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Energy - Nov 21

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage.


Oil shock warning to government from UK business

BBC News
An industry taskforce has called on the government to act to protect the UK economy against a new threat of rising oil prices.

A consortium of British business, including retailers Kingfisher and transport group, Stagecoach, say the UK must prepare for the next oil shock.

It says not to do so would present energy security problems.

A barrel of oil is currently around $80 a barrel, well below the last peak of $145 two-and-a-half years ago.

But the group says a new "peak oil threat" is likely to be felt in the UK within the next five years.

... The group, the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) has produced a briefing update called Peak Oil: the implications of the Gulf of Mexico spill.

It warns that in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, tightened regulation of deep water drilling could see oil prices rise.
(17 November 2010)
EB contributor Nikki writes "The article appeared briefly under the Business section on the BBC News
website this morning- had dropped out of sight by the evening....the group
referred to is: http://peakoiltaskforce.net/

The article was not mentioned on Radio 4 news... "

UPDATE (Nov 22)
EB contributor RM writes that the article seems to be back on the BBC website now, and in the business section: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11781533



Protect us from peak oil, says Richard Branson (and others)

Kiran Stacey, Financial Times
In February, a group of business leaders (including Richard Branson) came together to issue the government a warning: we’ve had the credit crisis, the next crisis will be a peak oil crisis.

Their message to government was to stop listening to the over-exuberance of oil companies who promised great things from their upstream operations and start thinking seriously about how to move away from the UK’s dependence on oil.

Now they have repeated that call, with an additional warning: Macondo has made the situation even more pressing.

They are not saying that the oil lost from Macondo will make any serious dent in global supplies, but rather that the backlash against deepwater drilling could bring forward the crunch point when we run out of oil.

... This report is likely to become another footnote in the great peak oil debate. But it is significant that these businesses are urging the kind of added impetus behind renewables that green campaigners have long been calling for. There is scope for an unlikely alliance there.
(18 November 2010)



Big names warn of danger of UK's 'addiction' to oil

Erikka Askeland, Scotsman
A NUMBER of senior business leaders have joined forces to warn that rising oil prices could be as dangerous to the UK economy as the bank crisis unless the government makes concerted efforts to reduce the country's "addiction" to oil.

The Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES), which counts Sir Richard Branson and Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter as members, has called on the coalition government to develop a contingency plan to combat the dangers of oil price volatility brought on by "peak oil" - the situation when rising global demand for oil surpasses supply.

In a paper published today, the task force warns that increasing demand for oil and delays in supply driven by the Gulf oil spill could see the cost of a barrel of oil soar to $100 within the next five years - with devastating impacts on the economies of the US and the UK.

The taskforce wants to see the government accelerate investment in green energy technologies that will serve to reduce the country's dependence on oil faster than current green energy policies driven by climate change targets.
(18 November 2010)



Peak or no peak?

Steve LeVine, Oil and Glory (blog), Foreign Policy
Do you ever get the feeling that some people want the world to run out of oil, really really soon? That runs through my mind sometimes with the flood of peak-oil material at conferences, in books and in the media. Among the latest are a couple of new reports with yet more alarming findings. The headline: We're in trouble.

At the University of California Davis, researchers use a novel approach to reach the conclusion that we will run out of oil a full century before any alternative can take its place, reports Karin Zeitvogel of Agence France-Presse. Needless to say, that's a long time in the dark.

The Davis researchers -- engineering professor Debbie Niemeier and postdoc researcher Nataliya Malyshkina -- published their conclusions in Environmental Science & Technology. Their methodology involves inferring the behavior of oil and alternative fuel companies through their stock prices, and then mathematically reaching the conclusion that oil runs out three or four decades from now -- somewhere between 2041 and 2054 (in their equations, alternative energy scales up only around 2140).

You were looking for date certain. This is pretty close. I just thought I'd point out one thing: Niemeier and Malyshkina use the figure 1.3 trillion barrels of oil as the total global supply. That may be the case, but some researchers dispute the number. Cambridge Energy Research Associates, for example, says the actual figure is three times the size, or 3.7 trillion barrels of oil when you include conventional plus unconventional petroleum like oil sands and very heavy oil.

The second report, by the International Energy Agency, confirms that production of conventional oil peaked four years ago, writes John Collins Rudolph at the New York Times' Green Blog. The Paris-based agency says that some 70 million barrels of conventional crude was produced in 2006, and thinks that production is going to plateau at just about that level for another quarter-century.
(17 November 2010)




Ken Deffeyes: IEA on Board, Sort Of

Ken Deffeyes, Hubbert's Peak
"Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d, by 2020, but never regains its all-time peak of 70mb/day reached in 2006." —International Energy Agency

Make that 2005; then we're talking about the same planet. The implied IEA message is that the peak happened several years ago and the world didn't come to an end. Wayminnit. We are in the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression and we don't know whether we can ever restore our earlier prosperity. My interpretation is that the 2008 crude oil price, $147 per barrel, shattered the global economy. The "invisible hand" of economics became the invisible fist, pounding down the world economic growth to match the limitations of crude oil production.
(X November 2010)



IHS CERA study says oilpatch costs rising

Shaun Polczer, Calgary Herald
Oilpatch capital costs are slowly rising back to precession levels, according to a report by a prominent U.S. energy think-tank.

According to IHS CERA's downstream capital cost index -- the group's version of a consumer price index -- the costs of building a large processing facilities such as refineries jumped three per cent from the start of the year and are just four per cent below the 2008 peak.

According to IHS, a combination of factors including higher oil prices and a weaker U.S. dollar contributed to the rise, along with a stronger global economy.

"The momentum in the rise of costs back to precession levels is really a 'slowmentum' reflective of the broader global economic recovery," said IHS CERA chairman and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin. "Activity is increasing and prices are rising, albeit with a healthy dose of caution."
(18 November 2010)

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