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JakilaTheHun (99.94)

Energy Predictions for the Teens

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June 04, 2010 – Comments (37) | RELATED TICKERS: EXC , USO , UNG

There are very few people who would declare that oil will be a primary energy source for the world in 2150, but everyone has a different outlook on when oil's run will finally end.  I'm not going to boldly declare that oil will become obsolete at the end of this decade, but I am willing to make one big prediction:

A major paradigm shift in the energy sector will occur over the 2010's.  

It seems almost inevitable in some ways.  However, I think the BP oil spill is a "sea change" type of event that is going to eventually result in a bit of a divergence from our current energy model.   Oil will still be around in 2020, but it's role will have changed to a degree.  

I was previously an advocate of off-shore drilling, not because I support an oil-centric energy policy, but because so long as we are dependent on oil, I believed off-shore was necessary.  The BP Oil Spill has dramatically changed my view.  The thing I've learned (and many others are in the process of learning) is that one failure leads to such enormous environmental damage, that it could take centuries to reverse.  Moreover, the costs of dealing with this oil spill are easily in the billions; maybe even hundreds of billions.  In essence, the external costs of off-shore drilling might be so high, that it is not be a societally beneficial pursuit.  

Yet, we can't simply go without energy.  We have to find alternatives.  The two most readily available alternatives: natural gas and nuclear.  This isn't to say there isn't a place for renewables in America's new energy paradigm; just that their role will be limited in the near-term due to the costs.  Natural gas and nuclear, on the other hand, can be produced in an economically viable manner right now.  Both are superior to oil and coal in terms of negative externalities that are, inevitably, passed onto taxpayers over time.  

Based on all that is occuring, my expectation is that once an economic recovery takes hold, oil prices are going to spike again.  Either we have to continue extracting oil off-shore (which will become an increasingly unpopular policy) or we have to limit off-shore due to the major environmental hazards involved.  If we chose the latter, the price of oil is going to climb upwards even more.  

One more dynamic that I believe will accelerate --- the development of plug-in vehicles.  I'm not sure how a transition to electric cars will take place, but I think in another 10 years, we will see at least 2% - 10% of the cars on the road being electric (maybe that's low-balling it, too).  In this vain, I'm in the same camp as TMFDeej in that I believe electric utilities might be the biggest beneficiaries of this energy paradigm shift.  

 

Of course, I could be wrong on all of this, but if I'm wrong, it's because other macroeconomic concerns will end up trumping this issue.  In that event, continued recession/depression could drag oil demand down low enough so that the lack of off-shore supply is not a major issue.  In which case, we might not see a major impetus to force an energy paradigm shift for another decade.  

 

So now the fun part:

What are your energy predictions for the next decade?

37 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 04, 2010 at 12:20 PM, chk999 (99.98) wrote:

It seems almost inevitable in some ways.  However, I think the BP oil spill is a "sea change" type of event that is going to eventually result in a bit of a divergence from our current energy model.   Oil will still be around in 2020, but it's role will have changed to a degree.  

I think you are 100% correct on this. What the change will be is a different question, but this blowout is a game changer.

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#2) On June 04, 2010 at 12:33 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

Global energy usage ("around 2006").

(from here)

 

my guess for 2020.

gas 32%, oil 30%, coal 18%, nuclear 7%, biomass 5%, hydro 3%, wind 2%, solar heat 1.3%, photovoltaic 0.8%, geothermal 0.3%, biofuels 0.3%, others 0.6%.

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#3) On June 04, 2010 at 12:36 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

others 0.6%

others 0.3%

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#4) On June 04, 2010 at 12:44 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

And I think global energy usage in 2020 will be at around the same level as in 2010. Not because of a bad decade for the economy but because of "saving of energy".

The average consumption of the cars in 2010 will be at around "100 miles per gallon of gasoline (equivalent)".

Okay, these were the results of the German jury, hehe ...

