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Peak Oil - Jun 15

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Peak Oil 2010
Roger Blanchard, ASPO-USA via EV World
I’ve studied the oil supply issue for at least two decades. Over the years I’ve read numerous books that deal with what the books describe as an impending oil supply crisis. Being an analytical chemist, I was troubled that the books provided little, if any, data to support their contentions. I became frustrated enough with the situation that I wrote my own book. What I attempted to do in the book was to dissect the oil production of the world’s significant oil producing countries to illustrate why it is valid to predict that global oil production is likely to peak in approximately 2010.

For the sake of consistency, I have been predicting that global oil production would peak in ~2010 since at least 1995. I also provide scientific reasons to explain why conventional oil is so important to our present society and why it will not be as easy to replace as is generally accepted. Oil supply optimists, such as Michael Lynch and Daniel Yergin, base their optimism for increasing future global oil production on reserves estimates provided in Oil & Gas Journal and World Oil, as well as results from the most recent global oil resource assessment by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). I provide detailed data/information on why reserves figures are essentially worthless and why the USGS assessment is seriously flawed.

To give you a feel for the book, I’ve extracted an excerpt from the chapter "Oil Production in Western Europe". I’ve been particularly interested in oil production from the North/Norwegian Seas for a long time and I wrote a paper in 1999 on North Sea oil production, which can still be found on the Internet ("The Impact of Declining Major North Sea Oil Fields Upon Future North Sea Production"). At the time, I predicted that United Kingdom oil production (crude oil + condensate) would peak in 1999 and Norwegian oil production would peak in 2001 (see table). By comparison, at the time the U.S. Department of Energy/Energy Information Administration (US DOE/EIA) was predicting a peak for the U.K. in ~2006 and for Norway in 2005. As it turned out, U.K. oil production peaked in 1999 and Norwegian production peaked in 2001. In 2005, U.K. oil production was down to 1.649 million b/d (US DOE/EIA), a 38.6% decline from peak, and Norwegian production was down to 2.78 million b/d (NPD), a 15.8% decline from peak.
(12 June 2006)
The figures at EV World aren't working properly unfortunately.

There's a recent interview with Roger Blanchard at Global Public Media. -AF


The Real Black Gold
Interview with Jeff Goodell, author of "Big Coal"

Nelson Harvey, The American Prospect

[The American Prospect] speaks with Jeff Goodell, author of the forthcoming book "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future."

... Q: How does this coal boom differ, in your view, from the previous resource booms you have studied?

There is an urgency in the debate about energy today that we haven't seen before. There's a lot of talk about peak oil, and you can argue about when exactly that peak will come, but in recent years, I think its really begun to hit people that fossil fuels are finite. So there's a real push to find new sources of power, and to imagine how we will carry on after we run out of cheap oil and gas. The other thing is the war in Iraq. American soldiers are dying right now because of our addiction to oil. Not surprisingly, this is driving a renewed interest in energy independence. Coal, of course, is a huge domestic asset; the United States has about 25 percent of the world's recoverable coal reserves, some 270 billion tons, within our borders.

... Q: Coal industry executives and some politicians like to say that we have more than 250 years worth of coal left in the ground in America. At current coal prices, does the research that geologists have done bear this out?

A: Yes, theoretically, it's true that we do have 250 years of coal left, and the coal boosters just love to tout this figure. But you'll notice that no one making that claim talks about exactly where that coal is, or what it take to get it out of the ground. In places like mid-Appalachia, production is already starting to decline, while in other areas -- Montana for example -- the coal may be abundant, but much of it is too dirty to burn, or too far from any railroads, or it is buried in inconvenient places, like under schools or national parks. So yes, we have the coal, but what will be the human, economic and environmental costs of getting it out of the ground?

As coal prices go up, marginal coal becomes more profitable to mine, but it doesn't change the essential fact that we've been burning coal in America for more than 150 years now, and all the easy-to-get stuff is gone. What's left is increasingly difficult, destructive, and dangerous to extract.

