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More than the deck chairs: ASPO-USA launches webinar series

The first ASPO-USA Webinar: “Shale Gas Update, with Art Berman” will take place Thursday, April 5, 2012 from 2:00-3:30PM Eastern. Space is limited. To participate, and for more information, please see this link: http://www.aspousa.org/index.php/2012/03/shale-gas-update-with-art-berman-april-5-2012/

It took the Titanic less than three hours to sink. In the first half hour after the Titanic struck the iceberg, only a few people knew the extent of the damage and potential consequences, but the fact that this was not widely recognized didn’t mean the ship wasn’t sinking. By the last half hour, before the ship sunk beneath freezing waters, it was readily apparent to everyone that the ship was sinking, but in many cases, far too late to reach the lifeboats.

Given the tsunami of energy misinformation in the media right now, ASPO-USA’s role in providing accurate analysis of our domestic and global energy situation has never been more important.

Therefore, ASPO-USA is launching a series of monthly webinar programs, where members and donors will have the opportunity to see and hear presentations by distinguished speakers, such as Art Berman, who will be giving two presentations, one on shale gas plays and one on the developing oil plays in shale formations like the Bakken and Eagle Ford.

Energy misinformation threatens to swamp our economy, and to leave businesses, institutions and individuals unprepared for what is to come. We need honest, impartial assessments of our energy future from experts who understand the data and what it means going forward.

We believe that this format will provide a critically important service to ASPO-USA members and to the country, and we plan to focus not only on analyses of our energy situation, but also on discussions of responses to Peak Oil that go well beyond the usual rearranging of the deck chairs.

Recent news articles have emphasized small growths in production and have hyped inflated unproven reserves and potential production rates for US energy, giving politicians and the general public the idea that “energy independence” is a realistic goal for us. Without truth in energy, we risk losing far too much.

Consider this: After the Titanic’s collision, let’s assume that water was flowing into the ship at a rate 10 times faster than the rate that water was being pumped out of the ship.

Should one focus on the water being pumped out, or on the water flowing in? Which one is critical to a real understanding of the situation and to the security of most of those involved?

Right now a slow increase in US crude oil production and a comparatively small real impact from over-hyped shale gas is the focus of the media’s attention. What will critically reshape our lives, our economy, and our future is the dramatic rise in demand from China and India that affects available global net exports. As long as we focus our eyes on the wrong thing, we risk too much.

In the end, even leading Peak Oil skeptics, like John Hofmeister, former Shell Oil President have sounded the alarm about our untenable energy position:

What’s really unprecedented, Carl, is the fact that developing countries, especially China and India, have this insatiable need for more oil, and that has not been taken into account as we’ve thought about public policy in this country. So while we may be producing a bit more oil in this country, and while demand is down a bit, on a global basis I’m afraid we face a continuing onslaught of prices creeping ever higher. I hope I’m wrong in this. I’d love to be wrong, but we saw last year’s record gasoline prices through the course of the year, and we’re seeing the same phenomenon starting out this year, and I’m afraid it’s just creeping up and creeping up, and in the meantime you have refineries closing on the east coast because they can’t get the margin they need to stay open.”

As oil prices rise and energy costs play out throughout the economy and our lives, more and more attention turns to claims that natural gas can fill gap. Besides the obvious fact that natural gas is not a liquid fuel, the controversy over the real potential of shale gas is ongoing. Thus, our first webinar on April 5 will draw on ASPO-USA board member Art Berman’s expertise to draw an honest picture of shale gas potential, covering:

  • Insights on current supply trends.
  • Technical and economic challenges to maintain or increase U.S. shale gas supply.
  • Consequences of sustained low prices for natural gas.
  • Lessons from experience with individual shale gas plays.
  • Interconnections with shale oil development.

Arthur E. Berman is a geological consultant and a specialist in prospect and play evaluation, reserve assessment, risk evaluation, subsurface geological and geophysical interpretation, and database management. With 32 years of oil and gas industry experience, Mr. Berman spent 20 years with Amoco Production Company, and 10 years as an independent geological consultant. Widely quoted, Berman was instrumental in a recent New York Times series that focused on whether what we have been told about shale gas is really something we can build a future upon.

Future webinars will cover issues including Shale Oil, The Role of China and India, Understanding the Peak Economy, The Oil-Food Connection and others. We invite you to join us for our webinar series and to help us bring Truth in Energy to our national energy discussion.

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