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Peak oil - June 27

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Global Oil-Supply Worries Fuel Debate in Saudi Arabia
Former Officials at Odds Over 'Peak' Theory;
Crude Hits High

Neil King Jr., Wall Street Journal
Sadad al-Husseini and Nansen Saleri raced up the ranks at Saudi Aramco, the world's most powerful oil company, working together for years to squeeze more crude from Saudi Arabia's massive fields. Today, the two executives have staked out opposite sides of a momentous industry debate.

Mr. Husseini, Aramco's second-in-command until 2004, says the world faces a brute reality of depleting resources and ever rising prices. Mr. Saleri, until recently the company's oil-reservoir manager, insists that with enough ingenuity and investment, plenty more oil can be found.

With oil prices having doubled over the past year, political leaders, Wall Street investors, commuters, airlines and car makers are all scrambling to divine where prices will head next. The disparity of opinion between two of the most knowledgeable men in the industry shows how much fog hangs over the most basic question of all -- whether oil can be unearthed any faster than it currently is.
(27 June 2008)
You can access this article online, by going through GoogleNews. Contributor Jeffrey Brown writes: "Very good article."



Rep. Bartlett Special Order Speech On Peak Oil
(video)
Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), US Congress via Energy Policy TV
In his ongoing series of Special Order speeches on peak oil, Representative Bartlett traces current record-high prices for oil and gasoline to predictions made in the 1950s.
(20 June 2008)
Late-breaking story (Bartlett's investing choices glitter). Reporter Jay Hancock consulted the disclosure statesments from Rep. Bartlett and other Maryland politicans, and discovered that he has apparently done better with his investments than all the others - in particular, by investing in precious metals.


After the oil crunch?

Mark Lynas, New Statesman
The end of cheap oil helps renewables, but makes far dirtier alternatives viable. A low-carbon future will demand brave leadership
---
... But while the reality of global warming is now nearly universally accepted, the potential problem of peak oil is still widely doubted or ignored. There is no official policy for a smooth transition to a post-oil future; the British government blithely reassures us (in response to a peak oil petition on the No 10 website) that "the world's oil and gas resources are sufficient to sustain economic growth for the forseeable future". Both the International Energy Agency and the US government issue projections based on oil reserve estimates which many geologists and oil industry insiders suggest are grossly inflated. This complacency smacks of a fatal combination of ignorance and denial. Recent oil production figures suggest that the peak oil crowd is winning the debate.

... If policy improves, high carbon prices will likely make dirty fuels uncompetitive when compared with renewables, and investors in solar, wind and other clean energy sources will win out at the expense of the oil majors. This has to be the best-case environmental scenario: that high oil prices continue, and that the pricing of carbon in world markets chokes off investment in dirty replacements. Then a true transition to a post-oil, low-carbon future becomes a real possibility. But this scenario depends on policymakers having the vision to squeeze fossil fuels further even as restive populations protest at losing their foreign holidays and big cars. As David Strahan concludes: "All it needs is some brave political leadership. What a terrifying thought."
Mark Lynas is a climate change writer and activist, author of the acclaimed book 'High Tide' and fortnightly columnist for the New Statesman.
(12 June 2008)
Also at Counter Currents.



And So It Goes: The Story of Kashagan

Jim Kingsdale, Energy Investment Strategies
Kashagan is the giant oil field in the Caspian Sea that was supposed to start producing oil in 2005 and ultimately give the world 1.5 mb/d. Well, that fairy tale is over. It is now proposed that oil will start flowing in 2013 at 370 kb/d and may reach its ultimate capacity flow by 2020 but some analysts don’t believe those dates either.

Eni is leading the team of international companies that may build Kashagan for its Kazakh owners. I say “may” because the deal was put on hold for nearly two years while it was re-negotiated, a process that finished about a year ago. That process reached Kafkaesque proportions when the consortium began considering whether to boot Eni out of the leadership role. The ultimate decision to leave the Italian company in charge might have had more to do with the jinxed nature of the project and the unwillingness of any other other company to have its name associated with its leadership than any rational business considerations.

Now the Kazakhs want the deal to go back to the drawing board again since Eni has brought them new news of further delays. The Kazakhs may try to impose more fines on Eni and/or the consortium. But fines may be the least of the oil companies’ problems.
(24 June 2008)
Also at Seeking Alpha. Kingsdale seems to be writing daily on energy issues at his site. For example:
Nigeria: The Elephant in the Corner (June 26)
Iranian Oil Production Verging on Disaster (June 25)
Keep Your Eye on Decline Rates (June 25)
Strange Impact of China Raising Oil Prices (June 25)
Nigeria’s War is Central to the Price of Oil (June 24)

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