Monday, July 21, 2008

US Oil Production

Here's an interesting chart from ASPO-USA, showing US domestic oil production, historically and forecast into the future assuming we drill in ANWR and offshore and in your Aunt Molly's backyard:

(Click to enlarge.)

This is the best case scenario if the US, as currently configured, were to try and be oil independent.
"The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that drilling in ANWR would only reduce the price of gasoline by less than four pennies per gallon—20 years from now!"
-- ASPO-USA Media Guide
The LA Times has a front-page piece on Peak Oil today, but it doesn't really say anything new -- maybe we're there, maybe not, probably screwed in any case.


charlesH said...

Its not about reducing the price of oil its about paying ourselves rather than foreign countries.

Why not just shut down all production now? If it's better to not drill then it must be better to shut down production immediately.

charlesH said...


Please take a look at LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactor) technology. It is much "greener" than the uranium/plutonium LWR is use today.

I would be interested to see if it was green enough for you to support.

For those concerned about nuclear safety and waste products there is a much better alternative. Thorium based (rather than uranium based) nuclear power. This technology was demonstrate in the 50's and 60's but was abandoned because it was much harder to produce weapons grade material (compared to uranium). The military considerations favored the uranium fuel cycle.

More specifically LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium reactors) compared to uranium reactors burn fuel 100x more efficiently without reprocessing, result in ~100x less waste and are inherently safer and should cost less to build.

In addition, since LFTR is a high temp low pressure process it can use water or air cooling. Thus Ut/Nv etc, where water is scarce, could replace it's coal fired plants with low cost, clean thorium power plants. Much more cost effective and reliable than the wind and solar plants that California is building. (fyi, California's electricity currently costs 2x Utah's and they are on a path to keep it that way.)

Comparison: Uranium vs Thorium Based Nuclear Power

Uranium LWR : Thorium LFTR

Fuel Reserves (relative) __________________ 1 : 100 (1000s yrs)
Fuel Mining Waste Volume (relative) ____ 1000 : 1
Fuel Burning Efficiency _______________ ~1% : >95%
Radioactive Waste Volume (relative) ______ 40 : 1
Radioactive Waste Isolation Period __10000yrs : 80% 10yrs, 20% 300yrs

Plant Cost (relative) _____________________ 1 : <1
Plant Thermal Efficiency _____________ ~33% : ~50%
Cooling Requirements _______________ Water : Water or Air
Plant Safety _______________________ Good : Very Good
Weapons Grade Material Production ____ Yes : No(very hard)
Burn Existing Nuclear Waste ___________ No : Yes
Development Status _______ Commercial Now : Demonstrated

for more info see

charlesH (BS Physics)
Orem, Utah

Anonymous said...

As of 2019, we are doing over 4.3 Gb/yr. Your best case graph shows 1 Gb/year. Somehow best case didn't include enough upside.