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The Long Emergency: Orlov and Kunstler
KMO, C-Realm Podcast
KMO welcomes author Dmitry Orlov back to the program for a discussion of keeping people fed in times of turmoil and for a reading from Orlov’s soon-to-be-published book, Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects. After that, James H. Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century, drops by to talk about the fate of surburbia in the post-petroleum era.
(9 January 2008)
Dmitry Orlov reads a devasting excerpt about the American food supply from his upcoming book. He then discusses food production in Russia. -BA

Tough to pump more oil, even at $100

Peg Mackey and Alex Lawler, Reuters
Oil at $100 a barrel should give exporters every incentive to pump more, but their difficulty in doing so shows the world is struggling to sustain production.

A growing number of leading industry figures — the CEOs of Total and ConocoPhillips among them — now question mainstream forecasts for supply, suggesting the era of “plateau oil” is nearer than many in the business have admitted.

… Supply still falls short even after so-called unconventional oils extracted from tar sands and converted from natural gas are taken into account, said Sadad al-Husseini, a former top official at state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

… OPEC can do little,” Shokri Ghanem, the top oil official for OPEC member Libya, told Reuters. “Most OPEC countries are producing at capacity.”

Many analysts expect prices to rise further unless demand crumbles as a result of a recession — a gain that believers in peak oil put down to supply constraints.
“Every place is more or less running flat out,” said Colin Campbell, a former exploration geologist and self-described advocate of peak oil — where output reaches a high point and then falls rapidly.
(9 January 2008)

Another Nail in the Coffin of the Case Against Peak Oil
Matthew R. Simmons, Simmons International
… a litany of “best-in-class” facts are now starting to emerge which argue that not only is Peak Oil a real risk, but that the world might have already passed peak crude output in the spring of 2005.

… The best of the world’s “raw numbers” on global crude oil production still comes from the U.S. DOE/EIA. Eighteen months ago, I began looking closely at the EIA’s global crude oil and condensate production report summarized in the EIA’s Monthly Energy Report (Table 11.1b) as it showed a peak in crude oil production in 2005. For almost a year, minor adjustments to the 2005 data were made. Over time, however, the facts point to the glaring and inconvenient reality that the May 2005 crude production represented an all-time high, even though it barely exceeded 74 million barrels a day – 74,298,000/day according to the EIA. April, May and December 2005 were the first three months in the 150-year history of oil when the world ever produced this much oil. In July 2006, global crude once more inched above the 74 million barrel a day high-water mark. No other monthly report before or since shows oil produced at or above the 74 million barrel per day mark.

As months passed, the EIA revisions ended through 2006 data. As we near the end of 2007, May 2005 is still the magical “moment in time” when global crude oil peaked at 74.3 million barrels a day. Some miracle series of new oil fields could suddenly be found and quickly brought on to production, but the more time that passes, the less likely this is.

… Once these [petroleum substitute] stop-gaps for filling the need for more petroleum are fully utilized, liquidating our vast pool of oil “stocks” or oil inventory is the only way demand growth can continue. The world’s petroleum stocks are immense as they need to provide for all of the oil flow between wellheads to a relatively small number of refineries around the world and then onto the vast wholesale and retail network of outlets that supply the final petroleum consumer with ready-to-use supply.

… One of the world’s greatest oil mysteries is when oil stocks get close to “minimum operating levels.” This is when no more cushion remains and is equivalent to the human body’s 8 pints of blood.

As the world’s crude supply slowly shrinks and “stock liquidation” becomes our biggest source of added supply, defining “min-op levels” is as critical as a motor car driver being able to see when his car’s fuel gauge compresses into red alert and shows “empty”. What the witless driver never knows (and I have been there too many times) is, “Do I have 3 miles before I run out or 25 miles?”

… One hundred dollar oil will not kill any significant economy. As energy prices rise, which they will, if the phenomenal well-head revenues generated are reinvested into rebuilding a very rusty global energy infrastructure, they will create the world’s largest construction project and create a global shortage of blue-collar jobs and a boom for engineers and many sectors of the manufacturing industry. The Middle East oil-producing countries also need to understand that as their oil peaks, they have an opportunity to fundamentally transform their societies by finally creating sustained economies not entirely dependent on oil and gas.
(16 November 2007)
More articles and slides from Matt Simmons are available at Simmons International.