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Total sticks to oil investment strategy

Eric Reguly, Globe and Mail
Total SA, the French oil giant in pursuit of Canada’s UTS Energy Corp., thinks the world is closer to peak oil production than most energy companies expect and is maintaining its investment budgets in anticipation of a price rebound.

At a media briefing in London a day after last week’s release of Total’s fourth-quarter results, chief executive officer Christophe de Margerie said “the capacity that the oil industry has to go to 93 to 95 million barrels per day is already over.”

His new forecast for peak oil production is about 89 million barrels a day, far lower than most other estimates. Last year, global oil supplies were slightly higher than 86 million. The International Energy Agency said in November that world supply and demand would rise to 106 million barrels a day by 2030.

Mr. de Margerie’s lower production calculation is largely based on delays and cancellations of oil projects as prices fall, plus relentless production declines at many of the large, old fields – such as the North Sea.
(18 February 2009)

Oil demand may begin to peak soon: report

World oil demand could begin to peak over the next decade as worries over security of supply, extreme price swings and climate change force a move towards other forms of energy, consultancy Arthur D. Little said.

In a report entitled “The Beginning of the End for Oil?,” the consultancy’s Peter Hughes suggests the extraordinary price moves over the last year, environmental pressures and concerns that most of the world’s oil is imported from volatile regions has concentrated minds in the big consuming countries.

… The report concludes that as peak demand for oil approaches, oil and gas companies should rethink their business models, and consider accelerating moves into other types of energy, such as electricity generated by renewables and nuclear power.

“We encourage companies across the energy sector to build a revised concept of long-term oil demand into their vision of where they want or expect to be in 20 years time.

“It cannot be too soon for companies to begin to re-focus their investment and long term growth strategies to ensure sustainability in the transition to a post-hydrocarbon world.”
(19 February 2009)

Beijing lends Russia $25bn for 20 years of oil supplies

Catherine Belton, Financial Times
Russia has won $25bn in loans from China in return for agreeing to supply oil from new fields in eastern Siberia for the next 20 years as Moscow seeks funds to see its oil industry through the financial crisis.

… The deal, the largest trade financing agreement between the two countries, alleviates the severe refinancing needs of Russia’s two state energy groups as they seek to weather the credit crisis with the country facing its first recession in 10 years. It will also provide China, the world’s number two oil importer, with an important new secured supply of oil to fuel economic growth.

But analysts warned that Russia could have to divert crude supplies headed to the west in order to meet the terms of the deal as it faces a deepening decline in production this year
(18 February 2009)