Peak Oil - Nov 11
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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
"Megadisasters: Oil Apocalypse" on History Channel Nov 13
Martin Kent Productions / History Channel
Janaia Donaldson of Peak Moment writes:
For those with access to the History Channel, this coming Tuesday, Nov 13th: Megadisasters: Oil Apocalypse, which will feature Richard Heinberg. Looks like the same message peak oilers have been onto, in a new film. Here is a release from the filmmaker Martin Kent:
The film is preceeded by 2 other programs:
- Modern Marvels: Renewable Energy
- A Global Warning?
These three programs will then be repeated immediately afterwards, starting at 12:01 AM on Nov 14th. Here is the schedule page (copy to 1 line, or just use their schedule links):
The schedule page provides details and further links on all these programs. Those are east coast times. Check your local listings for other time zones.
(10 November 2007)
Interviewees for "Oil Apocalyps" include: Richard Heinberg, Kenneth Deffeyes, David Goodstein, Matthew Simmons and Roscoe Bartlett. Complete list.
Running on empty: peak oil production is in sight, global supplies will dwindle - and the US, for one, is ill-prepared
Hamish McRae, The Independent
China's rapid growth in consumption could suck up all the extra crude pumped next year, leaving other countries to get by with less
The oil price will go through $100 a barrel at some stage in the next few months, maybe in the next few days. One consequence, petrol at £1 a litre, is already with us. The climb is surprising, at least to the oil companies, who a couple of years ago were still expecting an oil price of below $50 a barrel, and doing all their planning on that basis. But, in a way, it is more surprising that the world economy has managed to carry on growing strongly despite this rise. For the oil price affects not only energy prices; oil also is the feedstock for plastics and other products we use every day.
This has been a continuing story, really, ever since the oil price started to climb at the end of 2004, but this year has brought three further twists to it. The first is a growing appreciation of the finite limits to global oil production. Not only is production running pretty much at full bore, but there are also doubts about the ability to increase production in the medium-term. The second is the surge in demand from the emerging economies, principally China. And the third is the growing evidence of an economic slowdown in the US and the relationship between the higher oil price and that slowdown. A word about each.
The fundamental availability of mineral oil in the world has not changed much in recent years. No big new discoveries have been made, though a steady stream of smaller ones has been seen and interest in non-conventional sources of oil, including tar-sands, is rising. What has changed is the awareness of the pressure. The principal organisation warning of a lack of supply, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, was seen by the main oil producers as maverick and wrong four years ago; now its views are seriously debated, even if most geologists feel they are too pessimistic. ASPO is talking of peak production being reached within the next five years.
This change in perception is important in a number of ways.
...The surge in the oil price is just one element of pressure on the world economy. Countries that are growing strongly can cope. Countries that are already under pressure, such as the US, are finding it harder to do so. And countries in the middle, such as the UK? Well, higher energy prices will be one more headwind against the economy, resulting in slower growth next year. Money spent at the petrol pump is money not available to spend on something else.
(10 November 2007)
Peak oil meets climate change
Editorial, Irish Times
Two frightening trends stand out from the annual report published this week by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Warning about a crude oil supply crunch before 2015 involving an abrupt price increase, it says oil markets everywhere will become more sensitive than ever to Middle East disruptions, including political developments in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And the IEA calculates that, on unchanged policies, total global emissions of carbon dioxide will rise from 27 billion tonnes in 2005 to 42 billion tonnes in 2030. That level would see world temperatures rise six degrees centrigrade by then - an utterly unsustainable increase that is also avoidable.
These two trends thus bear out the stark warning given by Dr Jeremy Leggett this week in an Academy Times lecture in Dublin boldly entitled Half Gone: Peak Oil meets Climate Change. A former oil industry consultant and Greenpeace campaigner, he said the combination of the two "is going to hit society with a big, seismic shock . . . I hope I am wrong, but I don't believe we can avoid the third great oil crisis. We will be mobilising as though for war". Uncannily, this week's financial and economic headlines bear him out.
...Energy and climate change are now directly affecting the world's peace and prosperity. We have only a short time to cut oil dependence and slash carbon emissions.
(10 November 2007)
After peak oil
Gwynne Dyer, Trinidad & Tobago Express
"Don't Panic'' is excellent advice in most times of crisis (an though not if you're an investor, in which case the trick is to panic 48 hours before everybody else does). If the peak oil crisis is upon us, then not panicking is definitely the right response. It can be a quite gentle crisis if it is properly handled, but it will be a nightmare if governments and markets panic.
The current surge in the price of oil is certainly not driven by a conviction that oil supplies have peaked and can only decline from now on.
The dealers in the London and New York exchanges who make the market react to the daily flow of news - a possible Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan, two North Sea rigs closed for a week because of bad weather - and don't bother much about longer term issues like peak oil.
The market is a simple-minded beast: supply is tight and disruptions are possible, so the price goes up. But the market is so tight because demand has been growing faster than supply for years, mainly due to the economic boom in Asia - and now the fear is that supplies may have stopped growing altogether. The German-based Energy Watch Group declaredlast month that global oil output peaked in 2006 at 81 million barrels per day. It will fall to 58 million b/d by 2020, they predict, and to only 39 million b/d by 2030.
That would give us just over twenty years to cut our use of oil by half - or rather by two-thirds, really, since world demand for oil is set to increase 37 per cent by 2030, according to the annual report of the US Energy Department's forecasting arm, the Energy Information Administration.
In theory, two decades ought to be enough to come up with more efficient engines and other conservation measures for the half of all oil that is used in transport, and to switch to alternative fuels for much of the rest.
But there are many who doubt that we will succeed.
... If peak oil is here, we can deal with it. And if it isn't here yet, we should still be acting as if it were. The sooner we start adapting our economies to a future in which oil is increasingly scarce and expensive, the less pain and risk we will face when it does arrive.
Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries.
(10 November 2007)
Connecticut Peak Oil Caucus: We ignore peak oil at our peril
State Rep. Terry Backer and State Sen. Bob Duff; Connecticut Post
Oil supplies in the world are tightening. Even a small shortage of oil can cause a big tremor in people's lives. Oil is the lifeblood of our society and economy. A reduction in oil supply will push up costs for everything.
Just look how far your dollar goes in the supermarket these days. The cost of oil has already hit your pocketbook. Heating our schools and homes, keeping the lights on in hospitals, and the production and transportation of every product from shoes to medicines has and will continue to cost more. The ugly truth is we either have arrived at or are nearing "peak oil."
"Peak oil," currently off the public's radar screen, describes the time when daily oil production hits an all-time high, then levels off before slipping into permanent decline. Back in 1956, geophysicist M. King Hubbert forecast that the United State's oil production would peak in 1971. It did. Nearly half of the world's top-20 oil-producing nations are now past peak (United States, Mexico, Norway, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Venezuela, Iran) or near peak production (Russia, China). Geology, geopolitics and other factors are pushing us towards peak.
... "Peak oil" is a problem looming just around the corner, one that we have never encountered before and have few ideas on what to do. It is the toughest problem we have ever faced, bar none, and, though former President Clinton highlighted this problem last year, not one presidential candidate has mentioned it. Due to its immense impact, it's easy for politicians to avoid learning about "peak oil" or just to hope it goes away. It won't.
State Rep. Terry Backer, D-Stratford, and state Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, are members of the General Assembly's Energy and Technology Committee and co-founders of the Legislative Peak Oil and Natural Gas Caucus. The Peak Oil Caucus held an informational hearing last Thursday on the issue.
(8 November 2007)