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Peak oil & gas - July 18

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Presentations from April relocalization conference

Spring Senerchia, Willits Economic LocaLization Project
In April of 2006 over 120 people attended Willits Economic Localization's 1st annual Regional Localization Networking Conference - RLNC. This event was such a success that WELL may offer a follow-up event as soon as this fall.

I am happy to announce that all of the presentations from RLNC that we have access to have been posted to the WELL website.

You will also find posted there the transcribed information from the break-out groups, focusing on best practices.

And there are links to photos from the conference, Liam’s poem and information on Yuba Gals DVD which looks to be extremely comprehensive.

Presentations include:
"Facilitating Com-mu-ni-ty Curreny Innovations" - Annette Riggs (Current Innovations)
"A Solar Charged Future" - Stephen Heckeroth
"Staring Down Scarcity" - David Shaller (USEPA)
"Post Carbon Institute" - Julian Darley
"Alliance for a Post-Petroleum Economy (APPLE)"
"The Warning" - A Poem by Liam UiCearbhaill
(17 July 2006)


Blogger: ASPO 5 - follow it live!

Richard Katz and Rob Bracken, OilPoster.org
Daily reports from ASPO 2006. Reports so far:

  • ASPO-5 Day 1: Chris Skrebowski Sees the Peak in 1,500 Days
    “We have 1,500 days until peak and tomorrow we’ll have one day less,” Chris Skrebowski, the editor of Petroleum Review, told the ASPO-5 crowd today. Skrebowski’s projections, which focus on oil flows instead of reserves, has the world peaking at between 92 and 94 million barrels per day. Unfortunately, he said, “collectively we’re still in denial.”
  • ASPO-5 Day 1: Heinberg Lays Out the Protocol
    After publishing his pathbreaking book The Party’s Oil, Richard Heinberg has turned his attention to ways of dealing with the inevitable energy descent. His latest effort is a new book, The Oil Depletion Protocol (New Society Publishers), a belt-tightening regime which Heinberg summarized in his ASPO-5 presentation today. “It’s clear that unless we have a means of rationing oil, we’ll end up fighting over it,” he said.
  • ASPO-5 Day 1: Kjell Aleklett Takes on the IEA, EIA and USGS
    Taking a page from George Bush’s State of the Union speech, ASPO President Kjell Aleklett told conference-goers that the world is addicted to oil and it’s “time to sober up.” He also took serious issue with the optimistic projections by big government energy agencies such as the IEA, EIA and the USGS, saying these bodies shouldn’t be allowed to publish what are clearly defective prognostications of robust future oil supplies.
  • Dick Lawrence on Skrebowski
    Chris Skrebowski updated his "Megaprojeccts" analysis, which couples known data about oil field developments with best-available estimates of depletion. We say him in Nov. 2005 estimating peak sometime in 2008; now with new data (extanding the analysis down to many more & smaller fields) he estimates peak sometime in 2010 time frame - or "1500 days" which makes it sound more urgent, which it is of course.
  • Thoughts from Chris Sanders - Speaker
  • Thoughts from Andrew McKillop- Speaker
  • ASPO 5 Opens - Colin Campbell's Comments
  • ASPO-5 Day 1: Colin Campbell and the Second Half of the Age of Oil
    Colin kicked off the conference this morning under the main tent in the balmy seaside park of San Rossore, painting the big picture of The Oil Age. We’re entering the second half of it, he says, an era in which all the conventional rules of economics and politics won’t apply.

(18 July 2006)
Impressive quality and speedy reporting. Link spotted at Powerswitch.org.uk


Fog of war obscures way ahead for black

Alf Young, The Herald (Scotland)
...No doubt the global oil price will continue to gyrate wildly in the days and weeks ahead. Such volatility is no surprise amidst the fog of war. Especially warfare in the Middle East, the part of the world where major outbreaks of armed conflict have consistently brought energy crises in their wake.

The Yom Kippur war in 1973; the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980; the First Gulf war at the start of the 1990s; and the invasion of Iraq by America and its allies in 2003 have all sent the oil price soaring. Past conflict-driven peaks have always subsided. However, slowly but surely, the baseline has been pushed higher.

