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How global warming will save us from peak oil

Andrew Leonard, Salon
The best reason yet not to be worried about global warming: A more pleasant climate in the Arctic will make it easier for oil and gas companies to extract resources in the formerly harsh north.

That is the most delightful nugget to be mined from a front-page article in Tuesday’s New York Times by Jad Mouawad, “A Quest for Energy in the Globe’s Remote Places.” Here is a reporter for whom the glass is always half full, of fossil fuel.

…Some context: In March, Mouawad sent a frisson of outrage through what, for better or worse, we can call the “peak oil community” when, in an article detailing how new technological advances would enable oil companies to extract more oil from fields previously deemed exhausted, he unloaded the following broadside.

There is still a minority view, held largely by a small band of retired petroleum geologists and some members of Congress, that oil production has peaked, but the theory has been fading …

More oil can be found than ever before, but the only barrels left are “tough” ones. Hmm. What could that possibly mean? Perhaps, that the price of oil will only go up? And up, and up, and up?

…The dynamics that underlie a steadily rising price for oil are more important — for the global economy, for the economics of alternate forms of energy, for the challenge of climate change — than whether we’ve hit the peak. The oil companies are going to be in business for a long, long time, extracting every last milliliter of oil and gas from every last nook and cranny in the earth. Whether we can afford to pay for the resulting product is an entirely different question.
(9 October 2007)

“Did Katrina Hide the Real Peak in World Oil Production?” and Other Oil Supply Insights

Matt Mushalik and Gail Tverberg, The Oil Drum
In this post, we use a graphical approach for analyzing oil production since 2001. This analysis shows that more and more countries are showing declining oil production, and that this decline in production is not being offset by increases in production elsewhere. If this pattern continues, this analysis suggests that we may already be past the peak in world oil production.

We also look at the question of whether the impact of Hurricane Katrina may have hidden the real peak in world oil production. We find that if an adjustment is made for hurricane impacts, the peak month of production seems to be December 2005 on a crude and condensate basis, and September 2005 on an all liquids basis. The higher adjusted peaks, and greater declines since the adjusted peaks, further suggest that we may be post-peak.

Gail: In this post, I collaborate with Matt Mushalik from Sydney, Australia. Matt is a civil engineer, town and regional planner, peak oil advisor, and member of ASPO Australia. Most of the ideas in the post are Matt’s. I have added a little to the analysis, particularly in the area of the Katrina impact.
(9 October 2007)
Gail Tverberg’s “nom de Web” is Gail the Actuary.

Oil to soar above $90 next year says Bahraini expert

Mark Summers, Gulf Daily News
MANAMA: Oil prices will soar above $90 per barrel next year, a Bahraini economist has predicted.

Bahrain Economic Society senior economist Mohammed Habib Ali told the GDN that a combination of the growth of economies such as China and India, continuing global population increases and rising consumption within top oil-producing nations will push the price of crude to record levels next year.

He also said it was time GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries used their high surpluses to fund renewable energy projects and begin moves to end fuel subsidies in the region.

“Oil will reach above $90 next year and the problem is not politics or economics as much as it is geology,” he said.

“Oil by many estimates has reached its peak and both production and the number of new oilfields found are decreasing – but at the same time world population is growing and is estimated to reach its peak around 2030.
(9 October 2007)

Consider the Costa lack of buses [and peak oil]

Elizabeth Farrelly, Sydney Morning Herald
…rudeness isn’t why most of us don’t use it. Many bus drivers are human; some positively heroic. The main reason we don’t use public transport is: there isn’t any. There are timetables and shelters, stations and train tracks. But the actual rolling stock, the money-where-your-mouth-is expensive bit so abhorred by the Costa Club, shows up on a strictly occasional basis.

This will change. The dearth will end. Public transport will come to Sydney, and in a big way.

How do I know? Not because the Government has promised me anything (other than concrete boots, and I’m happily assuming they’re on the same slow boat as the north-west rail link.) No, we’ll get public transport because we’ll have to. There will be no choice. Sydney, like every other major city, is in a pincer movement whose upper jaw is climate change and whose lower, crushing-and-grinding mandible is peak oil.

Peak oil is the idea not that oil will run out, but that its production will start to decline. Most of us, faced with this possibility, have two immediate but conflicting responses. One is, “I’d better stop driving, now. (And can I grow my own food?)” The other is, “Perhaps I’d better travel everywhere now since there may be no such thing in the future.”
(10 October 2007)

Peak Oil questions answered in Houston

Press release, ASPO-USA via OilOnline
The Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO)-USA will host its third annual World Oil Conference at the Houston Hilton Americas Wednesday, Oct. 17, through Saturday, Oct. 20. This year’s conference theme, “Houston, we have an opportunity”, is expected to attract more than 500 attendees from across the world.

Conference coordinators agreed that Houston is the prime place for oil industry and other energy decision makers to engage in the serious discussion of the Peak Oil topic, according to Steve Andrews and Jim Baldauf, Conference Co-chairmen and ASPO-USA co-founders.

“If you talk about energy reform, you have to talk about the ‘Energy Capital of the World’, you have to talk about Houston,” Baldauf said. “The conference will bring international energy experts to Houston to synergize with local leaders to develop an integrated mosaic of mitigation strategies, not a silver bullet solution.”

Steve Andrews said ASPO-USA is about providing research and educational findings, all of which will come to light along with other educated perspectives at the conference.

Andrews and Baldauf say the Conference will present new findings based on recent research conducted by several of the international experts participating in the conference.
(9 October 2007)

Expert [Richard Heinberg] claims NZ too dependent on oil
(Video and text)
TV3 (New Zealand)
New Zealand’s dependence on oil has come under criticism from an American oil expert who says New Zealand is among the worst in the world.

American oil commentator Richard Heinberg says that is too much and he is lobbying the Government to take action.

He says the country needs to look at redesigning the public transport system and that Kiwis should set an example by being the first country to sign up to an agreement to reduce the use of oil.

Heinberg is working with the North Shore City Council on a long-term transport plan for the region, although the council admits it is not easy to encourage people out of their cars.

Heinberg also suggests that New Zealand should adopt an oil depletion protocol, in an effort to reduce the amount of oil that is imported.

However, Gull says such a protocol is not necessary and that drivers are gradually switching to bio-fuel.

While Heinberg agrees that bio-fuels are a step in the right direction, he says it has its own disadvantages, like needing to use a significant amount of land to grow the crops needed to create the fuel.

Heinberg will hold talks at Parliament on Thursday, to discuss alternative options to oil.
(9 October 2007)
Don’t bother watching the video – the text tells it all. -BA