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#5) On June 04, 2010 at 12:45 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

cars in 2010

cars in 2020

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#6) On June 04, 2010 at 12:54 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

#4,5 "New cars" sold in 2020 will use the equivalent of around 1.4 l of gasoline for 100 km (≈ 168 mpg).

The Tesla Roadster uses the equivalent of around 2.0 l /100 km (see here).

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#7) On June 04, 2010 at 1:19 PM, Melaschasm (67.28) wrote:

According to my research, CNG cars make more sense economically than electric vehicles.  However, the US government has endorsed electric vehicles. 

One thing I have learned over the past few decades is to never underestimate the amount of damage the government is willing to do when intervening in the market.  Thus I expect that plugin hybrid cars will represent a very large portion of new vehicle sales in 2020.

For some reason the US is opposed to domestic nuclear power, but supports nuclear power in other countries.  I expect this trend to continue.  Overall I expect nuclear power to grow, but maintain a similar market share of energy.

I think Coal will also remain grow as an energy source, and maintain a stable market share.

The biggest change I see is oil losing market share to natural gas,

Althernative energy will also make small market share gains, due to continued government subsidies in western nations.

I expect overall global energy use to increase significantly over the next few decades as 100's of millions of people rise out of crushing poverty in places like China and India.

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#8) On June 04, 2010 at 1:31 PM, GeneralDemon (29.54) wrote:

"The thing I've learned (and many others are in the process of learning) is that one failure leads to such enormous environmental damage, that it could take centuries to reverse."

Sorry, I respectfully completely disagree. Oil is a natural product of the earth. There are continuing natural seeps that occur and periodic major releases of oil that have occurred in geologic history.

Oil is consumed naturally by certain bacteria, - again these bacteria have been consuming naturally released oil for millions of years.

In January 1969, off Santa Barbara, CA there was a major oil spill offshore (blowout). A 200,000.0 gal per day spill. It coated the beach below my house with oil. There was NO cleanup effort in my area because it was an isolated, remote area of the coast. Within three years, you could hardly find a tarball. Today there is absolutely zero trace of the spill.

Exaggerated rhetoric was used at the time of the Santa Barbara spill also. 

The effects of this spill will be short term catastrophic for sure but the environment will recover much sooner than expected.   

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#9) On June 04, 2010 at 1:32 PM, GNUBEE (26.92) wrote:

Jakila,

Both are superior to oil and coal in terms of negative externalities that are, inevitably, passed onto taxpayers over time.  

Lots of CNG will be coming from Marcellus Shale that is by far a clean extraction. Check into the water pollution caused by the extraction.

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#10) On June 04, 2010 at 1:34 PM, SockMarket (64.62) wrote:

Here are my predictions:

2020

Coal 28%

Natural Gas 28%

Oil 22%

Nuclear 10%

Biomass 5%

Wind 4%

Solar 2%

Others ~1%

Oil is peaking, I believe, and we have a ton of coal and natural gas, hence that growth in those two. I think that we will likely turn to the resources that we can best manage first.

 

2050

Wind 33%

Coal 18%

Nuclear 15%

Natural Gas 13%

Solar 10%

Biomass 5%

Geothermal 3%

Hydro 3%

Yes nat gas and coal have long reserve lives, but with both growth and the knowledge that both will peak sometime around 2050 I suspect we will see a decline in those made up by the next cheapest (and easily usable) form of energy: wind.

2100 (note: some percentages of renewables shrink because demand growth is higher than growth of that energy source)

Wind 45%

Solar 33%

Coal 10%

Natural gas 5%

Nuclear 3%

Hydro 2%

Geothermal 2%

Biomass is virtually non-existent due to its main practicioners using up--with the exception of waste which is mostly recycled.

 

Every fossil fuel is in decline and the cheapest, easiest alternatives that can be implimented in most areas (PV and wind) take over as the top two energy sources. At this point most major hydro rivers have been dammed and geothermal sites have been tapped, since growth will probably continue to the tune of 1-2% a year the % of total power that these resources provide falls.

