Hirsch has Scientific Capital
I took a bunch of potshots at the "Cold Fusion pioneer" Steven E. Jones recently. Essentially a publicity hound, tenured Jones really has little credibility (or scientific capital in BushSpeak) left. On the other hand, a real fusion pioneer, Robert L. Hirsch, has continually spoken his mind without fear of the consequences. Flashback to how he got fired from Rand for pointing out obvious problems concerning fusion.
Rand hired Hirsch in January 2001, and he began work on the report "Energy Technologies for 2050," a $200,000 study commissioned by the Department of Energy's Fossil Energy Program. His mission was to develop a methodology that could be used to evaluate the viability of energy technologies over the next 50 years. Then in October, Hirsch was fired.Which means that we better pay attention to the latest Hirsch report before it gets mysteriously disappeared.
Hirsch said he was abruptly fired for sharing a draft of the report, which he admits doing as a last resort, saying he feared the conclusions would not get out otherwise. Rand officials said they cannot comment on the reasons for the firing.
Hirsch spends a bit of time understanding North Sea production and the mystery behind sharp peaks and sharp declines.
To understand the possible character of the peaking of world conventional oil production, oil peaking in a number of relatively unencumbered regions and countries was considered. All had significant production, and all were certainly or almost certainly past their peak. The data shows that the onset of peaking can occur quite suddenly, peaks can be very sharp, and post-peak production declines can be comparatively steep (3 - 13%). Thus, if historical patterns are appropriate indicators, the task of planning for and managing world conventional oil peaking will indeed be very challenging.
I could get the oil shock model to work for UK North Sea oil if I put a strong extraction increase near the peak of 1995. Up until that point the extraction rate was constant apart from some perturbations due to the Piper Alpha platform disaster.
Steady extraction/depletion rate of 10%.
Add rate increases.
What you end up getting. Bottom line: nothing by 2020. Maybe even nothing by 2010 if they increase the extraction rate or make no new discoveries.
Deepwater oil costs a lot of money; the oil company has an interest to pump out the oil as fast as possible. They can't afford to man an offshore platform over the years like they would a Huntington Beach stripper well sitting next to a McDonalds. So they go full blast once they detect peak coming -- which produces a high, sharp peak, followed by a steep decline. Bingo.
Let's call him Robert "Seymour" Hirsch in honor of the other Hersh with guts.