...Q: Given that China, currently in the throes of an economic boom, relies so heavily on coal and is likely to continue to do so, what can the United States do the minimize the environmental and health-related consequences?

There's no doubt that China is a major concern. More than 70 percent of China's electricity comes from coal, and if it continues on its current path the chances of avoiding major climate disruption are slim. But who are we to scold them? Per capita, the U.S. burns three times as much coal as China. In addition, the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that make global warming such a concern are mostly the result of the industrialization of the west -- we created the problem, and so we have a moral responsibility to lead the way in addressing it.
(13 June 2006)

`Era of cheap energy is over' - Russian Gazprom Chairman Miller says
Onet.pl
The era of cheap energy resources in the world has ended, Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller said speaking at the 10th St. Petersburg Economic Forum on Tuesday.

"The world economy requires more and more energy,” Miller said. “New economic centers have emerged, which are manifesting high industrial growth and increasing demand for energy. The prices for oil and gas are growing, and this is objective reality.

“The era of cheap energy resources is gone,” Miller added.
(14 June 2006)

Plateau Background
Stuart Staniford, The Oil Drum
The latest IEA Oil Market Report is out. In their inimitable style, they say:

World oil supply rose by 445 kb/d in May to 85.0 mb/d, fuelled by increases from OPEC, a lull in North Sea maintenance and recovering US GOM supply.

That sounds good, doesn't it? A healthy increase from April to May? What they don't tell you is in April they were claiming supply was 85.1mb/d, which they've now revised down to 84.55mb/d. You have to be keeping track to notice that. This gives the realization that April, which they had said was the highest supply month ever, is probably not that special (we'll know better when the US EIA weighs in on April supply at the end of this month).

Anyway, this means basically that the pattern of the last eighteen months of more-or-less flat supply is continuing.
(14 June 2006)
Another stats and graphic rich posting from Stuart, who started plotting versions of these graphs "on Thanksgiving Day 2005 (the day Ken Deffeyes had said, tongue-in-cheek, would be the peak of the smooth Hubbert curve of global production)" -AF

Simmons on CNN - Transcript
Glenn Beck, CNN.com
[On Peak Oil...] BECK: Now let`s go to this. What do you mean fast? I mean, is this one of those the earth is cooling or getting hot fast, in 4,000 years?

SIMMONS: No, this is basically the great oil wells -- not fields, wells in the Middle East back 40 years ago could produce 40,000 barrels a day out of a single well. Today it takes, you know, acres and acres and acres of wells to produce the same amount of oil for $8 billion.

BECK: Again, so again, how long do we have?

SIMMONS: Well, what`s happening right now, in my opinion is supply is starting to shrink. Now, it won`t disappear, but it`s starting to shrink when uses was needed to double. So it`s simple. We needed 120, and we`re going to have 60.
(12 June 2006)

'Heinberg on Peak Oil' on Free Speech TVTem Tarriktar, YubaNet.com
A video by local producers Robyn Mallgren and Janaia Donaldson will air on national satellite television the week of June 12. Richard Heinberg's riveting "Peak Oil" presentation last November in Grass Valley will be shared with the world via Free Speech TV's "Keynote" series. Free Speech TV is automatically included in Dish Network's basic service on satellite channel 9415.

Heinberg's illustrated presentation shows how the world is entering an era of shrinking energy resources and heightened competition for remaining supplies. He discusses recent evidence on the timing of global oil production peak, its likely consequences, and what can be done to prepare for and mitigate the impacts. Heinberg is America's foremost Peak Oil educator and author of The Party's Over and Powerdown.
(12 June 2006)
Show times available at the link.

For more information on the Peak Moment show, go to apple-nc.org/peakmoment.html

Hopefully they'll upload it to Google Video, like some of the other Peak Moment episodes -AF

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