And because of an accident of timing, the current surge is reawakening deeper fears - that the price of oil has only one way to go now. Up and up and up. Publishers' lists, especially on the other side of the Atlantic, are full of apocalyptic titles like "Petrodollar Warfare," "The Party's Over" and "The Coming Economic Collapse."

...The problem lies with the finite nature of the oil itself. We are, they tell us, in the era of peak oil. In other words, we are nearing the moment when there is less oil still to be discovered anywhere on our planet than we have already found and exploited.

...The next chapter in the story lies on the bell curve's downslope. Oil becomes more and more scarce, especially in a world where demand from China alone is expected to grow by 7.5% a year for the next couple of decades. And so it will also become more and more expensive.

Unless the world finds credible alternatives to its dependency on oil or comes up with other sources of hydrocarbons, the economic shocks that await us on the journey down the other side of the bell curve will make the experience of all those conflicts in the latter half of the 20th century pale into insignificance.

...Peak oil adherents attract conspiracy theorists. About politicians who want to hide the stark truth from their peoples. About Big Oil, running down investment in exploration and refining capacity and merging like mad into even Bigger Oil, because it secretly knows the crunch is coming.

What we don't yet know is how technological ingenuity - more exhaustive recovery of known reserves; greater exploitation of tar sands like those in western Canada; greater production and use of biodiesel; hydrogen propulsion and a host of other ideas - might alter the story in terms of both demand and price on the downslope of the crude oil curve.
(18 July 2006)


BBC Documentary: War for Oil

BBC via YouTube.com
Matt Savinar writes:
It is very, very good. Basically flat out explains that the Bush administration invaded Iraq because it's freaked out by Peak Oil and sees the war in Iraq as "a fight for survival." Colin Campbell and Matt Simmons are both featured prominently:
War for Oil: Part I
War for Oil: Part II
War for Oil: Part III
(17 July 2006)


Plan? What plan? Alberta's energy future

Andrew Nikiforuk, Canadian Business magazine
It's only 16 pages long and hasn't yet been shared with the public, but Alberta's Integrated Energy Strategy, if adopted as currently drafted, could eventually leave a hefty fossil-fuel footprint on every Canadian business. Given that the federal government has no coherent energy plan of any kind, the province's document could simply fill the bill by default. And just what does Alberta, which supplies Canada with 70% of its oil and 80% of its natural gas, have in store for the rest of the country? Well, the answer is pretty much business as usual.

The blueprint, which was recently sent to "energy stakeholders" for comment, is billed as the vision of Greg Melchin, the politician in charge of Alberta's powerful ministry of energy (which supplies the province with about 33% of its revenue). It calls for "an aggressive pace of development" for oil, gas and coal, and also envisions more exports to China and the United States. Remarkably, the words "energy conservation" or "efficiency" rarely appear, and global warming gets short shift altogether, as though the clouds of carbon dioxide pouring out of the oilsands simply don't exist. Even the term "peak oil" (the point at which extraction begins to decline) fails to get a nod.

The paper's collection of clichés ("an integrated approach to unleashing energy innovation") and glaring omissions have many energy experts dumbfounded, if not worried. "If you have a scarce resource and the whole world wants it, you should have a plan that maximizes the benefits and provides the best opportunities before it's gone," says Bruce Smedley, a Calgary-based global development consultant and former oilpatch engineer. "This strategy doesn't do that. It's a liquidation policy. You could go so far as to say this isn't a plan at all."

...Julian Darley, founder and director of the Vancouver-based Post Carbon Institute, an energy think-tank, describes the draft plan as "an Alice in Wonderland document that has no basis in reality." He searched the document in vain for any mention of the fact that North American natural gas production peaked in 2001, or that oil prices have reached record highs of $70 a barrel. The implications for Canada, he warns, are dismal. "It's a drill, mine, melt and extraction free-for-all. Depleting non-renewable resources as fast as possible is a bad thing, and the report doesn't even worry about getting the best price." Adds Darley: "Canada should be very concerned."
(June 5-18, 2006 issue)

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