 

2150

Wind 57%

Solar 35%

Coal 2%

Natural Gas 2%

Nuclear 2%

Geothermal 1%

Hydro 1%

Same reasons as 2100 prediction, only these are more pronounced because there has been more time for the effects to become more noticable. 

 

 

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#11) On June 04, 2010 at 1:43 PM, FreeMortal (29.60) wrote:

Good post as usual JTH

portefeuille "And I think global energy usage in 2020 will be at around the same level as in 2010."

I'd like to explore that part a little.

When I looked at your graphs (#2) I was imagining to myself how the shrinking slices of coal and oil in the overall growing energy pie would translate into actual volume.  If the pie grows fast enough, (which I guessed it would) oil and coal consumption would still increase, even though their share of the market diminishes.

By your estimate, efficiency will grow fast enough to keep up with the energy needs of the growing world economies.  I don't know of any precedent for this. (If there are any, let me know)  For example, after the OPEC oil shocks in the 70s, car in the US became much more efficient, yet oil consumption still increased.  Here's an estimate from the US dept of energy.


source - http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/highlights.html

Wirth's Law may have some relevance here.

 

This one shocked me in particular.


 

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#12) On June 04, 2010 at 1:48 PM, MegaEurope (23.82) wrote:

Porte, you really think wind energy is going to increase ~7x and PV energy is going to increase ~20x over the next decade?  So are you bullish on the manufacturers?

The average consumption of the cars in 2010 will be at around "100 miles per gallon of gasoline (equivalent)".

No way.  It is technologically possible but would involve way too much front-end cost.  Maybe 50-60 mpg in the US.

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#13) On June 04, 2010 at 1:51 PM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

In January 1969, off Santa Barbara, CA there was a major oil spill offshore (blowout). A 200,000.0 gal per day spill

The Santa Barbara spill was shallow water, contained to a small area, and the amount spilled in the entire accident was less than the amount spilled in the Deepwater Horizon spill in a day --- and that's if you go by the low-end estimates, which increasing evidence suggests are indeed, quite low.

 

Oil is a natural product of the earth. There are continuing natural seeps that occur and periodic major releases of oil that have occurred in geologic history.

This is true, but irrelevant.  Arsenic is a natural product of the Earth, as well, but that doesn't mean you should drink it.   You also seem to be missing the bigger issue here --- are we basically going to say that every single industry that operates in the Gulf of Mexico is subserviant to King Oil?  There are actually people who depend on the Gulf for their livelihood --- to dismiss their concerns because 'over the course of a long period of time, the oil will dissipate' seems like an exercise in completely missing the point --- perhaps intentionally so. 

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#14) On June 04, 2010 at 1:53 PM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

Porte, you really think wind energy is going to increase ~7x and PV energy is going to increase ~20x over the next decade?  So are you bullish on the manufacturers?

There's a reasonable case for it.  When you look at the major costs to produce wind turbines, many of them have the potential to fall.  Carbon fiber prices, in particular, might continue to fall significantly as newer applications for it are developed and production expands.  Auto manufacturers are already looking at using carbon fiber in cars to increase fuel efficiency.  

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#15) On June 04, 2010 at 1:53 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

I don't know of any precedent for this. (If there are any, let me know)



enlarge

(from here)

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#16) On June 04, 2010 at 1:57 PM, anticitrade (99.66) wrote:

Compared to the risks of offshore drilling, I suspect that nuclear energy will become increasingly attractive over the next 10 years.  However, given a much longer perspective I think that solar will be the clear winner.

Fundamentally, all energy sources on this planet come from 1 of 3 sources:

The initial creation of the Earth (geothermal or nuclear)

Lunar gravitation (tides)

The Sun (solar, all biomass and derivitives including petrochemicals, dam and reservoir power, wind)

Consequently, I think that nuclear makes up a good short term solution while solar power makes more sense for a sustainable energy solution. 

