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Peak oil - June 23

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Dr. Albert Bartlett interview
(Audio)
Andi Hazelwood, Global Public Media
Dr. Albert Bartlett, professor emeritus of Physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder discusses population growth, peak oil and global warming, solutions and sustainability in great detail with GPM's Andi Hazelwood. The in depth interview closes with a brief discussion of Australia's coal reserves and a look at Queensland's local government reform plan.

In part 1, Dr. Bartlett discusses the history and evolution of his presentation "Arithmetic, Population and Energy" and explains how over the years it has come to be more about peak oil than population growth. After exploring the rising awareness of oil depletion, he explains Jevon's paradox and considers the lack of serious regard for the issue of overpopulation.

In part 2, Dr. Bartlett discusses family planning, immigration and investment reform programs as possible responses to the population problem. He illustrates how global warming is proof that we've overshot the earth's carrying capacity, and critiques the misuse of the latest buzzword, "sustainable" with his Laws of Sustainability (included in his article Reflections on Sustainability, Population Growth and the Environment - Revisited).

In the final portion of the interview Dr. Bartlett turns his focus to Australia, discussing A Depletion Protocol for Non-Renewable Natural Resources: Australia as an Example. His article quantitatively examines the consequences of a claim by Ian MacFarlane, the Australian Minister
of Industry, Tourism, and Resources, that Australia has 110 years' worth of coal supply remaining. Dr. Bartlett also takes to task the state of Queensland's plan for local government reform, showing how it fails to address the real issue and amounts to a loss of democracy.
(22 June 2007)


Roger Bezdek Sydney Smart Conference keynote address
(Audio, video and slides)
Global Public Media
When Dr. Roger Bezdek, the President of Management Information Services, Inc., delivered the keynote presentation on Day 2 of the Smart Conference in Sydney, Australia on Thursday, Sydney Peak Oil member Rowan Tucker-Evans was there to film him for ASPO Australia. Dr. Bezdek outlined the results of the two Hirsch Reports and detailed some serious implications for Australia's distribution supply chains. Thanks to the members of Sydney Peak Oil and ASPO Australia for making this media available to GPM.
(21 June 2007)
UPDATE: ASPO-Australia has a page devoted to Dr. Bezdek's Australian trip.


An inconvenient Swede

Andrew Nikiforuk, Canadian Business magazine
Kjell Aleklett, a perky and persuasive physicist at Uppsala University, talks with characteristic Swedish candour. As president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, he jokes that all the big "strawberries" in the world's oilfields have been thoroughly picked over. ("Peak oil" just means the end of cheap oil.) Fifty years ago, the world burned four billion barrels of oil a year and happily discovered lots of big berry patches - 30 billion barrels a year. Today, those figures are exactly reversed, which goes a long way toward explaining volatile oil prices and Sweden's determined plan to get off fossil fuels by 2020. "Money is not running the world," the jaunty global player likes to say during his talks. "Money is used to buy energy." Right.

Aleklett, whose first name (I kid you not) rhymes with Shell, can also be cheeky. Last year, for example, he told the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality that the American people - just 5% of the world's population - shouldn't be gobbling up 25% of the world's oil production, because peak oil will probably start to hobble most economies by 2010. Aleklett spelled out another inconvenient truth: since 1900, not one country in the world has increased its GDP without a corresponding increase in oil consumption. He ended his talk by reminding the Yanks that Canada's fabulous and much-lauded oilsands was no lifesaver. Don't count on it, he said.

The Swede, who recently gave his berry-and-oil talk to the international Pulp and Paper Products Council in Vancouver, later backed up his contrarian conclusion with a 46-page report entitled A Crash Program Scenario for the Canadian Oil Sands Industry. The provocative analysis, all based on Canadian industry and government data, looks at the maximum that companies could squeeze out of the tarry sands in the near future, and asks whether this boreal smashing exercise would actually ease prices at global gas pumps.

Here's his answer: Right now, the oilsands produce a little more than a million barrels a day for a global market with an 84-million-barrel-per-day addiction. In the sands, the big berries - just 20% of the resource - consist of a few large open-pit mines, while most of the small berries consist of in situ or steam-the-oil-out-of-the-ground projects. Aleklett and two colleagues concluded that Canadians could shovel and steam a full 3.6 million barrels per day by 2018, but not without self-inducing some bad migraines.

The first headache is natural gas.

...Given that accelerated production won't be a lifesaver for peak oil, I asked Aleklett how the resource should be exploited - a subject of much national debate. Aleklett e-mailed back more common sense: "As the tar sands have a limited influence on peak oil, Canada should try to make the development as environmentally sound as possible." In other words: go slow.
(October 9-22, 2006 issue)


ASPO-USA 2007 Houston world oil conference, October 17-20

ASPO-USA via The Oil Drum
"Houston ... we have an Opportunity: Smart Steps for Another Giant Leap."

