Peak oil - Jan 16
Click on the headline (link) for the full text.
Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Petrotheism (animated cartoon)
Mark Fiore, various publications
With major oil refineries idled and scores of offshore oil platforms knocked out, the price of gas continues to wreak havoc across the land.
Over the ages, in the wake of great calamities, people often cast aside simple common sense, seeking solace, stability and meaning in elaborate false idols.
Today is no different.
Petrotheism: The Quest for Fuel....
Peak Oil summary for Australia
Nature and Society Forum (Australia)
Click on this .pdf icon to download a 2-sided sheet about what the imminent arrival of peak oil means for our future. It also suggests solutions applicable to Australian conditions and culture. The sheet's small type-size has enabled us to mention many of the ways peak oil could affect us and to present many possible responses.
The 2-sided sheet is being updated in the light of feedback from NSF members and other readers and developments in the environment, our society and the economy.
The page below supplements the sheet and provides references and background for readers who want to know more about the topics in the sheet - particularly as they apply to Australia.
(22 December 2005)
I think we ran this item before, but it was just updated a few weeks ago, so it's worth mentioning again.
Irish Times: unsustainable consumption
Editorial, The Irish Times
Ireland may well be a relatively small and unimportant energy market in global terms, but there is no excuse for any complacency on the Government's part in dealing with the emerging "energy gap" that we now face.
Nearly 90 per cent of our energy comes from fossil fuels - oil, coal and natural gas - and most of these must be imported. Indeed, we have become one of the most oil-reliant countries in the world, largely as a result of the economic boom of the past 10 years. Oil accounts for nearly 64 per cent of our overall energy consumption, more than 20 points higher than the EU average. Figures also show that for every 1 per cent rise in economic growth, oil use goes up by 2 per cent - mainly due to the explosion in car, SUV and truck numbers.
As the price of oil rises inexorably, this has become an expensive folly. Since 1995, the price of petrol at the pumps has risen by more than 67 per cent, according to Central Statistics Office figures. More alarmingly, the price of home heating oil has risen by nearly 133 per cent in the same period. The increase for natural gas has been less dramatic, at 53 per cent, but the rise in prices for all fossil fuels has had a knock-on effect on electricity bills, putting them up by more than 55 per cent. With crude oil trading at about $64 per barrel and every indication that its price will continue to increase as worldwide oil production peaks, perhaps as early as 2008, we need to start thinking seriously about where we go from here, particularly in developing alternative sources of energy.
Had Shell E&P not made such a mess of its €900 million plan to develop the Corrib gas field, we would already have natural gas flowing in from that part of the Atlantic to supplement the rapidly depleting Kinsale Head gas field. The best estimate is that the Corrib field would supply up to 60 per cent of Ireland's natural gas demand for at least 10 years. After it runs out, and assuming no other fields are developed, we will have to import all of our gas from Britain via the European grid. Indeed, as early as 2020, it is predicted that the EU as a whole will be importing three-quarters of its gas supply from Siberia and, to a lesser extent, Algeria. And as we at the beginning of this month, when Russia cut off the flow of gas to Ukraine, the Kremlin is not above playing geo-politics with this increasingly important resource.
It is encouraging that Ireland now looks set to meet the EU target of generating 13.2 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources - mainly wind power - by 2010. But we should also be focusing much more on energy efficiency. As the European Commission has said in its latest green paper on the issue, energy consumption could be cut by up to 20 per cent through conservation measures, such as much higher standards of insulation for our building stock. This offers a more sustainable way of reducing our extraordinarily high dependence on fossil fuels than the chimera of "going nuclear", with all of the risks inevitably attached to it.
(15 January 2006)
Submitter MOS in Ireland writes:
This was the lead article in the Irish Times today, but it could have been written by FEASTA. The Irish "paper of record" has apparently become Peak Oil aware, which is a major breakthrough into the mainstream of opinion here.
