October 07, 2011 | Graham

Hubbert’s peak receding

Australian motorists have had a charmed ride compared to those overseas because of the bouyancy of the Australian dollar. That ride seems to have come to an end with news reports that the price of fuel is set to hit a 3 year high.

PETROL prices are on the rise again with the cost of unleaded expected to hit a three-year high at Brisbane bowsers on Thursday.

Already 40 per cent of service stations have upped their prices to 154.9 cents a litre – a jump of 17 to 18 cents.

RACQ spokesman Brodie Bott said the sudden price hike cut short the 12-day price cycle by four days catching many motorists out.

“We expect the rest of the fuel stations to put their prices up throughout the day, and ULP prices could be the highest since the onset of the global financial crisis three years ago,” Mr Bott said.

The falling value of the Australian dollar was behind the latest price hike, he said. At 7am on Thursday, the Aussie was trading at 96.54 US cents – up on yesterday’s close of 95.50 US but down on a fortnight ago.

It’s about to happen in the US, whose currency has declined much more rapidly than most, where South African company SASOL, is exporting technology developed because of apartheid era trade sanctions.

Sasol has selected the southwestern region of the state of Louisiana as the site for a planned gas-to-liquids, or GTL, facility.

The project is slated to be the first plant in the US to produce GTL transportation fuels and other products.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Sasol Managing Director: New Business Development Ernst Oberholster said, “We believe Sasol’s proprietary GTL technology can help unlock the potential of Louisiana’s clean and abundant natural gas resources and contribute to an affordable, reliable and high quality fuel supply for the US.”

So it looks like technology and new finds have pushed Hubbert’s Peak (Oil) back substantially, and it is not something I will have to worry about in my lifetime.

Posted by Graham at 6:56 am | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Uncategorized


  1. The concept of the Hubbert peak appears to be misunderstood. The initial idea was that production from each oil field passes through phases from startup to peak to tailing away. The concept can also be exptended to an oil region and to the total world oil production. USA oil production is now about 30% of the peak, Bass Straight is down to 15% of peak and the North Sea fields are similarly nearing exhaustion.
    The Saudi, Iran and Iran oil fields and the Athabasca and Orinoco oil sands will eventually pass these phases.
    Per barrel, oil is now cheaper in $A terms than it was the last time petrol was $1.50 per litre so somewhere a greater profit is being generated than was the case then.
    At $A100 per barrel the crude content of a litre of petrol or diesel has cost of about 63 cents.

    Comment by John Turner — October 7, 2011 @ 8:05 am

  2. Not sure why you think I’ve misunderstood it. As far as it is applied to global oil, most pundits claimed we had probably past it (you’ll never know except retrospectively). But that is just the peak for conventional oil. With all this non-conventional oil and gas around the peak is somewhere in the future I think.

    Comment by Graham Young — October 7, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  3. The Hubbert concept was never meant to apply to non conventional oil, The two largest oil reserves are oil sands in Canada and Venezuala and these will become depleted in a different manner to liquid oil.
    Probably oil sands could and will be mined at a very high rate until there is no more available to be mined. My mian concern is that carbon is an essential resource virtually forever and wasting it for its fuel value untimately condemns the species to a scrabbling existence earlier than necessary. The email address bar will not accept my normal email address (too long?)
    Nuclear fission could our thermal needs for 50,000years at least and with sensible design could be near perfectly safe. The nuclear damage caused by the Japanese tsunami has not caused a death. Poor civil engineering contributed to 20,000+ deaths.

    Comment by John Turner — October 13, 2011 @ 7:28 am

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