My problem with all biofuel based energy is that in principle it is just stored solar energy.  As we improve our ability to capture solar energy, biomass will increasingly represent a energy losing side step.  I also think that there exists a sizeable opportunity to improve our energy use conservation.

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#17) On June 04, 2010 at 1:57 PM, ozzfan1317 (83.58) wrote:

I see the price of Natural gas doubling ten years from now already own MCF on the look out for another company that I like the fundamentals with good nat gas reaserves.

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#18) On June 04, 2010 at 2:03 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

---------

Photovoltaic production has been increasing by an average of some 20 percent each year since 2002, making it the world’s fastest-growing energy technology. At the end of 2009, the cumulative global PV installations surpassed 21,000 megawatts.

...

World solar photovoltaic (PV) installations were 2.826 gigawatts peak (GWp) in 2007, and 5.95 gigawatts in 2008, a 110% increase. The three leading countries (Germany, Japan and the US) represent nearly 89% of the total worldwide PV installed capacity. According to Navigant Consulting and Electronic Trend Publications, the estimated PV worldwide installations outlooks of 2012 are 18.8GW and 12.3GW respectively. Notably, the manufacture of solar cells and modules had expanded in recent years.

Germany installed a record 3,800 MW of solar PV in 2009; in contrast, the US installed about 500 MW in 2009. The previous record, 2,600 MW, was set by Spain in 2008. Germany was also the fastest growing major PV market in the world from 2006 to 2007Industry observers speculate that Germany could install more than 4,500 MW in 2009. The German PV industry generates over 10,000 jobs in production, distribution and installation. By the end of 2006, nearly 88% of all solar PV installations in the EU were in grid-tied applications in Germany. Photovoltaic power capacity is measured as maximum power output under standardized test conditions (STC) in "Wp" (Watts peak). The actual power output at a particular point in time may be less than or greater than this standardized, or "rated," value, depending on geographical location, time of day, weather conditions, and other factors. Solar photovoltaic array capacity factors are typically under 25%, which is lower than many other industrial sources of electricity. Therefore the 2008 installed base peak output would have provided an average output of 3.04 GW (assuming 20% × 15,200 MWp). This represented 0.15 percent of global demand at the time.

...

---------  

from here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics

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#19) On June 04, 2010 at 2:09 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

---------

Solar power is the generation of electricity from sunlight. This can be direct as with photovoltaics (PV), or indirect as with concentrating solar power (CSP), where the sun's energy is focused to boil water which is then used to provide power. Solar power had the potential to provide over 1,000 times total world energy consumption in 2008,[citation needed] though it provided 0.02% of the total that year. If it continues to double in use every two to three years, or less, it would become the dominant energy source this century.

---------  

from here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power

 

also see this post.

Moving Right Along

 

the "European situation" in 2007.

(from here)

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#20) On June 04, 2010 at 2:13 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

#19 The last figure shows the "Proportion of renewable energy in the EU countries (and some candidates), 2007"

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#21) On June 04, 2010 at 2:18 PM, Aargon (< 20) wrote:

The pace of fuel increase is not keeping up with the demand of oil. The growing economies are acheiving more and more middle class workers everyday and alot of them are buying cars. Yes the fuel efficency will get better but not by enough to keep up with demand. Thus there will be more oil wells drilled. Solar and wind do not produce enough per expindature to make up this difference. Remember that even 80 years ago leading experts were saying that the electric car would replace the internal combustion engine in 10 years.

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#22) On June 04, 2010 at 2:21 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

No way.  It is technologically possible but would involve way too much front-end cost.

That Tesla Roadster used the equivalent of around 2.0 l /100 km (≈ 118 mpg) in 2008 with a curb weight of around 2,723 lb (1,235 kg).

