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Peak oil - Jan 4

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


FPTV: The Future of Oil
(Video)
Katherine H. Wheeler, Foreign Policy
Are we running out of oil? FPTV speaks with Vijay Vaitheeswaran and Robert L. Hirsch about their conflicting views on the future of the world's greatest addiction.

Vijay Vaitheeswaran is correspondent for The Economist and coauthor, with Iain Carson, of Zoom: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future (New York: Twelve Books, 2007). He wrote “Think Again: Oil” for the November/December 2008 issue of FP. [Behind a paywall]

Dr. Robert L. Hirsch is a senior energy program advisor at Science Applications International Corp. and the primary author of Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, and Risk Management.
(January 2008)
Dr. Hirsch is more pessimistic about oil supplies than Mr. Vaitheeswaran, and he advocates generating liquids from shale, coal and tar sands - a prospect that makes environmentalists shudder. -BA


Debating Disaster: The World Is Not Enough

Thomas Homer-Dixon, Michael T. Klare, Sherri W. Goodman, Paul J. Kern and David G. Victor, The National Interest
In the last issue of The National Interest, David Victor argued that the threat of resource wars is overplayed and overblown. To recap:

RISING ENERGY prices and mounting concerns about environmental depletion have animated fears that the world may be headed for a spate of “resource wars”-hot conflicts triggered by a struggle to grab valuable resources. Such fears come in many stripes, but the threat industry has sounded the alarm bells especially loudly in three areas. First is the rise of China ...

Now we hear from Victor’s critics, Thomas Homer-Dixon, Michael Klare, Sherri Goodman and Paul Kern. they tackle him on everything, from climate change to the impact of oil shortages and the mass spread of disease. Victor has the last word.

Straw Man in the Wind
Thomas Homer-Dixon

PUNDITS, JOURNALISTS and Sunday morning news show commentators sometimes say silly things about the links between resources and war. “Iraq is all about oil” or “Global warming caused the Darfur genocide.” And, sometimes, NGO leaders and policymakers say similar silly things when they want the media to pay attention to a particular region or issue. It’s easy to criticize these statements. But thoughtful commentators, of whom David Victor is normally one, know they contribute little by doing so. Yet, in this case, he’s pulled together several oft-heard arguments about why threats from resource wars are overblown. Some of the skeptical positions have merit, but many are deeply misleading. No serious scholar of this issue says that resource stress causes violence by itself; almost none asserts that the causal links between resource stress and violence are direct; and very few argue that interstate war is the most likely outcome. Resource stresses are security dangers, though they are one among many. They will not be the only cause of conflict, but they will add to the risk of war. ...
(2 January 2008)
Much more at original.


Crisis may prime the pumps

Ashley Seager, The Guardian
The rise and rise of oil prices is renewing interest in the "peak oil" theories which originated in 1956 when the geologist M King Hubbert predicted that US oil production would peak in about 1970, which it did. While demand has risen sharply in recent years because of the strongest performance of the world economy for decades, oil supply has increased far more slowly, leading to the price we have today.

Some of the price rise has been blamed on speculation, some on the decline of the dollar, in which oil is priced, but most analysts agree that this oil price shock is demand-led rather than being the result of an interruption to supply, as in 1974 and 1979.

The peak oil theorists argue that production has not increased in line with demand simply because it cannot. Oil reserves are finite. Many of the world's biggest fields are already suffering declining output, and that could accelerate, they argue.

... The current price is a real incentive for producers to pump more oil. The next two or three years will tell us whether global production has peaked.
(4 January 2008)


Saudi Arabia: An Attempt to Link Oil Discoveries, Proven Reserves and Production Data

Khebab, The Oil Drum
This article is an attempt to apply the Hybrid Shock Model (HSM) on Saudi Arabia's oil production. In a nutshell, the HSM is trying to model the observed production profile from the discovery curve by simulating the different phases involved in the development of oilfields (initial discovery, planning, build, maturity). The HSM is a variant of the Shock Model initially proposed by WebHubbleTelescope.

...In Summary

We proposed to apply the Hybrid Shock Model in order to retrieve the most likely Ghawar size value under different proven reserve scenarios:

1. The most likely range for Ghawar is 109 ± 10 Gb which is close to Euan Mearns's estimate.

2. Among the three proven reserve scenarios, the PR2 (i.e. corrected for spurious reserve jumps) is the most likely. The official proven reserves seem to imply that Ghawar is around 200 Gb with a very high value for the mean production lag time ( λ>40 years).

The various Ghawar size estimates are shown on Figure 9 below. The median value is 98 Gb and the MAD estimator gives 22 Gb, consequently the 95% confidence interval is 76-120 Gb.
(3 January 2008)
Not for the mathematically faint-hearted. All the assumptions and references for Khebab's thesis are publicly available here -- can PO-skeptic CERA say the same about their analyses? -BA

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