Peak oil - March 31
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Swedish PhD thesis: World oil production close to peak
Worldwide oil development could end next year in the worst potential outcome, or more optimistically, the peak would not be reached until 2018, scientist Fredrik Robelius reports.
In a dissertation to be publicly defended at Uppsala University in Sweden today, Robelius based his forecasts on the study of global oil reserves, new discoveries and historical production.
He focused on the very largest oil fields, so-called giant fields, which produce a total of at least 500 million barrels of oil.
Giant fields comprise only about one per cent of all oil fields in the world, but they nevertheless account for more than 60 per cent of total production.
Unfortunately, the trend is heading downward when it comes to new giant field discoveries, both in terms of the number of fields and the volume of the fields located.
The majority of the largest giant fields are found around the Persian Gulf and are more than 50 years old.
"The dominance of giant fields in global oil production supports the thesis that they will be crucial to what future production will look like," said Fredrik Robelius.
Balancing what we have and what we use
He developed a model based on historical production, the total exploitable reserves of the giant fields, and their rate of diminution.
The model assumes that oil fields have a constant rate of diminution, which Robelius has verified by studying a number of giant oilfields where production has waned.
The analysis shows that an annual rate of diminution between six and 16 per cent is reasonable.
To be sure that the future production of a field will wind up inside the interval of the model, Robelius used both pessimistic and optimistic estimates.
Then he combined the results from the model with field forecasts for deep-water production, new finds, oil sand in Canada, and heavy oil in Venezuela to construct his forecasts.
"All cases studied show that global oil production will begin to drop off at roughly the same time as the giant fields," said Robelius.
"According to the most pessimistic scenario, the peak will be reached in 2008, whereas the most optimistic scenario, assumed to follow a 1.4-percent annual increase in demand, places the peak in 2018."
(30 March 2007)
For abstract and links to complete dissertation, see "Giant oil fields and their importance for future oil production" (EB).
Helicopter industry watching peak oil
Helicopter Association International
A General Accounting Office (GAO) report to Congress released yesterday, March 29, said the United States is unprepared for a global decline of conventional oil reserves that could push energy prices sharply higher in the coming decades. The GAO report addressed the “peak oil” theory, citing a range of forecasts that global oil production might level off or decline anytime between now and 2040.
...With over 650 helicopters providing support to the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico alone, this is an issue of significant importance to the rotorcraft industry. Helicopters transport workers and equipment to offshore oil industries all over the world, and HAI will continue to monitor government reports and legislative activity on this subject.
(30 March 2007)
Congressman Bartlett Warns Of A Energy Crisis
Western Maryland Congressman Roscoe Bartlett is warning America of a looming energy crisis.
A new report by the Government Accountability Office says it could happen without warning anytime between now and 2040. At some point, scientists say the world will quietly reach the point of maximum oil production, followed by irreversible declines.
Bartlett says the phenomenon called "peak oil" is inevitable, and he's calling for strong leadership to develop alternatives before it's too late.
Bartlett says potential alternatives to oil are extremely limited and the report reveals the U.S. is particularly vulnerable.
(30 March 2007)
Short article with a local angle.