So 12 years later and probably 50% lighter a car like that might use 1 l / 100 km (≈ 235 mpg). With very little "new technology", just slightly better batteries and some "carbon fiber" (see comment #14 above).

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#23) On June 04, 2010 at 2:26 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

Remember that even 80 years ago leading experts were saying that the electric car would replace the internal combustion engine in 10 years.

---------

Before the pre-eminence of internal combustion engines, electric automobiles held many speed and distance records. Among the most notable of these records was the breaking of the 100 km/h (62 mph) speed barrier, by Camille Jenatzy on April 29, 1899 in his 'rocket-shaped' vehicle Jamais Contente, which reached a top speed of 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph). Before the 1920s, electric automobiles were competing with petroleum-fueled cars for urban use of a quality service car.

In 1897, electric vehicles found their first commercial application in the U.S. as a fleet of electrical New York City taxis, built by the Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia. Electric cars were produced in the US by Anthony Electric, Baker, Columbia, Anderson, Edison, Studebaker, Riker, Milburn, and others during the early 20th century.

Despite their relatively slow speed, electric vehicles had a number of advantages over their early-1900s competitors. They did not have the vibration, smell, and noise associated with gasoline cars. They did not require gear changes, which for gasoline cars was the most difficult part of driving. Electric cars found popularity among well-heeled customers who used them as city cars, where their limited range proved to be even less of a disadvantage. The cars were also preferred because they did not require a manual effort to start, as did gasoline cars which featured a hand crank to start the engine. Electric cars were often marketed as suitable vehicles for women drivers due to this ease of operation.

In 1911, the New York Times stated that the electric car has long been recognized as "ideal" because it was cleaner, quieter and much more economical than gasoline-powered cars. Reporting this in 2010, the Washington Post commented that "the same unreliabilty of electric car batteries that flummoxed Thomas Edison persists today."

Acceptance of electric cars was initially hampered by a lack of power infrastructure, but by 1912, many homes were wired for electricity, enabling a surge in the popularity of the cars. At the turn of the century, 40 percent of American automobiles were powered by steam, 38 percent by electricity, and 22 percent by gasoline. 33,842 electric cars were registered in the United States, and America became the country where electric cars had gained the most acceptance. Sales of electric cars peaked in 1912.

---------

(from here)

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#24) On June 04, 2010 at 2:47 PM, FreeMortal (29.60) wrote:

portefeuille

Thanks for the very informative chart.  However, this particular chart shows energy use Per Capita.  While the population in Germany is not growing much, world population is growing rapidly.  As developing countries expand economicly, per capita usage increases. (see China, India, Brazil) As their population grows, per capita usage functions as a multiplier. 

Now we can't bet on the BRICs to uplift their entire population into the middle class in 10 years, but even a tiny portion of their population still amounts to tens of millions. Even if they become twice as efficient as Germany in ten years (optimistic), their total energy usage could still double.

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#25) On June 04, 2010 at 3:26 PM, GeneralDemon (29.54) wrote:

Jakila:

"The Santa Barbara spill was shallow water, contained to a small area, and the amount spilled in the entire accident was less than the amount spilled in the Deepwater Horizon spill in a day --- and that's if you go by the low-end estimates, which increasing evidence suggests are indeed, quite low."

The Santa Barbara spill was smaller in volume yes - but the impact locally to the coast is governed by the amount of oil (volume) per area of affected beach or marsh. A severely fouled rocky beach in Prince William Sound has the same devastating impact locally as a severely fouled rocky beach in Santa Barbara - the difference was only the extent of the area involved - not the degree of impact locally. 

Jakila:

This is true, but irrelevant.  Arsenic is a natural product of the Earth, as well, but that doesn't mean you should drink it.   You also seem to be missing the bigger issue here --- are we basically going to say that every single industry that operates in the Gulf of Mexico is subserviant to King Oil?  There are actually people who depend on the Gulf for their livelihood --- to dismiss their concerns because 'over the course of a long period of time, the oil will dissipate' seems like an exercise in completely missing the point --- perhaps intentionally so. 

