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Peak oil & copper - Dec 17

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletinhomepage


New Presentations by Matthew Simmons

Matthew R. Simmons, Simmons & Company International
Several recent talks by Matt Simmons have been posted (PDFs of slides)

  • The Risk Of Misjudging Peak Oil: A Real Physical Crisis
  • Have We Inadvertantly Created Unfriendly NAFTA Energy Neighbors?
  • Can Colorado Help The World Adjust To Post-Peak Oil?
  • Can Hawaii Adjust To A Post-Peak Oil World?
  • The Era Of Cheap Oil Is Over
  • Oil Services: Riding High On A Wave Of Upstream Activity

---
From the Nov 13 presentation to the IAEE Houston Chapter (The Era Of Cheap Oil Is Over):

In London, [International Energy Agency] leaders delivered an urgent message

  • Current energy supply trends are patently unsustainable

  • Cuture of human prosperity depends on how we tackle energy issues
  • Consequence of policy/investment inaction are shocking
  • Massive investment required.
  • Field-by-field decline rates are accelerating.
  • Time is running out and time to act is NOW!

---
From the Dec 10 Houston Energy Institute presentation on (The risk of misjudging peak oil: a real physical crisis -PDF):

What IEA WEO 2008 supply report really says

Beneath the "varnish it screams out:

  • Crude oil has peaked!

  • In the future decline could be swift
  • We lack the resources and tools to offset decline
  • We are still "highly dependent" on old and unaudited super-giant oil fields.

If these problems were not enough, others are also "lurking."
(December 2008)



Monbiot interviews Fatih Birol

coby, Science Blogs
...interviews who??

Fatih Birol is the Chief Economist for the International Energy Authority, the agency that the whole world (or at least the "official" part of that world) relies on for forecasts about energy production and demand. This is the organization that governments around the world like to cite when dismissing as crackpots people warning about peak oil and the coming "oil shock".

This makes him a remarkably important person in terms of influence on world affairs. What is more central to our modern civilization than energy sources and consumption?

Well, now this man and his agency, with all its well established incentives to paint the rosiest picture possible, is painting a decidedly non-rosy view of the world's energy future. I highly recommend that you watch the interview here (12 minutes), it is very interesting. Monbiot is a little too combative for my tastes, I really prefer to just hear what the guy has to say rather than expose him on the spot for being so blasé about the importance of his work and the consequences of being so wrong. There is time later to analyze what he says. (Then again, I am not giving any priority to the realities of television...entertainment, sound bites and all that where Monbiot has to). Any way...

Two things stand out the most for me. The one is the frank and unashamed admission that key figures in the last report, (and presumably figures in all of them), are complete hand waves.
(15 December 2008)
Related: Don’t be fooled by low gas prices — the crunch is nearly here (Ottawa Citizen).




Normally staid IEA says oil will peak in 2020

Joseph Romm, Gristmill
Peak of the devil
Fatih Birol, chief economist to the International Energy Agency, told the U.K.'s Guardian this week:

"In terms of non-Opec [countries outside the big oil producers' cartel]," he replied, "we are expecting that in three, four years' time the production of conventional oil will come to a plateau, and start to decline. In terms of the global picture, assuming that Opec will invest in a timely manner, global conventional oil can still continue, but we still expect that it will come around 2020 to a plateau as well, which is, of course, not good news from a global-oil-supply point of view."

...
... The second shocker is that this warning comes from the IEA, which has, for most of its existence, been a bland and staid reporter of conventional wisdom. When I was at the DOE in the 1990s, no one paid much attention to the latest IEA report that explained how the future would be just like the recent past. So if the IEA is telling the world oil might peak in a decade, the world better listen up.

Third, this is an apparent reversal from their most recent report.

... The peak is nigh. The time to act is January 20, 2009.
(16 December 2008)




Chile: copper production down, copper price down ... and it's only going to get worse

Inca Kola News (Latin America stocks, economics, politics ...)

This is not good for Chile.

Today Chile's stats office published its monthly update. As Otto knows all the tricks and how to navigate LatAm government bureau websites, you can read it yourself by clicking this link (it's a PDF and quite big, so have patience).

As usual there's a lot of good macro info on board, but Chile's lifeblood export of copper (that, depending on pricings, accounts for between 50% and 60% of everything it sells to other countries) has suffered a notable setback in recent times and is a fair snapshot of the country right now. This simple little table sums up the problem:

... $1.2Bn in lost revenues for a single product is not funny in anyone's language. And note that copper prices for October averaged $2.23/lb: when October finished copper spot was at $1.81/lb. spot has sunk further since then and we can expect at least 20% lower prices for the month of November. But the good things we can say about Chile are:
(28 November 2008)
Also see Peak Copper (at 321energy Dec 16, 2005).

Recommended by "tony p", a commenter at The Oil Drum, who writes:
Remember Peak Copper? Three years ago, http://www.321energy.com/editorials/watson/watson121605.html predicted a peak of Chile copper production in 2008 and since Chile produces about a third of the world's copper this is probably also the world peak.

At http://www.incakolanews.blogspot.com/2008/11/chile-copper-production-dow... you can see that october 2008 copper production in Chile was 7% down from a year earlier. I looked up the original (in Spanish):

"La menor producción de cobre, se produjo a causa de la disminución de la ley de cabeza (ley del mineral que va a la planta de tratamiento) en los yacimientos actualmente explotados del país, además de una mayor dureza de la roca, que influye en el incremento del tiempo de los procesos de extracción, así como también en el aumento de los costos unitarios de producción."

Rough translation:

"Falling copper production was caused by diminishing mining grade and by greater hardness of the rock."

Geological factors are at work here, not simply less copper produced because of falling prices, so I think we can say that WORLD COPPER PRODUCTION HAS PROBABLY PEAKED.

BA: After tony p's comment at The Oil Drum, there is a discussion on peaks in metal production. As with oil, it is difficult to say when a peak has occurred. However, if one is not looking (as most of the world is not), then it will be impossible to identify peaks.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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