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As Fuel Prices Soar, A Country Unravels

Chip Cummins, Wall Street Journal via China Gate
Energy shock hits the upwardly mobile poor hardest
in Africa’s Guinea. Riots, blackouts cripple cities.
A hospital’s incubator shuts down
Every couple of days, nurses at the Donka Hospital here scoop up the premature babies from their incubators. They rouse their mothers from sleep, lay the infants on the women’s bellies and pile blankets on mother and child.

Doctors call this the “kangaroo method” — a way to keep the babies warm enough so that they don’t die during the long blackouts that plague this rundown West African port. Soaring fuel prices have forced the government to ration power across the city, and the hospital can’t afford to run its oil-fired back-up generator.

“We can’t keep it fueled up,” says Mamadou Baldé, director of the hospital’s infant-care ward, over the wail of sick babies. “The power outages are becoming more frequent.”

The impact of today’s energy crunch on the poor is plain in rich nations such as America: Expensive gasoline and soaring heating bills make a hard life harder. In impoverished countries such as Guinea, where per capita income is just $370 a year and surging gasoline prices have helped spark bloody riots, the energy shock has become a matter of life and death.
(18 Nov 2006)
An important article, behind a paywall at WSJ but available at China Gate.

Near-term peak unlikely to happen

Karen Remo-Listana, Pipeline Dubain
Method used to calculate global peak oil is erroneous, says experts
A peak in global oil production is unlikely to occur in the next 25 or even 300 years, oil and gas experts told a conference in Abu Dhab .

The demand for petroleum liquids is forecast to increase from approximately 85 million barrels per day (mbd) in 2006 to 115 mbd in 2030, according to ExxonMobil estimates. This demand growth raises questions on whether the petroleum resource base is adequate to satisfy long-term demand.

Some geologists believe that even taking into account the best exploration efforts and thee discovery of new fields like the Gulf of Mexico and other finds, sometime between 2010 and 2020, the gush of oil from wells around the world will peak at 95-110 million barrels per day then begin a steady, inevitable decline.

Matthew Simmons, Chairman of Simmons & Company International, said last month that global oil production may have peaked in December 2005, though cautions that further monitoring of production is required to determine if a peak has actually occurred.

But all these near-term peak oil arguments were dismissed by experts during the Energy 2030 conference last month.

Dr Richard Vierbuchen, vice president, Caspian/Middle East region, Exxon Mobil, said that supply can adequately meet the increasing demand. He said estimates of the liquids resource base have been increased over the last 50-100 years and are likely to continue to do so.

…Although oil and gas resources will eventually peak, peaking will not happen for at least the next three centuries, said Michael Economides, professor at the University of Houston and a managing partner of a petroleum consulting firm.

Natural gas outlook is even more optimistic, he said, adding that even without taking into account the enormous volume of gas hydrates, the world”s natural gas supply will last for several centuries more.

Economides said the Hubbert”s peak oil production – albeit a fact – may never come to fruition.

…The interactions among supply, demand and especially the high oil price are helping to shift peak oil into an indefinite future, professors from Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi indicated.

According to Powel Nawrocki and Dalton Garis, oil will never run out, not because oil reserves are unlimited but because rising oil prices has powerful influence on supplies: new technology becomes affordable thereby increasing conventional and unconventional reserves.
(20 Nov 2006)
This article wins the prize for the most extreme estimates of oil peak – 300 years and “indefinite future.” Although some of the arguments echo CERA’s latest report, their optimism leaves CERA far behind. The original article devotes several paragraphs to Hubbert and peak oil. -BA

Statoil CEO discusses Peak Oil

Mr. Mambo, peakoil-dot-com
In a comment to the IEA repport “World Energy Outlook” the CEO of statoil ( Helge Lund, said that “All the easy barrels have been taken”, and that we are now down to developing such things as LNG, Gas to oil, oilsands in the future.

He also said that “although Peak Oil is a moving target, one thing is certain, and that is that one day the peak oil theorists will be right”.

On the other side of the argument he claimed that the world will have enough resources until 2030.

So the man is giving some mixed messages, but significantly more on the negative side than earlier.

(21 Nov 2006)
The source article is in Norwegian.