Not before time either, for the reasons which the article outlines, Ireland is totally dependent on energy imports, despite having some of the best potential for wind energy in the world.
Oil output will depend on investment, not reserves: CGES
Bloomberg via Financial Express (India)
Pumping more oil depends on investment and government policies, because the technology exists to find new reserves and extend the life of existing fields, the Centre for Global Energy Studies (CGES) has said.
Lack of oil will not limit output until at least 2020, according to a CGES study compiled by Manouchehr Takin, a senior analyst at the centre.
The study reflects the “optimistic side of the peak-oil theory”, Takin said in an interview this week.
“Peak oil” theorists argue that oil production is beginning to fall because limits on supply have been reached.
“The volume of global oil production in the next 10 to 15 years will depend more on specific private and public sector policies and initiatives than on the availability of subsurface oil resources,”Takin wrote in a statement from the CGES, which was founded and is chaired by former Saudi Arabian oil minister, Sheikh Ahmad ZakiYamani.
...Global oil reserves range from two trillion to three trillion barrels, of which less than one trillion have been pumped so far. Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi and Exxon Mobil President Rex Tillerson say supplies will last for decades.
So far, even during periods of rapidly growing consumption from the 1950s through the 1970s, supply has satisfied demand, according to the CGES.
...Sceptics centre their doubts on Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.
Matthew Simmons, Chairman of the energy investment bank Simmons & Co and author of Twilight in the Desert:The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, argues that Saudi reserves are about to decline because water injection has damaged reservoirs. (Bloomberg)
(14 January 2006)
Submitter AD notes that this article also appeared in "Emirates Today", adding:
I could hardly believe that Matthew Simmons and his book were mentioned in the local media of the Emirates.
This article is full of contradictions. Was it not Sheikh Yamani who stated "The Stone Age did not end due to the lack of stones and the Oil Age will not end due to the lack of oil"? Yet in this article, his organisation states, "The study reflects the “optimistic side of the peak-oil theory.”
Dave Room & Kirstin Miller on "The Living Room", KPFA radio (AUDIO)
Kris Welch, KPFA via Global Public Media
Host Kris Welch of the Living Room on KPFA radio in Berkeley, California talks to Global Public Media's Dave Room and Kirstin Miller, program director of Ecocity Builders, about ecological cities and about peak oil in the urban context.
(11 June 2005; but just recently posted on GPM)
Peak oil advocates shoot themselves in foot
("RockDoc gets piled high and deeper")
...I will lay this out very carefully because my concerns involve a combination of the practice of "framing" along with negation of arguments that the industry condones via paid consultants. First consider how Mike Lynch has become one of the most visible debunkers of peak oil theory out there. And what does he use as ammunition? Lynch uses the mathematical formulation of Hubbert curves to allow peak oil advocates to effectively shoot themselves in the foot.
How does he do this? Well, he starts with the Logistic and Gaussian curves that the traditional analysts use and starts poking holes in how they get formulated. His favorite argumentative weapons include "physically impossible symmetry" and "causality violations". The argument about symmetry stands out because all one has to do is look at real-world depletion curves and see that most do not display any symmetry. Lynch points out that the curves should not be symmetric based on his own studies. Yet, depletion modelers continue to use them. Score: Lynch 1, Modelers 0
...Why does this work? You just have to look at the psychology of people and their fierce need to believe in the status quo. Any bit of debunking is enough to set the whole theory to collapse in these people's minds, especially the sharp ones (and former high-school debaters), who tend to revel in such nit-picking matters.
(13 January 2006)
Although the argument is hard for us non-engineers to follow, the gist seems to be that problems in the details of Hubbert theory will be seized upon by opponents and blown out of proportion. I know this was the case in the recent Peak Oil debate at Stanford University. For more discussion of depletion curves and mathematical models, see The Oil Drum, which continues its excellent technical coverage of energy issues. -BA
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