Peak Aviation anyone…?

30 08 2014

I wasn’t going to write another post this weekend….  we are trying to get our property ready for Sustainable House Day which starts next weekend, and I shouldn’t be at this keyboard, again…..  However, this very interesting piece of news just landed in my newsfeed, and it got me thinking, again…..

It all started with this week’s announcement that QANTAS lost almost 3 billion dollars this last financial year.  Then Virgin Australia (a smaller airline) lost 388 million dollars.  I’m not exactly surprised.  The last two times I flew to Tasmania, it cost about $400 return, or half what I remember paying 20 years ago when oil was only $10 a barrel!

Then Malaysian Airlines, which admittedly has had its fair share of bad luck, has just announced it will cut 30 per cent of its workforce, trim routes and replace its CEO as part of a restructuring that will cost $2.03 billion…..

And if that wasn’t enough, along comes this other piece of news:

The lowest seasonal supply of jet fuel on record is pushing prices higher and leading to voluntary restrictions in the New York region as the nation’s busiest air hub prepares for a holiday rush.

Spot jet fuel in New York Harbor, the trading center for the U.S. East Coast, jumped to 22.5 cents a gallon above diesel futures this week, the biggest premium in three years. Stockpiles in the region fell to 8.83 million barrels last week, the lowest for this time of year since at least 1990, government data show. Airlines received an industrywide request yesterday to limit the fuel they take from John F. Kennedy International airport.

 How could this be happening, you may ask, as the US is producing more oil than it ever has in at least a decade?  Well my dear reader, if you actually think about it, to produce all that oil, a fair bit of which is low ERoEI shale oil, you have to use a lot of that other stuff, the high ERoEI oil still coming out of conventional oil wells.

What they do you see, is that they add up the production of the good stuff with the production of the awful stuff, and a really good number comes out of the spreadsheet.  Trouble is, that total is NOT nett energy….  There is actually way less REAL energy available to put in those planes than the numbers tell you.  So the people who leave comments on this blog saying ERoEI is irrelevant, here is proof that it is!

Peak aviation may well be with us already.  And I expect the cost of fuel and flying and driving may well be on the cusp of a sudden price rise, as Peak ALL liquid fuels is due to occur sometime around the end of this year, +/- 3 months.  If you look at that error number…..  it may have started right now!

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10 responses

30 08 2014
Chris Harries

Just wondering…. about the highest ERoEI oil in the world is that which comes from Libyan oil wells, virtually 100:1 from the newer wells. A lot of it is used for jet fuel, because its the opposite end of the oil spectrum from heavy bunker oil and most suited to jet fuel production.

Libya is again in total turmoil. It produces only 3% of the world’s petroleum but has much higher value owing to its quality. It could be that political insurrection there is partly what’s causing problems with jet fuel supply.

30 08 2014
mikestasse

Now that’s interesting Chris…… I actually thought 100:1 oil was no longer with us, where did you get that info from?

30 08 2014
John Doyle

The downturn in Aviation was signalled by Steven Kopits in his lecture on oil supply and demand;
http://energypolicy.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/energy/Kopits%20-%20Oil%20and%20Economic%20Growth%20%28SIPA%2C%202014%29%20-%20Presentation%20Version%5B1%5D.pdf
and his video;http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-25/oil-supply-and-demand-forecasting-with-steven-kopits
He also said car usage was also down since 2005.
Aviation is going to be one of the big losers in the near future as travel costs rise and cheap oil is no longer cheap.

30 08 2014
bev

and not because of fuel costs but risk to life and limb, eyes wide open please

30 08 2014
ppp251

Small and medium sized airplanes can go electric, but it will take a decade or two to build them. Technology and costs are pretty much there (or will be in the near term future), we only need another Elon Musk to put things on the market.

Actually Airbus already made small but fully electric two seater. Goes into production in 2017.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_E-Fan

But really big long distance airliners may be a bit of a problem.

31 08 2014
Mark

This aircraft almost reminds me of a powered glider I saw many years ago. It was capable of launching itself without a conventional small tow plane and could then glide for hours in good thermals.
The downfall was the batteries almost weighed too much for the power provided and as they were lead acid did not last very long.
Combined with current lithium tech batteries and with the upper surfaces covered in solar cells this is a way of continuing small scale aviation.

31 08 2014
Maponos

From the post, “And I expect the cost of fuel and flying and driving may well be on the cusp of a sudden price rise, as Peak ALL liquid fuels is due to occur sometime around the end of this year, +/- 3 months.”

Wish it would hurry up!

2 09 2014
Susmind

Half a mo peak oil, I want to have my holidays first !

2 09 2014
Chris Harries

Last flight is a bit like the last cigarette.

Just gotta bite the bullet and
draw a line in the sand.
Go cold turkey now…
before we all upset the applecart.

29 05 2015
team mode

team mode

Peak Aviation anyone…? | Damn the Matrix

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