Oil is more important than the other industries. It just is. But please re-read my post - where did I dismiss the impact to the gulf or people's livelihood? I said it was going to be catastrophic !!!

My statement regarding natural bio-degradation was in response to your inaccurate time-line. The quantity of residual oil will eventually fall to the naturally occurring level. So scientifically, it is relevant. 

BTW, arsenic has always naturally occurred in drinking water (usually in parts per billion) and millions of people have and do drink it every day. 

Maybe did you miss my point?

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#26) On June 04, 2010 at 3:36 PM, portefeuille (99.43) wrote:

Among the most notable of these records was the breaking of the 100 km/h (62 mph) speed barrier, by Camille Jenatzy on April 29, 1899 in his 'rocket-shaped' vehicle Jamais Contente, which reached a top speed of 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph).

La Jamais Contente.

 

-------------

It was an electric vehicle with a light alloy torpedo shaped bodywork, although the high position of the driver and the exposed chassis underneath spoiled much of the aerodynamics.

-------------

(from here)

although the high position of the driver and the exposed chassis underneath spoiled much of the aerodynamics

Truer words were rarely spoken ...

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#27) On June 04, 2010 at 3:36 PM, goalie37 (94.57) wrote:

I agree that there will be a dramatic shift.  My question is how to approach this an an investor.  Will "Big Oil" change with the times?  Will Chevron have electric charging stations?  Does Exxon's purchase of XTO indicate that they are getting it?  I don't know the answers, but I will be following very, very closely.

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#28) On June 04, 2010 at 3:47 PM, starbucks4ever (99.02) wrote:

$8 a barrel in 2015

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#29) On June 04, 2010 at 3:52 PM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

My statement regarding natural bio-degradation was in response to your inaccurate time-line. The quantity of residual oil will eventually fall to the naturally occurring level. So scientifically, it is relevant. 

What's inaccurate about my timeline?  If anything, my timeline might be conservative.  

When you consider all the wildlife killed in the area as a result of this accident, there have to be legitimate questions about the quantity of seafood that will be available for a very long period of time.  You don't just replace the wildlife in the area overnight.  And fishing and shrimping in the area are major industries.  

 

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#30) On June 04, 2010 at 5:40 PM, GeneralDemon (29.54) wrote:

The biomass of the area will be hit hard in the short term, but due to fact that the a portion of the oil will be cleaned up, evaporate, disperse and biodegrade, life will spring back relatively quickly to exploit the environment as before:

Fouled beaches may have imperceptible levels within three to five years due to easy clean-up and wave action (occasional tar balls will still wash up from current eddies).

Fouled Marches will recover more slowly but will self-clean by natural encapsulation (debris will stick to the tar and form a mat that will be buried by sedimentation). I predict ten years maximum for the marsh life to return to pre-spill levels. Oil will still exist there but it will not prevent life from colonizing.

I do believe the marshes that are now being protected with sand bars will provide the future seed life for the fouled marshes to recover faster. This should be the top priority for mitigation efforts.

Unlike in Alaska, public pressure will ensure full compensation for the shrimp, shellfish and fishing industry.

In Alaska, dispersants were not used (very small amount). The use of them on this spill along with the far higher average temperature of the area could speed the natural degradation rate of the remnant oil (post evaporation and clean-up) by increasing the surface area of the oil available for microbe attack. A big unknown is the transfer of the oil into the water column instead of the surface.

And evaporation rates can go as high as 75% of the spill in the first few days: for reference on spill modeling click here

Bottom line: not overnight but twenty-five years maximum impact.

 

 

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#31) On June 04, 2010 at 8:29 PM, dwot (97.54) wrote:

I tend to think the preventative costs are not as astronomical as the BP event.  The blowout preventer was being tested at 2/3rds the pressure it ought to have been tested at and early problems were not properly dealt with.

