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Peak oil: just around the corner
The Science Show, ABC (Australia)
Oil supplies are rapidly dwindling and demand is increasing leading analysts to warn of an impending oil crunch. The global oil supply has lost the equivalent of the volume of the North Sea oil reserve in 15 months. By 2014, supply is expected to fall short of demand. Other factors could bring that forward. Fatih Birol says the age of cheap oil is over and we all need to prepare ourselves for higher oil prices. Further he says no government is prepared for what lies ahead. Jeremy Leggett describes the oil crunch, when global supply fails to meet demand.

The transcript of this program will be available by Monday afternoon [Australia time]


Chris Screbowski [should be Skrebowski] Founding Director
Peak Oil Consulting

Fatih Birol
Chief Economist
International Energy Agency

Jeremy Leggett
Executive Chairman
London UK

Jonica Newby
Presenter, Catalyst ABCTV
(23 April 2011)
The big news is the gloomy outlook in the interview from Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the IEA. We will post the transcript when it appears tomorrow (Sunday, US Time).

Suggested by EB contributor Michael Lardelli who writes:

“This is a must post! It is a prelude to the ABC TV’s Catalyst program on peak
oil and energy this Thursday (that will also be available online afterwards).”

What’s Driving Gas Prices, From An Energy Insider

National Public Radio (NPR)
The average price for regular gas is now well above $4 a gallon in seven states, and some analysts say we could reach $6 a gallon in some parts of the country as the summer driving season approaches. Host Scott Simon talks with John Hofmeister, founder and CEO of the non-profit group Citizens for Affordable Energy and former CEO of Shell Oil, about viable energy policy.

… Joined now by John Hofmeister, former CEO of the Shell Oil Company. He’s founder and CEO of the non-profit group Citizens for Affordable Energy, and author of the book “Why We Hate the Oil Companies: Straight Talk From an Energy Insider.” He joins us from London. Thanks for being with us.

Mr. JOHN HOFMEISTER (CEO, Citizens for Affordable Energy): My pleasure.

SIMON: So what is driving up oil prices?

Mr. HOFMEISTER: Demand. If Americans need more oil and the rest of the world needs more oil and we don’t produce more oil, we get squeezed on price. Second, we have uncertainty which oil markets detest. The uncertainty comes from the Middle East, and the big uncertainty is whether some of the contagion that seems to be spreading in political unrest spreads to the Persian Gulf.

And so that amount of uncertainty, and the potential cutoff for oil supplies in the event of something lead future buyers, called speculators, to raise the price in order to guarantee delivery.

Over the longer term we have to worry about Asian demand that is rising rapidly and is a 2012, 2013, 2014 problem where we could get in not only to high prices, but actual shortages of crude oil, particularly in the West.

SIMON: How do we explain to Americans that despite the unrest – so far there has no, as I understand it, substantial diminution of the supply of oil from the Middle East even though oil prices are still relatively low – the price of gas is so high?

Mr. HOFMEISTER: You’re right. There’s been very limited reduction in the amount of crude available to the markets. So what we’re dealing with, Scott, is irrational fear, and that fear drives people who must have oil in the future to pay whatever price is being bid, six months, 12 months, or longer from now, which has as a way of it – it always happens this way, it raises the prices generally.

Now, we also have seen the recovery in the U.S. bring oil demand in total back above last year’s level. And so there is a demand recovery in the U.S. that’s also impacting consumption.

SIMON: You know some of the politics that gets tied up with, Mr. Hofmeister. Among other things, there are people that say we ought to be concentrating on non-gas sources of energy. That that in the end is what’s really gonna break the stranglehold.

Mr. HOFMEISTER: And in my book, which you mentioned, I talk about eliminating the use of the internal combustion engine to achieve just that. We have to find technical alternatives in my view over a period of time. But here’s the issue for now. There’s a short-term issue that can only be addressed with more supply.
(23 April 2011)

A short history of oil: 1900 to 2010

Adam Popescu, Marketplace, American Public Media
Over the past century, the center of crude oil production has shifted across the globe.

We live in a petroleum-saturated world. Literally.

Despite fears of reserve shortages and declining crude, world oil production has experienced a steady rise in recent years, to the tune of nearly 72 million barrels a day (mb/d) for 2009, up from 65.92 mb/d in 1999.

Oil around the world

According to industry estimates, the top oil-producing nation in 2010, the last year this data was available, is Russia. Behind Russia is Saudi Arabia, then the United States, Iran, and China. That data is compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Business Insider, and the CIA World Factbook.

Worldwide, there are over 70,000 oil fields and wells currently in production, with the bulk of crude coming from a relatively small number of super fields. The world’s largest of those superfields is Ghawar, in Saudi Arabia, which pumps out 5.1 mb/d, about seven percent of global production.

In 2007, output at the world’s 10 largest oilfields totaled 14 mb/d, or roughly 20 percent of world production.
(accessed 22 April 2011)