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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Weird Profile

I have valiantly tried to reverse engineer a particular graph from the EIA with limited success. I spotted it via Dave from LifeAfterTheOilCrash with this rider comment: "Even the Energy Information Administration (EIA), not known for their realism on the subject of Peak Oil, presents us with this graph."

The sharply peaked nature of the oil production curves don't make much sense in a stochastic world view. We should really expect a continuously varying 2nd derivative and not the discontinuity shown. In practice, the discontinuity could occur due to some severe oil shock, and the aggressive rise right before the shock likely due to an ever increasing extraction rate. This odd scenario would classify the EIA as veritable doom-mongers, no better than the worst of the lot at PeakOil.com. I believe I could reproduce the curve shown with my oil shock model (see sidebar), but it begs for additional deliberation as my preliminary extraction rates would need to track a peculiar arc.

This prompts the question: Does EIA understand something about oil production dynamics that they have kept to themselves?

As oil price hovers around $70/barrel, Matt Drudge, ranting during his Sunday night radio show, took some callers on the oil situation. Because Drudge followers fancy themselves as budding Clark Kent's, eager to break some news, the show provides some humorous moments. Drudge himself will illogically oscillate between a populist and a reactionary, which makes him squirrelly immune to criticism. His callers, on the other hand, provide sitting targets. For instance, a caller from Valparaiso said that "the companies are awarsh in oil" (yes, that's how they say it in Indiana). He added that the oil company chiefs had to raise prices due to issues with the "contracts". He didn't elaborate too much on the contracts, other than to imply that the oil companies could not easily get out of them. The caller seemed sure of himself, showing confidence in the future, despite the fact that his job consisted of delivering gas-sucking RV's cross-country to buyers. I sincerely hope Mr.Indiana doesn't go Vanishing Point on us when the oil situation starts to turn south -- contracts or no contracts.

Drudge added that the $400-million-richer Exxon Chairman Lee (Jabba) Raymond should at least have commissioned a picture of himself where you could see his chin. (Big Gav from Peak Energy will appreciate that line)


Professor Blogger Big Gav said...


Yes - I do appreciate that line - Drudge can't be all bad ! (but is probably 95% bad)

I still hope Jabba does find himself in court on climate crime charges one day - even lawyers are more deserving of his ill-gotten gains than he is...

3:24 AM  
Professor Blogger Big Gav said...

Interesting point about the EIA graph by the way - I wonder if they could be coaxed into revealing their modelling methodology (assuming they have one).

3:25 AM  
Professor Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could see the papers by Lahererre on hubbertpeak.com for a criticism of the methodology.

1:07 PM  
Professor Blogger SW said...

The shape of the curve reveals their methodology. "Push the Peak as far in the future as possible for a given area under the curve" Period. That is how you generate a curve like that. That is the only purpose of their analysis. All the rest is hand waving and excuses after the fact.

5:01 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

yea, I agree that deferring the peak as much as possible will produce that kind of "front-heavy" shape (i.e. w/o much of a tail). It still reuires an abrupt transition, though.

5:15 PM  
Professor Blogger SW said...

I'm sorry you missed my point. There is no there there. Deferring the peak as much as possible is the entire purpose of the analysis. They don't give a flying fuck about the resulting function, the transition or the curve's tenuous connection to physical reality. It just doesn't enter into the process. This weird shape is simply the result of what happens when they keep doing what they have always been doing and the jig is truly up.

6:10 AM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

I don't think I missed your point, but if you want me to say that the EIA bureaucrats are idiots, then I will say it -- the EIA bureaucrats are idiots.

4:39 PM  
Professor Blogger SW said...

Just wait until they have to start manipulating the space-time continuum by making the backside slope concave!

5:27 PM  
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5:48 PM  

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