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Energy Headlines - Apr 22, 2005

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Peak Oil

Natural Gas[p]! A conversation with an Industry Insider
UNplanning Journal (blog)
As a natural resource planner for a county updating its General Plan, understanding resource use and depletion is important to understand when formulating a plan of action for the next quarter century.

Getting the best information to present to the decision makers is tough when there is an overload of available information out there to draw upon. So a goal of mine has been to contact individuals in various positions that may have first hand information that may shed more light on the energy situation. Today was one of those days.

I had an interesting discussion with a senior level executive of one of this country’s reputable energy firms. Both the executive and the firm will remain nameless for purposes of this posting.

What follows is a general synopsis of key points of discussion on the subject of natural gas supply, depletion, pricing and trade.
(19 Apr, 2005)

Inevitable oil squeeze draws near
Christian Science Monitor
Goodbye, cheap gasoline. The days of tooling around in automobiles with nary a thought of the cost are probably over.

That's because the world's oil production is rapidly approaching its peak. At that point, the world will be faced with a steady decline in supply just as demand for petroleum takes off in places such as China and India.

Already, production in Britain, Norway, and 16 other major oil-producing nations is slipping, analysts say. Now comes a report that the world's biggest oil field - Gharwar in Saudi Arabia - has started to decline
(21 Apr, 2005)

America's Peak Experience
CommonDreams.org
If you are a Monty Python fan, you will remember the famous restaurant scene from "The Meaning of Life." In it a fawning waiter begs his grossly over-weight client, who has just finished a meal of obscene proportions, to have "just one thin mint." The diner's gut is already strained to the breaking point, and when he finally ingests the mint, his body explodes.

Unfortunately, America bears a remarkable resemblance to the diner in the Monty Python skit. On a daily basis we gobble up several times more petroleum than we produce. Our gluttonous appetite for oil has brought the economy to the breaking point. Will we come to our senses and realize that we must curb our oil addiction? Or will we have to "explode" first?

In 1972 Donella and Dennis Meadows, together with Jorgen Randers and William Behrens, published "The Limits to Growth," which analyzed the interrelated impacts of population growth, industrialization, malnutrition, environmental deterioration, and depletion of nonrenewable resources - in particular, oil. They predicted that the planet would reach its limits to growth within the next 100 years. The first crisis would be the world supply of oil, which they predicted to diminish around the year 2000.

In the fifties, geologist M. King Hubbert coined the term, "peak oil," to describe the tipping point at which petroleum supply reaches its maximum annual output. Total US oil production reached its peak in the seventies. Now, the question is when the world supply will reach its zenith.
(21 Apr, 2005)

Oil dry-up fears a myth, OPEC official says
Canoe Money (Canada)
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Global oil reserves are in little danger of running out for many decades, and OPEC will continue to boost production as necessary to stabilize prices, a senior official of the group said Wednesday.

"The problem in 2004 was we did not anticipate the strength of demand ... it appears that in 2005 we are reaching a plateau," said Adnan Shihab-Eldin, acting secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Unusually high prices cannot continue forever, "as long as you continue to put greater supply in the market," he said.
(21 Apr, 2005)

Ex-Energy Minister attacks 'gas-guzzling' Americans
The Independent (UK)
The former energy minister Brian Wilson will attack the United States next week for putting "two fingers" up to the rest of the world through its "profligate and irresponsible" consumption of fuel.

Mr Wilson, who left government in 2003 and is retiring from politics at the general election, will tell a conference in Edinburgh that the biggest energy challenge the world faces today is to persuade America to start reducing its own oil consumption as it becomes dependent on imports for the first time.

The former minister will tell the conference, organised by Depletion Scotland, that the "absolute refusal" of the US to adjust its consumption poses the greatest threat to the prospects of an orderly transition from an oil-based economy to a more environmentally friendly one.
(21 Apr, 2005)

Energy: Choose your crystal ball
Western Farm Press
....The concern of many is not that the world has run out of oil, but that just as U.S. production hit a peak and has been on a long slow decline, the same will be true for the world as a whole. Oil geologists predict that the world peak in production will occur sometime between today and 2020. Once peak production occurs, oil producing countries will not be able to expand their production capacity to meet the ever increasing demand for petroleum energy. One of the factors in the current high prices is the increasing consumption of oil to fuel the growing economies of China and India.

While many people agree that peak oil production will occur sooner or later, there is significant debate on what the impact of that production limitation will be. ...
It is difficult to identify with any degree of certainty which scenario is the more likely to occur. It is our guess because both of arguments contain a germ of truth, that the future reality will be somewhere between the two extreme visions. Given the energy intensive nature of agriculture, it is certain that farmers will have to pay more attention to energy issues in the future than they have in the past.
(21 Apr, 2005)

Oil tapping out: Crude shortage looms
Financial Post (Canada)
CALGARY - World oil production is set to peak in the next two years, at which point there will not be enough new projects coming on stream to offset global oilfield declines, according to a new study.

The report, by the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC), shows there are 73 major oil projects under development around the world -- 24 inside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and 49 outside, including Canada's oilsands. These projects will boost oil production to a peak of 85 million barrels a day in 2007 to 2008, from 82.5 million barrels a day in 2004, when world oil producers were running flat out and used up all excess capacity.

After that, "There are not enough new projects to offset declining production," said Chris Skrebowski, an ODAC trustee and the editor of the U.K. Energy Institute's Petroleum Review.
(21 Apr, 2005)


Energy-related News

US "better have" a national energy policy-Greenspan
Reuters (via Netscape)
WASHINGTON, April 21 - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Thursday the United States had "better have" some sort of national energy policy for both economic and national security reasons.

When asked at a hearing of the Senate Budget Committee if he thought America needs a national energy policy, Greenspan said, "I think that we better have one because it's something which is integrated not only into our economic system but into our national security system as well."

He said it is possible new technologies will lead to alternative sources for the fuels consumers use now.

"There's an awful lot of what we call natural gas hydrates (of which) we have in the United States huge reserves. Which is sort of a methane that's encased in ice crystals and which we're now only beginning to look at," the Fed chief said.
(21 Apr, 2005)

House Resources chairman disses key provision of energy bill
CNN.com
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Shortly before the House began debate Wednesday on an energy bill aimed primarily at making the country less dependent on overseas oil, a House committee chairman involved in the legislation bluntly dismissed a key provision to boost the use of hydrogen fuels.

House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-California, a key proponent of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, whispered, "This is bulls--t," to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt as the two men stood listening to Rep. John Doolittle, R-California, talk about the benefits of hydrogen fuel at a crowded Capitol Hill news conference.

The remark, which was meant to be private, was overheard by a CNN reporter standing next to Blunt.

After the event, CNN asked Pombo why he made the off-message comment about the $2 billion alternative vehicle program proposed by President Bush and backed by the Republican congressional leadership.

"It's not a short-term solution because we just don't have the technology to produce it," he said, adding that the promised hydrogen-powered vehicles are "multimillion-dollar prototypes that nobody's going to buy."
(21 Apr, 2005)


Solutions and Sustainability

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