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#32) On June 04, 2010 at 9:14 PM, mhy729 (33.97) wrote:

Wonderful exchange going on here...wish I could rec it a few more times.  Don't really have anything to add, but that I've read somewhere that even if we were to greatly decrease our usage of oil as a major source of energy, it would still be irreplaceable for usage in plastics and aviation fuel.  Does anybody know the breakdown on oil usage?  Thanks.

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#33) On June 05, 2010 at 12:12 AM, PaxtorReborn (30.01) wrote:

I predict by 3150:

99% Xylon 

1% Oil

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#34) On June 05, 2010 at 11:41 AM, ElCid16 (98.19) wrote:

I also have to disagree with Jakila's 200 year timeline.

Scientifically/environmentally, everything GeneralDemon is saying seems to be pretty accurate, to me.  Assuming this leak doesn't last until November, I think 25 years may even be a conservative estimate for the gulf to get back to 95% of normal.

This is going to really, really, suck for the people of the gulf for the next 10-20 years, but ecologically speaking, the gulf will heal itself biologically.

Disclosure: I'm an environmental engineer, specializing in biological treatment of industrial wastestreams, currently working for COP and BP as a consultant.

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#35) On June 06, 2010 at 8:45 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

Scientifically/environmentally, everything GeneralDemon is saying seems to be pretty accurate, to me.  Assuming this leak doesn't last until November, I think 25 years may even be a conservative estimate for the gulf to get back to 95% of normal.

No, not really:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/05/AR2010060503987.html?hpid=topnews

Thus far, the great 'scientific minds' that have said 'all is well' have mostly been people like this guy, who actually believes that "Intelligent Design" is science.  

In other words, if you think this isn't going to have a long-term impact, you have your head in the sand. 

Regardless, 25 years is hardly a short-time.  But in reality, it will never be the same. A part of the region's livelihood has just been killed off.  Maybe it's easy for an oil-man to waive that off, but it's less easy for the people in the region that actually rely on that wildlife. 

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#36) On June 06, 2010 at 9:07 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.94) wrote:

I tend to think the preventative costs are not as astronomical as the BP event.  The blowout preventer was being tested at 2/3rds the pressure it ought to have been tested at and early problems were not properly dealt with.

I completely agree, but unfortunately, we have very weak regulatory requirements in the US on offshore oil compared to Brazil and Norway; moreover, our regulators and the oil people have basically been sleeping the same bed.  

Of course, the $75 million limited liability provision probably explains things more than anything else.  Once you quit holding people accountable for their actions, then of course they are going to cut corners, because the results are passed onto the general public (and therefore the taxpayers).  

The whole thing is screwed up.  I don't have faith in the oil companies to prevent these problems and I don't have faith in the US government to effectively regulate the companies.  

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#37) On June 07, 2010 at 2:35 PM, ElCid16 (98.19) wrote:

Jakila,

It seems like the WP article argues for the 25 year timeframe much more than your 200 year timeframe.  The only thing that this article mentions that remains from the spill in 1979 is some shoreline tar.  Speaking very vaguely, if the largest oil spill ever occurred 23 years ago in the Gulf, and the worst thing that remains is some leftover tar, then shouldn't we expect the same thing 23 years from now after Deepwater Horizon (maybe some leftover tar)? 

It seems that timeframes mentioned in the article are described with the terms “years” and “decades” rather than “centuries.”

The amount of Deepwater Horizon oil that has gushed into the gulf as of now is about 40 million gallons.  The amount of oil that spilled in 1979 was almost 140 million gallons.

And to clear the air, I am not an “oil guy.”  I’m simply an environmental engineer trying to grasp a realistic perspective of the fallout that is to come from this mess.  Fretting on some blogs about the oil spill, tossing around unrealistic numbers accomplishes nothing.

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