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IMF study: Peak oil could do serious damage to the global economy

Brad Plumer, Washington Post
The world isn’t going to run out of oil anytime soon. But there’s still concern among various geologists and analysts that our oil supply won’t grow as quickly or as easily as it used to. We’ll have to resort to harder-to-drill oil to satisfy our crude habits. More expensive oil. That would push prices up. And high oil prices could act as a drag on growth.

So how bad would it be if peak oil was really upon us? That’s a question that two IMF economists try to tackle in a new working paper, “Oil and the World Economy: Some Possible Futures.” (pdf) The authors, Michael Kumhof and Dirk Muir, don’t make any definitive predictions about how the oil supply will evolve. Rather, they try to model a number of different scenarios in which oil does become more scarce and the world tries to adapt.

The paper itself offers an interesting look at how the world might cope with higher oil prices, so let’s take a look at the various scenarios:…
(27 October 2012)
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Weaning America Off Oil

Nikolas Angelopoulos,
Oil is the most dangerous resource in the world. It dictates economies, catalyzes wars, and controls governments. It powers almost everything we have in America—cars, planes, power plants, and more; the very tractors we use to grow our food run on oil! Our dependence on it, however, makes us reliant on other nations, like those in the volatile Middle East, because they control much of the world’s oil. To stabilize our economy, protect national security, and preserve the environment, the next United States President must take an aggressive stance on weaning the US off of oil dependency by focusing on the development of sustainable alternative energy sources…

A finalist in ‘The Nation’s’ seventh annual Student Writing Contest.
(28 October 2012)

Canada’s New Pipeline Woes

Ian Austen, New York Times
AND you thought pipeline politics in the United States were treacherous. Rebuffed by Washington on bringing the Keystone XL pipeline down through the western United States, Canada now finds that its Plan B — to build a pipeline to its west coast for shipping to Asia — has become mired in domestic politics thick enough to rival the tarlike oil it hopes to sell.

Getting the oil to the Far East first requires building a $5.5 billion, 730-mile pipeline from landlocked Alberta over a series of mountains to the coast of northern British Columbia. About 220 tankers a year would then navigate some of Canada’s most scenic yet treacherous waters to complete the trip…
(23 October 2012)

Analysis – Does U.S. shale mean cheap global oil by 2020?

Claire Milhench and Alice Baghdjian, Reuters
Does the rise of U.S. shale oil mean fuel buyers can look forward to a multi-year period of crude price decline? Or is oil destined for new record highs above $150 a barrel?

The question is dividing energy analysts who are split on whether or not shale and other predominantly North American "unconventional" supply like Canadian oil sands will be enough to comfortably meet an increase in global fuel demand led by emerging markets to 2020…
(31 October 2012)