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EIA shale predictions need closer scrutiny, peak oil group says

Nick Snow, Oil & Gas Journal
Federal oil and gas forecasters have not fully considered factors affecting future US supplies in their recent estimates, members of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas USA (ASPO-USA) warned on Oct. 26. US Energy Information Administration predictions of significantly greater production from US shale resources may be overly optimistic, they said.

“We believe that information and analysis provided by DOE and EIA has glossed over alarming trends regarding oil and gas supply, and fostered complacency about their potentially severe consequences,” they said in a letter to US Sec. of Energy Steven Chu. “Without reliable information and a clear understanding of these monumental energy challenges, decisions and actions by the private and public sector are likely to be ill-founded and misguided.”

DOE’s optimistic future supply forecasts are dangerously unrealistic, James S. Baldauf, president and cofounder of ASPO-USA, told reporters during an Oct. 26 press conference in front of DOE’s headquarters. “If these exuberant predictions are wrong, the consequences could be catastrophic. We need to be conservative in planning for the future,” he said. “We are not running out of oil. But we appear to be running out of oil that we can afford.”
(27 October 2011)

Cassandra in the 21st century: ASPO-Italy 5 in Florence on Oct 28

Ugo Bardi, Cassandra’s Legacy

Luca Pardi, vice-president of ASPO-Italy, is the organizer for this year the fifth annual meeting of the organization in Florence on Oct 28. The title of the meeting is “Cassandra in the 21st century: Climate Energy and Food” and it is organized jointly with the “Climalteranti” association, a group of Italian climate scientists.

A brief period that I spent outside Italy this month has convinced me that our country, nowadays, is known for a few things; none of them very good. One, of course, is about the sexual exploits of our prime minister. Then, we have our Minister of Science and Education who thought that neutrinos travel in a tunnel from Geneva, in Switzerland to a place in central Italy. And, finally, an Italian guy who has built an electric boiler and who claims it is a nuclear reactor. Bad times, indeed.

So, maybe ASPO-Italy can try to do what is possible to uphold the honor of the country. Hence, we are doing our best to organize an interesting international meeting this year. Our vice-president, Luca Pardi, has taken this burden upon himself and he has succeeded beautifully in the task of assembling a great program. With the sponsorship of the Tuscan Regional government, we are glad to report that we’ll have speakers from international institutions as:

1. Ian Johnson – Secretary General of the Club of Rome
2. Nicole M. Foss – Known as “Stoneleigh”, co-editor at The Automatic Earth
3. Toufic El Asmar – Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)

And we’ll have many well known speakers from Italy: Luca Mercalli, Stefano Caserini, Sergio Castellari, Sylvie Coyaud and others – we’ll also have musical entertainment in the afternoon!

The first two talks are in English (translation to Italian provided), all the others will be in Italian (sorry, no translation available). The location is in Florence, at the Sala delle Feste – Palazzo Bastogi, Consiglio Regionale della Toscana, via Cavour, 18. We start at 9:00 a.m. (more or less), entrance is free and no registration is necessary.

(25 October 2011)

Saving energy: reliability of national energy flows
Jean Laherrère President ASPO France

(Presentation for ASPO USA 2011 peak oil & energy conference Nov 3-5 Washington_

The world being finite, it is better to save energy than to try to find more very expensive oil & gas reserves. The best mine of savings being the waste, it is very important to know exactly how much energy we waste. A good chart being better than thousands of words, the best way is to look at the energy flow chart. But before looking, it is important to know exactly what every item of an energy flow means, because a lot of data is flawed, that is incomplete or wrong when actors are cheating.

-1- Lack of rules and referees or bad rules

In any sport there are rules and referees in order to force the players to follow the rules, if not they are thrown out when the referee shows a red card.

In the energy domain and in particular the national agencies, there are very few rules, which are contradictory and not respected, because there is no referee, and no fine if you do not follow the rule.

For the oil companies, the only rule is to make money fast, the only red card is the value of the stock market.

– Unit

In science, the International System of units (SI) is the rule, because it is easier to handle and also because it is the legal rule of every country except Bangladesh, Liberia and US not federal.

Since 1993 the US federal agencies have been forced to follow the SI, but it is barely done. And when they do it is contrary to the industry.
(October 2011)
Suggested by William Tamblyn who writes:

In a recent exchange with Jean Laherrère I learned that an important long paper by him — the basis of a shorter presentation that he will make at next month’s ASPO-USA’s “Peak Oil, Energy & the Economy” Conference in Washington — is already available to the public (see above post).

The number of issues addressed in the paper will amaze most of you I suspect. It did me anyway.

What I am about to say may not make sense to you until you have read the paper, but as I said to him in one of my e-mails…

Thanks for criticizing the EIA’s stupid reporting of 9 significant digits, the vast majority of which are not at all “significant” (smile) – nor even defensible.

I appreciate what you say about using spaces rather than commas too, but I think Microsoft Excel needs to be reformed before that will become common, at least here in the U.S. And when one is dealing with a large number of (supposedly) significant digits, it is helpful I think to have *some* way to break them up. So until either the EIA or Microsoft make some significant changes, I suspect I will go on using
commas in my monthly Excel files.

Peak Oil Is About Price, Not Supply

Jeff Rubin, Huffington Post-Canada
Heading down to Washington to speak at the Association for Peak Oil-USA’s Truth in Energy conference on Nov. 2, I sense a general malaise within the peak oil movement.

The pequists, as they have become known, appear to be on the defensive these days as they once again roll back their dating of the dreaded supply peak, confounded by the oil industry’s never-ending ability to develop new extraction technologies and discover new sources of supply.

While conventional production may have peaked long ago in the lower 48 U.S. states, as predicted by the father of the peak oil movement, geophysicist M. King Hubbert, new sources of supply have been found in Alaska and under the Gulf of Mexico.

And now oil sand production from Alberta and oil from the Bakken shale deposits may soon replace conventional oil in the mix of North American fuel.

Our definition of oil has changed so much the U.S. Energy Information Administration does not even refer to oil any more but rather energy liquids. This includes energy sources we would not have previously called oil such as natural gas liquids, liquefied refinery gases, and even corn-based ethanol.

But peak oil as it turns out isn’t about supply but rather demand. It is a concept rooted more in economics than geology.

UPDATE (Oct 30) EB contributor William Tamblyn writes:
Jean Laherrère has added an interesting introduction to his paper. The URL is still the same:

“These opening lines will, I think, tempt you to go and see the rest of what has been added:
End of growth? Which growth?
GDP = expenditures or Income or energy consumption: national or per capita?”

(21 October 2011)
Mr. Rubin’s point doesn’t make sense to me. Because of geological constraints, it now costs more to get liquid fuels. At higher prices, people buy less. Granted – but isn’t geology at the root of the problem? It is only manifesting itself in economic terms.


Soaring prices push Queen close to ‘fuel poverty’

David Blair, Financial Times
The Queen is coming perilously close to joining millions of her subjects in “fuel poverty” as energy bills for four palaces and a draughty castle absorb a rising share of her income.

About 4m households in England have fallen into fuel poverty, a situation in which a homeowner must spend 10 per cent of their annual income to keep their abode acceptably warm.
(21 October 2011)
Suggested by EB contributor RH who writes: “The tip of the iceberg?”