Friday, February 12, 2010

The Scale of Alternative Liquids

Sharon Astyk mentioned my post from the other week comparing biofuels to other sources of other liquid fuels.  She writes, referring to the various alternatives filling in the gap due to stagnating petroleum supply:
What we've seen is not, as (London Telegraph columnist) Mason implies, the rate of discovery keeping pace, but the conversion of "liquids" to cover the gaps in declining world oil supplies.
Her piece made me want to see a couple more graphs with the alternatives compared to petroleum. The above is the first. It shows the EIA total liquid fuels data (from the International Petroleum Monthly Table 4.4), broken out according to the model of alternative liquids from my post linked above, with the rest assigned to "Petroleum".  As you can see, the alternatives are pretty small beer on the scale of things.

This next graph breaks out the same data another way.  We focus in on just the 2000-2008 interval, and separate out the petroleum based part from all the alternatives together:

As you can see, Sharon is correct: total petroleum-based liquid production appears to have declined slightly since 2005, and alternative liquids were required to boost production up slightly in 2008.


KLR said...

Pshaw - July '08 world C+C exceeded Dec '05 by a staggering 664.25 kb/d. Quite the gusher!

Stuart Staniford said...

There's a lot of places that discrepancy could lie - NGLs, and refinery gains due to a heavier crude mix being two possibilities that come immediately to mind.