ASPO Week in Houston will consist of four days of high-level energy discussions, day and evening presentations, and mix & greet receptions with speakers and sponsors. In addition, we've planned field trips to an oil well drilling site and Refinery Row on the Houston Ship Channel, our nation's largest refining and petrochemical center. It is a $15 billion complex that stretches 50 miles from the Port of Houston, past the NASA Space Flight Center, and ends at Galveston and the Gulf of Mexico. We adapt our Conference theme from the historic words transmitted by U.S. astronauts from space to Mission Control in Houston. (A list of speakers and much more under the fold...)

Confirmed speakers include T. Boone Pickens (pioneer oilman & acquisition expert), Houston Mayor Bill White (former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy), Bob Hirsch (co-author of the groundbreaking Hirsch-Bezdek Report to DOE), Peter Tertzakian (author of "A Thousand Barrels a Second"), Matthew Simmons, (author of "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock"), Henry Groppe of Groppe, Long & Littell, Art Smith of John S. Herold, Inc., U.S. Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-Del.), Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones of the Texas Railroad Commission, Chris Skrebowski of the London Energy Institute, Charles Maxwell of Weeden & Co., David Hughes of the Canadian Geological Survey, Jeremy Gilbert of Barrelmore Ltd. (and recently retired head of production for BP), Professor Peter Bishop of the University of Houston, and many others. We are awaiting RSVPs from other high-profile speakers including Former President Bill Clinton.

Other distinguished participants include Stuart Staniford of The Oil Drum, Richard Nehring of Nehring Associates, Roger Duncan, Director of Austin Utilities' "Plug-in Partners Program" (who will be bringing a Toyota Plug-in Hybrid to the Conference), and Tom Whipple, Editor of Falls Creek News and ASPO-USA's Peak Oil Review and Peak Oil Daily News.

www.aspousa.org/aspousa3
(June 2007)


Envisioning Ireland's Energy Futures

FEASTA (Ireland)
The team working on the Envisioning Ireland's Energy Futures project for the Irish Environmental Protection Agency has submitted its report (pdf document, 750K).

The appendix can be downloaded here (pdf document, 2.5 MB). Feasta will hold a one-day seminar to discuss its conclusions when the EPA publishes it in the Autumn.

The strongest conclusion is the need to move to a low-carbon economy as rapidly as possible, even if this slows down economic growth. The report also anticipates the development of rural biorefineries and the re-location to the countryside of energy-intensive manufacturing so as to be close to renewable energy sources.
(21 June 2007)
UPDATE: Fixed the URLs, thanks to a correction from reader BD.


Complicated Symmetry Between Oil and Politics

Syed Rashid Husain, MENAFN - Arab News
Oil is a finite source, everyone concedes.

Even if the issue on crude production has peaked or not is kept aside for the time being, one thing is certain, the galloping global consumption is straining the overall balance.

BP's Statistical Review of World Energy released recently appears to underline that the world still has enough "proven" reserves to provide 40 years of consumption at current rates.

On the other hand, scientists led by the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre, say that global oil production is set to peak in the next four years before entering a steep decline.

One thing is but true. In recent years the once-considerable gap between demand and supply has definitely eroded significantly. Crude demand and supply is now balanced - fairly precariously, one has to accept. No one, not even BP, disagrees that demand is surging. The rapid growth of China, India and other Asian economies matched with the developed world's dependence on oil, means that a lot more oil will be required and it have to come from somewhere.

BP's review shows that world demand for oil has grown faster in the past five years than in the second half of the 1990s. Today we consume an average of 85 million barrels daily. According to the most conservative estimates from the International Energy Agency that figure will rise to 113 million barrels by 2030. Two-thirds of the world's oil reserves lie in the Middle East and this surging demand will have to be met with massive increases in supply from this region.

The major issue here is "that you go from 79 million barrels a day in 2002 to 84.5 million in 2004. You're leaping by two to three million barrels a day" each year. That's like a whole new Saudi Arabia every couple of years. It can't be done indefinitely," former senior Aramco executive Al-Huseini commented.

People have been pointing to the rising consumption in China and other emerging countries for the steep rise in global consumption. There is however, another side of the story, too.

Michael T. Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., and author of "Blood and Oil: The Dangers" has the following interesting story to tell.

...To ensure itself a "reliable" source of oil in perpetuity, Klare said the Pentagon would be increasing its efforts to maintain control over foreign sources of supply, notably oil fields and refineries in the oil-rich Gulf region.

This helps now explains the recent talk of US plans to retain "enduring" bases in Iraq, along with its already impressive and elaborate basing infrastructure in the region. And the real reasons behind the determination to force Tehran to conform to the wishes of the sole global power are also not hard to fathom, in the light of the above.

And all this has long-term strategic consequences for the entire region, whether one likes it or not.
(22 June 2007)

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