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The future of oil prices

Chris Nelder, Smart Planet
Over the past several months, I have detailed the implications of the gradual shift from conventional to unconventional oil production, particularly its upward pressure on the cost of oil production. As it has been a little over three months since I presented my model for oil prices, this week I’d like to review what we know about unconventional oil, and offer an outlook on oil prices for the coming years.

The unconventional non-solution
First, we know that tight oil production, like that in the Bakken Formation of North Dakota, is a treadmill. The constant drumbeat of highly-placed editorials about incipient U.S. energy independence is strictly political fodder, with no sound basis in data. Yes, in theory, it’s possible that we could double the output from the Canadian tar sands and the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, quintuple the number of wells that have been sunk in the Bakken so far, and pull off some biofuel miracles. But local resistance to that drilling program will be fierce in some areas, and its cost will eventually prove prohibitive. And it won’t end there; to maintain that level of output, we’ll have to keep drilling like hell, with increasing risks to the environment and public tranquility.

In reality, despite the technological achievements that have enabled production from these difficult resources, the world is losing the race against the depletion of mature conventional oil fields. And the pace of that depletion is accelerating: it’s now an estimated 5 to 6 percent per year for OPEC, and 8 to 9 percent for non-OPEC. Unconventional oil cannot compensate for a drag of that magnitude for very long…
(13 June 2012)

World Economic Financial and Political consequences of the Post Peak Oil Era

Chris Sanders, Local Campus
Chris Sanders of Sanders Research Associates Limited presents at the New Energy Era Forum 2012, Skibbereen, West Cork, Ireland.

New Energy Era Forum 2012 – Chris Sanders by LocalCampus
(June 2012)

‘Oil shock’ hitting consumer demand former Tesco CEO warns

Channel 4 News
…Mr Leahy claimed that while the UK’s reliance on the financial services sector and the problems in the eurozone had contributed to the UK having a slower economic recovery than eurozone counterparts, the doubling of the price of oil in two years had been a major factor in this.

‘Oil shock’

“There has also been an oil shock,” he said. “The oil price has virtually doubled since 2010 and at a time when sterling depreciated, so actually the price of energy going into the UK rose whereas it didn’t in Europe.”

“Actually, that has hit consumers more than anything else. It has taken money out of their weekly wages. The economy was recovering quite well at the end of 2010 and it slowed really because of the energy crisis, I think.”…
(11 June 2012)
The video at this url is unrelated to the ‘oil shock’ story.

World oil reserves up 8 percent, supply fears persist

Tom Bergin, Reuters
The world’s store of oil jumped 8.3 percent last year, as exploration rose and record crude prices made marginal projects commercially viable, yet supplies will struggle to meet demand due to political factors, oil giant BP said on Wednesday.

BP said in its annual calculation of global oil and gas reserves, considered the industry’s most comprehensive, that oil reserves totalled 1,653 billion barrels at the end of 2011.

That was up from 1,526 billion barrels of extractable oil in the ground at the end of 2010, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy last year.

“One perennial question is whether there are enough energy resources for our needs?” Chief Executive Bob Dudley said as he unveiled the report.

“The answer from this review is certainly ‘yes’: At today’s consumption rates, the world has proved reserves sufficient to meet current production for 54 years for oil.”..
(13 June 2012)
Link to BP Statistical Review
Graphic of data from The Guardian