water reserves are within reach.
We have only scratched the surface of offshore oil reserves.

Oil will be around way beyond the lifetime of most reading this forum.

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Reply By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 22:51

Thursday, Aug 25, 2016 at 22:51
I'd love an affordable electric 4w4. A motor on every wheel and 300-400km range...park and charge by solar for a few days and move on. Bring it on.
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Follow Up By: Paul E6 - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 07:18

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 07:18
You want park for days just to get a few more hundred k 's down the road?
Is that an attractive idea to you?
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Follow Up By: Baz - The Landy - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 07:56

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 07:56
An attractive idea x2 - I dream of that...!

Cheers, Baz - The Landy
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Reply By: Ron173 - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 08:21

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 08:21
Wow, didnt expect so many replies.... not been on here in a looong time.
And the replies opened by an old friend, Good day to you Robin!

wasnt my intention to open a can of worms, but some great info turned up out of it.

Thanks to you all.

I'm old enough to remember all the previous scares etc, but just there had been some recent recovering of it.
I'm traditionally a diesel bloke, this next vehicle will be a new one and my last one, novated leased before retirement, it had crossed my mind that if reserves ran out or low we can make ethanol, and I drive work holdens that have "85% ethanol max" on fuel cap.
This opened the debate in my mind as which to go, I have 300k on my diesel navara, but still bit unsure ...still I have a year or so to decide.
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Reply By: Ron N - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 11:08

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 11:08
The company that perfected the industrial diesel - Caterpillar - in 1931 - now have diesel/electric hybrid machines.

When Cat produced the first successful diesel tractor engine, diesel was actually an unknown product and no refinery standard had even been produced for it.
Diesel fuel, up to 1930, was merely the leftovers from refining the lighter fractions of crude, and it varied enormously in quality and grade.
The ASTM D975 standard had to be instituted (during 1931) to ensure a reasonable standard for diesel fuel.

The first diesel/electric drive bulldozer (the D7E) was produced by Cat in 2009, and is regarded as a commercial success.

The Cat D7E

The D7E will not be the last Cat to incorporate electrics into its drivetrain, there will be a lot more electric Cats in the future.
In the early 2000's, Cat invested a lot of money into the advanced development of batteries, in a joint venture with a company called Firefly.
Cat's aim was primarily to develop new improved batteries that only used commonly-available basic elements, such as carbon, nitrogen, silicon, etc.

Their aim was to ensure that they could not be held hostage in their advanced battery production by countries/miners/dictators who controlled the worlds output and reserves of rare-earth minerals and compounds.

The Firefly JV was dissolved, and regarded as a failure, as regards Cat's aim - as it failed to produce a substantially superior battery using only simple elements.
Rare earths and exotic minerals are still used in superior battery construction - however, that may still change.

The areas producing these rare earths and exotic minerals have been found to be more widespread than initially thought.
Cat's concern was that China would hold all the aces as regards the sources of the raw materials for superior batteries.
However, that is no longer the case, the raw materials are readily available in numerous other countries.

The reason the Firefly JV failed was perhaps an aim that was too high - and also because Cat only threw $20-30M into the JV.
It seems that it will take a lot more money, and a lot more research by combined groups, in places such as universities and large companies, where big research teams and sizeable sums of money are available.

Tesla is likely to be the company that will make a major battery breakthrough, because of the massive amounts of money it has available, and the size of the teams it can put together.

Firefly learnt quite a bit from its research with Cat and are now producing the advanced Carbon-Foam battery.
However, Firefly only make one version of its battery - the N70 sized, 12V G31. It's claimed that the G31 has up to 5 times the life of a common lead-acid battery.

The major disadvantages of the Firefly G31 are - it weighs 33kgs - and it retails at US$486.
Thus, Firefly have achieved nothing as regards weight reduction, and cost reduction - the two current "bugbears" of lead acid batteries.

For a major battery advance, for automotive use, there needs to be a massive weight reduction, a major improvement in output, and a vastly improved ability for rapid recharge - along with modest and affordable purchase cost.
I personally feel that super-capacitors will play a big part in any further battery and electric power development - and to that end, the CSIRO-developed super-capacitor battery has great potential.

The CSIRO-developed UltraBattery

The super-capacitors are the needed requirement for major surges in power demands, as happens with rapid acceleration of a vehicle.

The power required to roll along steadily, even at highway speeds, is not huge, and the IC engine wastes a lot of energy running at high RPM at highway speeds, with only a portion of the power being produced at highway speeds, actually being used to drive the vehicle along.
This is the forte of the electric motor, it only produces the power needed as required, and energy losses are extremely low.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 603850

Reply By: eaglefree - Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 19:40

Friday, Aug 26, 2016 at 19:40
I'm biased towards economy. I hate paying for fuel.
Many here know of my van build late last year, a van with shower and toilet, 2 single beds, awning etc weighing tare 450 kg. Towed with our Hyundai i30 diesel around most of the lap of the Oz coast, 18500 km for less than $1900 in fuel. It worked out at 9.3 L/100km...and 5.3L/100km when not towing..
Yes our van was a bit small in all honesty at 3.3 metres and 1.8 m wide. We are selling it now and will build one 4.3m long by 2.0 m wide. This will be, to us, luxurious. Tare about 700kg with brakes. The i30 can tow about 1300 kg braked.
So, you want to pay less for fuel? Get the MIG welder out (or buy a smaller lighter van)and buy a small diesel.
AnswerID: 603873

Reply By: desray (WA - Sunday, Aug 28, 2016 at 22:34

Sunday, Aug 28, 2016 at 22:34
When I was at school in the 1960s it was said fuel would run out around the year 2000. They were wrong then as well, lol
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Reply By: Member - Andrew - Monday, Aug 29, 2016 at 05:13

Monday, Aug 29, 2016 at 05:13
The stone age did not end because we ran out of stone.

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